(Spoiler alert: Do not read on if you haven’t see “Avengers: Endgame.”)
There are a lot of jaw-dropping moments in “Avengers: Endgame,” and one was the girl power moment when most of the women of the “Avengers” franchise came together on screen. Sure, it was fleeting — it ended before everyone’s roars and applause dissipated — but it’s important, and could hint at what’s to come in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
During the big “Endgame” battle scene, Tom Holland’s Peter Parker is holding the Infinity Gauntlet when Brie Larson’s Captain Marvel comes over to ask, “You got something for me?” He tells her that he doesn’t have a clue how she’s going to get the gauntlet to safety through the masses of villains coming at them alone, but then we hear, “She’s not alone,” and Scarlet Witch, Valkyrie, Okoye, Mantis, Shuri, Hope van Dyne, Gamora, Nebula, and even Pepper Potts in her own Iron Man suit show up to help. GRL PWR!
But the scene also raises a theory — which is, for now, only a theory — that the moment might foreshadow the cinematic rise of the A-Force.
What’s the A-Force? The A-Force was introduced as part of Marvel Comics’s “Secret Wars” crossover event in 2015. In the story, a couple of parallel Marvel universes collapsed into each other and were destroyed, and from the ashes Doctor Doom created Battleworld, where most of the heroes from both universes did battle with each other.
Battleworld was divided into 41 nations, or “domains,” one of which was called Arcadia. And the all-female defenders of Arcadia were collectively referred to as the A-Force. Some of the members of A-Force are characters who have already appeared in the Marvel Cinematic Universe: Captain Marvel, Black Widow, Scarlet Witch, Agent 13 aka Sharon Carter, and Rescue — the name of the superhero that Pepper Potts became in “Avengers: Endgame.”
A-Force also includes a character we know will be introduced to the MCU soon — Kate Bishop, who will be the subject of a Disney+ series in which she follows in the footsteps of the original Hawkeye.
MCU actresses have talked about the rumors about a possible all-female Avengers movie in the past. In October 2017, Tessa Thompson, who plays Valkyrie, said that several had pitched an idea for an all-female “Avengers” film.
However, according to the Observer, at the Tribeca Film Festival, Thompson said: “I don’t know. That was kind of an offhand thing, and then the press really ran with it. The extent to which the press ran with it is also an expression of what ripe a time it is for something like that. That people are hungry for it, that people are interested in it.”
Marvel has been criticized in the past for a lack of diversity in its films. The studio has put out 20 movies that feature a male protagonist, and only put out a female-led superhero film in 2019 with “Captain Marvel.” (Last year’s “Ant-Man and the Wasp” starred both Paul Rudd and Evangeline Lilly in the lead roles.) “Captain Marvel” was the first Marvel film to have a female co-director (Anna Boden with Ryan Fleck).
In March, Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige said films like “Captain Marvel” and “Black Panther” represent the future of the MCU. After all, Marvel hired Chloe Zhao to direct “The Eternals,” and Cate Shortland was tapped to direct the standalone “Black Widow” movie.
“The notion of representation on screen, in front of and behind the camera, somebody asked me once, so is ‘Black Panther’ a one-off? I said, no, it’s not a one-off. This is the future,” he said. “This is the way the world is, and the way, certainly, our studio’s going to be run going forward, because it brings about better stories. The more diverse the group of people making the movie is, the better the stories.”
Phil Owen contributed to this report.