With Avengers: Age of Ultron out, we have just one more film to go before the start of the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s Phase Three.
So while we have a little room to breathe, let’s check out where each of the Avengers are at the end of Ultron, and where they’ll likely be heading.
Tony Stark / Iron Man Will Support the Superhuman Registration Act
Stark may seen unshaken by the whole ordeal he caused with Ultron, but underneath that cool exterior is a very changed man.
Out of all of the Avengers, Stark is arguably the most “broken.” He’s obsessed with saving the world, and his behavior has become increasingly erratic following a major case of PTSD he suffered after the Battle of New York a few years ago. Add to this the fact that he’s still dealing with the fallout of Stark Industries’ time as the world’s foremost weapons manufacturer. While Stark himself isn’t responsible for a lot of the worst stuff (Obadiah Stane was behind all of the shady stuff), it’s still his name stamped on all of it. From Ivan Vanko, to Ulysses Klaue, to the Maximoff twins, Stark’s legacy is one of death and destruction, and he’s determined to change that, no matter the cost.
This idea of “legacy” will likely frame Stark’s role in Captain America: Civil War, with him willing to turn on his former allies if it will mean another shot at world peace. At the Age of Ultron, Stark seems to have left the Avengers Initiative for good, placing the team squarely in the hands of Steve Rogers.
From here, we know that Stark will back the Superhuman Registration Act (a piece of government legislation regulating superheroes), although we don’t know yet if he’ll be the author, or just the enforcer. Either way, it will put him on a collision course with the team he helped to build.
At this point, Stark has gallons of blood on his hands, and Civil War will likely see him making one last attempt to build a “suit of armor around the world.”
Steve Rogers / Captain America Will Lead a New Team of Avengers
Good ol’ Captain America hasn’t changed much since his debut in The First Avenger, although Age of Ultron did reveal some very interesting things about his motivations as a character. This latest film really hammered home the idea of Cap as a soldier, and the fact that there is no “coming home” for him; he’ll live and die on the battlefield, fighting for what he believes in.
This identity sets him up for confrontation in Civil War, as he opposes the government’s Superhuman Registration Act. If this seems weird considering he has “America” in his name, remember just how opposed he was to SHIELD’s attempts to monitor and control people in The Winter Soldier. Captain America isn’t about standing up for the American government, he’s there to protect the freedom of the little guy, the average citizen.
At the end of Age of Ultron, Cap is in the perfect spot to do just that. Tony Stark and Nick Fury are still around, but neither of them have any say anymore in how the Avengers operate. Captain America basically has a team of some of the most powerful superheroes on the planet (plus the Falcon, aka new Hawkeye), and zero oversight from anyone. Expect to see battle lines drawn over this in Civil War next year.
Thor is on the Hunt for Infinity Stones
Out of all of the major characters, Thor seems the least likely to return for Civil War. After all, he has much more important things to take care of. Age of Ultron granted him a glimpse of future events, including the role that the Infinity Stones would play in what looked like the fall of Asgard. At the end of that film, Thor left Earth to seek out more information on the Stones, a journey that will likely be concluded with Thor: Ragnarok in 2017.
Given that Ragnarok will be the final installment before Avengers: Infinity War begins, you can bet your Mjolnir that the events of that movie are going to have some major repercussions for the entire MCU.
Bruce Banner / Hulk Has Gone Into Hiding
Following the Battle of Sokovia, Hulk commandeered a Quinjet, cutting all communications to his team. Furthermore, the ship’s cloaking systems prevented him from being tracked, giving him the perfect opportunity to go off the grid.
Banner doesn’t believe he can ever have a “normal” life, and even his role on the Avengers is tenuous, potentially putting innocent lives at risk when he uses his powers. At the end of Age of Ultron, Banner is more or less in the same spot he was in pre-Avengers. He’s in hiding, determined not to go green, and will likely be doing what small amount of good he can while maintaining a low, low profile.
Don’t worry though, when the world needs him, I’m sure the Hulk will return. I think we’re all hoping to see who punches harder, him or Thanos.
Natasha Romanoff / Black Widow Will Train the Next Generation of Avengers
During the events of Age of Ultron, Black Widow’s character arc took her in the opposite direction of Captain America. While Cap realized that there was no life for him outside of being a superhero, Black Widow was willing to let it all go for a shot at some normality.
That fell through for her in a big way when Bruce Banner stole a Quinjet to parts unknown, but unshaken, she’s taken up a leadership role on Cap’s New Avengers team.
Clint Barton / Hawkeye is Retired
The Battle of Sokovia was Hawkeye’s final mission as an Avenger (for now at least), and despite the fact that he’s just a dude with a bow, he managed to survive to return to his family. He’ll now presumably retire to his farmhouse with his wife, where they’ll raise their three children (including a new baby named after Quicksilver and Black Widow).
That being said, Hawkeye is rumored to be making an appearance in Captain America: Civil War, so it sounds like his retirement may be short-lived.
Wanda Maximoff / Scarlet Witch is a New Avenger (Along with a Few Friends)
Scarlet Witch may have spent most of Age of Ultron as a villain, but that’s only made her more determined to make up for that as a member of Captain America’s Avengers. She’s arguably one of the most powerful beings on Earth right now, so having her on the team is going to be a pretty big deal for Cap.
She’s confirmed for an appearance in Captain America: Civil War next year, along with her New Avenger teammates War Machine, Falcon, and the Vision.