ByPeter DiDonato, writer at Creators.co
A night owl that writes what comes to mind. You can follow me on Twitter at @didonatope or visit my blog at filmfizz.com.
Peter DiDonato

DISCLAIMER: This is all a personal early theory of what could happen. It is still too early to make a concrete prediction and nothing is official until Marvel says so.

On the heels of the recent news of Thor's role being taken over by a woman, there is another huge change occurring in the Marvel universe. Marvel Chief Creative Officer Joe Quesada made an appearance on The Colbert Report last night teasing big news.

On the show, Quesada confirmed that the character Sam Wilson (AKA Falcon), longtime sidekick of Captain America, will be donning the red white and blue outfit and shield in a future comic series. An official image of Wilson as the Captain was also released (see below). The series entitled: "All-New Captain America" is set to debut this November.

Sam Wilson dons the shield.
Sam Wilson dons the shield.

In addition to Thor's gender switch, this news goes hand-in-hand with talks of Chris Evans retiring as Captain America at the end of [The Avengers 3](movie:738027). Of course, nothing is official until Marvel announces it. Still though, many are asking the question: "will these story line changes relate to Marvel's plans for Phase Four?"

Of course, different characters in the comics take up the role of the hero all the time. In fact, Bucky Barnes himself took up the moniker of Captain America after the comic storyline: "The Death of Captain America." Still, considering the actors' contracts and another comic-related announcement, there is more to this theory.

Over the past few years, there have not only been talks of Chris Evans retiring his role (with Anthony Mackie taking up the part), but also of Robert Downey Jr. being recast as Iron Man. It is quite likely that Marvel is expecting to lose all of their Phase One lead actors by Phase Four. After all, none of these actors' contracts extend past Avengers 3. It is also likely that they wish to keep their Cinematic Universe fresh with new actors and characters. Another image released by Marvel last night may show what they intend to do in Phase Four.

Will this be the new Avengers lineup?
Will this be the new Avengers lineup?

Shown above is the official lineup for a new series entitled: "Avengers NOW." Pictured from left to right are the Winter Soldier, Medusa, Angela, Scarlet Witch, the female Thor, a new "Superior" Iron Man, Sam Wilson as Captain America, [Doctor Strange](movie:559685), Inferno, Deathlok, and Ant Man.

Several things about this picture hint at Marvel's plans for Phase Four. First of all, Doctor Strange and [Ant-Man](movie:9048) are on Marvel's slate of upcoming Phase Three films. Also, there are not only new versions of Captain America and Thor, but a new version of Iron Man as well.

According to Entertainment Weekly, this "Superior" Iron Man will involve a story line in which Tony Stark gets new armor and a new base of operations in San Francisco. While Tony Stark is still Iron Man, it is still quite possible that Robert Downey Jr. could be re-casted in the event that he does not wish to reprise his role. With a newer version of Iron Man, perhaps Marvel feels that this will make recasting Downey Jr. less jarring.

*CAPTAIN AMERICA 2 SPOILER ALERT*

The presence of the Winter Soldier and Scarlet Witch can easily make this comic go hand-in-hand with phase four.

With Bucky Barns surviving the end of Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Scarlet Witch being introduced in Avengers: Age of Ultron, Sebastian Stan and Elizabeth Olsen can easily reprise their roles. Of course, with Quicksilver also being introduced in Avengers: Age of Ultron, there can be room for him in the line up too.

Furthermore, Deathlok has been featured prominently on Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (see above). Therefore, it is possible that Marvel has plans to bring this character to the big screen. In this case, inhuman characters Medusa and Inferno, as well Marvel newcomer, Angela, can come to the Cinematic Universe too. With talks of a Black Panther movie, perhaps he can join this line up too.

If this theory ends up coming true, here's what will happen:

  • Chris Evans and Chris Hemmsworth will retire their roles as Captain America and Thor.
  • Robert Downey Jr. will be replaced with another actor to fit the new "Superior" Iron Man.
  • Doctor Strange, Scarlet Witch, the Winter Soldier and Ant Man will stay on board for Phase Four.
  • Inferno, Angela and Medusa will be brought to the cinematic universe.

So will this be the new Avengers after the actors from Phase One retire their roles? Indeed it will be sad to say goodbye to Chris Hemmsworth, Chris Evans, and Robert Downey Jr., but this new direction can still lead to something refreshing and interesting. Plus, the addition of new characters and actors could really keep the series fresh and going for years to come.

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