The MCU has been taking some big swings in recent years. There didn’t seem to be much more room to surprise fans in a post-Endgame world, but the franchise attempted to keep things fresh by going all-in on streaming television, introducing new fan-favorite characters, and eventually opening up the multiverse.
But that terrifying term, “superhero fatigue,” keeps rearing its ugly head, and now the next Marvel movie, The Marvels, is expected to bring in abnormally low numbers at the box office thanks in part to its reliance on characters introduced on Disney+ shows. How can the MCU keep things fresh? The answer, aside from “Make it 2012 again with science or magic,” may lie in the ultimate MCU team.
In a bombshell feature from Variety, the current state of the MCU is picked apart, and the consequences of churning out movie after movie in an attempt to remain a cultural phenomenon are revealed. Now, with the franchise splintered and floundering, a straightforward yet risky strategy has been floated by Marvel’s creative team.
“Sources say there have been talks to bring back the original gang for an Avengers movie,” Variety reports. “This would include reviving Robert Downey Jr.’s Iron Man and Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow, both of whom were killed off in Endgame.” Reviving a dead character isn’t an inherently big deal; we saw Loki and Vision die, and then they were headlining characters for the first wave of the MCU’s Disney+ shows just a few years later.
But reviving the original Avengers would be the kind of move that could save the franchise… or break it for good. Not only would it mean a hefty paycheck for returning actors (Variety claims Downey Jr.’s Iron Man 3 paycheck was around $25 million), but it would be a huge step back for the MCU’s narrative. Endgame garnered so much acclaim because it wasn’t afraid to shed some of its most beloved characters. Bringing them back would make their loss in that movie feel hollow and empty.
This is all still hypothetical for now, but if returning to what worked is the only way for the MCU to find a path forward, then maybe it’s worth it. Marvel Studios could always lean into the multiversal angle, or even reboot the continuity with new actors. But shelling out for Iron Man, even in cameo form, feels like an emergency option, one that shouldn’t be taken lightly. Death may not be permanent in the MCU, but bad movies are.