Disney held its Investor Day recently, announcing a ton with regard to its various intellectual properties like Marvel and Star Wars. It was indeed a sight to wake up to as we got our first good looks at “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier”, “What If?”, and “Loki”, all of which are set to debut next year. Besides, a number of castings were confirmed, some of which were surprises.
However, we couldn’t help but notice several younger names which strengthened the notion of Marvel Studios intending to bring the Young Avengers concept to the MCU. Some of these characters will be making their debuts on the small screen, presumably with the intention of crossing over to the big screen. So, who knows? We could be getting our little league of Avengers ready by the end of next year.
Now, the Young Avengers was first conceptualised in 2005 by Allan Heinberg and Jim Cheung, bringing together a group of remarkable children after the original Avengers disassembled. Unlike another young, powered ensemble from the comics, the Young Avengers performed hero work because they felt a duty to do so. It wasn’t spawned from a need to run away from villainous parents.
While it remains to be seen as to what might probably spur these young heroes to assemble within the live-action universe, we can take a peek at their backstories, powers, and what make these individuals so special.
“So, Cassie… What do you wanna be when you grow up?”
“I wanna help people. Like my dad.”
Cassandra Lang is the most established character on this list as she first appeared in 2015’s “Ant-Man”. The young sassy daughter of Scott and Maggie Lang was only 8 years old when she appeared on screen, played by an adorable Abby Ryder Fortson. With an appreciation of ferociously ugly bunny dolls and ants the size of dogs, Cassie displayed an astonishing sense of irreverent wonder and bravery.
Fortson reprised her role in 2018’s “Ant-Man and The Wasp”, coming to the aid of her dad in one of the film’s most dire moments. She also suggested to Scott Lang that he needed a partner. And no, it wasn’t Hope that she was talking about. She was expressing her desire to be a hero, just like her dad!
In “Avengers: Endgame”, there was a brief but major update to Cassie. Scott Lang had just returned from the Quantum Realm after being stuck in there for 5 hours. Nevertheless, time works in mysterious ways within the dimension. To his shock and utter dismay, he found out that 5 years had passed and the world was in disarray due to Thanos’ actions after returning to the normal world. Of course, he sprinted back to his old house in hopes that his daughter had not turned into dust. His fears were allayed as Scott found out that Cassie was not only alive and well, but was also a teenage girl played by Emma Fuhrmann.
Now, in the comics, Cassie also looked up to her father, constantly adoring his gig. However, when her father was killed by the Scarlet Witch during the Avengers Disassembled storyline, she seeks out the Young Avengers, revealing that she too was a powered individual. She confessed that she had been stealing Pym Particles from her father for years without any notable side effects but later developed shrinking and growing abilities. Cassie later adopts the superhero moniker, Stature, to become the Ant-Man counterpart within the young team.
In early issues of the Young Avengers, Cassie’s powers were fuelled by her emotions. When she got angry, she grew (kinda like another jolly green behemoth). When guilty, she shrank. Her powers acted as emotional extensions, helping her to cope better with certain situations.
One of Marvel’s major reveals during Investor Day was that a new actress will take on the role of Cassie Lang for the third film in the “Ant-Man” franchise. Kathyrn Newton (“Detective Pikachu”) will be stepping into the brief teenage role held by Fuhrmann and also seemingly confirmed via an Instagram post that she will be taking on the moniker of Stature. With that, it seems Ant-fam is about to get bigger.
SPEED & WICCAN
Now, Wanda. Vision. If you think about it, it’s unholy matrimony. The duo began flirting during “Captain America: Civil War” and it developed into a full-fledged relationship in “Avengers: Infinity War”. Nonetheless, tragedy struck when the Vision sacrificed himself to ensure that Thanos did not obtain the Mind Stone. It was to no avail as Thanos immediately reversed time and plucked out the stone from Vision’s forehead like a cherry.
The upcoming Disney+ series, “WandaVision” aims to explore Wanda’s emotions after that devastating finale and it currently is a mystery as to how Vision will be returning in the series although we do have an idea how.
However, what might intrigue many is that a number of shots in the trailers suggest that Wanda and Vision will have children. And they’re not ordinary younglings.
Indeed, there is evidence that alludes to such powered children entering the fray. Pacifiers float around the house. Baby mobiles magically flutter into butterflies. So, what exactly are we dealing with here?
If we are to take a look at the source material, Wanda and Vision did raise two children, Billy and Tommy, on their own. BUT, how they were conceived wasn’t exactly natural. You see, the two boys were actually magically constructed using shards of the demon Mephisto’s life essence. Of course, this was a recipe for disaster as the two kids disappeared when Mephisto reabsorbed those slivers of his essence back into his being.
The disappearance of both boys drove Wanda insane. This eventually led up to the House of M incident, where she uttered those three words that would rock Marvel’s universe: No. More. Mutants. While that is a whole other story in itself, one that “WandaVision” could be taking cues from, we’re here to talk about Speed and Wiccan.
Not long after the House of M incident, the two boys were reincarnated as teenagers Tommy Shepherd and Billy Kaplan in the pages of the Young Avengers. They both derived their abilities from their uncle and mother respectively. As Speed’s name suggests, he is a lightning-fast individual. On the other hand, Wiccan relies on spells, magic and even takes a tinge of reality for himself.
We’ll be getting our first glimpses at the twin brothers as soon as next month when “WandaVision” finally drops on Disney+. Until then, we can only hope that they do not disappear from the loving arms of their parents, or the results could be… maddening.
Riri Williams is a 15-year-old genius inventor who managed to reverse engineer Tony Stark’s outdated armour to create her own suit of armour. Like Stark, she was accepted into M.I.T. at the tender age of fifteen but faced her own tragedy when her only friend, Natalie, and step-father were killed in a horrifying shootout. As such, she took it upon herself to create her own prototype suit out of materials from her campus, eventually adopting the name Ironheart. Like the Iron Man suit, Ironheart has its own AI, named in honour of her best friend after it took on a grown-up version of her.
Ironheart is definitely the newest character on this list as she only made her debut in printed form in 2016. Marvel Studios kind of has a blank slate on this one and could probably improve upon her comic-book counterpart in several ways.
It was announced during Investor Day that actress Dominique Thorne will be portraying Riri Williams in her own Disney+ series.
America Chavez is a Fuertona Starling who was born and raised by her mothers in a dimension called the Utopian Parallel. Her powers were derived from a being within that universe called the Demiurge. Nevertheless, America lost her mothers when they sacrificed themselves to save the Utopian Parallel.
Adopting the name Ms America, she abandoned her homeworld, joining several teams such as the Teen Brigade, A-Force, Young Avengers, and the West Coast Avengers. The character also identifies as a lesbian, dating nurse Lisa Halloran.
America Chavez has a unique skillset whereby she can open star-shaped portals through the multiverse. She can punch holes into other realities and fly at lightspeed. Chavez also possesses a dangerous ability to make her enemies burst into tiny fragments with just a punch. Her most lethal attack is a Star Blast, capable of incapacitating even the strongest of heroes or villains alike. America also can travel through time but requires a great deal of focus to do so.
The character has been announced to debut in “Doctor Strange and The Multiverse of Madness” played by Xochitl Gomez. Considering her dimension punching abilities, she seems to be a solid fit for the film’s mad premise and would be a great addition to a Young Avengers lineup.
While not the first Muslim superhero in Marvel Comics, Kamala Khan made headlines back in 2014 when she became the first Muslim superhero to star in her own series. The character itself actually debuted on the pages of Captain Marvel #14 as a bystander who witnesses Carol Danvers protecting the public from the evil Yon-Rogg.
Kamala Khan developed powers during the Inhumanity arc whereby a large number of people were exposed to the Terrigen mists, thus unlocking Kree genes that were been dormant within them the whole time. Kamala soon gained the ability to stretch her limbs, alter her shape, and shapeshift. Hmm, we wonder what another member of the Fantastic Four will say when he eventually enters the MCU…
Ms Marvel was last seen in the Square Enix Avengers game in which she plays an integral part. In that narrative, the Avengers had disbanded, and Kamala attempted to get the group back together again after making some discoveries of her own.
Khan will be portrayed by 16-year-old newcomer, Iman Vellani, in an original series exclusive to Disney+. As seen in a sizzle reel for the upcoming series, Kamala Khan has a bunch of Captain Marvel posters in her room and as such, we can deduce that she is a big fan of the cosmic superhero. As imitation is the best form of flattery, Khan might probably see herself fit to adopt a name that was similar to her idol’s.
It remains to be seen whether Marvel Studios intends to keep her origin story intact by making her an Inhuman. It would be interesting to see whether her backstory will be tweaked as the Inhumans are technically not in the MCU as of now. The only remnants of such was a cancelled movie that was supposed to be released last year and an ill-fated ABC series.
Regardless, Ms Marvel is aiming for the stars as the character will star alongside Monica Rambeau and Carol Danvers in 2022’s Captain Marvel sequel directed by Candyman helmer Nia DaCosta.
Katherine Bishop was introduced in the pages of Young Avengers #1 back in 2005. A phenomenal archer just like Clint Barton, Kate’s first appearance was a humble but explosive one. Starting off as a civilian, Kate was at her sister’s wedding when five gunmen entered the scene to take the party hostage. The Young Avengers dropped in but only made matters worse when they inadvertently started a fire and became hostages themselves. Thanks to Kate’s wit and skills, which at the time were unknown to the public, the team barely escaped from the situation.
A tough, independent soul whose drive stems out of her own will, Kate has displayed exemplary cool in tough situations. Her initial run-in with the Young Avengers led her and Cassie Lang to track the group down on their own, subsequently inviting themselves into the team. She later accepted the moniker of Hawkeye as her own due to Clint having been killed prior.
Kate is an exceptional martial artist, proficient in boxing and jiu-jitsu. She also bears two battle staves similar to Mockingbird and also can fight with a sword. Of course, she’s one of the best archers alongside her mentor (when he returned to the 616-canon), using her bow and arrow as if they were extensions of her limbs.
“Bumblebee” and “True Grit” star Hailee Steinfeld will be taking aim as the character in the Disney+ “Hawkeye” series. She will be starring alongside Jeremy Renner, who will be reprising his role as Clint Barton, and Vera Farmiga who will be playing Kate’s mother. Oh, and there’s a canine called Lucky the Pizza Dog as well. Guess we’ll be getting some…
The other big reveal for “Ant-Man Quantumania” was that Kang The Conqueror was in the film and that he will be played by “Lovecraft Country” star, Jonathan Majors. So, what has that got to do Iron Lad?
You see, Kang is a time-travelling entity. His presence is sprawled across time itself and as a result, he assumes multiple identities across multiple timelines. Nathaniel Richards, a 31st-century scholar discovered time travel technology and used it to travel back to Ancient Egypt, assuming the role of Rama-Tut. His timey-wimey shenanigans led to various run-ins with the Avengers but also other identities such as the Scarlet Centurion and Immortus, to name a few.
However, one notable identity that Kang has gone by is Iron Lad, who is, in essence, a teenage Nathaniel Richards from another timeline. After Kang goes back in time to save this particular teen from a group of bullies that would otherwise leave him in the hospital for months, Kang tells his younger self everything that would happen. He wishes that the younger Richards would be able to hasten his transformation into Kang much more quickly. Nevertheless, Lil Richards is shaken by this revelation and resolves to form a new group of Avengers in the event that the original team was no longer there.
Confused much? That’s Kang shenanigans for you.
Contrary to popular belief, Iron Lad is in no way related to Tony Stark. Except for a plagiarisation of the Iron Man brand, Iron Lad’s heritage is purely Kang’s and Kang’s alone. His armour is also neurotically connected to Nathaniel, so it can alter its appearance at his whims.
This one is a long-shot for sure, but you know the drill… never say never.
The upcoming “Loki” series will place the spotlight on the god of mischief and his misdeeds through time. Acting as an agent for the Time Variance Authority, Loki will seemingly revisit various alternate timelines and even suit up as the enigmatic D.B. Cooper.
Nonetheless, it has also been confirmed that other versions of Loki will make their debuts in the series. The female version of Loki has already been confirmed to be played by Sophia Di Martino but there have also been rumours that suggest Kid Loki might debut in the series as well.
In the comics, Kid Loki was a reincarnation of the original Loki who had died in the Siege of Asgard. He had little to no memory of his past, with slivers of the crimes from his past life haunting his nightmares. Thor eventually restores a part of his memory and brings him to Asgard.
Kid Loki in the MCU might probably be a one-off thing, but if that concept were to remain, there could very well be one of the new Young Avengers on the block.