Avengers: Endgame may have saved the universe from Thanos and his minions, but the MCU heroes still have a bad reputation to fix in Phase 4.
Coming into Phase 4, the Marvel Cinematic Universe still has an issue with heroes having a bad reputation. Spider-Man: Far From Home tackled the aftermath of Avengers: Endgame and showed how the fight against Thanos was perceived by civilians; for the most part, the world was thankful for what the heroes did, particularly Iron Man who was largely celebrated for his sacrifice. That said, the MCU has yet to fully repair the damaged image of superheroes and that is something that needs rectifying moving forward. Given some of the known events of Phase 4, some steps backward may be taken before a forward path is even found.
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Since the MCU isn’t keen on secret identities, their heroes are more open to public opinion. The Avengers established the idea that while the team are mostly beloved and appreciated for their efforts, not everyone was a fan of theirs as represented by Stan Lee’s cameo in the 2012 film. Marvel Studios further delved into this idea in later movies, most prominently in Captain America: Civil War where both the Sokovia incident followed by the tragedy of Lagos had the United Nations force the Avengers to be under their command. After the heroes reversed Thanos’ Avengers: Infinity War snap and fought hard to make sure that the Mad Titan no longer posed a threat to the universe, the Sokovia Accords was seemingly forgotten, with the public’s perception of the Avengers at an all-time high.
This doesn’t mean, however, that the remaining MCU heroes can freely operate again in MCU Phase 4. While their overall image was improved by what they achieved in Endgame, there are certain heroes whose reputations are still in tatters and the next chapter of the MCU will see the very idea of superheroes challenged once more. For starters, on top of his secret identity being outed during the game-changing Far From Home mid-credits scene, Spider-Man was also framed for the death of Mysterio. Granted that this is a false claim, the fact that The Daily Bugle Net broadcast the heavily-edited video of Quentin Beck for everyone to see is enough to sway people’s opinion of the web-slinging hero. What makes this worse for him is that this puts all the people personally associated with him in a vulnerable position.
Furthermore, while Steve Rogers personally picked him as his Captain America replacement, Sam Wilson assuming the role won’t be a walk in the park. Based on what’s known so far about The Falcon and The Winter Soldier, the government won’t be acknowledging Steve’s choice as they bring in John Walker (U.S. Agent in the comics) as their next Star-Spangled hero. Official footage from the Disney+ series shows Walker wielding the shield and appearing at events, suggesting that he’s being presented to the public as the government-sponsored Captain America while Sam figures out a way to claim his rightful place. Or at least to properly honor Steve’s legacy as Cap. This won’t be easy, however; aside from the government backing Walker, his personal association with both Steve and Bucky won’t help his cause and there’s bound to be push-back. While the Avengers made amends privately, nothing was done to remedy Team Cap’s tainted image. Depending on their initial read on the situation, Steve Rogers may very well still be viewed as a war criminal for his refusal to sign the Sokovia Accords. The same goes for Bucky who was framed for the attack on the United Nations gathering in Civil War.
Lastly, while all the aforementioned characters will be striving to repair their public image, things are far trickier with Wanda. Given what happened in Lagos where she lost control of her powers, becoming the trigger event for the Sokovia Accords to be enacted, the events of WandaVision will no doubt further worsen her reputation. Her rumored manipulation of reality – which will bring her to SWORD’s attention – could spill into the real world and cause massive repercussions and since she’s already got a bad record, she’s in danger of furthering suspicions about the dangers of superheroes. Depending on how they handle her arc in the Marvel Cinematic Universe TV show, Scarlet Witch could even ultimately be the ultimate villain of WandaVision.
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Key Release Dates
- Black Widow (2021)Release date: May 07, 2021
- Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (2021)Release date: Jul 09, 2021
- Eternals (2021)Release date: Nov 05, 2021
- Spider-Man: Homecoming 3 (2021)Release date: Dec 17, 2021
- Thor: Love and Thunder (2022)Release date: Feb 11, 2022
- Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (2022)Release date: Mar 25, 2022
- Black Panther 2 (2022)Release date: May 06, 2022
- Captain Marvel 2 (2022)Release date: Jul 08, 2022
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