- "There was an idea... called the Avengers Initiative. The idea was to bring together a group of of remarkable people to see if they could become something more. To see if they could work together when we needed them to, to fight the battles that we never could. "
- ―Nick Fury to the Avengers after Phil Coulson's death.
The Avengers are a team of superheroes assembled by Nick Fury and the intelligence agency S.H.I.E.L.D. through the Avenger Initiative. They exist in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and feature all the heroes of Marvel Studios' independent productions. They first appeared as a team in 2012's The Avengers. The Avengers were formed to combat threats that could not be dealt with alone.
The team currently consists of Iron Man, Captain America, the Hulk, Thor, Black Widow and Hawkeye. They were initially brought together by S.H.I.E.L.D. to combat Loki, Thor's adoptive brother. The Avengers are based on the superhero team created by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko and feature a similar roster to Mark Millar's Ultimates, the Ultimate Marvel Universe version of the team. The team was initially formed by Nick Fury to "fight the battles that S.H.I.E.L.D. never could".
In a post-credits scene, Tony Stark is unexpectedly visited by S.H.I.E.L.D. Director Nick Fury who notes that Stark is not "the only superhero in the world" and states he wants to discuss the "Avenger Initiative".
Fury informs Stark that his Iron Man persona is assigned to the team, but due to certain conditions, Stark himself is deemed unsuitable. Stark agrees on the condition that Senator Stern present him and Col. Rhodes with their medals for bravery.
- "So, on the Council's orders, we have to send one of our people down to Ross to ask for Blonksy, who we don't even want?"
- ―Jasper Sitwell [src]
General Ross is drinking in a bar when he is approached by industrialist Stark, who casually reveals that a "team" is being put together.
Agent Coulson notes Thor's strength while he is in his mortal form, trying to reclaim Mjolnir. After Thor defeats the Destroyer, Thor tells Coulson to consider him an ally to S.H.I.E.L.D., but speeds away before he can be debriefed, indicating that he has been considered for the Avengers Initiative.
Steve Rogers was woken after 70 years on ice and later meets Nick Fury, who recruits him to the Avengers intiative.
Nick Fury assembles the team when an unexpected threat associated with Thor's brother Loki and the Tesseract appears. The team initially have difficulty and refusal to obey each other; for example, Tony Stark is reluctant to working under the command of Captain America, Thor demands that Loki is his responsibility and the team is uncomfortable with the presence of Bruce Banner. When Loki attempts to destroy the team and promote his godlike supremecy to Earth in a public way, the Avengers depart from S.H.I.E.L.D.'s command and rally in defense of New York as it is invaded by the extraterrestrials known as the Chitauri. Captain America takes command of the team and they each work to supress the invasion force. The Hulk beats Loki into submission and Iron Man sends a nuclear weapon fired by the World Security Council into the portal through which the aliens enter Earth and their fleet is destroyed, breaking the neural connection with their ground troops and instantly killing them. The team take Loki as their prisoner and Thor takes both Loki and the Tesseract back to Asgard. The team disbands but agrees to reassemble when another global threat requires their combined efforts.
The team was mentioned by Loki.
The repaired Stark Tower, now called The Avengers Tower, appears briefly during the targeting sequence.
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- Steve Rogers/Captain America (leader)
- Tony Stark/Iron Man
- Thor Odinson
- Bruce Banner/Hulk
- Clint Barton/Hawkeye
- Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow
- Wanda Maximoff/Scarlet Witch (joins in Avengers: Age of Ultron)
- Pietro Maximoff/Quicksilver (joins in Avengers: Age of Ultron)
- Vision (joins in Avengers: Age of Ultron)
- Thaddeus Ross
- James Rhodes
- World Security Council (except Alexander Pierce)
- Sam Wilson
- James Barnes (Questionable; although he saved Rogers' life, it is unknown how much of his life he remembers prior to his capture and brainwashing at the hands of HYDRA )
- Erik Selvig
- Abomination (Considered for membership by World Security Council prior the sabotage of Phil Coulson and Tony Stark)
- The Other
- Ultron Sentinels
- Scarlet Witch
- Wolfgang von Strucker
- Alexander Pierce
- Arnim Zola (Targeted several members with his Project Insight algorithm.)
Behind the scenes
- Joss Whedon talked about the power levels of the various Avengers: "I had to find a way to service all the characters, to figure out why they're in the room in the first place. My biggest concern was that if I didn't pay enough attention to minutiae then the film would become generic in its concepts and visuals. Or that I'd be so concentrated on those things, I'd look around and the film wouldn't be about anything."
- On the action scenes and what Whedon terms "the hierarchy of power". "If this guy hits someone, he falls down. If this guy hits someone, he flies backwards. Its very complicated."
- Whedon commented on Mark Ruffalo's 'Hulk' actions: "It's fun to say that Mark Ruffalo and I fought a great deal, because he's the sweetest man that I may ever have met. Yes, we did actually lay out some mats and tussle but just trying to figure out what the Hulk would be doing, what a person does in a real fight. Once he gets angry you have to keep asking "well what's making him angry now..." and go moment-to-moment. That's been the hardest thing in this movie. Mark is tremendous, I think he's going to blow people away - again - and we've gone where nobody has. We [have] Hulk in the house and everything pisses him off."
- The roster of the team is similar to that of the Ultimates roster in the comic book miniseries The Ultimates. The Ultimates were conceived as the Ultimate Marvel Universe's equivalent of the mainstream Avengers. The Avengers of the Marvel Cinematic Universe bear a strong resemblance to the Ultimates in that they were formed by S.H.I.E.L.D. as a government-sponsored team to combat the threat of the Chitauri. Like in The Ultimates 2, the team leaves S.H.I.E.L.D. employ and becomes independent.
- The speech in the first teaser trailer was taken from the introduction of many Avengers comic books since the 1970s. In the TV series The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes, the new intro features Nick Fury stating a speech similar to this one.
- The movie's roster will be seen in the next animated series Avengers Assemble with Falcon joining the roster.
- With Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch appearing in Avengers: Age of Ultron, the roster continues to closely follow the comics as they both joined The Avengers along-side Captain America and Hawkeye (both of whom are founding members in the first film) after the original lineup disbanded, thus forming the second.