Marvel has become the leader in finding new concepts and angles for the superhero film genre. It's a hard business to be in, but they've found their niche and it's not being predictable. The studio has taken some massive risks over their 10 film career. Mainly, releasing a film like Iron Man when a majority of the public had zero awareness or knowledge the character even existed. They took that success from Iron Man and ran full force. Releasing four more films, before making the giant-leap to an ultimate team-up film The Avengers. They went as far as tearing-down SHIELD in Captain America: The Winter Soldier to give us real stakes and prove nothing is safe in the MCU.
In Guardians of The Galaxy, the studio's most risky and ambitious project to date, they gave us our first real glimpse into the massive Marvel cosmic universe. Proving again, that even a talking tree and raccoon can be compelling if done right. The group of characters are way more obscure than previous characters explored on screen, the film becoming the biggest domestic hit of the summer is something of a miracle.
So, how does Marvel move forward without becoming stale? Shaking things-up is what seemingly the studio does best. The comics have a time-honored tradition of roster changes, guest-appearances and crossovers. We do expect The Guardians to cross-paths with The Avengers at some point in the films. However, what can we expect for our Earthbound heroes?
My theory isn't a new one, UnleashTheFanboy have already clued-in to the possibility of a second Avengers team coming in the future. UTF seemingly had word it will happen in Phase 4 (post-Avengers 3). I'm in the belief this has already been happening in-front of our eyes and Age of Ultron/Phase 3 will ultimately setup this new group. The team is being called The New Avengers by UTF, but I would bet that it ends-up being called the more established Avengers West Coast.
Ant-Man will be our first film in Phase Three, and convently enough includes two members of Avengers West Coast. Doctor Henry Pym, the mentor figure to Paul Rudd's Scott Lang and father to Evangeline Lily's Hope Van Dyne (likely Wasp). It's location of San Francisco is a bit telling as well, since we haven't really seen films other than Iron Man set in California. The second team's base of operations is L.A., but could be reworked to fit the more colorful city by the bay.
Another big clue, is that a majority of the team roster is pretty-much established, and there are enough actors to fill a new team. A bulk of them will be appearing in Avengers: Age of Ultron. That lineup includes team-leader Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner), War Machine (Don Cheadle), Doctor Henry Pym (Michael Douglas), Vision (Paul Bettany), Wasp (Evangeline Lily), Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen), Quicksilver (Aaron Johnson) and newly added heroine Mockingbird (Adrianne Palicki former Gamora candidate).
Pym in particular could become the Nick Fury/Stark of the new team, since we might be seeing his origins with SHIELD explored in Ant-Man. Having Pym heading-up Avengers West Coast (like Nick Fury) with Hawkeye/Captain America leading the team could be a very cool way to go about it. We've heard rumblings that RDJ's role as Stark in MCU would eventually become more Fury-like as well.
Joss Whedon has talked about his destain for Wonder Man and wish to include Tigra into the film universe. These characters are also well-known West Coast Avengers heroes. He's changed his tune already concerning Carol Danvers, maybe he'll come-around concerning Wonder Man.
Another West Coaster we all love and are dying to see show-up is the complex supernatural vigliante Moon Knight, who just happens to live multiple personas (besides his superhero one). A TV show was in development for ages, but couldn't come together. The character might be a bit too dark and violent to get his own movie, but we've been rooting for Moon Knight to become apart of the second wave of Netflix's Marvel series (aka Midnight Sons).
What happens when these Avengers leave for California? Others will take their place of course. Characters like Ant-Man (Paul Rudd), Doctor Strange (?), Black Panther (?), Ms Marvel (?) and others getting their own solo adventures on screen (Daredevil, Fist, Cage, Jones) could easily fill the gaps moving forward. Marvel could expand their Earthbound heroes doing it this way, and can interchange the lineups. This is where we might also see a rebranding of the Avengers name aka The New Avengers.
Why setup a second Avengers team? Well, the Civil War storyline has been mentioned before as a possibility by Kevin Feige. The storyline was slightly teased with the forest-fight in the film first. However, for it to even happen you'd need to established two groups, before the clash could start. That is a lot of Marvel characters to introduce and explore. Netflix characters like Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Iron Fist and Luke Cage could also come into play here (there have been possible hints they could make the jump to movies). Civil War could also be the entry-point for Thanos, and his minions to invade Earth, perfect timing for the Mad Titan.
A set photo from Age of Ultron seemingly reveals that Stark and Rogers are recruiting candidates. Perhaps, developing a new version of SHIELD together (HAMMER/SWORD?). The extras are unlikely Ultron bot stand-ins, mainly because they aren't wearing motion-capture suits. But, more like warm-up/active wear, I assume Rogers is training them.
Having Hawkeye taking-charge of his own team might sound like something out of left-field, but we've been hearing his role in Age of Ultron is getting bulked-up from the last one. Not to mention Jeremy Renner's own teases he'll show-up in Captain America 3. If Marvel is able to develop Clint Barton into a capable leader of a splinter Avengers team, I think they might be unstoppable. Turning-around public opinion of the least-liked team member, would be a giant leap-forward.
What do you think? Is Marvel prepping for a second Avengers team, or will they keep adding-on to the existing group?