The Infinity Saga of the Marvel Cinematic Universe has ended, spanning a total of 22 movies and more than a decade, the first of its kind in history. Beyond Spider-Man: Far From Home, Marvel Studios have yet to officially announce the full extent of their future plans, other than several smaller announcements.
We can already deduce part of what the future can be from the contracts (or lack thereof) of the actors and actresses making up the cast of the MCU. Most of these are based on insider sources from other sites like The Hollywood Reporter.
Keep in mind that spoilers for Avengers Endgame will be flowing freely as I discuss the future of these stars (and the characters they portray) below. It’s not too late to turn back if you haven’t watched the movie yet.
Robert Downey Jr (Tony Stark/Iron Man)
Most of the original founding members of the Avengers originating from the 2012 movie originally signed five-picture deals, which they then renegotiated as the years went by.
In the case of Robert Downey Jr AKA Tony Stark AKA Iron Man, his character met a rather definitive end in Avengers Endgame, sacrificing himself to defeat Thanos once and for all. The actor walked away from the movie a whopping $75 million richer.
Avengers Endgame was highly likely the last time we’ll ever see Robert Downey Jr as Tony Stark. Why? His contract was never renewed, as it was only renegotiated with terms to extend his appearances in more movies.
Unless his contract is ever renewed, his heartbreaking sendoff in Avengers Endgame was Robert Downey Jr’s swansong. He’s been here from the very beginning in 2008, it’s high time that the next generation of heroes gets their due.
Chris Evans (Steve Rogers/Captain America)
Just like his co-star and fellow Avenger Robert Downey Jr, Evans renegotiated his contract after his initial five-picture deal. Steve Rogers’ fate in Avengers Endgame, while not as definitive as dying, means that this was likely it for Evans in the MCU as well.
Captain America choosing to stay behind in the past and living a full life with soulmate Peggy Carter fulfilled the end of the character’s arc in the MCU. There’s no reason why they would bring back Rogers, especially now that he’s literally given away his shield and mantle of Captain America to Sam Wilson AKA Falcon.
Scarlett Johannson (Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow)
Despite the fact that she died in Avengers Endgame, Marvel Studios have already confirmed that a standalone Black Widow movie is in the works. Not only will Johannson reprise her role as the former assassin, but she will reportedly also produce her upcoming solo movie, which will earn her a cool $20 million salary.
However, details are scarce on the Black Widow movie, which is currently slated for a 2020 release. Due to Black Widow’s fate in Avengers Endgame, it’s fair to assume that the upcoming movie will likely be a prequel of some sort, allowing us to not only learn more about Natasha’s past in the Red Room but also maybe finally reveal what exactly happened in Budapest with Clint Barton AKA Hawkeye.
Chris Hemsworth (Thor Odinson)
Just like the rest of his founding Avenger co-stars, Hemsworth renegotiated his original five-picture deal with Marvel Studios. However, unlike the definitive ends of Iron Man, Captain America, and Black Widow, Thor remains very much alive and well at the end of Avengers Endgame, even choosing to join the Guardians of The Galaxy team.
While a fourth Thor movie is yet to be confirmed, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 is slated to begin production sometime in 2020. Director James Gunn has not revealed the official casting for the upcoming sequel yet, but all members of the team are set to return, likely with Hemsworth’s Thor as a new member.
Thor returning in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 is interesting, as the movie could finally introduce his long-time friend in the comics and original wielder of Stormbreaker, the alien known as Beta Ray Bill. However, nothing has been confirmed as of yet, so this all remains speculation for now.
Jeremy Renner (Clint Barton/Hawkeye)
Clint Barton was reunited with his family at the end of Avengers Endgame. That means he’s only one of two founding Avengers to be alive and still on Earth. There’s probably a lot of burden on him (and Bruce Banner’s Hulk) to carry on the legacy of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes.
While Jeremy Renner is not confirmed to appear in any more movies post-Avengers Endgame, he will be reprising his role as the archer in Disney Plus’ Hawkeye series, in which he will train the next Hawkeye, a young girl named Kate Bishop. To clarify, it won’t be his daughter, because his daughter’s name is actually Lila Barton.
Mark Ruffalo (Bruce Banner/Hulk)
The last of the founding Avengers, Bruce Banner (who is now seemingly permanently merged with the Hulk, becoming the Professor Hulk persona in the process) is alive at the end of Avengers Endgame. Just like Renner’s Hawkeye, he will be burdened with carrying on the legacy of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes.
Unlike his other fellow founding Avengers, Bruce Banner’s role post-Avengers Endgame remains more of an enigma. There are no Hulk movies on the horizon, and no Disney Plus TV series as well. Sources have neglected to mention the state of Ruffalo’s contract as well so anything can happen with the Hulk in the near future.
It’s highly likely that we won’t be seeing the Jade Giant anytime soon in the MCU post-Avengers Endgame.
Samuel L. Jackson (Nick Fury)
None of the sources mention Samuel L. Jackson’s current standing contract with Marvel Studios. However, from the looks of it, it seems like Nick Fury will continue to be a major presence in the MCU post-Avengers Endgame.
Samuel L. Jackson is set to reprise his role as the former director of SHIELD in the upcoming Spider-Man Far From Home in July 2019. With many of the founding Avengers either dead or not available anymore, Fury will probably be looking to gather the next generation of heroes, starting with Tom Holland’s Spider-Man.
Tom Holland (Peter Parker/Spider-Man)
Tom Holland has already appeared in four movies in the MCU to date, beginning with 2016’s Captain America Civil War and ending with Avengers Endgame. He will be reprising his role as in Spider-Man Far From Home, which is slated to arrive in July 2019.
While we don’t know how far his contract with Marvel Studios go, let’s assume that it’s the same five-picture deal that the founding Avengers made. However, that would make Spider-Man Far From Home Holland’s last movie, which is pretty unlikely.
Marvel Studios will probably be looking to Spider-Man to trailblaze the way for the next generation of younger Avengers in the MCU. As such, he will likely be in more future movies beyond Spider-Man Far From Home, whatever they may be.
Now that he doesn’t have Tony Stark’s tech to fall back on, I’m excited to see if this Spider-Man can finally stand on his own two feet without relying on anyone’s help, closer to how Spidey should be.
Benedict Cumberbatch (Stephen Strange/Doctor Strange)
According to sources, Benedict Cumberbatch still has one more movie in his contract, and that points to the upcoming Doctor Strange 2, which will once again be helmed by Scott Derrickson.
After the events of Avengers Endgame, Doctor Strange is alive again and must return to his responsibility as the Sorcerer Supreme. Unfortunately, his greatest weapon, the Eye of Agamotto AKA the Time Stone, is gone, so that means the world is now more vulnerable than ever.
Chadwick Boseman (T’challa/Black Panther)
Just like Benedict Cumberbatch, Chadwick Boseman currently has one more movie in his contract, and that points to the upcoming Black Panther 2, with Ryan Coogler returning for directing duties.
We have no idea what Black Panther 2 has in store, though it will probably involve Boseman’s T’challa navigating a world in which Wakanda opens its borders for the first time and all the challenges/problems that come with it. Rumors are also circulating of Namor and Atlantis popping up in the sequel.
Anthony Mackie (Sam Wilson/Falcon)
Mackie’s Sam Wilson just inherited a huge responsibility in Avengers Endgame, with Steve Rogers passing down his shield to him. The question is; is Sam ready to be Captain America?
That will be explored in the upcoming Disney Plus series Falcon And The Winter Soldier, alongside Sebastian Stan’s Bucky Barnes AKA the Winter Soldier. In the comics, Sam Wilson’s tenure was threatened by racist people who insist that Sam is not fit to carry the mantle.
Sebastian Stan (Bucky Barnes/Winter Soldier)
Sebastian Stan is set to reprise his role as Buckey Barnes in the upcoming Disney Plus series Falcon And The Winter Soldier. It will be interesting to see how their new relationship will unfold and develop, now that Steve is out of the picture.
In the comics, it was Bucky who first inherited the shield from Rogers so it will be fascinating to see how the series will explore this new dynamic. Perhaps we’ll even see some conflict from an envious Bucky.
Tom Hiddleston (Loki Laufeyson)
While Hiddleston’s Loki died tragically at the hands of Thanos in Avengers Infinity War, we saw an alternate timeline/reality version of him escaping somewhere with the Tesseract/Space Stone.
With Tom Hiddleston set to reprise his role in the upcoming Disney Plus series Loki, maybe it’s this version of Loki that we will be seeing in the future, instead of the one who died. The implications of this are that this is a Loki who is still very much set in his villainous ways.
The key reason for Loki’s development into redeeming himself was his step-mother’s death. Since this version of Loki never experienced that loss, maybe we’ll still be stuck with an evil Loki. On the other hand, the series could focus on the past of the Loki that died.
Elizabeth Olsen (Wanda Maximoff/Scarlet Witch)
Elizabeth Olsen is set to reprise her role in the upcoming Disney Plus series WandaVision. No details have been revealed, but since Vision’s death is still weighing on her mind, we could be seeing her employing her reality-altering powers to bring Vision back to life.
Imagine the MCU’s version of House of M from the comics. However, that would have severe effects on the larger MCU as well, so I don’t think they would do that in a TV series. Or would they?
Paul Bettany (Vision)
Paul Bettany is set to reprise her role in the upcoming Disney Plus series WandaVision. However, Vision is still very much dead, after the events of Avengers Infinity War. He remained dead by the end of Avengers Endgame.
There are two likely theories for his return: either Wanda resurrects him using her reality-altering powers, or the folks in Wakanda could somehow bring him back to life without the Mind Stone. What if Shuri managed to copy most of Vision’s brain patterns in Avengers Infinity War, perhaps even enough to bring him back to life.
Besides all of the above, here are some of the other MCU cast members expected to return in future movies:
- Chris Pratt (Star-Lord) – Guardians of The Galaxy Vol. 3
- Zoe Saldana (Gamora) – Guardians of The Galaxy Vol. 3
- Dave Bautista (Drax) – Guardians of The Galaxy Vol. 3
- Bradley Cooper (Rocket Raccoon) – Guardians of The Galaxy Vol. 3
- Vin Diesel (Groot) – Guardians of The Galaxy Vol. 3
- Pom Klementieff (Mantis) – Guardians of The Galaxy Vol. 3
- Cobie Smulders (Maria Hill) – Spider-Man Far From Home
- Danai Gurira (Okoye) – Black Panther 2
- Letitia Wright (Shuri) – Black Panther 2
- Benedict Wong (Wong) – Doctor Strange 2
You might notice that several names are missing, including the likes of Paul Rudd’s Ant-Man and Evangeline Lily’s Wasp. Nothing has been revealed that indicates their future role in the MCU as of now.
In the meantime, check out our spoiler-free review of Avengers: Endgame here, our discussion for what’s next post-Avengers Endgame here, or the upcoming movies you can look forward to in the MCU Phase Four (4) post-Avengers Endgame here.