It’s been three years since Avengers: Endgame hit theaters, but Marvel Studios has given fans little indication as to when a follow-up will be released. While the studio is now several titles deep into Phase 4 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, it’s still unclear when we can look forward to seeing Avengers 5. The mystery has understandably led to Marvel fans coming up with their own theories about the future of the franchise.
One of the biggest theories is that Avengers 5 won’t focus on a new version of the MCU’s signature superhero team, but rather an entirely different group of heroes. There are two Marvel Comics teams in particular that seem the most likely to lead whatever the MCU’s fifth Avengers film ends up being: The Young Avengers and the Midnight Sons.
The studio has remained tight-lipped about the possible on-screen formation of either team, but a new behind-the-scenes leak suggests that yet another key member of Marvel’s supernatural Avengers may be coming to the MCU soon.
The Leak — Screen Geek reports that Marvel Studios is currently developing a Man-Thing Halloween special for Disney+. The project will apparently be in the same vein as the Guardians of the Galaxy and Werewolf by Night holiday specials that are in the works, and Marvel is said to be looking to score a “big name” to play the title character.
If this leak is correct, that means Marvel plans on bringing Dr. Theodore Sallis, aka Man-Thing, into the MCU. Not only has that been rumored for quite some time now, but Man-Thing’s introduction would also bring Marvel one step closer to making a Midnight Sons crossover film.
Introducing Marvel’s Bog Beast — In the comics, Dr. Theodore Sallis is transformed into a creature known as Man-Thing when he crashes his car in a magical swamp just moments after injecting himself with a serum he created (it’s a whole thing). Following his transformation, Man-Thing discovers that his swamp in the Florida Everglades is where (one of) the Nexus of All Realities, an entry point into every reality in the multiverse, is based. He becomes the Nexus’ guardian, but also goes on to have several independent adventures.
Those include interactions with characters like Doctor Strange and Ghost Rider, and Man-Thing even becomes one of the Midnight Sons. Notably, other members of the Midnight Sons have included Doctor Strange, Wong, Mr. Knight, Ghost Rider, Werewolf by Night, and Blade.
While they haven’t all been on the team at the same time in the comics, the Midnight Sons have counted as its members a number of characters who are either already in the MCU or rumored to be coming to it within the next few years. That includes Werewolf by Night and Ghost Rider, with the latter rumored to have a surprise cameo in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness later this year.
The Inverse Analysis — It’s been about a year since rumors first began swirling about Marvel’s possible plans for a Midnight Sons movie, one that would be darker and more magic-centric than its previous crossover films. While the studio has stayed quiet on the matter, Marvel’s increased focus on characters like Scarlet Witch, Doctor Strange, Blade, Black Knight, and Moon Knight has only made those rumors seem increasingly more substantial over the past year.
While fans will have to wait to find out whether Marvel does actually intend to make a Midnight Sons movie, the studio’s willingness to play around in the horror genre with titles like Multiverse of Madness and Werewolf by Night suggests that the idea is very much on the table.