The ending of The Marvels has been a long time coming. The new Marvel Cinematic Universe movie notably ends with Kamala Khan (Iman Vellani), fired up over her recent superhero adventures with Carol Danvers (Brie Larson) and Monica Rambeau (Teyonah Parris), breaking into the New York City apartment of Kate Bishop (Hailee Steinfeld). When Kate arrives home, Kamala ambushes her with an invitation to join a new team that she’s been thinking about putting together. The group’s other members remain unclear, though, Kamala does make one passing mention of Cassie Lang (Kathryn Newton).
The scene marks the first official step Marvel has taken toward forming the Young Avengers onscreen. It’s a welcome but not necessarily surprising moment — one that the studio has been building to for years now. After all, with characters like Kamala, Kate, America Chavez (Xochitl Gomez), and a handful of others now part of the MCU, the seeds have certainly been planted for a Young Avengers team-up movie or TV show.
It’s high time that Marvel starts moving forward with more, non-Avenger crossovers, too, because doing so could help the studio manage the increasingly unwieldy size of the MCU.
Over the past few years, Marvel has expanded the MCU at an untenably fast rate. More heroes have been added to the franchise than Marvel knows what to do with, so much so that the futures of seemingly noteworthy characters like Dane Whitman (Kit Harington), Shang-Chi (Simu Liu), She-Hulk (Tatiana Maslany), Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch), Hercules (Brett Goldstein), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), the Eternals, and even Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen) remain unknown.
With figures like Blade (Mahershala Ali), the Fantastic Four, and the X-Men also set to debut in the next few years, it doesn’t seem like Marvel is on the verge of getting its multimedia franchise under control anytime soon, either. While the studio will need to work on some of its current storytelling problems in order to address the messiness of the MCU, corralling together its characters into their own, Young Avengers-esque teams could do a lot to help manage some of the franchise’s biggest issues.
The MCU simply contains way too many heroes and subplots for Marvel to only bring them together every few years in a new Avengers movie. Releasing contained crossover movies like Young Avengers and Thunderbolts every two or three years could, however, not only help viewers keep track of the MCU’s various ongoing characters but also allow Marvel to break the franchise up into more compelling and satisfying chapters.
While The Marvels has, like many of the MCU’s recent TV shows and movies, received a bit of a tepid response, the reactions to its Young Avengers tease have been universally positive. That’s because it’s one of the few moments in The Marvels (and in recent MCU history) that feels like a payoff to something the franchise has actually taken the necessary time to set up. The scene has, therefore, proven that Marvel doesn’t need to wait for a new Avengers movie to deliver the kind of moments that fans have been waiting for.
The studio could, instead, adopt a new approach for the MCU: One that prioritizes the development of crossover movies like Young Avengers and Thunderbolts as well as the franchise’s overarching, Multiverse Saga-sized stories. In fact, if Marvel wants to ensure that the MCU remains a viable franchise, it’ll need to start finding new ways to organize its numerous storylines and heroes. The Marvels, for its part, reveals just one way it could go about doing that.