Ok I’ve finally stopped crying, it’s time to figure out what we do from here out.

*** SPOILERS FOR AVENGERS: ENDGAME ***

I saw Avengers: Endgame at the midnight release at my local cinema with an old friend from back in secondary school, and it all came to a head; all the years of fan-theories and discussions over the lunch table had finally come to fruition in one massive, fantastic climax which paid off the decade of investment we’d put in. Tears were shed; Avengers: Endgame is the best Avengers film to date by a country mile. So, with the Infinity Saga finally over, it’s time to think about what this new era of the MCU will look like, where our major players are, and what’s to come in the next 10 years.

1) The merger of the Thor and Guardians of the Galaxy franchises

Guardians of the Galaxy

From the ending of Endgame, it’s clear that Thor is leaving Asgard alone, naming Valkyrie the queen of the Asgardians and joining up with Starlord and co., and transitioning into some sort of Shakespearean space hobo… Which is fantastic news! Thor has been discretely woven into the Guardian’s internal politics since the opening act of ‘Infinity War’, sharing a special friendship with Rocket and Groot, and a tangibly frustrating rivalry with Starlord. Thor joining up as the Guardians’ resident douchebag and rival to Peter Quill adds a new type of chemistry not before seen in that franchise, and gives us plenty more comedy Thor to look forward to in the near future – With James Gunn’s reinstatement to director, Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 3 is set to be a real treat.

The only question I have, then, is this – What about Taika Waiti? Where does his directorial genius get used from here on out?

Well, there’s the distinct possibility of a movie set in or around New Asgard, starring Korg, Miek, and Valkyrie – But perhaps that’s a little too lacking. Perhaps Thor’s membership will be temporary, and he’ll be back to defend Asgard in ‘Thor 4’. But neither of these really make sense to me. No, I think more than anyone else, it’s Taika’s job to step up to the plate and direct Avengers 5. He’s worked with ensemble casts before with the Revengers in Ragnarok, and his sense of humour blended perfectly into Endgame (Seeing as how Korg was present for one of the film’s funniest scenes).

And, remember how Loki managed to escape the Avengers in the alternate timeline? Yeah, he’s around somewhere and seeing him interact with the Guardians at some point could be a wonderful thing to see.

2) Captain Wilson and his sidekick Bucky

In the quiet moment that ends the Infinity Saga, Steve Rogers gets his reward, at last, choosing to return to the love of his life, Peggy Carter, and spend his life with her. An old Captain Rogers sits peacefully by the lake and hands Falcon his shield.

How does it feel?”

“Like it’s someone else’s”

“It isn’t.”

And just like that, Sam Wilson is our new Captain America. Much like Quill and Thor, Bucky and Sam have had something of a turbulent friendship, and make it no secret that they kind of hate each other.

And that’s why ‘Captain America 4’, or whatever it ends up being called, is due to be something of a buddy-cop movie. Whatever opponent they end up fighting, be it Hydra or some new threat, the centre of the story will be these two narcissists trying to deal with the loss of their role-model and learning to work as a team, which then naturally leads into Avengers 5. With no Tony and no Steve, who leads the Avengers? It’ll more than likely be Sam or Bucky, as all the other candidates are usually somewhat disposed – Spider-man is a highschooler, Captain Marvel has things to see to in space, Doctor Strange has an order of wizards to lead, et cetera. The shield isn’t just a shield, it’s a symbol of leadership – And Sam has to be ready.

3) Those we’ve lost

So, when all was said and done, we’ve lost three Avengers – Iron Man died snapping the Infinity Gauntlet, Black Widow sacrificed herself to get the Soul Stone and save Hawkeye, and Captain America is an old man.

What’s more, Gamora is back but lacks all of her memories from any of the Guardians films, which puts her and Starlord especially on strange footing – Whether or not she’ll even end up rejoining the Guardians is kinda up in the air.

…And the final zinger is Thanos. He’s gone. He diedĀ twice in the movie – So both the older, more tragic Thanos from Infinity War and his younger, more arrogant self from Endgame are gone. Thanos has had his day, and it’s finally over for him. He was a fantastic villain and while I’m sad to see him go, I think it was the right time to do so. Farewell, Thanos – You’re still better than Darth Vader.

And so it’s time to say the obvious – The new guys are ready to step forward. Captain Marvel will be filling Thor’s role as the space-based powerhouse, Spider-man will be the tech-based Iron Man Jr he was always destined to be, and Doctor Strange will add a whole new mystical element that will set the new Avengers apart from the original lineup. Of course, it’s not goodbye to everyone, as Hulk, Hawkeye, Scarlet Witch, and Thor are still around and could easily be pulled back to help out against some major threat like the Skrulls or the Kree, Doctor Doom, or Magneto.

Tony Stark’s legacy especially will be a massive part of Earth’s culture come the next movie, and I expect Peter Parker, in particular, to be severely affected by his death. If his name isn’t mentioned in “Spider-man: Far from Home”, I’ll be incredibly disappointed. Iron Man saved the universe.

4) What’s new?

Disney owns Fox now, remember? Phases 4 and 5 would be the perfect time to pull the Fantastic Four and certain key Mutants into the fray – Whilst I don’t want the X-Men to suddenly jump out of the bushes, I think now’s the perfect time to have Reed Richards turn up as a supporting character in the next Black Panther, or perhaps have a lesser-known mutant like Jubilee or Darwin turn up in a ‘Secret War’ movie, their mutations a result of the multiple reality warps taking place in a short time – As Hulk says in Endgame, the Infinity Stones are radioactive and create huge energy surges, so it would be both an elegant solution and a fitting part of the MCU to have Mutants begin to appear in the aftermath of ‘Endgame’.

Past that, we’ve only just got our hands on Doctor Strange, Black Panther, and Captain Marvel – Three of the biggest characters to join as of late, and the ones I would bet significant amounts of money will be getting their first sequels in the next three or four years.

5) We’ve always got Budapest

Is that ‘Black Widow’ movie still happening? I’d sure hope so, as Endgame contained yet another reference to a mission in Budapest that Black Widow and Hawkeye both have very fond memories of – And it seems that’d be the perfect time to explain how the two of them first met. Captain Marvel showed us that we could make Samuel L Jackson (Who is in his 70’s remember) look convincingly young using CGI, so a spy movie set in the early 2000s starring Black Widow, Hawkeye, and Nick Fury would absolutely be both a possibility and a fantastic idea. That’s the sendoff Natasha deserves.

If Clint and Nat’s friendship was strong enough to causeĀ that scene in Endgame, I damn well want to know how it started.