MCU Phase 4 is well underway, with Marvel carefully piecing together the next overarching Avengers story. The Earth’s mightiest heroes will reunite in an Avengers 5 movie down the road. It’s not announced yet, but the film is almost certainly in the early phases of planning. Marvel boss Kevin Feige hinted as much, reminding fans that you can’t have a new Avengers movie without building the new story first. Phase 4 TV shows and movies have already introduced new heroes, villains, and a massive complication.
The multiverse will play a significant role in the MCU going forward, and the Avengers will have to take this development into account. A new teaser just came out hinting that the Avengers might soon have to face a terrifying threat. They’ll have to fight each other again, but it will be nothing like what we saw before. Mind you, a few huge spoilers might follow below.
The MCU always showed us superheroes fighting each other
If you think that Captain America: Civil War has the most memorable Avengers vs. Avengers story in the MCU so far, you’d be right. That’s the movie that ends the first Captain America trilogy, setting up the discord between two Avengers factions just before Infinity War and Endgame.
Civil War is a must-see movie for anyone looking to understand why Thanos (Josh Brolin) catches the Avengers off-guard in Infinity War. Thanos might still have won as easily as he did in the third Avengers 3, but the Avengers themselves weren’t united.
On the other hand, MCU superheroes fought among themselves even before Civil War and after that. The Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) vs. Thor (Chris Hemsworth) vs. Captain America (Steve Rogers) fight from The Avengers is one example. Then Tony Stark faced off against Hulk in Age of Ultron. Even in Infinity War, we had Stark, Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch), and Spider-Man (Tom Holland) engage the Guardians of the Galaxy on Titan before Thanos arrived.
There’s also the Thor vs. Hulk battle in Thor: Ragnarok to include in the list. And, come to think of it, the Avengers also had to deal with an angry Hulk back in the first movie.
Why do the Avengers fight themselves?
Before the MCU Phase 4, we had two patterns of Avengers vs. Avengers battles. The superheroes might fight each other while getting acquainted with brand new team members. Or when they’re forced to fight Hulk. The other possibility is what we saw in Civil War, a full-fledged conflict with potentially disastrous consequences.
The multiverse is unleashed in Phase 4, which means the Avengers could find themselves fighting against different Avengers teams from different timelines. And that may very well turn out to be the main storyline of this MCU phase. Different Avengers teams from different realities might engage each other. That’s the Secret Wars movie that we know is coming down the road.
The Phase 4 Avengers
But there’s a different Avengers threat that we have to consider, one that we saw in What If…? episode 5. That’s the Avengers zombies who aren’t dumb, flesh-eating creatures like the ones we see in most zombie stories. The MCU Phase 4 Zombie Avengers retain their powers. They can use them to, well, get to the flesh-eating part.
The What If…? episode gave us a quick taste of what the Avengers vs. Zombie Avengers fight would look like and why it’s all so dangerous. And as soon as an Avenger turns into a zombie, they can use their powers to infect others.
As we already know, everything in What If…? is canon for the MCU. Everything that happens in those stories is part of the multiverse, with the action taking place chronologically after Loki. Therefore, any of the What If…? characters might appear in live-action form later in Phase 4. That includes the Zombie Avengers.
Writer Mark Millar wrote in a newsletter that Marvel might adapt its Marvel Zombies into a live-action movie. Millar said that “(if my sources are correct) a little live-action Marvel Zombies further down the line, but you never heard that from me.”
He did not elaborate, so we have no idea how the live-action Marvel Zombies would fit into the grander MCU Phase 4 storyline. But if it does happen, it should be an exciting horror Avengers story. Also, it’s unclear how the main reality Avengers will meet the zombies, but the multiverse will answer all that.
While we wait, What If…? is available for streaming on Disney Plus right now, with three episodes left in the first season.