Before Avengers: Infinity War came out, the year we would have to wait for Avengers 4 to come out didn’t seem like it would be so long. But after the gut punch of a cliffhanger ending with Thanos (SPOILER ALERT!) snapping his fingers and wiping out half the life in the universe, the wait to see what happens next feels like an eternity (or “infinity,” if you will). In the meantime, we can only speculate and theorize about what might happen next after that fateful finger snap. With those theories and speculations in mind, here are 10 things that need to happen in Avengers 4.
10. The core Avengers team gets back together
There seems to be a very important reason why the superhero characters that disappeared into dust at the end of Infinity War were either newer to the franchise or took more supporting roles. It’s telling that the likes of Spider-Man and Black Panther and the Guardians of the Galaxy disappeared, while Iron Man, Thor, Captain America, the Hulk, Black Widow, and Hawkeye (as far as we know) were left standing. It gets the core team back together! They’re among the few who were spared by Thanos’ finger snap, because the Avengers franchise started with them fighting evil together, so it only seems right to end with them fighting evil together. The Avengers movies have gotten side-tracked recently with having to bring in all the characters from the wider universe and expand the team to include more and more people. But as the movies have had to make room for Black Panther and his supporting cast and the Guardians of the Galaxy and Doctor Strange and his friends and all the other new characters, we’ve lost sight of the relationships and dynamics that really matter: Iron Man and Cap, Cap and Thor, Black Widow and the Hulk etc. We need to see those loose ends tied up before they all jump ship.
9. The core Avengers team dies/retires to make way for the new Avengers
After getting the key Avengers members back together for one last fight as a collective unit, bringing them back together for the first time since they were fractured and broken apart by the events of Captain America: Civil War, it will be important for Avengers 4 to have them break up to make way for a new Avengers team to swoop in and take over the MCU: Spider-Man, Black Panther, Doctor Strange etc. – in other words, the new kids on the block. In fact, some people are thinking that the title of Avengers 4, which still has yet to be revealed, will eventually be named as The New Avengers. The reason that the producers are withholding the title is supposedly because it contains spoilers about the plot of Infinity War and the sequel itself (although it will need to have a title before we actually watch the movie, otherwise what are the theaters going to put on their marquees? It’ll be anarchy!), so it would make sense that the spoiler is that the team is being replaced. But the team will have to be replaced sooner or later, because the lead actors’ contracts are quickly running out and the cast is simply getting too big.
8. Time travel takes us through the MCU highlight reel
Photos that have been released from the set have Cap in his 2012 suit and the backdrop itself looks awfully reminiscent of the Battle of New York, but it’s not a flashback, because Doctor Strange is there, a guy who wasn’t at the Battle of New York, but does know how to use the Time Stone – maybe time travel is the key to saving the day in Avengers 4. The general belief among the MCU fan base is that Avengers 4 will essentially be a time travel movie, with the use of the Time Stone playing a huge part in the heroes thwarting Thanos. If this is the case, then it seems like the filmmakers might use the opportunity to look back on a decade of the MCU to see how far the franchise has come, because Avengers 4 is kind of the culmination of all that and will set up the future of the franchise for the years to come in a very different way. It won’t just be more of the same – this is an ending and then a new beginning. So, the time travel elements could be used, in addition to telling the story at could, to look back at the highlights of the MCU for a second before turning around and striding into the future, kind of like they did with the clip show right before the series finale of Seinfeld.
7. An all out war with Thanos
In Avengers: Infinity War, everyone was broken up into various different groups to find Thanos on their own. There was a soft collection of Avengers who teamed up with Black Panther and the guys in Wakanda. There was Iron Man, Spider-Man, and Doctor Strange jetting off into space. There was Thor meeting the Guardians of the Galaxy and then breaking off with Rocket and Groot, leaving the rest of the Guardians to join Iron Man, Spidey, and Strange on Titan. These groups sometimes crossed over with one another, but on the whole, they were fighting Thanos separately in different places. There was never an all out battle scene with literally every character in the same place at the same time, taking shots at Thanos, but Bucky actor Sebastian Stan has teased such a scene to appear in Avengers 4: “There was one scene, I think, we had where everybody was there. I can’t really talk about that scene, but I knew it took them three months in planning this scene to have everyone there. You look around and you just saw everyone from Samuel L. Jackson to Michael Douglas to Michelle Pfeiffer – everybody was there.” So, that should be a lot of fun!
6. Ant-Man saves everyone from the Quantum Realm
When Avengers: Infinity War first came out, one of the biggest lingering questions was: where the hell is Ant-Man? And also Hawkeye, but Hawkeye isn’t going anywhere near the Quantum Realm, so he doesn’t matter right now. But Ant-Man’s absence is important, because one of the info-dumps in his 2015 solo movie concerned the Quantum Realm. The Quantum Realm is an alternate dimension where the concepts of space and time lose all meaning and everything goes wackadoo – it’s where the Wasp got lost and Hank Pym gravely warned Scott Lang never to go to. There’s a major fan theory that the characters who all disappeared and became dust at the end of Infinity War have actually gone to the Quantum Realm, instead of simply dying. Co-director Anthony Russo has said that the absence of Ant-Man from Infinity War was “a very specific story choice” that the filmmakers made, so that could be a tease that in Avengers 4, Ant-Man will brave the Quantum Realm and head in there to rescue everybody. That’s just about the only thing he can do to justify being totally absent. In a movie with so many epic things going on at any given time, the only way you can make a grand entrance so late and still make an impact is by bending time and space to save everyone’s favorite characters.
5. Doctor Strange reveals his master plan
Midway through the events of Avengers: Infinity War, Doctor Strange takes a few moments to look at about fourteen million versions of the Avengers’ fight against Thanos, and when Tony Stark asks him how many times out of those fourteen million they actually won the battle, he says there was only one. So, presumably, everything that Strange did from that point on was based on what happened in that one scenario that he saw in which the Avengers triumphed over Thanos. Depending on where he went after Thanos snapped his fingers and he disintegrated, the ball is in Strange’s court to figure the rest of this thing out from now on. It’s up to him to make all the right moves. The fact that he handed over the Time Stone to Thanos in order to save Tony’s life, when he had specifically said earlier in the movie that he would happily let Tony die for it, will likely come back in a major way. It might have screwed them temporarily, but the fact that he told Stark that it was “the only way” is telling. Strange sees the bigger picture, and it’ll be interesting to see how that pans out.
4. Thanos pays the price for his actions
You can’t just snap your fingers and wipe out half of humanity and then that’s the end it. We saw from the post credits scene with Maria Hill and Nick Fury just how much chaos was caused by this finger snap, and that was just one street! One theory goes that Thanos regrets what he did and realizes that his cosmic cleansing went a bit too far. Another theory states that he broke time when he used the power of the Infinity Gauntlet in such a huge capacity. When Doctor Strange used the Time Stone to play around with an apple – which is perhaps the smallest scale on which you could use the Time Stone – Wong warned him, “You weren’t manipulating the space-time continuum, you were breaking it.” And that was just an apple! Imagine the repercussions of Thanos’ epic scale of destruction. Joe Russo has said, “You’ll notice [Thanos’] arm is damaged post the snap, the gauntlet is damaged post the snap, it’s the incredible energy required from it, and only because of his strength is he able to survive actually using the Gauntlet in that capacity.” So, in other words, he’s the most powerful being in the universe and even he barely managed to pull this off without killing himself, so there are bound to be some pretty dire consequences.
3. All the characters that disintegrated get brought back
All right, let’s just get one thing straight: they’re not dead. There is no way that Marvel would let all of those characters just die. Black Panther is a brand new property and they’ve only gotten one movie out of him so far. The same goes for Spider-Man. After all that legal mumbo jumbo they had to go through with Sony just to be allowed to make Spider-Man movies, they wouldn’t just kill him off after one, would they? Meanwhile, the characters played by actors whose contracts are about to run out like Chris Evans have remained alive. So, clearly, the ones who disintegrated and are, for all intents and purposes, ‘dead’ are not really dead. Chris Pratt is shooting Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 right now and Tom Holland has sent out social media posts related to Spider-Man: Far From Home, which apparently begins “minutes” after the end of Avengers 4. Kevin Feige has said that Black Panther and Doctor Strange sequels are definitely happening, and there’s no way that Disney would allow so many cash cows to bite the dust before having all their potential squeezed out of them, so what the hell happened to them and how are they going to get resurrected? Well, that remains to be seen – but it needs to happen.
2. Captain Marvel takes on Thanos
Captain Marvel hasn’t even been introduced into the Marvel Cinematic Universe yet, but she has been heavily teased to be coming in very soon. She’s getting a solo movie to explain her origin story between Infinity War and next year’s Avengers 4 release, but that will be set back in the 1990s and it will likely end with her disappearing into space, explaining why she has bypassed the rest of the events of the MCU. But the prospect of her coming back to Earth to save the day in Avengers 4 was teased in the post credits scene of Infinity War when Nick Fury called her on his pager before his disintegrated. She’s set to be the most powerful character in all of the MCU, so she’s the only one with a chance up against Thanos. If they do fight in the movie, it’ll be like watching Godzilla fight King Kong. The only Marvel character who could come close to rivaling her power besides Thanos is Adam Warlock and he’s already been teased at the end of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 in one of the credits scenes, so Avengers 4 will get bonus points if he makes an early appearance here.
1. The future of the MCU looks bright
The most important thing for Avengers 4 to leave us with is a sense that the future of the Marvel Cinematic Universe is looking bright. It can’t feel like, with all the departures of the main cast members (Chris Evans has already announced that he’s out after this one and a bunch of other Marvel contracts are about to run out), the franchise is going into a downward spiral and it’s on its way out. We don’t want to think that it’s over and we’re done with it. That would be terrible. These movies are a lot of fun. We don’t want this to be the end of them completely. This one just has to be the end of an era – not the end of the whole thing. Let’s face it, it’s been ten years. The stories of Captain America and Iron Man and Thor and the Hulk and all those guys has been told now, and it’s time to bring in another cast of superheroes, or new characters who will take up the masks and identities of the existing heroes, to carry the franchise through the next ten years. But we do want it to last another ten years, so the future has to look bright at the end of Avengers 4.