We are in the midst of the Multiverse Saga. As we’ve seen explored in Loki, What If…?, Spider-Man: No Way Home, and Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, the multiverse allows us to explore alternate timelines, revealing variations of characters we already know.
According to the rules in Loki, the multiverse works in tandem with time travel, with each universe being an alternate future branching from a shared past. Some branches happen earlier than others, some happen more dramatically than others. The basic idea is that the multiverse allows us to unearth new possibilities for what has already been introduced before, and accessing these alternate realities is possible through a form of time travel. Kang the Conqueror, the villain of the Multiverse Saga, is a time traveler.
[Warning: This article discusses major spoilers from all of Phase Four, including Black Panther: Wakanda Forever]
In the upcoming Marvel film Avengers: The Kang Dynasty, we can be sure to expect variations of the eponymous Kang, who has a long legacy of fighting alternate versions of himself in the comics. But the multiverse is more than Kangs. In just Phase Four so far, we have already seen more than twenty different realities, and we can expect to see many more to come. As we continue through the Multiverse Saga, we will continue to see other universes, and the new heroes of those universes. By the time we get to Kang Dynasty, we will see that all these alternate worlds are not insignificant. The multiverse matters.
Similarly, as Kang variants travel across time and the multiverse in their attempts to conquer the timeline, they will also encounter new variations of our Earth-616 characters in each reality they visit. Kang will build enemies from across the multiverse. As we’ve seen in Phase Four already, some of these worlds are more recognizable than others. Some of these worlds are even at different points in time than others. Over the past two years, Phase Four has done a great job of introducing audiences to the vast potential of alternate timelines and variant futures.
What else has Phase Four introduced? A bunch of kid heroes.
And what happens to kids when you mess with time? They grow up.
Next Avengers: kid heroes & time travel
With kid heroes and multiversal time travel at the core of the Multiverse Saga, it would not be out of the question to see a version of the Avengers from the future in Kang Dynasty. These would be variants of kids we’ve seen in Phase Four but as fully grown adults.
The roster could include Morgan Stark and Lila Barton from Endgame, Eli Bradley from Falcon and the Winter Soldier, Kid Loki from Loki, Sprite from Eternals, Wanda’s boys from Multiverse of Madness, Gorr’s daughter from Love and Thunder, Skaar from She-Hulk, and Prince T’Challa from Wakanda Forever. We don’t need to wait for these kids to get older or more experienced on Earth-616, because there’s already some point in the multiverse where they are already trained, matured, and ready to be Avengers.
These future Avengers could be led by future variants of more advanced heroes like Kate Bishop from Hawkeye, America Chavez from Multiverse of Madness, Kamala Khan from Ms. Marvel, Riri Williams from Wakanda Forever, Cassie Lang from Quantumania, Sam Alexander from Nova, and a new Spider-Man named Miles Morales. Every young character introduced will be older and more experienced in a future timeline. The culmination of the Multiverse Saga should embrace the possibility of an alternate timeline like this existing. The multiverse matters.
The Origin of the Next Avengers
The concept of today’s kid heroes becoming tomorrow’s Avengers was first tested in 1998 with Marvel’s “MC2” alternate future. This was the first story to show Cassie Lang as a superhero! The idea came back with Next Avengers: Heroes of Tomorrow, a Marvel animated film from 2008. The film was novel enough to immediately inspire a 2010 arc of the Avengers comic by Brian Michael Bendis & John Romita Jr, which also featured the time-traveling Kang as a primary antagonist.
The following year, the 2011 storyline Children’s Crusade featured Iron Lad, the good-hearted teen version of Kang, who discovered another team of Next Avengers in a different future timeline. Since Iron Lad was the leader of the Young Avengers, in this timeline he had become the leader of the Next Avengers as well. If Iron Lad grows up to lead the Next Avengers against a villainous Kang in Kang Dynasty, then it is possible we could see Kang battle himself, as he has countless times in the comics.
There are multiple ways for the MCU to involve the future variants of these heroes. We could see them travel back in time to the present of 616, or the characters from the present of 616 travel to the future. Perhaps we’ll see them fight a Kang variant during his conquests of the multiverse or we’ll see our 616 heroes fight evil variants of their children from the future. Whatever the case, the Next Avengers should have a meaningful role in the culmination of this era, since they may be the emotional throughline of the entire Multiverse Saga.
- Next Avengers reading guide:
- A-Next (1998) #1-12; Avengers Next (2006) #1-5
- Avengers (2010) #1-6; Avengers World (2014) #9-11
- Avengers: The Children’s Crusade – Young Avengers (2011) #1
Next Avengers: the culmination of the Multiverse Saga
Watching fully-realized versions of the kids we’ve already met across the Multiverse Saga unite as a team could mirror the iconic Avengers Assemble moment of the original Avengers movie. It would be an incredible emotional payoff after several years of storytelling, and a natural way to connect everything from the saga so far. By introducing the Next Avengers, Kang Dynasty would unify the storylines from the seemingly separate threads of Phases Four, Five, and Six, the way previous Avengers movies did for their own phases. The multiverse matters.
But what do you think? Do you see this as a way to connect Phase Four? Why do you think kids are so important to the Multiverse Saga? Let me know on Twitter @vinwriteswords, and remember to follow the site @MyCosmicCircus for more theories coming soon!
In the meantime, check out our Kang the Conqueror reading guide for more multiversal madness!