We're now just days away from the release of Avengers: Infinity War, and yet it still feels like there is so much we don't know. Directors the Russo brothers have done an impressive job keeping the plot as secretive as possible, and if anything the lack of knowledge has only made us more excited for the movie's arrival.
We're expecting to say goodbye to one or more of our favourite Avengers, but just who might be for the chop is a mystery. With a never-ending list of characters joining the film, it feels like nobody is safe. That said, we can't help but wonder what may happen at the end of it all.
If the Avengers need a new leader, who would be up to the job? This is all purely speculation, but here are five characters we think would have what it takes to build the Avengers back up again in the wake of Thanos' (Josh Brolin) world-changing destruction.
1. Black Panther
Fresh from his blockbusting solo movie released back in February, Black Panther's (Chadwick Boseman) popularity is stronger than ever. Given that he is now King of Wakanda, it is fair to assume that he'll be far too busy to take over as leader of the Avengers, but he's got the leadership and fighting abilities for the job.
When Black Panther was first introduced in Captain America: Civil War, the thought of him teaming up with the Avengers seemed unlikely. After the death of his father, T'Challa wanted nothing more than to make Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan) suffer (T'Challa believed him to be responsible for his father's death), but he soon learned the error of his ways.
Now, from the Infinity War trailers alone it is clear that T'Challa is willing to work with the Avengers as a unified initiative (in Civil War, he was firmly on the side of Team Cap, and fought against the rest). With his sense of nobility and extensive experience in battle, we believe he'd be the perfect person to get the Avengers back in shape.
2. Captain Marvel
We've yet to officially meet Brie Larson's Carol Danvers/Captain Marvel, but our hopes are already very high. Brie and co. have been hard at work on the solo movie of the same name (released in March 2019) since the beginning of this year. And although a cameo appearance in Infinity War has now been ruled out by the Russos, it is inevitable that she will be crossing paths with the team in the near future, given her solo movie is released immediately before Avengers 4.
Captain Marvel is widely believed to be one of Marvel's strongest superheroes: in the comics, Carol Danvers is an air force pilot whose genes are spliced with that of the alien Kree race, resulting in remarkable powers. And with Oscar-winning Room actress Larson stepping into her shoes, we just know that we'll be witnessing something incredible.
With Phase 3 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) coming to an end following the release of Avengers 4 in April 2019, it just seems right that we have a fresh, new character becoming leader of the team. Who better than Danvers to step into this role?
3. Bucky Barnes
Bucky has been through a lot over the course of the last few films, having been brainwashed and turned evil. But he finally seems to be back on track thanks to the work of T'Challa and Letitia Wright's Shuri, who was seen nursing him back to health at the end of Black Panther.
As The Winter Soldier, Barnes was the last person that you would want to be leading your team, but now that he's a free man again and ready to become a fully-fledged member of the team, how would he fare as the leader? As Captain America's (Chris Evans) closest friend, he would certainly have a lot to live up to. That's if his BFF will in fact die in Infinity War, as has been widely speculated...
It's been revealed that Bucky will be going by a new code name in the movie, White Wolf, which is already getting fans excited. If you don't know what we're talking about, let us say that in the comics, the character (not Bucky, but a different one named Hunter) was adopted by King T'Chaka and became a staunch subject of Wakanda. His formidable super strength made him an intimidating opponent in battle.
Given the differences in the MCU timeline and Bucky's on-screen history, we don't know how much will carry over into Infinity War, but we're intrigued nonetheless, especially given the rumours that Wakanda may become the Avengers' new base of operations. Plus, with his upgraded vibranium arm, a deadly weapon in its own right, Bucky will be giving Thanos' minions pause for thought...
OK, so he might not be your first choice when it comes to a new leader, but hear us out. Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) has made it very clear during both Ant-Man and Captain America: Civil War just how much he looks up to the Avengers. Remember his bruising yet infectiously gleeful fight scene with Falcon (Anthony Mackie) in the former movie? It was immediately obvious he wanted to be brought into the fold.
Not to mention, his shrinking and oversizing abilities (shown off to brilliant effect in Civil War) would be perfect in coming up with strategies to defeat evil. Maybe having a relative newbie is just what the team needs to bring some new energy to the team? If all else fails, he could just turn into the aforementioned Giant-Man. It would be hard for the rest of them to ignore him that way.
5. Black Widow
Throughout the course of the MCU, Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) has been a consistent presence. Despite significant fan interest, she has yet to be graced with her own solo movie outing, but could becoming the new leader of the Avengers be the first step to making this a reality?
Black Widow was one of the original members of the Avengers, having first appeared in Iron Man 2, and as such she has seen them during their best and worst moments. This gives her more than enough knowledge on their strengths and weaknesses, potentially making her an excellent strategist in life or death situations. Not to mention her own past as an assassin, plus her ability to deceive people (as evidenced with Tom Hiddleston's Loki in Avengers Assemble) make her a great team member to have onside.
In an ideal world, we wouldn't have to say goodbye to any of the team but that doesn't seem to be an option at this point. Whatever happens, we just know that we're going to be counting down the days until Avengers 4 is released.
Hannah Dixon is an Unlimited card holder who blogs for Cineworld as part of our news team.