With all the recent talk of Marvel solo movies, spin-offs, and sequels, there's been one major factor in the development of the Marvel Cinematic Universe that's been getting far too little attention - who the heck the Avengers are going to be.
As things stand, it's all pretty stable over at Avengers Tower, with Iron Man, Captain America, Hulk, Thor, Black Widow and Hawkeye being joined for Avengers: Age of Ultron by Quicksilver, The Scarlet Witch, and The Vision.
Which is...a lot of Avengers. The thing is - with a whole bunch of rumors going around that an Avenger (or several) is set to die during the upcoming Age of Ultron, there could well be some slots in the roster opening up soon.
And, if so - who most deserves to step up to the big leagues and become one of Earth's Mightiest Heroes?
We thought we'd take a look at some of the leading contenders - but at the end of the day, we need you guys to choose. After all, who knows superheroes better than the fans?
To kick us off, it's (probably) the bookies favorite:
The Black Panther
Pros: Well, he looks awesome, for starters, but he'd also be a much-needed boost to the team's diversity. After all, when your least Caucasian team-members are a Norse Thunder God and a Green rage monster, it might be time to start thinking about opening things up a bit.
Cons: He hasn't actually had a solo movie officially announced yet, so no-one really knows how well he'll be received.
Pros: She's about as strong a female role model as you can get, especially in her more recent Captain Marvel incarnation. She's also a natural long-term sort-of-replacement for Iron Man, with her powers and struggles with alcoholism nicely mirroring Tony Stark's.
Cons: There's a sense that Marvel might feel they already have enough female superheroes in the team with Black Widow and Scarlet Witch, so this might only happen if one of them were to go. Which isn't cool.
Pros: He'd add a whole new dimension - literally - to the team, for one. He'd also open up a far wider range of adventures than any of the other major candidates. Plus, there's that solo movie coming out in 2016...
Cons: He's not historically been tied to the Avengers - with his role in the Defenders having taken more of his focus - so he's unlikely to be most comic-book fans' first choice.
Pros: Hank Pym may not be Ant-Man in the MCU, but the character was still one of the original comic-book Avengers - who deserves a slot in the movies more? And, again, he's got a solo movie coming up.
Cons: The expected lighter tone of the Ant-Man solo movie might not sync well with an all-action Avengers extravaganza - and will Scott Lang's criminal past work against him?
Pros: Again, there's the diversity factor - but more importantly, there's no hero Captain America trusts more (Black Widow aside). If Cap has a hand in forming a new team, he'd surely be a shoe-in.
Cons: His powers are basically flying really well. There's only so much you can do with that.
War Machine/Iron Patriot
Pros: Once again, having James 'Rhodey' Rhodes on the team would mean the Hulk wouldn't have to do all of the fake-diversity heavy lifting, but he's also probably the most recognizable MCU hero yet to feature in the Avengers, having co-starred in all three Iron Man movies.
Cons: Unless Iron Man is gone, there's not really a lot of call for a second armored superhero - and if it's between Iron Man and War Machine, who's not going to choose Tony Stark?
Pros: He's Spider-Man. Everyone loves him. Also, we might finally be able to see that Civil War storyline that would be...Just. So. Awesome.
Cons: His movie rights are, uh, not actually owned by Marvel Studios. Which is kind of a deal-breaker, right there.