The world of the Marvel Cinematic Universe has been firmly focused on The Avengers since the very first phase. Despite the introduction of the Guardians of the Galaxy, the central team of the movie universe has been Earth-based, and largely made up of humans with special abilities instead of anyone from the large number of alien species the movies have introduced so far. Those special abilities are most often the result of scientific augmentation, like in the case of Captain America or the Hulk, or they’re rooted in magic, like Doctor Strange and Scarlet Witch.
As the MCU begins to move on from the Infinity Saga that populated the first three phases however, there are a lot of questions about just what the next teams in the MCU will look like. Sure, there’s a new generation of Avengers working together. And sure, it looks like a Young Avengers formation is inevitable as the teens slowly make their way into movies and Disney Plus shows. There are, however, a lot of other superhero teams in the comics outside of the Avengers roster. Some of them appear to be on their way to the MCU.
Baron Zemo Could Usher In The Thunderbolts
Ever since Bucky Barnes helped break Helmut Zemo out of prison in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, however briefly, fans have wondered if his version of the Thunderbolts could be on the way. The Thunderbolts have had many rosters in the comics, but the original wasn’t a team of heroes, but a team of villains who wanted to use heroic status to gain power.
Zemo was in charge for the first time. They were the Masters of Evil, disguising themselves as new heroes in the absence of the Avengers in the 1990s. Even readers weren’t in on the twist right away, simply seeing a new team of heroes picking up the slack until the final pages of their debut comic book issue. Something similar, with Zemo seemingly turning over a new leaf, could be in the cards for the MCU. He would have to escape the custody of the Dora Milaje (again) first though.
There Are Two Better Thunderbolts Leaders In The MCU
Of course, fans might be too focused on the Zemo of it all when it comes to the Thunderbolts. There are actually two characters who would be better suited to leading a team of reformed villains, both of whom did so at different points in the comics.
When Zemo’s team initially turned on him in the comics, it was Hawkeye who took over, encouraging the former villains to find a new way to use their abilities. He tried to turn them all into heroes, though that didn’t work for everyone. The MCU audience has already seen Hawkeye act as a mentor to a character on the other side of the battlefield in Scarlet Witch. Though Black Widow took up the latter’s training when she officially joined the Avengers, it was Hawkeye who encouraged her to switch sides in the middle of battle and do some good. He’s also taking Kate Bishop under his wing in a Disney Plus series. Since Hawkeye is pretty intent on retiring from the superhero life though, he might not be in the cards.
Instead, Bucky Barnes might be the best option. The Winter Soldier, or White Wolf, as he’s known in the MCU’s Wakanda, led one version of the group in the comics as well. His iteration, like Zemo’s, featured a number of characters who haven’t yet appeared in the MCU, but the lineup wouldn’t necessarily have to be the same. MCU characters like Ghost, Taskmaster, US Agent, and Ant-Man have all appeared on various Thunderbolts teams. So did Black Widow at one point, but that position might go to Yelena Belova in the MCU.
Blade Could Begin The Era Of The Midnight Sons
On the other end of the heroic teams on the way in the MCU are the Midnight Sons. This team is unique in that most of its members have connections to supernatural elements in the Marvel comics. Originally brought together by Doctor Strange (though his involvement wasn’t revealed until much later), the team took on more magical tasks, or ones that pitted them against demonic entities.
The Danny Ketch and Johnny Blaze versions of Ghost Rider, who haven’t yet appeared in the MCU, acted as the original team leaders. Some fans speculated that role could have gone to the Robbie Reyes version of the character, who was set to get his own spin-off series on Hulu after appearing on Agents of SHIELD, but the series was canceled right before it was due to start filming. There are, however, quite a few other characters who have been associated with the Midnight Sons set to appear in the MCU - or in Sony’s comic book movies.
Chief among those is Blade. Most incarnations of Midnight Sons since their 1990s comic book debut have featured Blade or his ally Hannibal King. While Blade hasn’t officially appeared on screen in the MCU yet, there is a movie in development starring Mahershala Ali. Ali also lent his voice to a recent post-credit scene in the MCU.
Who Could Appear In A Midnight Sons Team Up?
Aside from the canceled Ghost Rider project and the future Blade movie, there are other characters who have appeared in the Midnight Sons roster on the way.
Man-Thing, like Blade, has been alluded to in the MCU without ever actually popping up. He would likely be a difficult character to bring to life visually, so it might be a stretch for him to appear beyond his few mentions. If he did, his guarding the Nexus of All Realities could be a nice way to dovetail from the upcoming multiverse stories though.
Moon Knight has a Disney Plus series on the way. While the character is mostly a loner, he did team up with the Midnight Sons under Wong’s leadership. Wong led the group to assist Doctor Strange when he battled Mephisto in Las Vegas. Mephisto probably won’t be the villain for the group after the constant theorizing that Marvel’s version of the devil would appear in WandaVision.
There are also magic users in the MCU who could connect to a potential series. Though Scarlet Witch and Agatha Harkness have never been involved in the team, there’s room for them to join. If Marvel and Sony continue to have a successful partnership, even Morbius, who has his own movie on the horizon for Sony, has leant his help to the Midnight Sons in the past. Fans have even speculated that Dane Whitman might be a team member since he's the first MCU character to interact with Blade.
More Teams In The MCU
Whether either of these teams end up in the MCU by their comic book names, or the teams continue to use variations of Avengers in their title, it seems likely that adaptations in some form of both are on the way since so many of the team members are already in the MCU. New teams like the Eternals have already proven there's room for more than one group of superheroes.
The Marvel movies have always been a hot commodity. With so many superheroes, spectators may wonder if there's a specific order to watch these films?