Warning: Spoilers for Avengers Endgame.
As one age ends, another begins.
Avengers: Endgame saw some major changes for the Marvel Cinematic Universe, none more so than the end of the tenure of the original line-up of Avengers. With Iron Man and Black Widow having departed this mortal coil, Thor joining the Guardians of the Galaxy, Steve Rogers retiring as Captain America to live with Peggy Carter, Hawkeye putting his family first (and getting his own television series), and Hulk...well...Hulkin'.
Despite the possibility for more from the Hulk and later additions like War Machine and Scarlet Witch (the latter of whom is getting her own limited series with Vision), it's mostly going to be the younger or newer generation of heroes to get their time to shine.
With rumours of multiple teams of Avengers and new standalones, here's who we expect to be on the flagship team going ahead and when - not if - there will be an Avengers 5.
Avengers 5: The New Avengers?
There are only really two candidates to be the leader of the next Avengers and one of them is the King of Wakanda himself, the Black Panther. On top of starring his groundbreaking billion dollar solo film, he also has an entire country to command at his disposal and a whole network of spies and allies to use too. In the absence of Tony Stark, he could also be the one to fund the Avengers. With the smarts of sister Shuri by his side and the steadfast support of Okoye and Nakia, T'Challa is a guaranteed leading light of the next generation of Avengers.
Captain Marvel/Carol Danvers
The most powerful superhero in the MCU so far (sorry not sorry, Thor) is the other major contender to be an Avengers boss. With history having worked with SHIELD and the US army, along with decades of interplanetary heroics and a strong moral compass to rival that of Steve Rogers, Carol is sure to be the first lady of the MCU no matter what. Let's not forget she recently made a billion dollars with her solo movie too.
Captain America/Sam Wilson
Despite his history in the comics with the mantle, it came as a surprise that Sam Wilson would be the one to receive the Captain America title from Steve Rogers, especially considering three films were spent focusing on the Steve-Bucky dynamic. But now he does have it and his own limited series alongside Bucky on Disney+, Sam's future as a leading Avenger is assured for future instalments, moving up from B-tier status to the big leagues. Where Bucky would fit in though is unknown.
Doctor Stephen Strange
The greatest sorcerer who ever lived is definitely sticking in the MCU going ahead - he has his own solo movie sequel coming - and now the world of sorcery has been introduced to the Avengers, we doubt they'll put it in back in a box. Strange will have other responsibilities, however, being the guardian against mystic evils in the world, so it wouldn't have time to lead but would most certainly be in the ranks of the team.
Intern, no more! Dreams definitely came through for Spidey in recent movies as Tony Stark officially declared him an Avenger and he joined in the fight against Thanos. Despite being the youngest in the team, Peter's place in the dynamic is already sure to lead to much humour and fun as the older Avengers take him under their wing. Endgame already hinted at a nice potential friendship with Carol too.
He helped Cap in Civil War and played a major role in Avengers: Endgame, but now is the time for Scott to step into the role he was born to have: as an Avenger. Ant-Man and the Wasp were founding members of the team in the comics (albeit the Hank and Janet versions) so it is only right they play a major role in the team going ahead, and we need some of Paul Rudd's trademark wit to help give the team some belly-laughs, not to mention the potential for daughter Cassie to get involved like in the comics.
The Wasp/Hope van Dyne
Same goes for the Wasp, she's a leading lady of the Marvel Comics and arguably their most prominent female member and so it's no question that she should be here - heck, she's even more competent and stronger at crime fighting than her boyfriend. Wasp and actress Evangeline Lilly definitely need their chance to shine.
So, Thor may have gifted Valkyrie the task of ruling New Asgard while he parties it up in space, but it wouldn't feel right to not have any Asgardian on the team, and who better than Valkyrie? She's got the brains, confidence and brawn to be a great warrior that the world needs and also defend the interests of New Asgard. Also, actresses Brie Larson and Tessa Thompson could finally get their wish of a full-on romance between Carol and Valkyrie!