Marvel is currently at a standstill with new projects due to the ongoing pandemic, so the next Avengers team-up likely won't happen anytime soon. While Avengers 5 wasn’t on the Marvel Cinematic Universe line-up unveiled at last year’s San Diego Comic-Con, it’s hard to imagine that there won’t be another cataclysmic event that will bring Earth’s mightiest heroes together once more. And with that in mind, it’s possible that the discarded and overlooked Children of Thanos could return as villains in Avengers 5.
Thanos may have snapped half of Earth’s population out of existence, but he didn’t do it alone. The MCU focused primarily on his adopted daughters Gamora and Nebula, and their very strained relationship. However, Thanos’ other “children,” otherwise known as the Black Order, also did his bidding. That included Proxima Midnight (Carrie Coon, The Leftovers), who was last seen in Avengers: Endgame before being dusted alongside her father and his army (she originally died in Infinity War after facing off against Black Widow at the Battle of Wakanda).
Speaking with People, Coon revealed that she almost had a speaking role in Endgame but it was cut. Ultimately, her character was CGI'd into the film. She also teased that “no one ever dies” in the Marvel universe and that she could have her own “Avengers movie next.” Coon is mostly joking, but there could be a way to bring back Proxima Midnight and the rest of the Black Order. Besides, since when has a character death ever stopped Marvel?
Endgame brought back Gamora, gave us two Nebulas, Proxima, Ebony Maw, and more of Thanos’ brood. Kevin Feige and co. even found a way to give Black Widow her own movie postmortem. That said, while the Black Order is typically associated with the Mad Titan, they are formidable foes on their own and could return to the MCU in other ways without needing to bring back their old boss.
In the comics, the Black Order are typically portrayed as the adopted children of Thanos. Swearing allegiance to him no matter what, the villains aided in dear old dad’s mission to collect the Infinity Stones. Over time, they are killed off by the Avengers, Hela, and others. Despite this, Thanos finds ways to bring them back (even after some of them betray him), sometimes plucking them from different timelines to form a new Black Order.
During the Avengers: No Surrender comics storyline, a non-Thanos related version of the Black Order was formed by a villain known as the Challenger to fight the Grandmaster’s Lethal Legion in an age-old feud. The Black Order used Earth as the battleground until the Avengers got involved.
This doesn’t sound so bad until we factor in how powerful the Black Order and the Lethal Legion are. In this comic book story, Earth is basically stolen and teleported to an entirely new galaxy where the Avengers are mere obstacles in a challenge course. Even Hulk is resurrected as a pawn in battle. It’s like watching a reality competition show, except that it involves the death and destruction of the world by cosmic beings for sport.
Now, we know that the Marvel's Phase Four is about to get trippy with alternate timelines, dimensions, and a multiverse to boot. With all that in mind, it’s possible that the Black Order who shows up in Avengers 5 will be from a timeline or galaxy where they’re still alive. In the director's commentary provided for Infinity War, Joe Russo mentioned that the Black Order had more extensive backstories written for the characters. Unfortunately, this was also was cut for time and it wasn’t included in Endgame either.
If the Black Order arrives in Avengers 5, the backstories written for Infinity War could be repurposed for the next major team-up movie. And if the Black Order of another timeline or dimension discover that the Avengers killed Thanos, it’s very possible that they’ll either want revenge or even to finish what the Mad Titan started.
We also can’t discount the Grandmaster’s reappearance in the MCU. He’s still very much alive and he would be petty enough to go up against the Challenger’s Black Order. After all, he used Sakaar as a battleground so it’s not beyond the Grandmaster to do the same with Earth. Whatever the case, it would be remiss of Marvel to leave the Black Order’s backstories behind in a draft without following through.