Avengers: Infinity War is approaching with rapid pace and we still know extremely little about the film itself. However, what we do now is the sort of impact it will have on the MCU moving forward. We’ve already heard that Avengers 4 will put different characters at the forefront of its narrative, suggesting the heavy hitters like Captain America and Iron Man will be benched for the fourth instalment of the massive blockbuster franchise. Whilst some characters are all but confirmed to feature prominently, such as Captain Marvel, Falcon, White Wolf, Black Panther, Ant-Man and the Wasp, there are other background characters that could be considered as standouts, following the events of Infinity War. Therefore, here is a list of characters that have significant reasons moving forward, to be prominent characters within the future of the MCU.
Warning: potential spoilers ahead.
Korg and Miek
One of the most popular duos coming out of Thor: Ragnarok, was the comedic combo of Korg, a rocky Kronan voiced by New Zealand director Taika Waititi and Miek, a larvae-like creature who has knives for hands. The unique sense of humour that Waititi showcased quickly caught on with audiences. His revolution seeking character often became the comic relief amongst tense scenes, with his little buddy being the ultimate straight-faced creature to play off of.
It appears entering Infinity War that the Asgardians have run into a spot of bother in regards to the Mad Titan Thanos. The outlook for the majority of these Norse citizens is not looking particularly good. Nothing in the promotional material for the film suggests that Korg and Miek play any sort of role in the battle against the Stone collecting alien. However, this does not mean they have died, nor does it mean they do not feature in Infinity War at all. What is most likely is that Korg and Miek either quickly escape or are elsewhere when the attack happens. This means they are safe once the time comes for the team to reassemble for Avengers 4. Entering this fighting duo into the mix may be the sort of comedic relief that a desperate team needs following what appears to be the dismal events that will unfold in the upcoming blockbuster. Putting them as significant players in Avengers 4 and giving Waititi another opportunity to showcase the heart of Korg may be just what the sequel needs.
It is well known that Heimdall star, Idris Elba, is craving to do more in the MCU. Whilst not regretting his decision to play the Norse God that sees all, he does wish that he could play a more prominent role as events unfold. Perhaps this is exactly what Avengers 4 will require, with Heimdall likely becoming one of the last remaining survivors of Asgard. The Grandmasters ship, that can be seen still at the end of Ragnarok, is the likely escape route for both Heimdall and Korg and Miek. Perhaps teaming with Korg and Miek or going it alone, Thor: Ragnarok showed that Heimdall is capable of carrying his own side story, with Elba being a charismatic enough actor to hold audience’s attention.
Not only this, but Heimdall’s abilities offer a unique role for the Asgardian warrior. Being one of the few characters to understand the full extent of the threat they face and potentially being able to see where all the other infinity stones are (if Thanos cannot acquire some of them), the role of Heimdall could already be very clear, in his usefulness in tracking down the remaining stones and keeping watch of the impending threat that will be coming after them. Not only this, if Avengers 4 is to include the Skrulls, as the rumours suggest, then Heimdall may, in fact, be an interesting player in the identification of these alien imposters. Being capable of coping well both on Earth and in an intergalactic playing field, Heimdall could be a valuable player and an exposition machine, coming out of Avengers: Infinity War.
Continuing on in the weird world of gods and magic, Wong is likely the next character to step up, overtaking his partner, Dr Strange. Whilst Strange is very likely to have a role in Infinity War, if Wong is to survive, he’ll very heavily play into Avengers 4, having already seen the Thanos threat and holding previous knowledge on the Infinity Stones. With his skills with the use of magic being incredibly formidable and as an excellent straight man against numerous other comedic characters, Wong could be the dark horse pick for stealing the show in Infinity War and Avengers 4.
Perhaps holding some of the longest experience in his field compared to some of the other characters, there’s not much that Wong hasn’t seen. With Benedict Wong’s star also on the rise and the surprising amount of attention the character has garnered through the trailers, posters and other promotional material, perhaps Marvel Studios are gearing up to further pushing the character into the limelight. His skill set is interesting also for how it can be differentiated from that of Dr Strange. With Strange relying on artefacts such as his cloak and the eye of Agamotto, Wong will have a completely different skill set that may be visually impactful in an entirely different way. We’re really scratching the surface of what he can contribute, especially since, compared to other characters, he is not tied down by his comics origin due to the movie version already being far removed from what we see on paper.
Shuri is an interesting one, because I don’t believe Marvel realised how popular she would be exiting Black Panther. Whilst it is lucky for them that she plays a role in Infinity War, I can very much see that continuing and growing as the MCU continues to morph into the future. Acting as an inspiration to young girls and already becoming a character that appears to be formidable against the likes of Tony Stark and Bruce Banner in terms of intelligence, many people have high hopes for the future of Shuri.
It is true that Shuri has held the mantle of the Black Panther in Marvel comics and that role could be befitting of her. However, her intelligence and skills with technology suggest a different future for the young genius. Many fans have suspected that perhaps the role of Iron Man will, in fact, pass to Shuri in the future, becoming the MCU’s version of Iron Heart. Although, the comic’s version is, in fact, Riri Williams, it would not be the first time that Marvel Studios switched up the identity and origins of a character. Indeed, Vision should involve the mentality of Simon Williams in some way, whilst in Infinity War, Winter Soldier is set to take on the mantle of White Wolf, a role he has never held in the comics. Either way, one of the standouts of Black Panther certainly deserves more screen time and is likely a very safe pick on this list.
The Collector and The Grandmaster
As of this writing, both The Collector and The Grandmaster are alive and well in the MCU. As of Infinity War, however, this may change. It appears that Thanos will confront the Collector about the infinity stones that he has come into contact with, judging by some leaked footage on the web. Therefore, if The Collector is dead, this may give The Grandmaster, who is now on Earth, a reason to seek revenge for his Celestial brother.
However, if The Collector is to survive Infinity War, then perhaps both brothers will finally team up on screen in order to regain control of their lost empires and potentially protect what they have left from the Black Order and their leader. Acting talent like Jeff Goldblum and Benicio Del Toro playing off of each other as brothers, would be pure movie brilliance and something many fans are waiting to see. Of all the options of emerging stars in this list, this is probably the most far out. However, perhaps a sub-plot that involves a reunion of multiple celestials could be an intriguing sub-plot. Of course, this sort of story may be saved for the likes of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 3 instead and their role in Avengers 4 might end up as inconsequential if they are to appear at all.
Nebula is, unfortunately, the most likely to die on this list. A personal sacrifice, fighting her evil adoptive father, in a redemptive tale that ends her narrative whilst giving Gamora something else to fight for, makes the most sense for the big team-up blockbuster. There is a but coming, however. But, if Nebula is to survive the events of the third flick, it could mean great news for her character. Karen Gillan is talented and more importantly, increasingly popular, especially after the success of Jumanji. Her character, Nebula, has so many dimensions to explore and a rich history. A turn as a hero in the future could be an especially interesting tale.
Of course, there is a more important part to play here for the role of Nebula. With all the heavy hitters supposedly missing from the fourth instalment, there are three characters I can see dealing the final blow to Thanos. Drax, Gamora and Nebula. Out of those three, I believe Nebula is the best served to get revenge at the years of torture and mental manipulation at the hands of the purple titan. It’ll also be interesting to see Nebula with her back fully against the wall, or alternatively, as finally part of a team after years of going it alone. Either way, there seems to be plenty more to explore with the character.
Sharon Carter is yet to feature prominently in any MCU film. A character that has not really been given justice, Agent 13 has mainly played a background character and love interest to Steve Rogers. With Rogers potentially out of the picture though, this may give Carter a reason to step up and fight for her world. Although some have speculated that Carter could take on the role of Cap, I don’t see this as probable.
What is more likely is Agent 13 takes on a more Black Widow or Hawkeye-esque role, playing super spy and intelligence informant behind the scenes. With useful skills that have barely been tapped into and an interesting character history and background, Carter might be a useful piece of the puzzle if we are to replace the original Avengers team. Not only this, she is almost definitely going to survive the War, especially since she does not seem to be in the film at all. Emily VanCamp has been underutilised so far and has a lot left to give!
Another kick-ass character, Valkyrie’s path remains unclear to us. Taking a leap forward into a new stage of her life, the Asgardian warrior is yet to truly find her place in the universe. She hasn’t quite settled into her team as of yet, having only been with them for a little while and seems to still be an alcoholic suffering from the woes of her past. Her role in Infinity War still remains unclear, much like the other characters from Ragnarok, but what seems to be more clear for the character is that she has a strong future.
There has been a lot of talk as of late, of a female team headlining an MCU film. One of the characters that is almost a dead certainty for that team is Valkyrie herself. Tessa Thompson is a phenomenal actress, just getting started in her career and a star that a franchise could be tied to. Setting her up as a main player in Avengers 4 could even be a way to replace Chris Hemsworth, who seems to be moving away from his role as Thor. Filling the gap with a new Asgardian that is every bit as tough and complex a character (perhaps even with more dimensions to explore) seems to be a fitting role in the future. Not only this, but considering the fate of the Asgardians as we understand it, Valkyrie is going to be out for some revenge on the behalf of her people.
Who would have thought that M’Baku would be one of the most underrated characters leaving Black Panther. His unique sense of humour and complex character background, serving both as hero and villain with a villainous comics origin, the leader of the Ape tribe is an incredibly intriguing character. Already set to return in Infinity War, Marvel clearly has big plans for the Man-Ape.
The fate of Wakanda is yet to be revealed, but there may be some revenge in store from Man-Ape on behalf of his people and his tribe. A facedown between Thanos and M’Baku would be entertaining and especially tense; this is an event that I could see the gusto of Man-Ape creating this situation for himself. Moving forward from Black Panther, I could also see Man-Ape becoming villainous again, pitting himself against T’Challa’s decision to open Wakanda to the world, therefore endangering its people and sealing their fate at the hands of Thanos.
Maria Hill and Everett Ross
The final pair on this list is to set the foundations for a brand new phase of movies. Maria Hill and Everett Ross are the future of the corporate side of the Marvel Universe. Eventually replacing the likes of Agent Coulson, Nick Fury and Thunderbolt Ross as the people in suits, I can see Hill and Ross leading the charge on a new wave of heroes that are supported by the government, especially as it has been confirmed that Cobie Smulders will be returning as the former S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent.
Hill, in particular, has a lot more to offer judging by her comic’s history and there are numerous rumours floating around about Martin Freeman’s international agent. The most prominent is that he will hold the identity of the Red Hulk, replacing the comic’s version of Thunderbolt Ross, who as I previously mentioned, already exists in the MCU. With this pair heading into Avengers 4 as the duo to run the place, especially as these more ego driven heroes appear to be stepping down, phase 4 of the MCU would appear to be in incredibly safe hands.
What do you think about some of the picks on this list? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!