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The MCU Just Explained How The Original Avengers Will Be Replaced

Warning! Spoilers ahead for Marvel's What If...? episode 3, "What If...The World Lost Its Mightiest Heroes?"

In Marvel's What If...?, the new MCU show just explained how the original Avengers will be replaced going forward into Phase 4. As it stands, the only remaining heroes from the 2012 team are Hulk, Thor, and Hawkeye. With Avengers: Endgame having featured the deaths of Iron Man and Black Widow along with Captain America's retirement, significant questions were raised about whether or not the Avengers are done or if they'll ever reform in the future. However, Samuel L. Jackson's Nick Fury in What If...? reiterates that the idea of Earth's Mightiest Heroes will never die or fade.

In What If...? episode 3, Nick Fury is dealing with his "Big Week" where the events of Iron Man 2, The Incredible Hulk, and Thor are all happening concurrently. However, in this alternate universe revealed by Jeffery Wright's The Watcher, the candidates for the Avengers Initiative were all assassinated before they ever had a chance to assemble. Despite the killer being found and arrested (Hank Pym seeking vengeance for his daughter Hope's death), King Loki and the armies of Asgard took over the world as there were seemingly no heroes left to oppose the God of Mischief.

Related: What If…? Episode 3 Cast Guide: Every New & Returning MCU Character

Near the episode's end, Fury speaks with Agent Coulson as they observe the caskets of the heroes who were meant to become a part of something bigger, assembling when the world needed them to save it. However, Fury reiterates the fact that the idea of the Avengers Initiative was just that: an idea. One that could live on beyond any one team and collection of particular heroes: "The Avengers were always meant to be more than a team. They were an idea. The affirmation of humanity’s need to believe that in our darkest hour we will find our heroes." Case in point, the episode ends with Fury seeking out heroes to take on the new threat of King Loki, finding Captain America still encased in ice and having called Captain Marvel with his pager from the far reaches of space. That being said, despite Fury's words being in response to the fallen Avengers of this alternate timeline, the concept still holds true for the primary MCU as it enters Phase 4.

While there's a lot of love for the original 6 Avengers, Avengers: Endgame truly was their swan song, providing a truly impactful ending to that iteration of Earth's Mightiest Heroes. However, when it comes to the idea of the Avengers continuing, they don't matter as individuals. What does matter is that there's always someone available to assemble and answer the call when needed, keeping the idea of the Avengers Initiative alive no matter what comes next ( or who might be lost along the way protecting the world).

In any case, this episode did a wonderful job of showing this iconic idea of hope in action, albeit in quite the drastic way with all of the original Avengers' deaths (excluding the still-frozen Captain America). Fury persevered to ensure that the idea continued, providing the world with the hope of new heroes despite the darkness. As a result, this episode of Marvel's What If...? supports the belief that the Avengers are far from over in the main MCU. As Phase 4 continues, a new iteration will likely assemble down the line to answer the call as soon as the world needs them to.

More: Marvel's Original MCU Phase 1 Plan Ended With A Very Different Avengers

Marvel's What If...? releases new episodes every Wednesday on Disney+.

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