After the end of Avengers: Infinity War, you may be wondering where things go from here. The end of Infinity War puts the Avengers and the MCU in a very interesting place. There’s some things we know have to happen in Avengers 4, but the question is how. We’re going to dive into those theories now. Be warned, we get into some MAJOR SPOILERS for Avengers: Infinity War.
“Earth’s Mightiest Heroes”
While half of the MCU has been destroyed with the snap of Thanos’ fingers, we know for sure that 5 of the 6 founding members of the Avengers are still alive. And while Hawkeye isn’t seen in Infinity War, I’m willing to bet that he survived the “snap.” Marvel is clearly building up to a final showdown between Thanos and the original 6 members of the Avengers. Which is fitting considering, as Tony and Benner discussed in the Sanctum Sanctorum, it’s all been leading to this from the start.
Now if the endgame is the Original 6, and a handful of other heroes left standing, then Tony is going to have to get back to Earth. Luckily Nebula is with him, and should be willing to take him back to Earth if it means finally being able to kill Thanos. Once they meet it will become a situation of figuring out how to find Thanos, take the stones, and potentially kill him. In the comics Nebula was a major factor in taking out Thanos, so her survival isn’t surprising. On top of that, she obviously knows where the Soul Stone was as she’s the one that name drops Vormir during the battle on Titan. There’s always a chance that she could lead Tony and/or the Avengers to Vormir where they consult with Red Skull to find out how to undo what Thanos has done. (We’re holding out hope for a Red Skull/Cap reunion…)
When it comes to taking out Thanos and potentially taking the Infinity Stones from him, we may have already seen the key to that as well. Thor and Rocket have been to Nidavellir, where Eitri (Peter Dinklage) explained that he was responsible for making the Infinity Gauntlet. There’s a good chance, he could make another one for Thor, and the Avengers could then take the Infinity Stones and create a new Gauntlet. With the Gauntlet in hand, (no pun intended) they could then undo what Thanos has done, and Thor could kill Thanos before he gets the chance to steal the Gauntlet and the Stones again.
Thanks to Scarlet Witch, we know that the Stones can be destroyed. But it’s unclear if Scarlet Witch is the only person who could do so. The problem is Scarlet Witch is now gone. I’d be willing to bet that given Captain Marvel’s ability to control energy (aka energy beams), she could shoot at the stones and destroy them just like Scarlet Witch did with the Mind Stone. Given that Nick Fury sent out a call to her in the Post-Credit Scene, she’ll probably show up in Avengers 4 and help the Original 6 destroy the Stones once they get ahold of them.
As we touched on in our look at the Soul Stone, in the comics, the Soul Stone holds the souls it’s taken within a “pocket universe” called Soulworld. With this in mind, there’s a good chance that the heroes that were “killed” after Thanos’ snap, were simply transported to that other dimension. We may have actually gotten a look at that place in Infinity War, as it may have been where Thanos saw the young Gamora and was asked how much he sacrificed to achieve his goal. There’s a good chance that Wong, if he’s still alive, may know this. He may also be able to help inform the Avengers as to how they can retrieve the missing half of the universe from the Soulworld. My guess would be by destroying the stone entirely, but we could be wrong.
With T’Challa gone, Wakanda will be searching for a new leader. M’Baku was a major player in the first Black Panther film, and led his people to help T’Challa and the rest of Wakanda fight Thanos’ army. As of now M’Baku seems like the most likely person to help lead Wakanda for now. Whether he’s willing to step down when T’Challa comes back is uncertain, but having him lead Wakanda for now could create an interesting setting for the second Black Panther film. Especially given how well Marvel is setting him up to be a bigger threat in further films.
Rocket is the only Guardian, aside from Nebula technically, that survived Thanos’ snap. While most of the characters that survived seem to have a good reason story-wise to keep going, Rocket is the wild card. Obviously someone from the Guardians had to survive. But Rocket is the Guardian with the least motivation and reason to go after Thanos before the snap. But this give him motivation now, and it could be a good turn for the character. We’ve never seen Rocket truly step out of his comfort zone and risk his life for people. He’s helped everyone in each adventure. However, he’s always seemed to be motivated by money or a desire to just tag along and blow things up. Having him truly fight for something, selflessly, and for the sake of those he loves, would be a major shift for the character.
While Thanos may have won for now, there’s a good chance that this is all part of the plan for the Avengers to defeat Thanos in the end. Doctor Strange told Tony that he would not save him if it came down to him (or Spider-Man) and the Time Stone. He then looks into the future to see every possible outcome of the battle against Thanos, and finds one course where they can defeat him and save the universe. He then gives Thanos the Time Stone as he’s about to kill Tony, and tells Tony that this is the endgame. I’d be willing to bet that Thanos’ snap is part of that endgame. And I’d also be willing to bet that in the end Avengers 4 is named Avengers: Endgame. It would explain easily what the story is about, and would be a symbol for the fact that this could be the final Avengers film with the Original 6.
There’s one more element to Avengers 4 that is incredibly confusing and uncertain. There’s a chance this could end up being a spoiler of some kind. But the final days of filming Avengers 4, (keep in mind no film is usually shot in sequence) featured Ant-Man, Tony Stark (not in an Iron Man suit, but in a Shield jacket), Captain America, and Mark Ruffalo in a Motion Capture suit potentially as Hulk, in a recreation of the battle for New York. There were also scenes shot inside of a building, with Thor walking Loki through the building as he’s shackled and his mouth is covered, like he was at the end of the first Avengers. During these scenes, Ant-Man, Tony, Cap and Ruffalo all had a device on their hands.
Now many people questioned if this was some sort of time travel sequence. However, the Russo brothers alluded to the idea that instead of time travel this was actually something introduced in Captain America: Civil War. At the beginning of that film, Tony is giving a presentation at MIT displaying a system called Binarily Augmented Retro-Framing, or BARF for short. Through BARF, he’s able to go back through his memories to live inside the last moment he saw his parents. The tech wasn’t used again in that film, which is very unlike Marvel. And very unlike any film featuring Tony Stark.
There’s a well known quote from the famous Russian playwright Anton Chekhov, “If in the first act you have hung a pistol on the wall, then in the following one it should be fired. Otherwise don’t put it there.” Marvel has lived by this idea since the first Iron Man film. If something is presented in a film, then it is almost certainly going to be used later on. BARF hasn’t been used again. So this has to be it. But why? Why would the Avengers need to go back to this moment? And why bring Ant-Man with them, when he wasn’t there the first time?
How much of this is on point and how much of it is way off base remains to be seen. But we’ll see how it all plays out when Avengers 4 (Avengers: Endgame?) hits theaters on May 3rd, 2019. Meanwhile Avengers: Infinity War is in theaters now. And let me say, it’s going to be a very long year…