Who Are The West Coast Avengers? by Jerry Whitworth
With the emergence of White Vision in WandaVision and U.S. Agent in the Falcon and the Winter Soldier, speculation has arisen that the stage is being set for the West Coast Avengers. Introduced in 1984 in a miniseries of the same name, the West Coast Avengers was an extension of the Avengers lead by Hawkeye based out of Palos Verdes. Founded initially with Mockingbird, Wonder Man, Tigra, and Iron Man (James Rhodes), the group came to add Henry Pym, Moon Knight, Vision (who became White Vision around this time), Scarlet Witch, and U.S. Agent in the ensuing years (later becoming Force Works under Tony Stark). While Marvel’s characters typically sprung out of New York, in the 1970s a number of heroes started to appear in California including Werewolf by Night, Daredevil, Black Widow, Moon Knight, Black Goliath, Spider-Woman, and the Shroud as 1975 saw the formation of the Champions in Los Angeles lead by Black Widow with the Angel, Ghost Rider, Hercules, and Iceman. Lets take a look at what a West Coast Avengers could be in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Of the founders of the West Coast Avengers, Hawkeye, Mockingbird, and James Rhodes have thus far appeared in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Hawkeye, portrayed by Jeremy Renner, was a founder of the Avengers and has recently wrapped filming for his own Disney+ series, set to debut in late 2021. Mockingbird was a fixture of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. with Adrianne Palicki in the role until her spin-off series Marvel’s Most Wanted failed to be picked up. Rhodes, mostly played by Don Cheadle, has been part of the MCU since the beginning with the initial Iron Man movie in 2008 and will star in Armor Wars for Disney+. Simon Williams (Wonder Man) was set to be portrayed by Nathan Fillion in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017) but ended up on the cutting room floor (a featurette on WandaVision appeared to depict a character design for Wonder Man). Noted, White Vision and U.S. Agent have recently emerged as Moon Knight will star in a Disney+ series that’s currently filming (Werewolf by Night rumored to debut as part of that series). Scarlet Witch, of course, has been part of the MCU since 2014’s Captain America: The Winter Soldier and recently starred in Disney+‘s WandaVision. Hank Pym has laid what maybe the foundation for a California-based team of Avengers.
The Ant-Man franchise of films has a literal family of heroes. Hank Pym (Michael Douglas), Janet van Dyne (Michelle Pfeiffer), Hope van Dyne (Evangeline Lilly), Scott Lang (Paul Rudd), Cassie Lang (Kathryn Newton), Bill Foster (Laurence Fishburne), and Jimmy Woo (Randall Park) are all heroes and all feature prominently in the series with Woo recently appearing in WandaVision. The series based out of San Francisco, the city was also home to the Runaways team of teenage heroes and is one of the prominent settings of the upcoming Shang-Chi film starring Simu Liu in the title role. San Francisco was also the setting for the 2018 film Venom.
Venom (2018) featured the eponymous character and it’s San Quentin Prison was home to Cletus Kasady, set to be the antagonist Carnage of its sequel Venom: Let There Be Carnage. While the brand is not officially part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, a popular fan theory exists that San Quentin will be home to Spider-Man’s foes including Adrian Toomes (Vulture), Mac Gargan (Scorpion in the comics), and Michael Morbius (the former two being in the MCU and Morbius appearing with Toomes in a trailer for his titular film). Allegedly, a Sinister Six franchise is in development that will feature Spider-Man villains trying to reform as heroes. It should be mentioned, Scott Lang served in San Quentin in the MCU. As an aside, a film featuring a female Spider-Man character is in development which maybe set in the MCU. Popular speculation has this character being Spider-Woman. Noted earlier, she was based out of California, initially in Los Angeles but mostly in San Francisco.