In a recent interview, "Avengers: Age of Ultron" director Joss Whedon emphatically reasserted the fact that Carol "Captain Marvel" Danvers would not be appearing in the "Avengers" sequel. However, he mentioned in the same breath that there is a secret female character -- but that "it's not a big deal, but it's a good character." A secret that won't be a big surprise? It sounds like there may be someone showing up that we may recognize from expanded Marvel Cinematic Universe material or a character from the comics that readers have already pinpointed. Here are five characters who might just fit the bill.
First, the obvious: Bobbi Morse has appeared in almost every episode of "Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." this season and, boy, has she made an impression. Highly skilled, charismatic and supremely badass, Mockingbird fits right in with all the other glib, quip-delivering Avengers that we all know and love. Oh, and she was an Avenger for a spell in the comics, too, of course, so it wouldn't be all that surprising to see her fight alongside the team, even briefly. Likewise, she was married to Hawkeye in the comics; though Whedon seems to be more inspired by the Ultimate Universe in his interpretation of Hawkeye, a quick interaction between the two would be a nice nod to the source material. Plus, in a recent episode of "S.H.I.E.L.D.," a flashback sequence revealed that Bobbi was in close cahoots with none other than Nick Fury; though things between the two S.H.I.E.L.D. factions are strained because of his actions at the moment, would she really disregard a cry for help from Fury when the world is in danger? With strong connections to S.H.I.E.L.D., Fury and possibly even Black Widow, using Mockingbird almost seems like a no-brainer.
Like Mockingbird, Quake just made an earth shattering entrance on "Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." Though she's been the central character on the show since the first episode of season one, Skye has recently come into some truly incredible powers: she can emit vibrations that shake the very ground. Skye, whose birth name is Daisy, has been confirmed as the comic book character Daisy "Quake" Johnson; while she's Fury's right hand woman throughout Jonathan Hickman and Stefano Caselli's "Secret Warriors," she's taken a shine to Coulson in the show. Though Skye is off at Camp Inhuman in the show, "Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." will tie directly into "Avengers: Age of Ultron." While that doesn't necessarily guarantee that the show's characters will turn up in the movie, it sounds like there'll be a big mustering of the forces and I wouldn't be surprised if some characters -- like Skye, who Whedon created in the "AoS" pilot -- end up making a cameo.
Night Nurse is here! Claire Temple is a very recent addition to the MCU, but don't let that fool you. She'll be kicking around for eight episodes of the recently released "Daredevil" TV series and, true to her moniker, she'll be taking care of ol' Hornhead when he's injured and in need of some discreet medical attention. In an interview with CBR, Rosario Dawson -- who plays the character in the Netflix show -- teased that Marvel would be doing a lot more with her character than was in the comics. Add to that the fact that Dawson is generally a film actress rather than a TV one, and she seems ripe for the picking. Even a brief appearance in "Avengers: Age of Ultron" would be enough to set her up for future MCU films; for instance, Night Nurse played a role in Mark Millar and Steven McNiven's "Civil War," joining Captain America's resistance and providing his group a safe house. Will a guest spot in "Avengers: Age of Ultron" build her up for a bigger role in "Captain America: Civil War?" We'll just have to wait and see.
Sharon may not have been in "Captain America: The Winter Soldier" for very long, but she played a critical role in stalling Hydra's Project Insight launch and more than proved her loyalty to Steve Rogers. In the comics, Sharon has had a longstanding relationship with Cap and played a pretty crucial role in the "Civil War" storyline. We know that something is going to happen in "Avengers: Age of Ultron" that feeds into "Captain America: Civil War," or -- as some are calling it -- "Avengers 2.5." If we get a peek at who sides with who in "Avengers: Age of Ultron," then Sharon might show up just long enough to make that tough decision.
Of all the characters listed here, Shuri may be the biggest wildcard on this list. Where all of the other characters have appeared in the MCU in some shape or form, Shuri has yet to make her on-screen debut. However, rumors have long circulated that Black Panther might show up in "Avengers: Age of Ultron" and Ulysses Klaw -- a crucial part of Black Panther mythology -- is confirmed to appear; if elements of Wakanda are beginning to appear in the MCU, it would make sense that Shuri -- who is part of the Wakandan royal family -- isn't far behind. Plus, a mysterious woman who looks like her appeared briefly in one of the "Avengers: Age of Ultron" trailers, though that theory was recently dismissed. With all of these hints brewing, Shuri might just a cameo to continue world building for 2017's "Black Panther" film.