The end of Avengers: Infinity War left fans with a single resounding question: "Are the Avengers really gone?" While Infinity War deaths went down differently in the comics, a significant number of MCU characters fade to dust after Thanos's titanic snap. Even though things will probably turn out just fine for most of the characters after the events of Avengers: Endgame, what if some - or even all - of them are really gone for good?
Marvel has a deep bench of powerful heroes who could fill in for any of the vanished Avengers. There are already confirmed sequels to Spider-Man: Homecoming and Guardians of the Galaxy, but that doesn't mean Peter Parker, Star-Lord, and Drax are coming back. There are plenty of Marvel legacy heroes who could step into the shoes left by those who perished in Avengers: Infinity War.
Is Marvel going to force the backstories for a dozen characters into their Phase 3 climax? Probably not, but you don't know just who might show up when Infinity War part two hits screens in 2019.
Watching Black Panther's T'Challa disappear was a big surprise for Marvel fans. The king of Wakanda's solo movie had only been released a few months before Infinity War and broke box office records for Marvel, making a sequel feel inevitable. So Black Panther's dusting was a significant shock.
Fortunately, Marvel has a plan in case the King of Wakanda is gone for good, and it shouldn't come as much of a surprise. Thanks to Wakanda's laws of succession, Princess Shuri stands as next in line for the throne.
Shuri is a capable warrior who has demonstrated her abilities on and off the page. Not only is she the "Tony Stark" of Wakanda and the person most familiar with the use of Vibranium, Shuri took on the mantle of the Black Panther in 2009. Like her brother before her, she consumes the heart-shaped herb and acquires his powers, making her the Black Panther and Queen of Wakanda. And even when T'Challa returns, Shuri doesn't hang up the mantle or vacate the throne.
Nick Fury operates in the shadows for most of the second and third phases of the MCU thanks to the fall of S.H.I.E.L.D. Even though we don't see him much, Fury is always there working behind the scenes. That's why fans were so excited to see him in the post-credits scene of Avengers: Infinity War. Unfortunately, he only sticks around long enough to page Captain Marvel.
He isn't alone either. Fury's right-hand agent, Maria Hill, also succumbs to the snap, so finding a replacement for Nick Fury leaves only one obvious choice: his son. Nicholas Fury Jr. is not only Nick Fury's son in the comics, he's a former United States soldier and goes on to become the Director of S.H.I.E.L.D. - just like his father.
One of Drax's principal motivations for wanting to eliminate Thanos stems from the slaughter of his family. In the comics, Drax has a much more convoluted backstory, but he also has a bit of hope: his daughter actually survives Thanos. Drax's daughter is taken in by Thanos's father, and under the tutelage of monks on Titan, she taps into psionic powers to become Moondragon, one of the most powerful telepaths in the Marvel universe.
While she's very different from her father in terms of powers and abilities, Moondragon's talents land her membership on various teams, including the Avengers, the Defenders, and eventually, the Guardians of the Galaxy. She could easily be introduced and take over her father's role on the team.
There are plenty of fans of the character who want to see Moondragon included in the MCU, but none more vocal than Drax himself, Dave Bautista.
Peter Parker, AKA Spider-Man, was one of the most surprising and heartrending dustings to come out of Thanos's snap. His final words to Tony Stark hit fans in ways few would have suspected from a Marvel film. And if Peter never returns following the events of Avengers: Infinity War, there are more than a few characters in the comics who could take his place.
2018's Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse introduced moviegoers to the character most likely to fill Spidey's spandex: Miles Morales. Morales made his debut back in 2011's Ultimate Fallout #4 and replaced Peter Parker in the Ultimate Marvel universe. And he eventually makes his way over to Earth-616 in the comics.
Of all the clones, children, and copycats that Spider-Man has attracted over the years, Miles Morales is the most obvious choice for replacing Peter Parker. He's even hinted at in Spider-Man: Homecoming through Donald Glover's character, Aaron Davis, who is Miles's uncle - as well as the villainous Prowler. Marvel Studios head Kevin Feige told ScreenCrush in 2017 he wants fans to wonder where Miles Morales may be in the MCU, possibly hinting at things to come.