(Warning: The following contains potential - albeit largely theoretical - SPOILERS for the upcoming Ant-Man and the Wasp, as well as several other hypothetical future MCU movies. Proceed with whatever level of caution your surly scientist mentor suggests is wise...)
Now, Ant-Man and the Wasp may not be the most eagerly anticipated future entry in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (take a bow, Avengers: Infinity War), but a likely absence of giant megalomaniacal purple dudes doesn't mean that the continued adventures of Scott Lang and Hope Van Dyne aren't practically bursting with potential. So much so, in fact, that it seemed well past time to take a look at one of the more intriguing possibilities hiding within Ant-Man and the Wasp - and to ask one very particular question:
Will Ant-Man And The Wasp Introduce The Young Avengers To The MCU?
Y'see, as it turns out, one of Marvel's most beloved teen super-groups - the Young Avengers - might just have a surprisingly solid shot at being introduced (or at least teased) in Ant-Man and the Wasp. The reason? One of their number already appeared back in Ant-Man, and as such might just prove to be the key to the team's arrival in the MCU.
Before we get on to all that, though...
Just Who The Hell Are The Young Avengers?
Well, essentially, they're just what they sound like - a team of young, Avenger-affiliated heroes. Except, of course, things are a little more complicated than that. For one thing, there have been two, loosely-linked Young Avengers teams over the years, with the initial Allan Heinberg and Jim Cheung-created line-up (as seen in 2005's Young Avengers Vol. 1, and the image just above) being far more Avengers-affiliated than the latter. Featuring the Captain America-like Patriot, the sort-of-Kang Iron Lad, a shape-shifting alien named Hulkling, a Scarlet Witch-linked wizard named Wiccan, a Quicksilver-like speedster named Speed, the size-shifting Cassie 'Stature' Lang and, of course, Kate Bishop, the female Hawkeye, the original team was essentially a full-blown junior Avengers... and only lasted for about a year.
A few years later, though, and Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie reinvented the team as an anarchic, Marvel-universe spanning junior super-group (see image just above), with several of the original members being joined by a teenaged Loki, the space-faring Kree hero Noh-Varr, the absurdly bad-ass (and dimension-kicking) Miss America, and mutant super-genius Prodigy, to much critical acclaim. Meanwhile, that new series - 2013's Young Avengers Vol. 2 - also doubled down on the original's progressive nature, and made pretty much every main character a fully-rounded, recognizably modern teenager (and either gay or bisexual).
And was, of course, cancelled after just fifteen issues.
Want more on the Young Avengers, and their future in the MCU? Check out:
- With 'Runaways' On The Way, Will The Young Avengers Be Next To Join The MCU?
- Will The Young Avengers Replace The 'Inhumans' Movie In Marvel's Phase 3?
- Why THAT Ant-Man Moment In 'Captain America: Civil War' Set Up A Young Avengers Movie
Why Does All That Matter, Though?
Well, y'see, the original Young Avengers team - the Iron Lad and Patriot-featuring one - was formed as a response to the absence of the adult Avengers in the wake of the Avengers: Disassembled crossover event. Four young heroes - Iron Lad, Patriot, Wiccan and Hulkling - banded together to try to fight crime and... did a pretty terrible job of it.
Things only really improved when they acquired some light adult supervision - along with a couple of new members. New addition Kate 'Hawkeye' Bishop was the series' breakout star, but the more important piece of the Young Avengers puzzle was arguably Cassie 'Stature' Lang. Who, you might recall, has very much already appeared in the MCU.
Yup, that's right...
Scott Lang's Daughter Is A Classic Member Of The Young Avengers
And, in fact, is the only original member of the team who became a hero with the full intention of emulating an 'Avenging' parent (most of the other young heroes were loosely inspired by full-grown Avengers, or had mysterious ties to them).
Which, of course, would make her an incredibly obvious choice to bring the Young Avengers into the MCU, not least because her character will be a ten-year old pre-teen by the time Ant-Man and the Wasp rolls around in 2018. That, after all, would give her plenty of opportunity to begin planning a superhero career, while giving Marvel a full four or five years to actually get a Young Avengers movie starring an actually teenage Cassie Lang onto the big screen.
What Would That Mean For The Rest Of The Young Avengers, Though?
Well, on the surface of it, absolutely nothing. After all, there's every possibility that we'll never see Cassie Lang become a superhero, and that the Young Avengers will remain entirely un-adapted for the big screen.
Alternatively, though, there's certainly an argument to be made that Marvel Studios is going to need a new narrative through-line in the wake of Avengers: Infinity War - one that can stretch through the early 2020's, and Phase Four. What's more, there's every chance that such a story-line will require minimal involvement from the ever-more-expensive original Avengers line-up, and instead be constructed around newly introduced heroes like Doctor Strange, Black Panther and Captain Marvel. And, of course, Ant-Man - who would at that point be the 'elder statesman' of the second generation of Marvel heroes, having appeared a full year earlier than any of the others.
In other words?
Scott 'Ant-Man' Lang Could Easily Turn Out To Be The Nick Fury Of Phase Four
Specifically, we could well see Paul Rudd's Lang (and, presumably, the far more competent Hope Van Dyne) take on a role much like that of Nick Fury in Marvel's Phase One - one that involves slowly putting together a new super-team. He, after all, is one of the few Marvel heroes who actually seems to have any inclination towards watching out for young people, and will have likely have a whole lot more name-recognition than the other 'new' heroes by the time 2018 rolls around.
As such, don't be too surprised if Ant-Man and the Wasp features not only a scene of young Cassie Lang getting her hands on an Ant-Man-style suit of her very own, but perhaps even a post-credits sequence in which Scott Lang is recruited (perhaps even by Nick Fury himself) to recruit a whole new generation of Avengers.
The Young Avengers Initiative, anyone?
It'd certainly fit with what we've seen before...
What do you reckon, though? Will Ant-Man and the Wasp introduce the New Avengers - or are they more likely to arrive elsewhere? Let us know below!