It's inevitable that audiences will receive another Avengers movie at some point. The four-movie franchise has gross over $7.5 billion at the worldwide box office and the last installement, Avengers: Endgame, is now the highest grossing movie of all time. Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige addressed the possibility of a fifth Avengers movie as last year's Comic-Con:
#AvengersEndgame was the end of an era, and #Marvel Studios president #KevinFeige confirmed to us at #ComicCon that the next class of @Avengers will be a “very different team than we’ve seen before." We also asked if Phase 4 of the #MCU might be planting some big clues 👀 #SDCC pic.twitter.com/4mxOTmmJ0u— MTV NEWS (@MTVNEWS) July 21, 2019
The question that arises is, when the fifth Avengers movie does begin development, who will Marvel Studios hire to helm it? Much of the MCU's success rides on the shoulders of its ensemble films in a similar way to how much of the sucess of these films rides on the shoulders of their directors, so choosing the right directoris a crucial decision for Marvel Studios. The Direct team has made informed predictions about which director is most likely hire to helm the next Avengers movie, with each director/ director group receiving a liklihood percentage. To clarify, these numbers indicate the realistic possibility of who Marvel Studios will pick to direct Avengers 5, not who The Direct team wants to direct it.
Not many expect James Gunn to stick around after he finishes Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, which might not happen until at least 2023. In all likelihood, James Gunn would have a greater desire directing a Hit Monkey or Thunderbolts movie rather than an Avengers sequel of a franchise that he didn't create. In an interview with ScreenRant, he expressed intrest in the Thunderbolts, another team of misfits and villains.
"Thunderbolts? I will tell you, one time I was saying to Kevin [Feige], we were sitting on set together on one of the days he visited and I said, ‘You know, I really want to make Thunderbolts,’ and he said, ‘James, if Guardians does well you’ll be able to do whatever you want so we’ll see what happens."
Along with other characters he's mentioned wanting to write and director for in the past, like Hit Monkey and Red Hulk, would he even be interested in the Avengers as characters? Especiallly since he had no hand in introducing any of them into the MCU? Another tickle is that he was abruptly fired from Marvel Studios by Disney Studios chariman Alan Horn for offensive decade-old tweets, only to be rehired 8 months later.
So, would Gunn even want to come back to direct anything else at Marvel Studios after his third Guardians of the Galaxy installment?
Filmmaker Ryan Coogler directed 208's Black Panther, which earned over $1.3 billion at the box office and won three Academy Awards, and is now officially set to write and direct the film's sequel. Coogler definitely has clout with Marvel Studios and so it isn't out of the realm of possibility that the studio would offer him the opportunity to direct the next Avengers movie.
In a Total Film interview, the Captain Marvel director duo of Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck revealed the advice that Coogler had shared with them about directing an MCU project: "It’s multi-years of your life. You better damn well like this character. And you better be telling a story you want to tell". So, if Coogler were to direct the fifth Avengers movie, it would likely have to involve characters he's passionate about - such as T'Challa / Black Panther - as well as a story that Coogler can connect with on a personal level.
It's understandable to think that Marvel Studios would court Taika Waititi to direct the fifth Avengers movie. Waititi has experience with directing an ensemble cast of characters that bounce off one another like What We Do in the Shadows, he's directed one of the MCU's more critically-aclaimed movies with Thor: Ragnarok, and he's slated to begin his work on Thor: Love and Thunder within the next year. Not to mention that he just recently won an Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay.
The biggest question is whether Waititi would even want to direct an Avengers movie. He did come back to direct a fourth Thor movie and seems to have an affinity for the Thor character and his supporting cast, but most of these characters likely won't appear in the next Avengers movie. Would Waititi still want to direct a whole new cast of characters in another superhero movie? And would Marvel Studios approve of the next Avengers film having a far more comedic and improvozational tone under Waititi's direction?
Waititi has expressed in an interview from Wired his hope to not "eventually get bored... [making] the same kind of film", which doesn't bod too well at the prospect of him directing another big budget superhero movie at Marvel Studios.
The Russo Brothers being a top contender for the Avengers 5 directorial spot is expected given their four films of experience with Marvel Studios, but their 16% chance to direct the ensemble might not be as high as some would have expected. One of the likely driving thoughts behind this is the fact that the brothers have stated multiple times that they would only return to direct another Avengers movie if it was based on "Secret Wars".
“We’d love to work with Marvel again and maybe that’s on Secret War. That’s a favorite of ours when we were young, and I read it in a whole sitting when I was 12.”
If it's not obvious enough from their quote, the Russos are referring to the "Secret Wars" run from 1984 that had all the heroes fighting the Beyonder, not the newest run from 2015 that had everyone fighting Doctor Doom. Their preference actually makes their involvement in the fifth Avengers movie a little less likely since Marvel Studios would likely want to adapt the 2015 version of "Secret Wars. Multiple properties and rumors for the MCU's upcoming phase of movies and shows involve the multiverse, which is a key element of the "Secret Wars" storyline.
Regardless, there's doubt that Kevin Feige would want to hire the Russo Brothers to direct a third Avengers movie in a row, especially after Feige's comments about his desire to distance this new phase of the MCU from the previous ones.
There's a decent probability that Marvel Studios may choose another director who they've already worked - not including the directors previously listed - to helm their next Avengers movie. Filmmakers such as Joss Whedon (who wrote and directed the first two Avengers movies) or Jon Watts (who is set to direct his third Spider-Man movie for next year) may have a small chance to be on Marvel Studios' list. Two names that may have a bigger chance are Jon Favreau and Chloé Zhao, one of whom is the MCU's first director and the other of whom is one of the franchises' latest. The old and the new.
The possibility of Favreau taking the new lead of the Avengers franchise harkens back to when he was rumored to direct The Avengers in 2009 before his relationship with Marvel Studios was fractured with Iron Man 2. However, Favreau seems to have made it clear that he's done directing for Marvel Studios in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter.
"So to jump back into the big screen right now, by being involved with both of those projects, I went through that journey."
The other director possibility is Chloé Zhao, the director of this year's The Eternals. She recently finished filming a movie with a large ensemble cast of characters, who will greatly expand the mythos of the universe and will likely tie-into future movies. Additionally, according to Kumail Nanjiani on the Deadline Hollywood podcast, Zhao is leaning more on practical effects and sets along with shooting many 'magic hour' scenes to get the right lighting at dawn or dusk. The extra effort that Marvel Studios is taking with The Eternals may be due to the fact that its the first new MCU franchise that former Marvel CEO Isaac "Ike" Perlmutter and their creative committee had absolutely zero involvement with. The Eternals is a fresh new step into a post-Infinity Saga MCU; it's not extremely unlikely that the director behind this fresh franchise could also helm the MCU's first post-Infinity Saga Avengers film.
There's a decent probability that Marvel Studios will choose a director who they haven't previously worked with to helm the MCU's next Avengers movie. The reasoning behind bringing in fresh blood would be to signify a new beginning for the MCU with their next Avengers ensemble, setting it apart from previous entires like Infinity War and Endgame. It's possible that Marvel could eye filmmakers who have worked on Star Wars properties, as they would already have a pre-existing relationship with Disney. A potential candidate could be Rian Johnson, but it seems like from an interview with The Flickering Myth, he has no interest in directing superhero movies.
"I didn’t grow up reading comics, so it’s not something that I have a real emotional grounding in the same way I do with Star Wars."
Another option is Rick Famuyiwa, who has directed two episodes of The Mandalorian and was intially rumored to be in talks to direct Black Panther. So getting a call back from Marvel Studios to direct the next Avengers movie isn't too crazy.
One other possibility would be Kevin Feige and company entrusting their next Avengers movie in the hands of an entirely new director who has little relation with Disney. This scenario occurred in 2010 when Marvel announced the hiring of Joss Whedon to direct the original The Avengers.