The new Avengers

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War Machine

As was inevitably going to happen, Avengers: Age Of Ultron has sparked all kinds of conversation and debate as to where the Marvel Cinematic Universe goes from here.

Boing Boing has posted an entire discussion on the film’s ‘Easter eggs’ and the Internet as a whole has basically picked the film apart in search of hints and clues about future projects.

But even with all this going on, there seems to be a curious lack of attention being paid to the very end of Age Of Ultron. Setting up next spring’s Captain America: Civil War, in which Captain America and Iron Man will oppose one another (presumably with respective allies of their own), the end of Age Of Ultron sees our superhero team splitting up. Thor, Hulk, Iron Man, and Hawkeye go their separate ways, leaving Black Widow and Captain America behind…. Only Black Widow and Captain America aren’t alone; they’re standing before a new crop of Avengers, evidently ready to be trained as Cap’s new team.

So who are they? Well, here’s a quick look back at the characters who are now new Avengers.

Scarlet Witch

If you saw Age Of Ultron, you’re pretty familiar with Scarlet Witch by now, given that the film included her backstory. Played pretty effectively by Elizabeth Olsen, Scarlet Witch is, as she was termed in Age Of Ultron, an ‘enhanced’—a mystic superhero created by Hydra experiments and meant to be a sort of anti-Avenger.

We may not have seen all there is to know about the Witch’s background. As noted recently by HitFlix, the Marvel comics are still changing her background and parentage. However, the Cinematic Universe seems to have settled for depicting her (and her twin brother Quicksilver) as a refugee child who gave herself up to Hydra to gain power to avenge her parents (who were killed in an attack conducted with Stark Industries weaponry). Now, however, she looks like a pretty valuable weapon for the Avengers. Having demonstrated powers that in ways might exceed those of all the other heroes, she’s officially a good guy, after watching her brother die defending the Avengers. Expect to see her as a main player from this point on.

Vision

What, exactly, is Vision? Well, if you’ve seen Age Of Ultron, you still may not be entirely sure, because that whole part of the film asked fans to take quite a bit for granted. Basically, he’s a super-sophisticated humanoid piece of artificial intelligence, designed by Tony Stark and Bruce Banner (with help from an Infinity Stone) to combat Ultron. The part of Vision was played by Paul Bettany, who, as Business Insider  remarked in an interesting article about how the role came to be, steals every scene he’s in.

Now, about that Infinity Stone… Given that these are the objects super villain Thanos seems to be after, and that future Avenger projects Avengers: Infinity War parts I and II are already announced, it seems the Stone will keep Vision relevant perhaps through the duration of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

War Machine

The character who should be the most familiar of the new Avengers feels strangely forgotten, perhaps because he’s been played by two different men (first Terrence Howard, now Don Cheadle). Still, when you think back to Iron Man 2, he really was a pretty integral part of the action. War Machine appears on the cover art  of the film, and is even paired with Iron Man in a Betfair Casino, a video game based on the setting and events of Iron Man 2.

For those unfamiliar with the game, it employs comic art directly from the film to make its slot machine content more interesting, and it’s actually a surprisingly sharp reminder of how big War Machine’s role really was. He’s the silver Iron Man with a machine gun mounted on one shoulder.

Still, all that was a while back. Believe it or not it’s been five years since Iron Man 2, and while War Machine also featured in  Iron Man 3, he feels a bit lost in the shuffle at this point, and a couple forgettable scenes in Age Of Ultron didn’t quite stand up to the loud introductions of Scarlet Witch and Vision. Still, Cheadle has always been a fun foil to Robert Downey, Jr.’s Tony Stark, and seeing them on opposing sides will be interesting moving forward.

Anthony Mackie’s Falcon character is the ‘new Avenger’  about which we seem to know the least, by a fairly wide margin. He actually had a pretty strong role in Captain America: The Winter Soldier, as a soldier who admires Captain America and ultimately becomes a sort of sidekick. Basically, he’s Captain America’s War Machine.

Judging by comments from Mackie before the release of Age Of Ultron, Falcon might continue to be a sort of fringe character moving forward, because even Mackie seems utterly unsure of where and when he’ll appear in future Marvel films. Although, if we are going to see more of him, a chunk of it will probably be in Civil War, since it’s technically a Captain America film and Mackie comes from that branch of the Cinematic Universe.

Craziest of all is the fact that Marvel isn’t done adding Avengers. Even later this summer, Ant-Man will be introduced and will likely appear in future Avenger films. But for now, these are the new Avengers, and we’d all best get used to them moving forward!

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