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Based on the fallout of events in Avengers: Endgame, as well as the upcoming installments (and their associated alleged narratives) comprising Phase 4, predicting the characters destined to exit the Marvel Cinematic Universe when the phase concludes becomes possible. So, with Tony Stark and Steve Rogers already out, who will be next to bid MCU fans spanning the globe farewell?

Marvel Phase 4 MCU
The Marvel Cinematic Universe Phase Four is announced | Kevin Winter/Getty Images

1. Natasha Romanoff (Black Widow) / Scarlett Johansson

Natasha Romanoff died in Avengers: Endgame and the upcoming movie, set to kickstart the phase, will be a prequel occurring between Civil War and Infinity War. The movie will likely plant the seeds for future installments via a window into Natasha’s life that fans do not know. Yelena Belova and the Red Guardian (Russia’s less altruistic and less morally upstanding version of Captain America) will both appear in the franchise. 

Rumor has it that Yelena Belova will become the next Black Widow, which would align with the comics, as she is another character to carry the name in the source material. The film may also set up the Thunderbolts; thus, without some multiverse magic or a prequel franchise, Natasha is destined to take her final bow, as Yelena Belova becomes the next combat-ready sleuth and General Ross assembles his team.

2. Loki / Tom Hiddleston

Rumor has it that the Disney+ show about the infamous God of Mischief will present alternate versions of the character — a female and a child. And, sources allege that Tom Hiddleston’s Loki will get stuck in his childhood form during the events of Thor: Ragnarok. 

If Loki gets stuck in his childhood body, Marvel Studios creates a way to eliminate Tom Hiddleston while preserving the character, and the studio may use the younger, alternate version for a future Young Avengers franchise. 

3. Thor / Chris Hemsworth 

It goes without saying that Thor: Love and Thunder is destined to be Chris Hemsworth’s final bow — sans a possible cameo appearance in the future. Considering Natalie Portman is set to take the hammer as Mighty Thor, the movie will presumably stage a narrative in which Thor gives the hammer to Jane Foster (a worthy successor), or somehow becomes unworthy to wield Mjolnir. With focus slowly shifting to Jane Foster and Valkyrie, Chris Hemsworth’s God of Thunder will receive the spotlight one last time before new heroines seize the stage. 

4. Clint Barton (Hawkeye) / Jeremy Renner 

Given the fact that Kate Bishop — another character to carry the Hawkeye title — will come to play in Renner’s Disney+ series, it’s likely that Barton will train her to take his place. An action-packed series of events will lead to Renner exiting the franchise, and opening the door for a younger version to become a member of the new Avengers (when the team finally comes to the silver screen in Phase 5 or later). 

5. Possibility: Bruce Banner (Hulk) / Mark Ruffalo

If Mark Ruffalo appears in Phase 4 — no such confirmations currently exist — he will likely appear in She-Hulk, as the man responsible for turning Jennifer Walters into another green superhero.

Hulk could also serve as the connection between Walters and Captain Marvel, helping to lay the foundation for the future A-Force. With his contract expiring after his next appearance, it’s possible that Ruffalo leaves the MCU after Phase 4 as well. 

In short, Phase 4 will be a farewell, a transitionary phase between the old and the new. The Phase will serve as a bridge between the past and the future, as viewers wave goodbye to our beloved saviors and usher in a new line of supers.