One of the more obscure Avengers teams can join the fight against Kang the Conqueror during Avengers: The Kang Dynasty. After the events of Avengers: Endgame, the MCU has seen an absence of an official Avengers team, with each surviving member of the final battle against the Mad Titan, Thanos, going their separate ways, but they are set for another team-up in Phase 6’s Avengers: The Kang Dynasty and Avengers: Secret Wars. While it’s unclear what form this new team will take, Marvel Studios have the opportunity to utilize more than one superhero team in the epic battle against Kang.
One of Marvel Studios’ newest teams will be forming at the end of Phase 5 in the form of the MCU’s first Thunderbolts team, bringing together reformed villains and antiheroes from past MCU projects to form a ragtag group. Three characters announced for the Thunderbolts lineup are making their way over from Black Widow, which marked Natasha Romanoff’s final adventure in the MCU, and while Yelena Belova is being set up to potentially lead the Thunderbolts, one other character could have a long career after the upcoming film. The MCU’s Red Guardian can bring about the formation of one of Marvel Comics’ strangest superhero teams.
Marvel’s Winter Guard Helped To Defeat Kang
In Marvel Comics, the Winter Guard is Russia’s answer to the Avengers, their own premier superhero team. Originally known as The Soviet Super Soldiers, the team made appearances in various comics from the mid-1970s but saw a reshaping after the fall of the Soviet Union in 1992, with the Winter Guard superteam making their official debut in 1998’s Iron Man (Vol. 2) #9. The team originally comprised of Darkstar, Vanguard, Sibercat, Vostok, Fantasia, Power Surge, and Red Guardian as their leader, but the group has seen many members come and go over their tenure, including the likes of Crimson Dynamo and Ursa Major.
The Winter Guard could play an important role in upcoming Marvel Studios projects, especially since they had a hand in defeating Kang the Conqueror during the 16-part Kang Dynasty storyline in 2001. This story will be coming to the live-action MCU with 2025’s Avengers: The Kang Dynasty, so it would be great to see the Winter Guard’s formation in the franchise before this event comes to fruition. The Winter Guard also plays a part in the war against Marvel Comics’ Skrulls, so Marvel Studios have plenty of opportunities to bring this strange Avengers team to life.
The MCU Needs A New Avengers Team
The MCU has been without an official Avengers team since the climactic battle of Avengers: Endgame, with no clear sign about when a new team will be forming, though Marvel has been dropping several hints about new Avengers teams. There is speculation that Sam Wilson, a.k.a. Captain America, will be bringing together a new team of Avengers in Captain America: New World Order to battle the Leader, but this has yet to be officially confirmed. Many new characters have been introduced who join a potential Avengers team for the battles at the end of the MCU Multiverse Saga in The Kang Dynasty and Secret Wars.
Marvel Studios has been teasing a potential team-up of the Young Avengers through several Phase 4 projects, with the introductions of characters such as Billy and Tommy Maximoff, Kate Bishop, Kamala Khan, and America Chavez. This team would be a great addition to Marvel’s roster of heroes against Kang, particularly because they are often led by a variant of Kang himself, Nathaniel Richards, a.k.a. Iron Lad. There is also some setup happening for the West Coast Avengers thanks to Hawkeye and the debut of White Vision in WandaVision. Even so, the MCU needs a new Avengers team desperately, the Winter Guard could fit this bill.
The Red Guardian Can Have A Career After Thunderbolts
After being introduced in Black Widow as the father figure to Natasha Romanoff and Yelena Belova, Alexei Shostakov, a.k.a. Red Guardian, quickly became a fan-favorite character thanks to David Harbour’s charismatic performance. Many wanted to see the character return to the MCU and got their wish when the Red Guardian was announced as part of the Thunderbolts lineup alongside his daughter, Yelena. However, this shouldn’t be the final home for Red Guardian in the MCU, as the character has such a rich history in Marvel Comics that could be adapted brilliantly in live-action, especially as the leader of the Winter Guard.
The Red Guardian was Russia’s answer to Captain America, even boasting how he battled the American patriot in past adventures during scenes in Black Widow, despite Steve Rogers being on ice when Shostakov claimed to have fought him. There’s a wealth of backstory and personality that is yet to be explored surrounding Red Guardian in the MCU, some of which Thunderbolts can dig into, but this may be difficult in a crossover film featuring so many characters, a mistake Marvel Studios likely won’t want to repeat after Eternals. This means that a Winter Guard team-up project for the MCU could be the perfect place to delve deeper into his character.
The Winter Guard Can Bring More Mutants To The MCU
Mutants have slowly been making their way to the MCU after Disney’s acquisition of Fox in 2019, starting with the reveals of Kamala Khan’s, a.k.a. Ms. Marvel’s, mutant status in Ms. Marvel, the appearance of Charles Xavier, a.k.a. Professor X, on Earth-838 in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, and Namor’s statement in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. While the mutant introduction into the MCU has been slow, Phase 5 and 6 will surely debut many more mutants into the established franchise. Several mutant characters are rumored to be appearing in upcoming projects, including The Marvels and Secret Invasion, and Deadpool 3 will bring Deadpool and Wolverine into the MCU.
The MCU’s debut of the Winter Guard can bring more mutants into the fray since many of the team’s members are mutants in Marvel Comics. One has already appeared in Black Widow, although Ursa Major wasn’t confirmed as a mutant, the opportunity is still there. Members such as Darkstar, Sibercat, and Vanguard are all mutants who haven’t yet been introduced to the MCU, so it would be brilliant to see the MCU expand with international mutants and a global Avengers team. The Winter Guard could be the perfect team to fight alongside the Avengers, and other superhero teams, in the final battle against Kang in Avengers: The Kang Dynasty.