WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for Avengers: Infinity War, in theaters now.
Though the world is still reeling from the devastating end of Avengers: Infinity War, talks at Marvel Studios and Disney about the MCU's future have gone well beyond whatever happens to Earth's Mightiest Heroes in Avengers 4 next year.
During an earnings call this past Tuesday, Disney CEO Bob Iger said that future Marvel films have been plotted out and that fans shouldn't rule out more Avengers films. "I'm guessing we will try our hand at what I'll call a new franchise beyond Avengers," he told investors, "but that doesn't necessarily mean you won't see more Avengers down the road. We just haven't made any announcements about that."
That's a statement that invites speculation, so let's do that.
To begin with, let's clarify what Iger most likely meant by "franchise." It doesn't necessarily mean a new super team will rise up to take the Avengers' place in the MCU. Rather, it simply means "a property that could support two or more movies by itself." But given that the Avengers are still the center of things, and we all know the Guardians of the Galaxy movies aren't going anywhere soon, teams are the easiest thing to gravitate towards when discussing what should be the MCU's next big introduction.
On that front then, The Defenders, Young Avengers, and The Champions can be ruled out. The Defenders is firmly placed with Netflix, even if it's unclear whether there'll be another season. Young Avengers and the most recent version of The Champions (which sees that title go towards a group of teen superheroes such as Miles Morales, Ms. Marvel and Viv Vision) can be ruled out because, given production scheduling, it'd be hard to keep a core cast of teenaged actors together and truly "young" for long. And on that front, the current Spider-Man film series, the in-limbo-but-already-cast-and-written Squirrel Girl and the New Warriors TV show and Freeform's upcoming Cloak & Dagger TV show have the "teenage superhero" angle on lock anyhow. Similarly, Power Pack also falls victim to the realities of aging. (That said, it's a real shame a property that's essentially "The Incredibles but they're kids" and has one of Marvel's most prominent lesbian characters in Julie Powers hasn't had anything done with it in this boom period of superhero media.)