Before Thanos tried to bring balance to the universe with a click of his fingers, it's fair to say that Marvel didn't treat all of its heroes equally. While the likes of Thor and Iron Man starred in their own movie trilogies, characters such as Black Widow and Falcon only appeared in supporting roles during their time in the MCU.
That's all set to change now thanks to an influx of Marvel TV shows that will soon premiere on a new streaming service called Disney+. And alongside Captain America's besties, Jeremy Renner will also have a shot at the spotlight later this year in his very own Hawkeye series.
While it's exciting to see these sidelined heroes take centre stage finally, Renner's show in particular could have huge ramifications for the Marvel Cinematic Universe and it's all thanks to his protégé, Kate Bishop.
According to Variety, the latest addition to the Disney+ lineup is all about Hawkeye passing the torch to this new hero so that she can replace him eventually one day. Although this hints that Renner could soon leave the franchise for good – just like some of his fellow Avengers – Bishop's future role as the new Hawkeye also opens the MCU up to whole new possibilities.
As comic book fans already know, the female archer is a founding member of the Young Avengers team. Comprised of legacy heroes inspired by the classic Avengers, Bishop and her teammates represent an obvious way to keep the franchise going without the likes of Renner having to stay on forever.
For a while now, Marvel executive Kevin Feige has discussed how Phase 4 of the MCU will introduce a range of brand new heroes and, during these talks, he’s pretty much confirmed that the Young Avengers are high on the agenda.
Speaking to Heroic Hollywood, Marvel's head honcho revealed that the studio introduced Ant-Man's daughter in the MCU early on deliberately to plant these seeds.
Alongside Bishop, Cassie Lang is another founding member of the Young Avengers, and while she's still just a kid in the films right now, a potential time-jump in Avengers: Endgame or beyond could easily transform her into the hero Stature.
Not only do the Young Avengers represent Marvel's future in a literal sense, but the line-up could also bring some much needed queer representation to the MCU.
For years now, the studio has teased fans with the possibility of throwing some LGBTQ+ heroes into the fray, most recently hinting that one could make their debut in The Eternals. Whether that film proves to be the catalyst for change or not, it's extremely likely that any Young Avengers line-up would be far more racially and sexually diverse than anything the MCU has seen yet.
Alongside Bishop and Lang, fan favourites include a lesbian Latina hero called Miss America and the gay couple Wiccan and Hulkling who originally founded the Young Avengers together and have continued to be a mainstay of the team ever since.
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Feige promised recently that Marvel will "focus" on better representation for queer characters moving forward, and the anticipated introduction of Bishop's team into the MCU could play a big role in that.
What remains to be seen is when exactly these fledgling heroes will finally band together on screen, but while you're waiting, pay close attention to Avengers: Endgame. Eagle-eyed fans have already spotted Hawkeye training a young woman in the latest trailer who could turn out to be Bishop.
If that's true, then the final film in Phase 3 could already be laying down the groundwork for Hawkeye’s new show and a more inclusive future for the MCU beyond that, too.
Avengers: Endgame will be released on April 25 in the UK and on April 26 in the US.
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