Warning: This post contains spoilers for Avengers: Infinity War.
The most anticipated movie of the summer is finally upon us, and social media is awash with more questions then answers. Mission accomplished for the Russo Brothers, leaving the audience with so many questions and with little to no clue as to what to expect from the sequel (we shall call it that for now) of Infinity War.
Not many movies have left audience leaving with so much in their mind after the credits end. Some have tried and failed (read the Matrix Trilogy), while others made sure that the movie ended with a glimpse of what the future holds, so audiences went home knowing that while the sequel might be a year away, there is a predictable outcome to look forward to.
The Russo Brothers, in a very recent interview have confirmed that the Marvel Cinematic Universe story arc is in no way going to be similar to that of the Marvel Avengers Comics, so that would be a first big clue. But before we get down to predicting what might happen in Avengers 4, lets dissect some of the more pressing questions from Infinity War.
Where is Adam Warlock? Why wasn’t he in Infinity War?
If there was one character which many predicted would make his way into either Infinity War or Avengers 4, it would be Adam Warlock, given his association with the Soul Stone. In the Infinity Gauntlet comic book, Adam Warlock eventually defeats Thanos and uses the Infinity Gauntlet to right everything that has gone wrong in the universe.
So will Avengers 4 be where Adam Warlock makes his appearance? Probably not. We have already seen Adam Warlock in a post credit scene of Guardians of the Galaxy 2 where Ayesha devises the next step in the evolution of her DNA-obsessed race, creating a new type of birthing pod to gestate Adam, a warrior “more capable of destroying the Guardians of the Galaxy.”
We expect to see Adam Warlock in Guardians of the Galaxy 3 which is only scheduled for release after Avengers 4, and Marvel being Marvel, don’t expect them to spring any new important characters in Avengers 4 without first giving them a proper introduction in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
The strange Dr Strange
So with Adam Warlock out of the picture, the next question would be the strange decisions of Dr Stephen Strange on Titan. First by not using the Time Stone inside the Eye of Agamotto during the battle with Thanos, and then giving it up easily to stop Thanos from killing Tony Stark.
The answer probably lies in the ‘alternate futures’ Dr Strange was looking at on Titan before Thanos makes his appearance. What Strange did was similar to what The Ancient One does in 2016’s Dr Stange where she sees many possible disastrous futures, and spends centuries working to avert them. Strange then goes on to tell Tony Stark, that out of 14 million futures, there is only one possible one which Thanos would not win. Already having a glimpse into the future, Strange would also have been well aware that before the battle on Titan, Thanos would already be wielding with him 4 of the 6 Infinity Stones, which would render most if not all of the powers of the Strange’s Time Stone almost useless against Thanos.
So that has become somewhat of a theory that Strange gave up the Time Stone, in exchange for Tony Stark’s life because he was playing into that 1 in 14 million futures which would end up with Thanos being defeated. But lets be real here, if the Russo Brothers were going to go with that story – that Strange actually played along and put the fate of half of the universe to a 1 in 14 million chance, then i would like to have some of what they are smoking.
Considering all the alternate futures, Strange would have known that Tony Stark would have probably survived the mass culling, and therefore there was no reason for him to die. Strange also realized that Thanos would eventually get the Time Stone from him one way or another, and chose to give it up to save Tony Stark.
Does this mean that Avengers 4 is going to be based on the 1 in 14 million odds. Definitely NO. Even in movies, 1 in 14 million is not odds that any sane audience is going to believe. Dr Strange gave that odds to just drive home that one message, no matter what anybody does, Thanos will win and destroy half the beings in the known Universe. So, is everybody who is gone, truly gone? The Russo Brothers want us to believe that, and have gone on record to also say what happened in Infinity Wars, indeed did happen. Its not an illusion, or a temporal story line. This also puts to rest the theory that Mantis actually put Thanos to sleep, and everything that happens after that is only inside the mind of Thanos.
That Captain Marvel post-credit scene
In true Marvel fashion, the final post-credit scene was supposed to paint a picture of what to expect next from the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Even before Infinity War hit the big screens, it was already confirmed that Brie Larson’s Captain Marvel would be released in March next year, just before Avengers 4, which is scheduled for May 2019.
As half of the Universe was being slowly disintegrated by the now infamous Infinity Gauntlet finger snap, Samuel L. Jackson’s dissolving Nick Fury sends an S.O.S. to a logo most comic-book fans instantly recognized. The bigger question however is the device he used looking more like a souped up 90’s pager then any state of the art communication device that Fury usually has at his disposal.
We also already know that Captain Marvel would be set back in the 90’s where Brie Larson’s character – Carol Denvers, would become the first super-hero that Nick Fury recruits into S.H.I.E.L.D. But, Captain Marvel did not appear in either of the first two Avengers films, so there is a very big gap between the events of the Captain Marvel movie, and the post-credit scene of Infinity War.
Avengers 4 – Title yet to be announced
The Russo Brothers are keeping the title of Avengers 4 very close to them for one reason, it will give away a big hint to what happens after Infinity War, and for that reason, its just being called Avengers 4 for now. That doesn’t mean they don’t already have the title – as shooting for the most part of Avengers 4 was done simultaneously with Infinity War.
Now that we already know what happens in Infinity War, and which leaked set shots did not appear in it, we can safely assume that those leaked shots were actually meant for Avengers 4. This particular leaked image with Chris Evan’s Capt America, Robert Downey Jr’s Iron Man, Mark Ruffalo’s Hulk, and also Paul Rudd’s Ant Man sharing a laugh on set is one of particular interest.
Examining this image closely, it becomes clear that this is not a scene that happens after Infinity War. This is a scene from the first Avengers timeline, during the battle of New York. The Uniform worn by Captain America confirms this as he gets a completely new uniform in Infinity War. The clean shaven look is also completely in line with the events of the first Avengers movie.
The one glaring difference is that this set leak includes a certain Ant Man, which as we all know, was not involved in that battle, or even in that movie. This is where we believe the Russo Brothers have kept their ace up their sleeves and deviated from any of the Avengers Comics story line for Avengers 4.
Days of Future Past
But this is still something from a Marvel inspired story line, specifically from the X-Men franchise, and perfected recently by Bryan Singer in 2014’s X-Men: Days of Future Past. In the case of the X-Men, Bryan Singer brought us to a future decimated by Sentinels, where Professor X and Magneto teamed up to send Wovlerine back in time manipulated time travel to stop the Sentinels from ever being created. It was also a stroke of genius as at the same time, Bryan Singer revived all the X-Men who were killed by the Phoenix in Brett Ratner’s 2006 X-Men: The Last Stand.
Manipulate the past, to prevent a catastrophic event of the future. For the Avengers, the question is how.
Sending someone back in time would not make much sense in Avengers 4. In Days of Future Past, it took a powerful mutant who had the ability to bend time, and also, at the same time Wolverine, who was able to constantly heal to actually make it work. The Avengers do not have anybody with any of these abilities.
There has been hints that the Ant Man is able to manipulate time and space, but the possibility to time travel back 6 years to the timeline of the first Avengers movie is stretching it a bit to say the least.
The Time Stone, which Thanos used to turn back time to reverse the destruction of the Mind Stone, could be a clue, but Thanos wields its with the Infinity Gauntlet, and its highly unlikely that either Thanos, or someone who does obtain it from him will see the need to go back to the first Avengers timeline. To be frank, if anybody does indeed obtain the Infinity Gauntlet, or the Time Stone from Thanos, there would be quite a lot of easier ways to reverse what has happened.
So, that leaves us with one last scenario. Where is Captain Marvel, and why with all the technology at his disposal, did Nick Fury use an odd looking pager to send out a last ditch message to Captain Marvel.
A Message Back in Time
If Captain Marvel was around, and reachable at the press of a button, Nick Fury would have been able to call upon her for help during the first two Avengers movies. The fact that he did not, could only mean that somewhere down the Captain Marvel timeline, she becomes unreachable for one reason or another.
The fact that Captain Marvel was called, and the fact that the Captain Marvel movie is scheduled for release next year, before Avengers 4 is one big clue. The other clue is that the Captain Marvel movie is set in the 90’s.
If Nick Fury’s last ditch attempt was to send a message back in time, to Captain Marvel in the 90’s, then he would have succeed in creating what would be an alternate timeline. Nick Fury would already have knowledge of what Thanos was up to, either from Bruce Banner after the Asgardian Ship massacre, or from the remaining Avengers, before the battle at Wakanda. The only way he can be absolutely certain that Captain Marvel will not be affected by Thanos’ snap, is if he knew that the device he had, was capable of doing something remarkable.
Captain Marvel is known to have a seventh sense, when it comes to cosmic events, which will undoubtedly help her decipher Fury’s message at whatever point she receives it. Avengers 4 could very well be based on that message back in time, which will lay down the foundations for an alternate ending to the first Avengers movie, where the Chitauri battle of New York will also involve the final showdown with Thanos.
There are somethings we did not know in the first Avengers movie that we do know now. Thanos did not have the Infinity Gauntlet at that time. He did have the Mind Stone, which was embedded in Loki’s scepter, and he was only after the Tesseract. The Time Stone was also on earth at that time, in the Eye of Agamotto.
Tony Stark was a changed man after the Chitauri attack on New York in Avengers. What Tony Stark did not know is that Thanos was behind the attack, not Loki. If Captain Marvel is able to relay the message to the Avengers, the battle of New York will take a completely different complexion. Without the Infinity Gauntlet the Avengers stand a much better chance of a fight against Thanos.
Changing the timeline from the past also puts to bed Dr Strange’s unwinnable future, as Strange only looked into the future from the reality that he was in.
We also know, that some of the stars, especially the likes of Chris Evans will be hanging up their uniforms at the end of Avengers 4. Many predicted his death at the end of Infinity War, but oddly enough, he survived. Maybe, the Scarlet Witches’ vision for Tony Stark in Age of Ultron would come to be at the end of Avengers 4.
Your guess for what will transpire in Avengers 4 is as good as mine. April 24th 2019 can’t come soon enough.