By the time the credits rolled for Avengers: Endgame, Black Widow and Iron Man had sacrificed their lives to bring everyone back and stop Thanos, Rogers spent well past his golden years with the love of his life, Hawkeye was reunited with his family whom he thought was gone forever, Thor decided to go find his true purpose in life, and Bruce Banner was left with only one abled arm.
Suffice to say, this first iteration of the Avengers has come to an end with more than half the team either dead or in retirement. However, as discussed previously, just because this Avengers team has said farewell does not at all mean that Disney and Marvel Studios will stop making Avengers movies any time soon. As such, a new team will have to be formed and with a team comes its leadership.
Read on as The Direct pins down who will mostly likely lead this new team of Earth’s mightiest heroes in the fifth Avengers movie!
It would be remiss to write an article about potential leaders for The Avengers and not at least mention Monica Rambeau, Black Knight, and Luke Cage. These characters have all led the heroic team in the comics and each of them are already, or will soon appear, in the MCU.
For obvious reasons, Moncia Rambeau and Black Knight potentially leading Earth’s mightiest heroes is a possibility for the next Avengers movies after the next, but as alluded to in the previous paragraph, they have yet to appear in the MCU proper. They would be too fresh-faced for audiences to accept as the leaders.
As for Luke Cage, he appeared in a Marvel Television-produced Netfix show bearing his name from 2016 to 2018. This show was made outside the influence of Marvel Studios and Kevin Feige, which makes it very doubtful that they would make him the leader of the Avengers, especially Jeph Loeb’s incarnation of the character.
One additional honorable mention goes to James "Rhodey" Rhodes (aka War Machine), who has been in the franchise since the beginning. Not only was he the best friend of Tony Stark, but he was War Machine for about a decade in-universe. The reason he isn't included on this list is because the contract for the actor portraying the role, Don Cheadle, has expired after Avengers: Endgame. It's doubtful they would extend it again to have him become the leader for just one movie. Also, as much as a beloved actor as Don Cheadle is, he has always only played a supporting character in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and never the staring role in his own MCU movie or show, unlike the rest on this list.
6.) PETER PARKER / SPIDER-MAN
One of the biggest contributing factors to Peter being a possibility for the new leader of the Avengers is his relationship with Tony Stark. The fact that Stark deemed, in his own way, Parker to be his successor during Spider-Man: Far From Home is a significant point. However, there are multiple factors working against the young hero.
For almost all of Spider-Man: Homecoming, Peter wanted nothing more than to impress Mr. Stark and become an Avenger. But, by the end, he learned that he still wanted to remain the friendly neighborhood Spider-Man and look out for the little guys. Peter becoming the leader of the Avengers so soon after this would be inappropriate for his still-growing character.
Another obstacle in the way of him leading The Avengers any time soon is simple: his age. Within the continuity of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Peter Parker is still only 17 years old, despite having been blipped for five years by Thanos, he never aged in that time. So, it is very doubtful that Carol Danvers, T’Challa, Stephen Strange or any other adults would ever defer to someone who can’t legally purchase alcohol in the United States.
Finally, the biggest factor in this whole argument is the fact that Disney still doesn't own the film rights to Spider-Man - Sony does. It would be pretty ludicrous for Disney to allow Marvel Studios to make Peter Parker the leader of The Avengers, their most profitable movie franchise.
He is the last remaining Avenger still in one piece, turning down the throne of Asgard twice, and hitching a ride with the Guardians of the Galaxy to parts unknown. Being one of the last active members of the Avengers team, one would expect him to take up the mantle of leadership. But, Thor’s entire character arc is his rejection of leadership and doubting himself.
He already turned down the throne of Asgard once when Loki (disguised as Odin) offered it to him at the end of Thor: The Dark World, believing that being king would change him too much and for the worse. He rejects it again as he leaves with the Guardians at the end of Avengers: Endgame and gives the throne to Valkyrie, claiming that she would do better than he ever did or could.
However, there’s one more reason why Thor is unlikely to become the leader of The Avengers and that’s Chris Hemsworth. It’s unknown how much longer he will continue playing the character of Thor, since he has already had to renew his contract for Thor: Love and Thunder after his last one ended with Avengers: Endgame. It’s entirely possible he may not even appear in the next Avengers movie due to potential limitations in his contract.
4.) STEPHEN STRANGE / DOCTOR STRANGE
With Doctor Strange, we’re now getting to the more plausible answers for who could lead The Avengers moving forward. A man who was so selfish, he refused to perform surgery on patients who could hurt his perfect record, but became a man so selfless he would die to save the world, again and again, for all eternity.
At the end of Doctor Strange, he was put in charge of the New York Sanctum, helping protect the world from magical threats. This included Loki, who was quickly apprehend by Strange, as well as Thanos, who Strange ultimately had a hand in defeating. Not to mention, it was his earlier actions in his own movie that earned him his Sorcerer job, single-handedly forcing Dormammu out of our dimension.
But, from what audiences see of his character, it doesn’t seem likely that Doctor Strange would be comfortable leading a specialized team of heroes, the majority of whom would have no familiarity with magic or confronting magical threats. This leads to another issue being that Strange and his order specifically help against threats not of this Earth. It would be hard pressed to imagine Doctor Strange rallying the team to confront a terrestrial threat like MODOK.
3.) T'CHALLA / BLACK PANTHER
Leader of the most technologically advanced nation on Earth and the current Black Panther, T'Challa seems like a shoe-in for the job as leader. Obviously, he has the experience leading, as he's currently the head of the entire country of Wakanda. Additionally, due to his position, he has ten times the resources Tony Stark had to help supply The Avengers with state of the art equipment, especially with the help of his sister, Shuri, currently being the smartest person on the planet.
The only thing stopping him would actually be the fact that T'Challa would be too pre-occupied with his home country. He can't simply be stationed at an Avengers base half-way across the world and away from the Wakanda he's supposed to be leading for very long. Furthermore, if an Avengers base was stationed in Wakanda, one would hardly think that the other tribes would be keen on outsiders being within Wakanda borders.
However, as shown at the end of Black Panther, T'Challa is more willing to allow further connections outside Wakanda. He and his staff established the Wakandan International Outreach Centre in which Wakanda would offer their knowledge and resources with the world to help everyone struggling. So, it's fair to believe that T'Challa leading The Avengers could be part of this outreach effort, being that the team's purpose is to improve the world.
2.) SAM WILSON / FALCON
Considering the fact that Rogers left the shield, and presumably the mantle, of Captain America to Sam during the emotional conclusion of Avengers: Endgame, it’s also likely that he could end up leading the next Avengers too. In fact, audiences are going to get an entire series about Sam’s journey of becoming Captain America’s successor with The Falcon and the Winter Soldier.
Throughout his appearances, we’ve learned that Sam is a team player, able to work in coordination with others with ease, and even has acted as a counsellor for veterans like him. It took no convincing for him to help both Rogers and Natasha take down HYDRA. He was even a member of Rogers’ new Avengers, who we saw at the tail end of Avengers: Age of Ultron and in action during the opening of Captain America: Civil War.
The one thing holding Sam Wilson back from leading the superheroic squad is that, unlike Rogers and even Bucky, he doesn't have any powers. He can't survive jumping from great heights, lift three times his bodyweight, or even sprint fast enough to lap someone several times over. Yet just because Sam can't punch out War Machine with his barefists does not mean that he's helpless.
1.) CAROL DANVERS / CAPTAIN MARVEL
Funny enough, outside of Thor and possibly Doctor Strange, Carol Danvers has the most experience in being a hero out of every other character on this list. She's been Captain Marvel for nearly 30 years traveling the galaxy, helping a sector of Skrulls find a new home, overthrowing the Supreme Intelligence in that time, and presumably assisting many other worlds throughout the cosmos.
From what Danvers says in Avengers: Endgame when first meeting the Avengers, she has even made allies and contacts across the galaxy. She has enough confidence in their resources that the team would be able help track down Thanos. It's also worth mentioning that she made friends with Nick Fury, the founder of the Avengers, of which was named after her callsign.
Kevin Feige, the president of Marvel Studios, has also said that Captain Marvel would lead the Marvel Cinematic Universe moving forward, in a similar in a similar vein to Iron Man and Captain America.
"There she was at the forefront, and it was a great foreshadowing – not just for how audiences are going to embrace Brie as this character, but also for how Captain Marvel is about to take the lead and be at the forefront of the entire Cinematic Universe."
Two things that could prevent her from being the next leader of the Avengers is her preference for working alone and her partiality to focus on cosmic threats.
Captain Marvel can bodyslam Kree fighters like tissue paper and was able to match and surpass Thanos in hand-to-hand combat, so it's no wonder why she doesn't think she needs to work with a team. However, it's very possible that Tony's sacrifice and working with so many other Earth-bound heroes may have humbled her into being more of a team player.
As for her focus on other worlds, when directly asked about her possibly returning to Earth to help what was left of the Avengers after The Snap, she said that "...I'm covering a lot of territory. The things that are happening on Earth, are happening everywhere, on thousands of planets." But, it's entirely possible that this is no longer an issue after everyone turned to dust was brought back.
While these are the most probable candidates to become the new leader of the Avengers, it doesn’t mean they will be the leader for the entirety of this team’s existence. Avengers 5 audience members could see leaders being swapped out, or the concept of a singular leader could be dropped as multiple members could co-lead the team at once. But, no matter who ends up filling the place as leader, they have big and heavy shoes to fill.