TV & Movies
Several members have already been introduced.
Have Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) fans seen the end of the Avengers? With no new movies featuring the iconic team planned for the foreseeable future — not to mention the recent onscreen deaths of founding members Black Widow, Iron Man, and Captain America — it sure looks like the MCU is in need of a next-generation superhero group. In the comics, that space has sometimes been filled by the Young Avengers, a group of younger heroes with ties to the original Avengers. And though Marvel Studios hasn’t officially announced plans to introduce them, fan theories suggest that Young Avengers may soon join the MCU.
The clues have been subtle, but they’re there if you know what you’re looking for. Specifically, a number of characters from the Young Avengers comics have already surfaced in the MCU — and they seem to be showing up with increased frequency as time goes on. A full nine out of the group’s 12 members have either already appeared in the MCU in some form or are confirmed to do so in the coming years. This could be a coincidence, but with a full 75% of these characters now counting themselves among the MCU’s ranks, it sure looks to be more than that. So just who are the Young Avengers, and which ones have viewers already met? Below, meet the 12 most significant members of the group.
Nathaniel Richards is a teenager from the future who wears a high-tech suit that’s reminiscent of Iron Man’s armor. But despite this, he’s not actually related to Iron Man (the Young Avengers apparently love to misdirect the audience with their character names). Instead, Richards is a variant of the time-traveling supervillain Kang the Conqueror. We’ve already met one variant of Kang in the MCU: Loki’s He Who Remains (Jonathan Majors), who is set to be the big bad in the MCU’s Phase Four. He Who Remains mentioned he has other variants, so there’s definitely a chance a younger one — aka Iron Lad — pops up at some point.
Loki appeared to introduce Kid Loki — a youthful variant of Loki — in Episode 5, when Loki found several variants of himself living in the Void at the end of time. While the MCU version of the character (Jack Veal) probably isn’t Avengers material (he killed Thor in his timeline), the comics’ Kid Loki is much more altruistic, and was briefly a member of the Young Avengers. A young reincarnated version of Loki without memories from his past, Kid Loki constantly struggles with suppressing his wicked urges.
Since 50-year-old Jeremy Renner isn’t exactly young, you may have deduced that “Hawkeye” in this instance refers to a different character, and you’d be right. The Hawkeye in question is Kate Bishop, a young woman with a troubled past who is inspired by Clint Barton/Hawkeye to train in archery and combat. She eventually becomes the new Hawkeye and a mentee of Barton’s. Bishop is set to play that same role in the upcoming Disney+ series Hawkeye, which will star Hailee Steinfeld as Bishop.
In the comics, the Young Avengers first come together following the destruction of Avengers Mansion and the deaths of several Avengers — including Ant-Man, aka Scott Lang. As a direct result of this tragedy, Scott’s daughter, Cassie Lang, becomes one of the new group’s founding members. She adopts the name Stature and uses Pym Particles to change her size, just like her old man. The non-superhero version of the character has appeared frequently in the MCU: Abby Ryder Fortson played a young Cassie in Ant-Man and Ant-Man and the Wasp, a teenage version is portrayed by Emma Fuhrmann in Avengers: Endgame, and Big Little Lies star Kathryn Newton will play Cassie in the upcoming Ant-Man: Quantumania. Fans theorize that Cassie will make the transition to Stature in Quantumania.
The sometimes-leader of the Young Avengers, Eli Bradley is the grandson of Isaiah Bradley, a Black WWII-era American soldier who was experimented on with super-soldier serum before Steve Rogers became Captain America. Eli has no natural-born powers, but he becomes a super-soldier by taking the illegal drug “Mutant Growth Hormone.” The serum ends up messing with his mind, similar to how the super-soldier serum affected John Walker in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier. Speaking of that Disney+ series, Eli Bradley (Elijah Richardson) appeared in the show alongside his grandfather, but he didn’t take any of the super-soldier serum that was floating around… that we know of, anyway.
Speed has already appeared in the MCU, though you didn’t know him by that name. Instead, he went by the name Tommy (Jett Klyne) and was one of the twin sons of Wanda Maximoff and Vision, as seen in WandaVision. Though the circumstances in the comics and on TV differ, both versions of Tommy originally existed only as magical constructs who are then erased from existence. But, in the comics, Wanda’s twins are eventually reincarnated, with the young man Tommy Shepherd becoming the super-fast Young Avenger known as Speed. Since the character already exists in the MCU, a similar scenario could play out on TV or in the movies.
Wiccan, aka Billy Kaplan, is Wanda and Vision’s other twin. His backstory is identical that of his brother Speed: He also existed originally as a magical construct, was wiped from existence, and then returned as a reincarnated version of himself. Known by the moniker Wiccan, Billy has reality-warping abilities similar to his mother’s — powers that were hinted at during WandaVision, in which he was played by Julian Hilliard. In the comics, Wiccan falls for and eventually marries his Young Avengers teammate Hulkling.
Wait a minute… isn’t this guy a member of the grown-up Avengers? Well, yes — or at least another version of the character is. The Vision is a synthezoid (that’s Marvel-speak for artificial human), and as such, his personality and traits are malleable. MCU fans saw flashes of this in WandaVision, when Vision’s body was rebuilt with an entirely different personality. In the Young Avengers comics, Iron Lad creates a new version of Vision after uploading the deceased original’s software to his own armor, which in turn gains sentience. This Vision, though created from the original, has his own distinct memories and personality. Given that the MCU has already shown how Vision’s identity can be manipulated, it’s possible fans could meet this “younger” version on-screen.
The character America Chavez made quite the splash in 2016 when she became Marvel’s first lesbian hero to star in her own ongoing series. Hailing from another dimension, Miss America is super strong, can fly super fast, and can punch open star-shaped portals to other realities. In addition to her time with the Young Avengers, Chavez has also belonged to the West Coast Avengers and the all-female superhero group, A-Force. She’s set to make her MCU debut next year in the film Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness, and she’ll be played by Xochitl Gomez (above).
As you can probably tell from the name, Hulkling is the Young Avengers’ equivalent to the Hulk — but other than being green and super strong (though considerably less strong than the Big Guy), he doesn’t actually have much in common with Bruce Banner. Hulking’s main power is shape-shifting, which he can thank his parentage for: He’s the forbidden offspring of a Skrull princess and the Kree hero Mar-Vell, who was raised on Earth. While both the Skrulls and a gender-swapped, non-superhero version of Mar-Vell (Annette Bening) have appeared in the MCU, there’s no evidence of Hulking’s impending arrival just yet.
Noh-Varr, aka Marvel Boy, has a lengthier and more complicated history than most of his fellow Young Avengers. A Kree super-soldier from another dimension, Noh-Varr has been both villainous and benevolent in his 20-year comic book history. He usually falls right in the middle, but his most heroic period (arguably) coincided with his time in the Young Avengers. While there, he also served as the team’s resident male sex symbol — a comic book rarity — and dated Kate Bishop for a time. While Kree aliens have appeared in the MCU in films like Captain Marvel and Guardians of the Galaxy, Noh-Varr has not.
Prodigy is a mutant — and while we haven’t yet met a mutant in the MCU, they’re confirmed to be on the way in the coming years. Prodigy’s power is a specific and involuntary type of mind-reading that allows him to temporarily absorb the knowledge and skills of those around him. Being a mutant, most of Prodigy’s comic book history involves the X-Men, but he did spend some time with the Young Avengers, during which he came out as bisexual. He has been involved romantically with fellow member Speed, who is also bisexual, and has displayed feelings for Hulkling, who identifies as gay. Given the lack of mutants thus far in the MCU and Prodigy’s lack of prominence within the X-Men, he seems like one of the least likely candidates for an MCU introduction anytime soon… but you never know.
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