Editor’s Note: The following contains spoilers for The Marvels.
The Big Picture
- The Marvels movie sets up the introduction of both the X-Men and the Young Avengers, with a mid-credits scene teasing the full MCU debut of the X-Men and a final scene hinting at the formation of the Young Avengers.
- A TV series for the Young Avengers would allow for the gradual development of the team’s relationships, which are crucial to the story and beloved by readers.
- A series would also be able to better explain the complicated histories of the Young Avengers’ members and provide necessary re-introductions for viewers who may not be familiar with the characters. Plus, a series would alleviate the pressure of high box office expectations and allow for a smaller budget focus on character dynamics.
Despite its lighthearted, body-swapping premise, the new film The Marvels turned out to be a fairly crucial addition to the ongoing narrative of the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s Multiverse Saga. The film both continued storylines from several past projects and setting up new ones, with its ending teasing the introduction of not one but two new superhero teams to the franchise. The mid-credits scene, which teased the full MCU debut of the X-Men, is getting the most buzz from viewers, but the final scene in the film before the credits roll is also very exciting, as it all but confirms what fans have suspected since the Multiverse Saga began: the Young Avengers are coming. However, while it was fun to experience this tease in a movie theater, there are several reasons why Marvel Studios would be better off making its seemingly inevitable Young Avengers crossover project a television series.
Carol Danvers gets her powers entangled with those of Kamala Khan and Monica Rambeau, forcing them to work together to save the universe.
- Release Date
- November 10, 2023
- Nia DaCosta
- Brie Larson, Samuel L. Jackson, Zawe Ashton, Iman Vellani
- 105 minutes
Who Are the Young Avengers?
As their team name implies, the Young Avengers are a group of youthful heroes who serve as Marvel’s equivalent to longer-running adolescent supergroups from DC Comics like the Teen Titans and Young Justice. The team first appeared in Young Avengers #1 in 2005, which was also the first time most of the individual members appeared, and was created by Allan Heinberg and Jim Cheung. The original team was made of teenage fans of the Avengers, several of whom had their own superhuman abilities. They adopted code names related to the heroes their abilities were most similar to, although subsequent plot twists would reveal that some of them were actually more closely connected to other characters. After being assembled by Nathaniel Richards/Iron Lad, a young variant of Kang the Conqueror, the team defeated the adult Kang. Despite this, their parents, Captain America, and Iron Man initially refused to allow them to continue fighting crime. However, they continued to do so and eventually earned their elders’ approval.
Cassie Lang (Kathryn Newton), daughter of Scott Lang/Ant-Man (Paul Rudd) and one of the founding members of the Young Avengers, has been part of the MCU since the first Ant-Man film back in Phase 2, but none of her teammates were introduced until Phase 4 started the Multiverse Saga. However, since then, four more of the original members have been introduced to the franchise, along with Kid Loki (Jack Veal) and America Chavez (Xochitl Gomez), who joined the team in later comics. In the final pre-credits scene of The Marvels, Kamala Khan (Iman Vellani), the young hero known as Ms. Marvel, greeted Kate Bishop (Hailee Steinfeld), the young adult archer who recently became the second Hawkeye, at her apartment. Paraphrasing Nick Fury’s (Samuel L. Jackson) introduction of the Avengers Initiative to Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) from Iron Man’s famed post-credits scene, Kamala asked Kate if she thought she was the only kid superhero in the world (with Kate noting that she’s actually 23 years old) and told her that she wanted to put together a team of young crime fighters, referencing Cassie as another potential recruit. Although Kamala is part of a different teen super group, the Champions, in the comics, none of her teammates have been introduced to the MCU. Between this and Kate being one of the most popular members of the Young Avengers, it’s most likely that it is the team being formed, with Kamala simply being added to the group.
A TV Series Would Be Able to Gradually Develop the Young Avengers’ Relationships
Most of the reasons why a Young Avengers series would be more likely to be successful than a movie have to do with length and screen time. The assumption that the lengthier running times of series always result in greater development of characters and themes is flawed, to be clear. There are plenty of stories that benefit from the shorter length of a film and others that feel dragged out to fill up too many episodes of TV. The MCU has a few examples of the latter with shows like Moon Knight and Secret Invasion. But when it comes to adapting the Young Avengers, the benefits of telling a multiple-episode story outweigh the potential drawbacks. The most important parts of most good superhero stories are the relationships between the characters, rather than the save-the-world plots, and this is especially true of Young Avengers comics. The team’s stories are about the members coming of age and developing various kinds of complicated bonds with each other. A lot of these relationships, such as the romance between Billy Kaplan/Maximoff/Wiccan and Teddy Altman/Hulkling are beloved and iconic to a generation of readers, and a series would have the amount of time necessary to develop them onscreen with the level of quality they deserve and allow the actors to build the necessary levels of familiarity and rapport to bring the bonds to life.
A Series Could Better Explain the Young Avengers’ Complicated Histories
While the plot of a Young Avengers project should, again, be secondary to its character dynamics, it would also benefit from the longer runtime of a series. A lot of the obvious potential team members are currently isolated in distinct corners of the MCU and, aside from Kate and Kamala, they haven’t interacted with one another yet, with the exceptions of Billy (Julian Hilliard) and his brother Tommy/Speed (Jett Klyne). America was in the same scene as the latter pair at the end of Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, but even then, they never directly spoke or met each other. Getting them all together and involved in a single story will take some rather intricate plotting and probably a decent amount of time. Similarly, there’s the matter of the characters’ histories to deal with. Many of the team members’ backstories are fairly complicated. The versions of Billy and Tommy from the MCU’s main Earth-616, for example, were mystically created by their mother, Wanda Maximoff/the Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen), who later allowed them to be erased from existence when she ended her hex on the town of Westview, New Jersey. To use the characters, a Young Avengers project would either have to come up with a reason the boys would be brought back into existence or use variants of them from another Earth in the multiverse, as Multiverse of Madness did. Explaining this kind of complicated backstory for each team member would take up a significant portion of a two-hour film’s runtime, but a series would be able to dish it out in small doses and bring the team together more gradually.
The films from the MCU’s first three phases became so ingrained in pop culture memory that the later ones didn’t have do this kind of recapping. While not every viewer saw all of Thor’s (Chris Hemsworth) solo movies, for example, the character was so ubiquitous that most of them would still know the basics of his history, allowing them to enjoy his involvement in Avengers crossovers. The Multiverse Saga hasn’t been as consistently popular, so creators can’t count on this level of familiarity from most of the audience, especially in regards to characters like the Young Avengers, who so far have mostly been limited to supporting roles. A series has the room to provide the necessary re-introductions so that viewers can enjoy it in isolation while also eventually pushing the characters forward.
A series’ length would also allow the family members and mentors who are important to the individual team members to appear. The creators of The Marvels were wise enough to realize that one of the best things about Kamala is the dynamic she shares with her family, who played amusing supporting roles in the film. A Young Avengers series would be able to bring in some of the most important figures in the kids’ lives without taking too much time or attention away from the main story. Fans would love to see Scott or Clint Barton (Jeremy Renner), the first Hawkeye, pop up for an episode or two to give Cassie and Kate some pointers. And reuniting Billy and Tommy with Wanda would be sure to draw in some extra viewers.
A Series Wouldn’t Have the Pressure of High Box Office Expectations
The final reason a series would be a better choice than a film is a bit more cynical. As stated before, the Multiverse Saga is not as successful as its predecessor, the Infinity Saga, so far. Unfortunately, some divisive creative choices and the greater volume of projects have turned some viewers against the MCU, or at least led them to be more selective about which projects they see. The franchise isn’t currently having the same kind of success at making blockbuster hits based on obscure comic book characters that it had in the past. Making the Young Avengers project a series would ensure that it doesn’t fall victim to unrealistic box office expectations. That said, even a series would have to be handled carefully to be profitable. For one thing, the budget doesn’t need to be astronomically high. Even Marvel’s Disney+ series have been pretty expensive, leading some of them to be labeled disappointments if they don’t generate huge viewership numbers. A smaller budget would make it easier for the Young Avengers to turn a profit and may even improve the show’s quality, as it would force the creators to focus more on character dynamics than VFX-heavy action scenes.
This all being said, a Young Avengers movie would certainly not be a bad thing. Seeing the team come together on the big screen would be a dream come true for a lot of fans. And with any luck, maybe that could still happen down the road. But based on the current state of the MCU, it seems more practical for the group’s first live action adventure to be on TV.
The Marvels is in theaters now.
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