If you believe the rumors that are floating round, Marvel are planning on making some pretty major changes to everyone's favorite Superheroic Cinematic Universe.
By, for instance, getting rid of most of the original Avengers lineup for Avengers 3...
...making a very different to what we're used to, Robert Downey Jr. starring, Marvel movie...
...and, of course, cutting a deal with Sony to be able to feature Spider-Man in Marvel Studios-produced movies.
As you do.
Now, there's no guarantee that any of the rumors are actually true - but the basic logic behind them is pretty darned solid: at some point, Marvel will have to completely alter the Avengers, whether for creative, contractual, or financial reasons, and that'll mean we'll see a very different set of heroes to what we're currently used to.
Specifically, if any of those rumors are true, one that'll look a whole lot like the New Avengers.
That team, after all, became largely defined in the comics by a split in the Avengers ranks between Captain America and Tony Stark (and, y'know, the whole Marvel Civil War dealio, which you can read more about right here), which saw Cap founding a new, Spider-Man featuring, spin-off team.
Some variation of which is the most likely outcome of Marvel switching up the Avengers team in their third installment - a Cap-lead team of outsiders in one movie, an Iron Man-lead team of more establishment figures in another, with, presumably, a major event movie featuring them both coming later.
What we really want to know, though, is this:
Which heroes will we see in the New Avengers - and who would play them?
Well, here are our thoughts (about characters we haven't already seen - sorry, Spidey), starting with:
The Canon Comic-Book Candidates:
Namely, the heroes who were in the New Avengers in the comics, but have yet to appear (or, in some cases, be cast) in the MCU...
Spider-Woman, a.k.a. Emily Blunt
Why the hero? Jessica Drew, a.k.a. Spider-Woman, was a key member of the comic-book New Avengers from the very beginning - and is exactly the sort of strong female hero the MCU could use right now. Plus, she's the only Spider-named character that Marvel (probably) have the rights to, so there's that.
Why the actor? Blunt was reportedly close to getting the role of Black Widow, and though that Johansson-shaped ship has very much sailed, there're few more appropriate heroes for her to join the MCU as.
Luke Cage, a.k.a. Terry Crews
Why the hero? Well, Cage is already set to join the MCU in an upcoming Netflix series, so he'll be ready to go - and he's been a central part of the New Avengers throughout their comic-book existence. Plus, he's awesome - just look at him.
Why the actor? Terry Crews is hilarious, tough, experienced, and ridiculously ripped. Throw a yellow t-shirt on him and he's pretty much just Luke Cage in human form. Sign him up for the Netflix series, someone!
Iron Fist, a.k.a. Zac Efron
Why the hero? Much like Luke Cage, Iron Fist is already heading to our screens in his own Netflix series - and featured in the New Avengers in the comics. He's also got a pretty kick-ass double act thing going on with Cage, so the two pretty much come hand in hand.
Why the actor? Efron is clearly desperate to find his way into the MCU - possibly even enough so to sign up for a Netflix series in exchange for his character getting a future film role? Also, Iron Fist pretty much always has his chest out, thus suiting Efron's core selling point.
Echo, a.k.a. Summer Glau
Why the hero? Well, she's in the New Avengers, for one - as a deaf Native American ninja. If the prospect of seeing a bad ass ninja - who kicks ludicrous amounts of ass despite not being able to hear - doesn't appeal to you, then I honestly don't know what to tell ya'.
Why the actor? Firefly, mostly, in which Glau was fantastic as River Tam - fantastic enough that we can (temporarily) disengage our issues with hiring Caucasian actors to play Native American parts.
What about the heroes that are most-likely already on their way, though?
The Cinematic Hangers-On:
Specifically, the heroes we expect to see make it to the screen anyway, so they might as well join the team...
Doctor Strange, a.k.a. Ethan Hawke
Why the hero? Well, he's already heading to the big screen in 2016 anyway - and did appear in the New Avengers for a little while. Plus, he'd provide a rare dose of high level power to the team.
Why the actor? He's an outside-the-box sort of candidate, but Hawke is a capable actor, hot-right-now because of Boyhood, looks the part, and - perhaps most importantly - would be cheap and available. So very much RDJ back with the first Iron Man film, then.
The Black Panther, a.k.a. Chiwetel Ejiofor
Why the hero? Honestly, at this point, if we don't see the Black Panther in Avengers: Age of Ultron, there could well be an online geek uprising - but he's also a classic Avenger, and ludicrously bad-ass.
Why the actor? The bulk of any new faces will most likely be smaller, less expensive names (see Hawke, Ethan, above) - but chances are Marvel'll throw in a few less unknown actors to balance out the box office odds. Who better than the ridiculously talented (and Oscar-nominated) Chiwetel Ejiofor to play the dignified but hard-hitting African monarch T'Challa?
Ms. Marvel, a.k.a. Katee Sackhoff
Why the hero? Admittedly, Ms. Marvel is historically a far more establishment hero than the ones you'd expect to find in a fairly renegade New Avengers, but since she must surely be on her way to the screen by now, she's got to be in with a shout of appearing in any cinematic variation of the team. Plus, she was in the team in the comics for a while, just like Doc Strange.
Why the actor? Have you seen Battlestar Galactica? Sackhoff was borderline iconic as the swaggering pilot Starbuck - perfect preparation for the tough, confident Air Force Officer, Carol Danvers, who later becomes the troubled but resilient hero Ms. (later Captain) Marvel.
Some heroes, though, might be a little less likely to make the cut...
The Outside-the-Box Candidates:
Or, in other words, the characters we may well not see, but who we reeeeeeally want to...
Squirrel Girl, a.k.a. Sarah Hyland
Why the hero? Well, she's in the New Avengers, for one (I mean, as Luke Cage and Jessica Jones' babysitter, sure, but still..). She's also exactly the sort of lovable, kinda-weird character that Marvel need to explore if they're planning on expanding the cinematic universe in further Guardians of the Galaxy-shaped strange directions.
Why the actor? She's got perfect comic timing, is a hugely recognizable face from her time on Modern Family, and would bring in a whole new demographic to the MCU. Plus, she actually looks like a teenager, even though she's 23.
Wonder Man, a.k.a. Nathan Fillion
Why the hero? Aside from his long-standing role within the Avengers, Simon Williams (a.k.a. Wonder Man) is a natural long-term replacement for Iron Man - what with being the charismatic son of an industrialist, who ends up with superpowers. Plus, pretty much every character arc he's ever had connects to the soon to arrive Scarlet Witch and Vision, and the presumed to be on her way Ms. Marvel.
Why the actor? Nathan. Fillion. 'Nuff said.
What do you guys think? Which of the [Superheroes](channel:205406) above would you most like to see make their way to the MCU? And, even more importantly, who would YOU cast in the role?