MCU: Who Should Lead the Avengers: Captain Marvel or Spider-Man?

The Avengers will assemble again at some point, but who will utter that rallying cry next time?

The future of the Marvel Cinematic Universe is a mystery. Sure, fans know which movies they’ll be catching between now and 2022. And there’s a growing line-up of Disney+ series to look forward to as well. But Phase 4 marks the first time the MCU will operate from a vastly different place.

After Thanos elevated the stakes to the entire universe, the consequences of “The Snap” will no doubt reverberate through the MCU for a while. Spider-Man: Far from Home already offered a first peek at what a post-Avengers: Endgame world might look like. But there’s also the team itself to consider.

The cast of 'Avengers: Infinity War' at the premiere
The cast of ‘Avengers: Infinity War’ at the premiere | Rich Polk/Getty Images for Disney

Earth’s Mightiest Heroes lost both their leaders in ‘Avengers: Endgame’

Throughout the first three phases of the MCU, the Avengers had a pretty clear leadership structure. Captain America (Chris Evans) was the de facto leader, in charge of strategy and motivating the team. Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) was the team’s chief benefactor and technological innovator. Together, the two men proved to be the heart of the Avengers and the MCU.

So the fact that Avengers: Endgame ended both their stories leaves a sizable gap in Earth’s Mightiest Heroes. The two heroes who shaped the Avengers are officially out of rotation. And none of the remaining four original members are either able or willing enough to ascend to a leadership role. That means the MCU will have to look elsewhere in Phase 4 and beyond.

Likely, the Avengers will promote from within. Captain America and Iron Man were so beloved by fans as well as other characters. So we can’t imagine an incoming hero like Shang-Chi coming in to take over the Avengers anytime soon. Instead, let’s take a look at some of the characters likely to fill out the Avengers line-up whenever Avengers 5 rolls around.

The next generation of the Avengers team is already shaping up nicely

Firstly, a number of longtime heroes have new successors waiting in the wings. Jane Foster (Natalie Portman) will become Mighty Thor in Thor: Love and Thunder. She-Hulk is joining the Disney+ line-up at some point. And the Hawkeye series will likely see Clint Barton (Jeremy Renner) train Kate Bishop as his replacement. But none of those heroes are fit to lead just yet.

Then there’s the supporting players who have often worked alongside the core Avengers. Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackie) will become the new Captain America on The Falcon and the Winter Soldier. Wanda Maximoff (Elizabeth Olsen) and Vision (Paul Bettany) are back on WandaVision. And Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson) is all but certain to take on a larger role going forward.

The next Avengers leader is probably going to be a more central figure in the MCU, likely with his or her own franchise. Ant-Man (Paul Rudd) and the Wasp (Evangeline Lilly) offer excellent support but aren’t likely candidates to lead the Avengers. Either Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) or Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman) would be a strong choice but not ideal.

Captain Marvel and Spider-Man could vie for leadership in Phase 4

Whoever leads the Avengers will, in essence, be the centerpiece of the MCU for a while. Doctor Strange will absolutely be an essential factor going forward, but his mystical focus diverts a bit from the Avengers’ primary jurisdiction. Black Panther would be an even better route — especially with his $1.3 billion solo hit — but his story feels tethered to Wakanda right now.

We have no doubt Doctor Strange and Black Panther will fight alongside the Avengers, likely even joining the team’s line-up. But the role of Avengers leader will likely fall to one of two characters: Spider-Man (Tom Holland) or Captain Marvel (Brie Larson). Both have the moral fortitude and audience goodwill to make a solid argument for why they should lead.

However, Spider-Man lacks the experience to lead Earth’s Mightiest Heroes into battle. The MCU’s webslinger is still early in his career, after all. But Captain Marvel has decades of cosmic battle experience, an insanely impressive power set, and the heart to take over the Avengers. Her name even tips the hand in her favor. So we’d say the MCU is hers to command.