Why The Marvels is basically the MCU’s next Avengers movie

ANAHEIM, CALIFORNIA - SEPTEMBER 10: (L-R) Brie Larson, Teyonah Parris, and Iman Vellani pose at the IMDb Official Portrait Studio during D23 2022 at Anaheim Convention Center on September 10, 2022 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Corey Nickols/Getty Images for IMDb)
ANAHEIM, CALIFORNIA - SEPTEMBER 10: (L-R) Brie Larson, Teyonah Parris, and Iman Vellani pose at the IMDb Official Portrait Studio during D23 2022 at Anaheim Convention Center on September 10, 2022 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Corey Nickols/Getty Images for IMDb) /

Show of hands – who here misses the Avengers movies? Every Marvel fan ever? Good. I’m glad I’m not alone.

The first of its kind, The Avengers, came out in May of 2012, and this month officially marks four years since the premiere of Avengers: Endgame, which was the fourth and most recent installment in the marquee team-up franchise that definitively put its overarching franchise, the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), on the map.

By the time the next one releases, all the way in May of 2025 (assuming a certain lead actor situation is rectified by then…), with Avengers: The Kang Dynasty, we’ll have even surpassed the five-year gap that our heroes themselves endured in Endgame. Given that prior to this, Avengers movies were hitting theatres on a consistent every-three-years basis (with Endgame being the welcome exception, trailing 2018’s Avengers: Infinity War by only a single year), this six-year waiting period is considerable.

And of course, a global pandemic, a change in Disney leadership, a shifting public perception of these Marvel stories, the introduction of over a dozen new characters to this film franchise, and even *shudder* the notion of superhero fatigue (which I don’t subscribe to — more on that at a later date), have all contributed in their own ways to this abnormally elongated release schedule for the MCU’s most successful franchise.

But fear not – I’m here to present the case that we’re actually much closer to another Avengers movie than you might think.

Well, okay, another MCU movie that I feel has all the same ingredients as what made the Avengers movies great.

Stay with me on this.

With November’s impending release of the Captain Marvel sequel, officially titled The Marvels, this will be the first time since 2019 that an MCU movie features more than two preexisting heroes working as a cooperative to defeat a common enemy. Seems like standard stuff for a team-up story right? The movie is headlined by the trio of Carol Danvers/Captain Marvel, Monica Rambeau/[MCU superhero name TBD], and Kamala Khan/Ms. Marvel.

Carol, of course, starred in her original Captain Marvel movie in 2019 as an amnesiac Kree soldier/former Air Force pilot, and since then has had small to blink-and-you-miss-it appearances in Endgame, 2021’s Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, and the Ms. Marvel series in 2022.

Monica was a child and the surrogate niece of Carol in Captain Marvel, and then as an adult, she functioned as a prominent supporting character in 2021’s WandaVision. It was during this show that she obtained superpowers and overcame the death of her mother, Maria, at the same time as WandaVision’s lead, Wanda Maximoff, came to terms with all the loss in her own life.

Kamala, the youngest and most relatable of the trio, entered the MCU last summer as the marquee character of her aptly titled Ms. Marvel streaming series. Over the course of six episodes, she transitioned from superhero fangirl to real-life superhero in her own right, reconnected with her family and her community, and even had a literal part to play in her family history.

We’ll meet all three of them again in The Marvels, and when they inevitably overcome their differences to form a team – much to Kamala’s delight, as already implied in the recent first-look teaser trailer – it’ll be with all of this aforementioned backstory for each woman in mind.

Multiple distinct superheroes that have each already undergone substantial character arcs in other properties, sharing the spotlight and bouncing off each other in a new team-up story? Now why does that sound familiar?

Probably because it’s the same formula as we saw in 2012. Steve Rogers/Captain America, Tony Stark/Iron Man, Thor, and Bruce Banner/Hulk each had a feature film (or two) under their belt before they joined forces in The Avengers. The team’s non-powered members, Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow and Clint Barton/Hawkeye, were already established as formidable players in Iron Man 2 and Thor, respectively.

With The Marvels, we’ll have actually had more time getting to know the three members of this eventual team than we had with any of the original six Avengers aside from Tony.

So yeah, right off the bat, The Marvels accomplishes what the MCU has been in desperate need of reclaiming in the last four years.

Sure, the recently-concluded Phase Four had a handful of movies and shows that showcased two superhero characters audiences were already familiar with – WandaVision, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, Hawkeye, and Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness all come to mind – but that was hardly a novelty.

There was also Thor: Love and Thunder, which married the titular hero with the Guardians of the Galaxy for all of…one fight scene, and Spider-Man: No Way Home, which technically brought three web-slinging heroes together for the third act, but two of them weren’t actually from the MCU proper, so it only partially counts.

Phases Two and Three had several movies that also accomplished this same feat of having two known heroes share the screen – see Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Spider-Man: Homecoming, and Thor: Ragnarok – but I’d argue that this type of small-scale franchise-hopping for its characters should be the norm for Marvel, not the exception. Once again, look no further than The Marvels to find an upcoming example where three separate franchises converge into one (presumably) epic story.

If the teaser trailer is to be believed, there’ll even be a parallel between this iconic line from Bruce in The Avengers: “What are we, a team? No, no, no, we’re…we’re a chemical mixture that makes chaos. We’re a time bomb.” and a moment on Carol’s ship in The Marvels, where Kamala excitedly asks “We’re a team?”, to which Monica swiftly counters with “No, no, no, we’re not a team.”, and Carol echoes with “We’re not a team.”

A massive part of the appeal of team-up movies, and the MCU in general, is the potential for fun and interesting, and meaningful character dynamics – and The Marvels is poised to be chock-full of them. The movie’s ‘switching places when they use their powers’ premise already promises plenty of zany moments, and in terms of drama, look no further than WandaVision episode five. In a brief exchange between Monica, Jimmy Woo, and Darcy Lewis, it became instantly clear that there’s some notable tension between Monica and her surrogate aunt, Carol.

Given that the last time these two shared the screen, Monica was a starry-eyed child sending Carol off as she went to find a new home for their Skrull friends, we have to wonder what in the world happened between them since 1995 to warrant such a negative reaction from Monica at the mere mention of Captain Marvel’s name.

Similar to how Steve and Tony’s long-standing and multifaceted conflict colored each Avengers outing and also Captain America: Civil War (affectionately dubbed “Avengers 2.5” by fans), Carol and Monica’s apparent strife is the primary interpersonal conflict heading into this new movie.

The movie’s director, Nia DaCosta, spoke on this very topic to Entertainment Weekly in September of 2022, and also elaborated on how Kamala will factor into all of this:

"“While Carol and Monica are having to find their relationship again after all this time apart, we have Ms. Marvel who idolizes Carol in the way that Monica used to when she was younger. So, you have these two adults having to reconcile their relationship while this younger person is also having a relationship that mirrors the way Monica and Carol used to be together.”"

In terms of relationships, there’s also confirmation that multiple fan-favorite supporting characters will be incorporated into The Marvels, with most of them likely present to humanize our heroes, just like how Pepper Potts and Phil Coulson popped up in The Avengers.

Nick Fury and Goose the loveable Flerken are both rejoining the fray, after bonding with Carol and stealing the show in Captain Marvel (among many other movies, in Fury’s case). The entire Khan family – Muneeba, Yusuf, and Aamir – are set to have their world turned upside down when their daughter and sister, Kamala, start randomly disappearing and other superheroes start randomly appearing in her place in their living room. (Sidenote: here’s hoping Kamala’s new sister-in-law, Tyesha Hillman-Khan, is just offscreen for this sequel, and still very much alive and well.)

And while there’s no word yet as to whether the other members of Monica’s unlikely WandaVision trio will crop up here, I’m still crossing my fingers for a quick surprise cameo from Jimmy, Darcy, or both.

Getting into the more granular points, The Marvels also includes Nick Fury, as mentioned above, who is the most notable non-superhero character to have at least cameoed in each of the so far four Avengers movies. Translation: what’s a superhero team-up film without the man that created the very first team?

On the most semantic of levels, there’s also the fact that this sequel’s title mirrors that of the MCU’s first big group outing, with that all-important ‘the’ included – which is something that none of 2014’s Guardians of the Galaxy, 2021’s Eternals, or 2024’s upcoming anti-hero team-up, Thunderbolts, can claim.

Honestly, the closer you look at this movie and its production qualities, the more evidence emerges to support its comparability to an Avengers movie.

The score is composed by Laura Karpman, who previously worked on the show Kamala Khan came from. Similarly, Alan Silvestri scored The Avengers, after having created the music for one member of that team’s introductory project, Captain America: The First Avenger.

The post-credits scene of the most recent project to come out before the big team-up film, in the case of both The Marvels and The Avengers, is literally a scene pulled right from the team-up movie itself. Kamala swaps places with Carol in the finale episode’s post-credits scene in Ms. Marvel. Nick Fury recruits Steve in the post-credits tag for The First Avenger. Both of these moments later get shown in context in the movies they’re teasing.

The main object of the villain’s desire – the Tesseract in The Avengers, and (presumably) the bangles in The Marvels (based on the fact that the villain is already wearing one in the trailer and likely covets the second one on Kamala’s wrist), is something we first learned about in those same preceding projects as mentioned above.

Even the marketing for this has shifted to what’s been seen in days of MCU past. Similar to other team-up movies, Marvel Studios elected to premiere the first teaser trailer for The Marvels at the very end of their allotted panel at a massive fan convention – D23 Expo 2022, in this case – with the movie’s stars and director gathered together onstage to watch it with the fans. Then, once the release date was actually finalized, that same footage, more or less unchanged, arrived online on April 11th, a whole seven months in advance of the movie’s November 10th release.

When compared to last year’s Love and Thunder, which fans didn’t see footage of until three months prior to it hitting theatres in July, or Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, which debuted its teaser trailer publicly only four months before its February 2023 release, Marvel Studios kicking off the promotional campaign for this movie so early definitely feels like a vote of confidence.

The highly anticipated Black Panther: Wakanda Forever didn’t even have a publicly available trailer until July, despite also having the big end-of-the-panel Comic-Con treatment and occupying the same end-of-the-year release slot in 2022 as The Marvels does in 2023.

And you know which other MCU movie had an equally-large promotional window? That’s right, The Avengers, which unveiled its first trailer all the way back in October of 2011, for its May 2012 release.

Also – and this is certainly an insubstantial detail, but it’s a fun and coincidental one nonetheless — the villain of The Marvels will be played by Zawe Ashton, who is engaged to and has a son with longtime Loki actor Tom Hiddleston, the primary antagonist of The Avengers.

So if you’re keeping track, that’s three well-established superheroes with varying degrees of congeniality and animosity towards each other, a spoken line in the movie about how they’re very much not a team (nice try!), an obligatory Nick Fury appearance, the inclusion of side characters who make our main heroes better, the opportunity for musical thematic continuity, an actual scene functioning as a post-credits scene in a lead-up project, an expanded marketing campaign, an essential ‘the’ prefix in the title, and the added bonus of a villain with real-world ties to the first MCU team-up villain.

That all sounds like an Avengers movie to me.

And if after all this, you still don’t believe me, just listen to the man himself, Marvel Studios producer extraordinaire Kevin Feige, as he told Entertainment Weekly:

"“There’s something immensely powerful about seeing Monica and Kamala and Carol together in a frame. To me, it’s only akin to the first Avengers movie and seeing the six of them together in a frame. It’s chill-inducing.”"

Chills indeed, Kevin.

(And totally unrelated, but does anyone have a time machine to fast-forward to the second weekend in November? Asking for a friend.)

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The Captain Marvel sequel, The Marvels, releases exclusively in movie theatres on November 10th, 2023.