With The Marvels tracking to underperform at the box office, and Marvel Studios in the midst of its least popular run of films and shows in its near 20-year history, the company could use a surefire hit, one that would immediately change the narrative that the company is overextended and past its glory days. But with the company having already utilized most of its most famous characters, where is that surefire hit going to come from?

According to a bombshell report in Variety, there’s a chance it could come from bringing back some of those aforementioned famous characters, who have since been retired from active duty in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. They specifically cite two big names who served as the foundation of the first four Avengers movie: Robert Downey Jr.’s Iron Man and Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow. (Four other Avengers actors, Samuel L. Jackson, Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, and Jeremy Renner, remain involved in the MCU; the fifth, Chris Evans, also moved on to other projects after 2019’s Avengers: Endgame.)

Citing “sources” they claim that “there have been talks to bring back the original gang for an Avengers movie,” including Downey and Johansson.

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Although both characters died during Avengers: Endgame, the article notes that less of a hurdle to bringing them back for another movie than the actors’ price tags, which can reach into the tens of millions of dollars. Marvel is in the midst of “The Multiverse Saga,” which features alternate versions of many famous Marvel characters. It would be quite easily, in that context, to feature Downey as Iron Man or Johansson as Black Widow. (This very concept was used to introduce a new Iron Man in the pages of Marvel Comics during the 1990s, after the original Tony Stark was revealed to be a sleeper agent for current MCU baddie Kang the Conqueror.) So that’s the easy part. The hard part may be meeting Robert Downey Jr.’s salary demands.

Marvel already has an Avengers: Secret Wars movie planned for several years down the line. The comic book version of Secret Wars featured alternate versions of familiar Marvel charfacters — meaning fans may almost expect the returns of fan favorites like Downey or Johansson in different forms in that movie. A full-fledged Avengers reunion in that movie might be just what the studio needs to reverse its fortunes.

New episodes of Loki premiere on Thursdays on Disney+. Avengers: The Kang Dynasty is currently scheduled to open in theaters on May 1, 2026.

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