Who will the Avengers in Marvel’s new game be? Answer: not who you might think

Captain America, Iron Man, Black Widow, Hulk, Hawkeye, Thor. Each one of those names conjures up images of Tony Stark or Steve Rogers on the big screen, but the comics have long since chosen different people to inherit the Avengers’ respective mantles. The question is: which side will the recently announced The Avengers Project game take? Although we might think we know each hero inside out, at some point the comic storylines have changed the secret identity of almost every superhero. With recent tweets suggesting that The Avengers Project might not be the only game in the works, now seems a good a time as ever to give a rundown of the potential list of candidates who could be in the videogame instead of the faces we’re so used to seeing on the big screen. Sorry, Robert Downey Jr, now might not be your time to shine. Don’t look at me like that.

MAJOR SPOILER WARNING: I’m about to explain most of the details from the comic books for each hero, so do not scroll down unless you want massive spoilers for their respective stories. You have been warned. 

Thor

Original character (MCU): Thor Odinson
New character (comics): Jane Foster

What happened? This caused quite a ruckus when it was first revealed, as Thor is now a woman - not the original Thor Odinson. Turns out Odinson is currently unworthy of wielding the hammer Mjölnir (at the moment it remains a mystery why he dropped it in the first place), so in the comics a mysterious woman takes up Mjölnir. Needless to say, Odinson isn’t very happy about this. The identity of Thor - the new one, that is (this isn’t going to get confusing at all) - is kept a mystery for a good long while, until it’s revealed in a blaze of light that she’s Jane Foster, Odinson’s human girlfriend. Suffering from breast cancer in her mortal form, whenever she takes on the Thor mantle her illness becomes miraculously healed - but every time she turns into a god she’s dying a little faster, as all her chemotherapy treatment expels from her body during the transformation.

What does this mean for The Avengers Project? The game could see us meeting this problematic character rather than the booming, bearded god we’re used to. Godhood can’t be easy - especially when there’s the risk that your next transformation could be your last. Thor might be the sombre presence that reminds the Avengers about the burden of responsibility. 

Hulk

Original character (MCU): Bruce Banner
New character (comics): Amadeus Cho

What happened? Bruce Banner is no more. An unpleasant series of events let to him being killed by Hawkeye in an effort to prevent him from transforming into the Hulk and massacring the entire team of Avengers. But the world isn’t left without a Hulk, as Amadeus Cho takes on the title. A super genius (one of the eight most intelligent people in the world, apparently), Cho used his massive intellect to use nanomachines to remove the Hulk from Banner’s body and put it into his own. Now Cho is able to transform into the Hulk at whim using a high-tech gadget on his arm rather than giving way to any colossal rage festering inside of him.

What does this mean for The Avengers Project? Finding this enigmatic, hugely powerful individual would be a great way to track the downfall of the Avengers and explore the notoriety that comes with becoming a world-famous superhero. I can practically see it as a quest now. After all, the trailer seemed to suggest a reinvention angle key to the plot. Keep your eyes peeled for flashes of the trademark green skin...

Hawkeye

Original character (MCU): Clint Barton
New character (comics): Kate Bishop

What happened? Instead of being Clint Barton, Hawkeye could be Kate Bishop, the latest incarnation of the arrow-firing sharpshooter. Tenacious to the bone, Bishop took it upon herself to occupy Hawkeye’s role. After encountering the Avengers as a civilian in need of rescue, she snuck into their headquarters and donned a combination of Hawkeye and S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Mockingbird’s outfits. Then she invited herself to join the Young Avengers team (as you do), quickly becoming an integral part of their outfit. It was only after Bishop stood up to Captain America - something which Clint Barton was notorious for - that Jessica Jones delivered Barton’s bow to her, officially dubbing her Hawkeye.

What does this mean for The Avengers Project? Meeting this younger Hawkeye who still has everything to prove could be the spark which sets off the events of the game. Eager to show her worth, she enlists you to help her reassemble the Avengers...and how could you say no?

Iron Man

Original character (MCU): Tony Stark
New character (comics): Riri Williams

What happened? Tony Stark has more than met his match. Riri Williams, a 15 year-old genius from Chicago, enrols at MIT and manages to reverse-engineer one of Stark’s old Iron Man outfits. In her dorm room. Without any help. Does that by any chance remind you of a certain man who built an ENTIRE IRON MAN SUIT in a cave with a box of scraps? Needless to say, she catches the eye of Stark himself, who follows her escapades with interest and eventually endorses her decision to be a superhero. She fought alongside him in the second Civil War with a brand new upgraded suit of armor, more than showing her worth. Although the red and gold metal armor remains the same, we might not be meeting Iron Man in the game, because afterwards Williams decided to rename herself Ironheart. 

What does this mean for The Avengers Project? As an inventor and all-round genius, I bet she wouldn’t have any trouble at all fixing that broken Iron Man gauntlet we saw in the trailer. Riri could also rebuild the headquarters and generally come up with a ton of high-tech gadgets to help our her superhero pals. 

Black Widow

Original character (MCU): Natasha Romanoff
New character (comics): Yelena Belova

What happened? Natasha Romanoff has always been the ass-kicking Black Widow, and in the comics she still has a tight grip on the title. But she wasn’t the only girl to graduate from the KGB’s Red Room. There was only one who surpassed Romanoff’s marks and could possibly take her place as the Black Widow - Yelena Belova. At first she’s eager to challenge Romanoff for the title, as on paper all the evidence points towards her being more skilled in every technique (although she lacks the bone-breaking espionage experience). But following a heart-to-heart of sorts with Romanoff, she decides to discover her own personality instead of being an anonymous servant to Russia, abandoning her quest for the Black Widow mantle. Now she’s in Cuba doing anything but laying low. As a businesswoman and model, she’s in the public eye more than ever, and I’d pity the KGB agent who thinks they can take her on. 

What does this mean for The Avengers Project? Belova wouldn't be very hard to track down if she's living the high life in Cuba, and with her espionage skills she could be the key to finding the rest of the Avengers team. Plus, I bet her business acumen means she's got the cash to fund the Avengers team. 

Captain America

Original character (MCU): Steve Rogers
New character (comics): Sam Wilson

What happened? This is a big one. In a catastrophic turn of events the Captain revealed himself to be (this is going to be hard to comprehend, but just go with it) a deep-cover Hydra agent. In the light of such a massive revelation Sam Wilson (Falcon) stands ready to take the Captain America mantle in the comics. This isn’t so different from the movies, though - at the end of Civil War Steve Rogers seemed to imply that he wasn’t okay with donning the red, white, and blue outfit. Although this isn’t because he’s been a double agent all along. Dropping his shield after discovering that the Winter Soldier killed Stark’s parents and generally being disillusioned with the whole ‘national hero’ thing, Falcon could also take his place in Marvel’s cinematic universe. 

What does this mean for The Avengers Project? Sam seems a stand-up guy, and could already be saving the day as Falcon during the events of The Avengers Project. Maybe he just needs that one small word of encouragement to take up the Captain America mantle. I bet you could come up with a pretty compelling reason for him to don the red, white, and blue suit - like saving the planet from its inevitable threat.