Marvel’s Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings confirms that the Avengers still exist in the MCU and sets up the New Avengers coming after Avengers: Endgame. The Phase 4 MCU movie is largely disconnected from the wider shared universe for the majority of its runtime. This allows the movie to focus on the battle between Shang-Chi (Simu Liu) and Wenwu (Tony Leung). However, that doesn’t mean that the movie doesn’t set up multiple storylines, characters, and so on for the MCU’s future.
Shang-Chi isn’t too concerned with forcing tie-ins with other Marvel properties, although it certainly builds on what has come before in some substantial ways. The return of Trevor Slattery after Iron Man 3 is one example of this, and the movie is even where the MCU gave the Ten Rings organization a proper introduction after using them in the background before. Since Shang-Chi takes place after Avengers: Endgame, many fans also wondered how it would connect to the universe-changing events of the 22nd MCU movie. There are small references to The Blip, but the movie doesn’t even outright confirm whether or not Shang-Chi was dusted by Thanos’ snap in Avengers: Infinity War. Shang-Chi instead focuses its attention on building its own corner of the MCU, one where mystical cities, dragons, and much more can become major parts of the MCU going forward.
There is one big piece of setup that Shang-Chi does include that potentially will be massively important to the MCU’s future. Fans have been left in the dark about the state of the Avengers early on in Phase 4 and whether or not the group even exists after Avengers: Endgame. Thanks to Shang-Chi‘s post-credits scene, it does appear that the Avengers are still around – and those involved might be forming the New Avengers.
The Avengers Are Broken After Endgame
The Avengers team has been at the center of the MCU for the last decade, but Avengers: Endgame broke up the team in a major way. While movies like Captain America: Civil War previously were responsible for the team splitting up, the Avengers came back together to reverse Thanos’ snap. The original members, Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, Black Widow, Hulk, and Hawkeye, reunited for the first time since Avengers: Age of Ultron. The Avengers’ roster expanded well beyond these six heroes, though, as Captain America’s battle cry arguably makes everyone present at Endgame‘s final battle an Avenger. Their success in undoing Thanos’ snap and how Phase 4 has played out so far has ultimately left the Avengers broken.
The cost of finding the Infinity Stones, reversing Thanos’ snap, and eliminating 2014 Thanos and his army was great for the MCU. Tony Stark died in Avengers: Endgame after using all of the Infinity Stones, marking an end to Iron Man’s story for the foreseeable future. He wasn’t the only original Avenger to die trying to save the universe, as Black Widow sacrificed herself on Vormir so the Avengers could obtain the Soul Stone. Steve Rogers is also no longer in superhero shape by the end of the movie after growing old with Peggy Carter. That puts three of the original six Avengers out of commission right from the start, but Thor leaves Earth to find himself, Hawkeye retires again to be with his family, and Shang-Chi reveals Bruce Banner isn’t Smart Hulk anymore. All of this drove the idea that the Avengers might no longer be active in the MCU.
Phase 4 has brought more uncertainty to the state of the Avengers team too. Scarlet Witch is off on her own after WandaVision and might take a villainous turn in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. Other heroes like Sam Wilson’s Captain America and Bucky Barnes are doing their own thing as well. The MCU is also now without T’Challa following Chadwick Boseman’s passing. Without the funding of Tony Stark and the government approval that came with the Sokovia Accords, it’s been unclear if the Avengers still exist in the MCU in any form – especially as the seeds are being planted for the Dark Avengers and Young Avengers.
Shang-Chi Confirms Avengers Exist (& Hints At New Avengers)
It is Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings that confirms that the MCU’s biggest heroes still meet occasionally, which suggests that the Avengers are still around, albeit in a new form in Marvel’s Phase 4. Shang-Chi‘s post-credits scene features Shang-Chi meeting with Wong, Captain Marvel, and Bruce Banner, with the latter two appearing through the hologram communication system featured in Avengers: Endgame. These characters have strong ties to the Avengers teams of the past. Bruce is obviously a founding member of the team and looks to be helping the next generation of MCU heroes, even if he isn’t in Hulk shape anymore. Captain Marvel was part of the Avengers after Thanos’ snap, and her appearance here indicates that connection is still strong. Meanwhile, Wong has mostly been linked to the Avengers through Doctor Strange before, but this might reveal that he played a bigger role with the team in the past than the MCU has shown.
In any case, Shang-Chi bringing these three MCU heroes together with Shang-Chi – who is an Avenger according to Marvel’s social media – points to them being the foundation of the next Avengers team. This might even be the MCU’s way of setting up the creation of the New Avengers. Although the Avengers roster has already changed a lot throughout the years, the Avengers team is still best associated with the original six members. Marvel Studios could look to differentiate the next era of the team from what came before by bringing the New Avengers team, and some of its members, to the MCU after Avengers: Endgame.
The New Avengers In The Comics Explained
The New Avengers made their debut in Marvel Comics in 2005, as Brian Michael Bendis created a new version of the Avengers after House of M and Scarlet Witch’s breakdown hindered the Mighty Avengers. Iron Man and Captain America founded the team, and Steve immediately recruited Spider-Man, Luke Cage, Spider-Woman, and Daredevil. Everyone joined the New Avengers except for Matt Murdock, though Spider-Woman was secretly a Skrull at the time. The team quickly added Wolverine and Sentry to its ranks, but the lineup changed once Civil War happened. Luke Cage became the team’s leader as Iron Man and Captain America left, and the new recruits included Echo, Doctor Strange, Iron Fist, and Ronin. The team later added Bucky Barnes’ Captain America, Mockingbird, Carol Danvers, the real Spider-Woman, and Jessica Jones after Secret Invasion.
Marvel has continued to use and reinvent the New Avengers in the comics over the years too. In addition to the aforementioned members and the team’s involvement in Civil War and Secret Invasion, they play a role in the Norman Osborn-heavy storylines Dark Reign and Siege. Bucky led the team to try and uncover Norman’s villainous dealings with the Dark Avengers. While Norman got the best of them at first, the New Avengers managed to take him down with the help of Steve Rogers and many others. In more recent years, Marvel has brought other characters like The Thing, Daredevil, Black Widow, Squirrel Girl, Wiccan, Hulkling, and others onto different iterations of the New Avengers roster.
The Current Avengers Roster (As We Know It)
Phase 4 is still only in the early stages after Shang-Chi, but the movie does help establish the foundation of the New Avengers’ roster to this point. Captain Marvel might be too busy to discuss the Ten Rings for too long, but she is still part of the team and offers her assistance if Shang-Chi ever needs it. Bruce Banner is also likely on the team, but he could be more of a consultant at this point instead of an active Avenger. The team’s leader might very well be Doctor Strange even though he wasn’t in Shang-Chi. Wong’s role with the team is a sign that Strange is also aware of what is going on. Shang-Chi should also be considered a member of the team at this point since Bruce welcomes him to the circus.
These five MCU heroes should be joined by others as the New Avengers’ roster grows, but they are the only ones directly linked to the team so far after Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings. Sam Wilson’s Captain America will be part of the team undoubtedly, as he could even be the leader they need. It also won’t be surprising to see War Machine, Spider-Man, Ant-Man, or Wasp take a spot on the team. Depending on how closely Marvel Studios stays to the comics when bringing the New Avengers to the MCU, their formation could also lead to Wolverine’s MCU debut and the introduction of Sentry. Fans could even see Echo join the team after Hawkeye and her spinoff series, while Kate Bishop, Yelena Belova, and Daredevil could also be contenders to join depending on how their MCU futures take shape.
MORE: What’s Next In The MCU For Every Shang-Chi Character?
- Eternals (2021)Release date: Nov 05, 2021
- Spider-Man: No Way Home (2021)Release date: Dec 17, 2021
- Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (2022)Release date: Mar 25, 2022
- Thor: Love and Thunder (2022)Release date: May 06, 2022
- Black Panther: Wakanda Forever/Black Panther 2 (2022)Release date: Jul 08, 2022
- The Marvels/Captain Marvel 2 (2022)Release date: Nov 11, 2022
- Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania (2023)Release date: Feb 17, 2023
- Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 (2023)Release date: May 05, 2023
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Shang-Chi Confirms The Avengers Still Exist In MCU Phase 4