The Young Avengers first joined the Marvel Universe in the period after the Scarlet Witch’s breakdown and the subsequent separation of the Avengers in the pages of the Avengers Disassembled (an arc that featured the deaths of Clint Barton’s Hawkeye, the Vision, and Scott Lang’s Ant-Man), but still before the events of Civil War, meaning that there was no standing Avengers team when they were formed. Though they have now managed to make their own mark in the Marvel Universe, they would often butt heads with the adult heroes they encountered, especially earlier in their careers.
From the looks of it, the Young Avengers have become a new build-to point in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), with nearly each Marvel show being heavily discussed to introduce an individual member of the team. With three Young Avengers already confirmed (Cassie Lang, Kate Bishop, and Ms. America) and more undoubtedly on the way, it’s only a matter of time before we have a full lineup of Young Avengers in the MCU. With that said, let’s explore everything you need to know about the team.
The first Young Avenger, Nathaniel “Nate” Richards was a younger version of Kang the Conqueror, a long-time villain of the Avengers. He had been visited by his future self, but once he saw what he would become, he stole a set of high-tech armor Kang had brought with him and ran to the past, assembling the Young Avengers to prepare for Kang returning for Nate. Nate used the Vision, now dead following Avengers Disassembled, to access a fail-safe program that the Vision had created, one that would identify the next generation of heroes if they were needed. This program pointed Nate towards three other heroes who would form the first line-up of the Young Avengers, Nate acting as their leader under the name of Iron Lad.
Iron Lad would eventually return to his original time once it became clear that his time travel was negatively impacting their future. He left behind his armor which had now become a new version of the Vision. Nate would later return during the events of Avengers: The Children’s Crusade, using his time-travel capabilities to save Scott Lang and bring him to the present. When Cassie was injured in a fight with Doctor Doom, Nate wanted to bring her to the future, believing their technology would be able to help Cassie survive. Vision disagreed, leading to Nate destroying him, signaling a villainous turn, before leaving again. While Nate would reappear shortly for the Original Sin event a few years later in 2014 and an alternate version of him would join the reality-hopping team in the pages of Exiles, Nate has been missing from Marvel Comics since, save for the villain he would one day become.
While Nate is integral to the origin of the Young Avengers in the comics, it is entirely possible that he doesn’t appear in the MCU’s take on the team. He’s the only original member of the Young Avengers who hasn’t been heavily rumored or confirmed for any property, but it feels possible that he could be established in Loki, which has been theorized to be setting up time travel further in order to prepare for Jonathan Majors’ Kang (and could possibly feature an early appearance of the villain). Another possibility, arguably the more likely one, is that Nate appears in Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania – the project that confirmed Kang appearing in the first place and one that has been rumored to debut the Young Avengers for a while now.
In the pages of the 1985 run of Vision and the Scarlet Witch, Wanda Maximoff and the Vision had two children, twin boys named William and Thomas. Soon after, it was revealed that they were creations as a result of Wanda’s magic and were made from pieces of the essence of Mephisto, a demon, leading him to absorb them, killing them both. Years later, Billy Kaplan was born to Jeff and Rebecca Kaplan. Billy discovered that he possessed electrical abilities when he was a teenager, and joined the Young Avengers under the name Asgardian, acting as the team’s Thor.
Eventually Billy would reveal that he had the ability to manipulate reality, ditching the Thor aesthetic and name and taking on the name Wiccan. Billy would also strike up a relationship with his teammate, Hulkling. Over the years, Billy has grown to be one of Marvel’s lead gay character as well as one of their most popular Jewish heroes, garnering Billy quite a bit of attention even outside the general circles of comics. Billy remains a core member of the Young Avengers, but has also joined Sunspot’s New Avengers, Blade’s Strikeforce, and the Guardians of the Galaxy.
Billy and Hulking would later get married with two ceremonies, one sudden one in Vegas when Hulkling was leaving for space with only the rest of the Young Avengers attending, and a grand ceremony in space with the Avengers, Fantastic Four, and more present, following Jewish, Skrull, and Kree wedding traditions. Billy’s abilities continued to grow, his reality warping and magical prowess making him arguably the strongest Young Avenger, only truly held back by his own insecurities (Billy is one of the few superheroes who openly deals with an anxiety disorder). After meeting his teammate, Speed, Billy came to the conclusion that the two were reborn versions of Scarlet Witch’s twins, this was later confirmed, though the exact cause of their reincarnation was never mentioned.
With Billy’s magical skill, he’s been eyed for the role of Sorcerer Supreme a few times in Marvel history, once in the core universe, when Stephen Strange was searching for his replacement. Similarly, a future appearance of the Young Avengers had Billy going by the mantle of Doctor Strange, while another possible (not-so-far, according to Doctor Strange) future had Billy keep his title as Wiccan while also becoming Earth’s new Sorcerer Supreme. While Wandavision did introduce a Billy, the one it introduced was actually Billy Maximoff, the version that is then reincarnated and becomes Wiccan. With the twins fading away at the end and Wanda playing with more serious magic, it’s expected that we’ll see the introduction of Billy and his family, the Kaplans, in coming MCU releases, probably now old enough to be a Young Avenger.
Teddy Altman (also known as Dorrek VIII) is the son of Mar-Vell, the original Captain Marvel in the comics, and a Skrull princess, Anelle. He was sent away for his own safety, a Skrull nursemaid taking him to Earth, shapeshifting to become a human, and raising Teddy as her own child. Teddy figured out his shapeshifting abilities fairly early in his life and was one of the original members recruited by Iron Lad, acting as the team’s Hulk stand-in. He assumed that he was a mutant, but when he was caught in a conflict between the Kree and the Skrulls, his true parentage was revealed to him. He’s remained a core member of the Young Avengers, and has been shown following in his father’s footsteps as Captain Marvel in the future of the team. Like Billy, Teddy is gay.
Teddy joined the New Avengers with Billy. This all led to the event of Empyre where Teddy finally took his place at the head of both the Kree and Skrull empires, ending the long-running war between the two and merging them into one Alliance as their Emperor. He has remained in contact with his Young Avenger friends and his husband, Wiccan, currently stands as the Court Wizard for the Alliance. He’s also joined the Guardians of the Galaxy alongside Wiccan.
Teddy’s been rumoured for an appearance in Secret Invasion, a show focusing on the Skrulls. He’s also been theorized to play into Captain Marvel 2. There is a main complication with fitting him into the MCU, while Mar-Vell (portrayed by Annette Benning in Captain Marvel) had spent a lot of time around the Skrulls while keeping them secret, she also died in 1989, which would mean that Teddy couldn’t be younger than 34 years old. There are definitely ways around this, Teddy could be the child of a different Kree. Alternatively, he could be Mar-Vell’s grandson instead of her son. Nonetheless, a completely accurate adaptation may be impossible at the moment.
The grandson of Isaiah Bradley, the first Black Captain America who had operated during World War II, Elijah Bradley (often going by Eli) knew he came from a family of legends. Isaiah had been experimented on, and his taking of the Captain America name without the government’s authorization led to him being imprisoned for years. Iron Lad had arrived looking for Eli’s uncle, a superhero going by Justice, but Eli took his place as the team’s Captain America. Despite claiming that his lineage had given him super-human abilities, Eli’s mother had been born before Isaiah had received the Super-Soldier serum, meaning that he hadn’t gotten the abilities passed down to him. In order to keep up on the team, Eli began taking MGH (Mutant Growth Hormone), a pill that grants people super-strength and speed.
Initially, Eli used throwing stars as weapons, but he would later switch to Captain America’s original shield after finding it in a broken-down Avengers Mansion. After Eli’s source of power was revealed, he decided to leave the team, though he would later return shortly before being injured. Requiring a blood transplant, Captain America offered but found out that Isaiah Bradley had already given his own blood, meaning that Eli now had his grandfather’s abilities. Eli rejoined the team, but eventually quit semi-permanently when he moved away. Eli’s future has him becoming Captain America.
Both Eli and his grandfather have made an appearance in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, played by Elijah Richardson and Carl Lumbly respectively. With the show set to look at the idea of Captain America as a mantle between Sam Wilson and John Walker, it’s an especially good time to go back and explore how that might have existed before Steve’s retirement from the role.
Content warning for sexual assault and trauma
Kate Bishop was born to a rich family. She began training in martial arts and became proficient in the use of weapons in order to regain the feeling of power following her sexual assault some time before meeting the Young Avengers. In All-New Hawkeye, it was revealed that Kate had discovered her father’s criminal activities when she was a child and upon trying to investigate further had been held hostage by El Matador, a supervillain. She had been rescued by the Avengers and started looking up to Hawkeye in the place of her father, impressed by Barton’s ability despite his lack of powers.
Kate met the Young Avengers when her sister’s wedding was the stage of one of their battles, instantly developing an antagonistic relationship with Patriot. She tracked them down alongside Cassie Lang and both of them insisted on joining the team. Kate’s identity wasn’t always Hawkeye, in fact she didn’t take on the name officially until the end of the first run of Young Avengers. Her first costume was a mix between gear belonging to Hawkeye, Mockingbird, and Swordsman. She was eventually given Hawkeye’s original bow by Captain America, as well as a suggestion that she begin using the name, both of which she accepted.
Kate had three “first meetings” with Clint Barton, the original Hawkeye. The first came during the Civil War era when Clint had just returned from his death in Avengers Disassembled and was given the title of Captain America by Iron Man, being sent to stop the unregistered Young Avengers. After seeing their bravery, he refused to arrest them, returning the shield to Stark. The second was when Clint was going by Ronin and demanded his bow back, baiting Kate to steal it back and prove her worth as Hawkeye, which she did. The final one was when Clint had suited up as Hawkeye again. He and Kate fought alongside each other and they agreed that there would be two Hawkeyes from that point onwards, starting what would become a very close friendship.
Despite using her father’s money to train in combat and shortly to fund the Young Avengers, mainly providing them with costumes, Kate finds wealthy lifestyle generally wasteful and often works to distance herself from the “rich kid” stereotypes when she can. She was eventually cut off by her father and has now grown as probably the most famous member of the Young Avengers. She also started her own PI firm and even shortly lead her own version of the West Coast Avengers. Kate Bishop will be portrayed by Hailee Steinfeld in the Hawkeye series. She’s been confirmed to be suiting up alongside Jeremy Renner’s Clint Barton, seemingly already sharing the Hawkeye name. It seems likely that she will act as the face of the Young Avengers when they make their debut, though that remains to be seen.
Cassie Lang is the oldest Young Avenger from a meta-perspective. She was introduced alongside her father, Avenger Scott Lang, in 1979. Cassie’s father was the second Ant-Man and would often bring Cassie around Avengers Mansion, meaning that Cassie spent a lot of time around superheroes even before she was one. She had secretly stolen certain amounts of Pym Particles, which had over time granted Cassie the ability to change her size, though she didn’t discover this until her first meeting with the Young Avengers, tracking them down alongside Kate Bishop with the intent to join them.
Cassie would start a relationship with The Vision (Jonas), and when Iron Lad returned, would be able to help prevent her father’s death. Following a death and resurrection (both at the hands of Doctor Doom), Cassie shortly retired from her life as a superhero. Cassie would later take on the name of Stinger, getting a new suit that gave her the ability to fly alongside her size-shifts. Prior to her death, she had been part of Hank Pym’s Mighty Avengers.
Like the comics, Cassie was the first Young Avenger to be introduced in the MCU. Her first appearance was in Ant-Man, portrayed by Abby Ryder Fortson, who would reprise her role in Ant-Man and the Wasp. Following the time-skip in Avengers Endgame, she was now played by Emma Fuhrmann, but has since been recast once again by Kathyrn Newton who will debut in the role in Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania. Cassie’s debut as a hero has been a long time coming, though it’s still in question whether she will be going by Stature or Stinger.
When Iron Lad left for the future, he left his armor in the present, now programmed with a mix of the Vision’s processing system and Iron Lad’s brainwaves. Jonas, as he would come to be called, was a short-lived hero, being destroyed by Iron Lad in response to Jonas’s refusal to allow Nate to take Cassie Lang into the future for medical treatment. Before his death, Jonas would start a relationship with Cassie and would join Hank Pym’s Mighty Avengers alongside her.
Jonas feels like an unlikely addition to the MCU’s take on the Young Avengers. Following his death, he’s been largely forgotten by the Marvel universe, making him an often left-out member of the team in recounts of their history. With the Vision partially back in the MCU following the events of Wandavision, Viv, Vision’s robotic daughter introduced in the pages of the 2015 run of Vision and a mainstay of the Champions, feels like a more likely introduction to the MCU than Jonas.
While William Maximoff had been sent to a relatively normal life as Billy Kaplan, his brother Thomas’s new life as Tommy Shepherd was more difficult. While much hasn’t been revealed about the Shepherds, Tommy spent a lot of his life in juvenile detention centers. When Tommy’s abilities manifested he accidentally destroyed his school, leading to him being sent to a high-tech facility. After some time being experimented on with the intent of turning Tommy into a “living weapon”, Tommy was freed by the Young Avengers.
Seeing Tommy and realizing that they were identical (as well as seeing the parallels of their powers to the Maximoff twins) is what led Billy to the realization of their true origins. Tommy’s abilities are mainly speed-based.He can run extremely quickly and has reflexes to off-set that, much like his “uncle” Quicksilver. But unlike Quicksilver, Tommy also regularly uses the ability to destabilize objects, even from a distance, causing them to detonate, and has been shown to be able to vibrate his atoms (and those of anyone he’s currently in physical contact with) to move through solid objects.
When the first team of Young Avengers split up following the death of two of their members, Tommy was the last of them to agree, at first resentful of the rest of the team for doing what was, in his eyes, giving up. After a discussion with Hulkling, Tommy agreed to try retirement, both Teddy and Tommy being taken in by the Kaplans. Tommy eventually moved out, getting hired by a company that employs superhumans. It was here that he met Prodigy, a former New Mutant and future teammate, the two become quick friends. Shortly after, Tommy was kidnapped by a mysterious being, leading Prodigy to join the Young Avengers to find him.
While Tommy was initially portrayed as semi-sadistic and uncaring of others, he’s slowly moved past his abrasive personality, even starting a relationship with Prodigy after the both of them came out as bisexual. Tommy was also initially annoyed by Billy’s insistence that they were related and Wanda’s children. Nonetheless, he’s come around, developing a brotherly relationship with Wiccan, especially after first meeting Scarlet Witch. Speed’s future has him becoming the new Quicksilver. Like Billy, Tommy’s pre-reincarnation self was introduced in Wandavision.
America Chavez originally comes from an alternate dimension. Her mothers sacrificed their lives to save their home, leading America to leave her danger-free dimension in order to prove herself a hero. The surrounding energy of America’s home caused her to develop her powers, including flight, super-strength, super-speed, and star-shaped portals across space and universes, among others. America originally joined the Young Avengers through the machinations of Kid Loki, who had intended to get her to protect Wiccan for his own means.
Following her addition to the team, she quickly became best friends with Kate Bishop, and has since followed her to Kate’s version of the West Coast Avengers. She has also joined The Ultimates and Avengers World. In an alternate future, America Chavez is the new Captain America. With her god-like abilities, America’s developed an impressive reputation. She’s a lesbian and is currently dating Alloy, a fellow member of the West Coast Avengers.
America Chavez has been confirmed to be making an appearance in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness with actress Xochitl Gomez portraying her. Gomez is far younger than the other two Young Avengers we’ve seen cast, though there’s a chance that she’s playing a younger version of the character. There is also a chance that she will be joining the team, but this would likely mean a change to the dynamic that America held with the Young Avengers in the comics.
Probably the most seasoned Young Avenger from before he joined the team, Noh-Varr was a member of Norman Osborn’s Dark Avengers, going by Captain Marvel, and would later join the main Avengers after they reformed, now going as Protector. He also fought the Young Avengers during Civil War while under mind-control. Noh is a Kree hailing from an alternate universe, his genes have been spliced with those of a cockroach (among other enhancements to his body) and they have given him various abilities, these include wall-crawling, explosive-detachable-nails, psychedelic saliva, and mental programming allowing him to turn off his brain to allow his body to run on ‘autopilot’, as well as increasing his own adrenaline at will and manipulating his feeling of pain. Shortly after leaving the Avengers, Noh started a relationship with Kate Bishop which would lead to him joining the Young Avengers as Marvel Boy.
Noh left the team after his relationship with Kate came to an end, though would shortly work with her and Ms. America again as a member of the West Coast Avengers. He had also joined the Inhuman Royal Family on a journey through space. Noh-Varr has recently joined the Guardians of the Galaxy in the 2020 run of the series and started a relationship with his teammate Hercules, the Marvel version of the Greek legend, following Noh being revealed as bisexual during his time on the West Coast Avengers.
Marvel Boy hasn’t been rumoured or announced for any future Marvel projects, it’s likely that he won’t be on the MCU’s lineup of the Young Avengers, at least at first. Due to his connection with the Kree, there’s potential for Noh to show up in Captain Marvel 2. Secret Invasion also feels like a possible debut for him. Due to his numerous similarities to Speed, most noticeably his appearance but also in certain personality traits, it’s possible that an MCU Noh-Varr would make several changes to the character in order to set him apart from the team speedster.
David Alleyne was a field leader as a member of the X-Team known as the New Mutants. With David having the ability to absorb the knowledge and skills of those around him via a form of telepathy, he’s extremely intelligent and a skilled strategist. Following Scarlet Witch’s mass depowering of mutants around the world, David was left without his abilities, though he later managed to permanently regain all the knowledge, skills, and talents of anyone he had ever come in contact with when his powers were active.
Eventually David would leave the X-Mansion, being hired by a company that searches for superhumans. It was here that he met the Young Avenger known as Speed and, following Tommy’s capture by an extradimensional force, would search out the other Young Avengers to help get Speed back. Sometime after Tommy was freed, he and David began dating. Following his time on the Young Avengers, David would leave for the mutant nation, Krakoa, and would get his powers back, joining the mutant investigation group called X-Factor.
David making an appearance in the MCU in the foreseeable future feels unlikely. He’s a late addition to the world of the X-Men (even to the New Mutants), and introducing mutants is hardly even a conversation at the moment (as far as we know). There is a possibility for a surprise introduction of Prodigy, but there’s not really any news that would point to him making an appearance in any movie or series.
A combination of the ghost of the old Loki and the body of the reborn one, Loki was a more conflicted member of the team, dealing with the legacy that comes with being the newer version of an infamous villain. While he initially had an antagonistic relationship with much of the team, they slowly became friends, though Loki’s love of lies and betrayals meant that he could never be a mainstay of the team. Loki and Iron Lad were the only living Young Avengers that weren’t present at the wedding of Wiccan and Hulkling.
Despite being a short-lived member of the Young Avengers, there are still tons of Loki stories that happen outside of the pages of the team’s runs, you can read more about their various forms and arcs here. While a younger actor fitting the bill for Kid Loki was being cast for the character’s upcoming stand-alone series, it’s plausible that he’s playing a literal younger version of the character, possibly for flashbacks. It’s unclear at the moment whether the Young Avengers will feature Loki, either as a friend or foe. We should have a better idea when Loki debuts this June on Disney+.