This contains spoilers for Avengers: Infinity War.
Now that Infinity War has been in theaters for two weeks it is high time that we, as film lovers in the 21st century, do what we do best – project forward to the next movie. Infinity War certainly invites this; while the Russos have said the movie doesn’t really end on a cliffhanger it totally does. The question now before us is how will the heroes turn this profound, universe depopulating defeat into a victory?
It’s important to keep in mind that Infinity War is really just the first two acts of a movie, and as such all the groundwork has been laid for what will happen in Avengers 4. It’s unlikely that there will be a lot of total shockeroonis, as the next film will be paying off everything that has been set up. With that in mind, here are my guesses:
Everybody Who Turned To Dust Is Coming Back
This is a no-brainer, I know. In The Infinity Gauntlet comic book Thanos wipes out half the universe in issue 1 (of 6), so you knew that the rest of the story would be about undoing that particular thing. Same here. The question is “How?”
The most obvious answer would be by using the Time Stone. Doctor Strange gave it up to save the day, NOT to save Tony Stark. The movie had Strange really, really hammer home that he wasn’t going to sacrifice the Stone for Stark or Spider-Man; when he traveled into the future and saw 14 million outcomes there was only one that ended with the good guys winning. He’s pushing towards that outcome, thus his last words:
“Tony. It was the only way.”
It wasn’t the only way to save Tony, it was the only way to save the universe.
On top of that, we see the Time Stone in action when Thanos uses it to reverse The Vision’s destruction. That wasn’t random – it was establishing how the stone works.
It may be that the Time Stone is used on its own, or it may be that Nebula will get to save the day with the whole Gauntlet. That’s what happened in The Infinity Gauntlet, after all. In the comics Thanos essentially became God, and in the moments when he was getting used to his new cosmic consciousness Nebula yanked the Infinity Gauntlet off his comatose body and used it to undo all the death he had caused. This makes a lot of sense for Nebula’s continued story arc, and it answers the question of why the heck she was left alive at the end of Infinity War.
At any rate, nobody who disintegrated is staying dead.
Gamora And Vision Will Come Back To Life
While all the heroes who died in an instant will be back, some of the folks who were killed the old fashioned way will stay dead. Expect Loki and Heimdall to be dead forever (or until another Thor movie gets announced), and the Black Order will also likely remain dead. But Gamora and Vision… not so fast.
There was a lot of discussion in Infinity War that left the door open for the Vision to come back to life. For one thing, Banner talks about how the Mind Stone is only one part of The Vision’s consciousness, and that he contains other layers, and that he might survive losing the Stone. For another, we’re not sure what Shuri was doing while poking around in his head – was she downloading his consciousness in a way you could only do with an AI?
But the real reason he’s probably coming back is that he died and came back in the comics, and it was a good story. In the comics he returned as an all-white version of himself, truly becoming like a ghostly vision. But he lost some of his personality along the way, and as a result his romance with Scarlet Witch suffered. That’s good material for future movies, and anyone who watched Vision go all grey as he died in Infinity War couldn’t help but think of the white Vision.
As for Gamora: she’s in the Soul Stone. For one thing, we saw that at the end of the movie. Thanos goes in there to talk to her. What that version of her IS we will find out, but it seems likely that Thanos so loved his daughter that he used the Infinity Gauntlet to maintain a piece of who she is. It’s sort of like Spock’s katra being stuck in McCoy’s head.
And here’s the thing: this has comic book precedence as well. In the comics the Soul Stone (Soul Gem in print, for the nitpickers) kills you by actually stealing your soul. In fact, the Gem is sentient and WANTS to steal souls. And it puts your soul inside an idyllic pocket dimension that exists within the Gem. Adam Warlock and other Marvel cosmic heroes ended up inside this Soulworld. In Infinity War we are told Thanos must sacrifice a soul for the Soul Stone, and it seems likely that Gamora’s soul has been captured by the Stone.
Gamora being inside the Stone could be a big deal in the sequel – could she be able to manipulate the Soul Stone from within and thus corrupt Thanos’ power? Might it be that Thanos will have to go within the Stone to confront her, and that’s when Gamora will strike?
We Will Get Smart Hulk
Bruce Banner’s arc in Infinity War is incredibly frustrating because it goes nowhere. He’s fighting with the Hulk… but it’s never resolved. That’s because this is third act business, and it will be resolved in a way that will change the Hulk’s status quo.
We’re going to get a merger of Hulk and Banner.
It’s happened a lot in the comics. We’ve had Joe Fixit, the smart gangster Grey Hulk. We’ve had Doc Green, a green Hulk with Banner’s intellect. And we’ve had The Maestro, an aged alternate future Hulk with a lot of white hair.
It’s the only answer to where the Hulk/Banner conflict is headed, and it makes sense as Marvel has a great Banner who can do the performance capture acting needed to bring a smart Hulk to life. The question is whether this will be accomplished through Banner’s will, through Tony Stark’s help or with the power of the Infinity Gauntlet.
Captain America Is Toast, But Not Before He Gets The Shield Back
There’s no way Steve Rogers is making it out of this one alive. I wasn’t sure going into Infinity War which of the original Avengers would die for good (ish. As much as you can in a comic book movie), but now I’m sure it’s Captain America.
It can’t be Iron Man, because he’s getting married. And maybe even going to have a kid. This is vital – Avengers 4 needs to have a lot of uplift, and ending on a wedding is a nice way to do that. Killing Tony Stark before he can get married really blows his character arc; he needs to learn how to concede control and step away from the superheroics.
It won’t be Thor, because they just got him right. It won’t be Hulk because they’re going to make him smart, and they’ll want to use him in future movies. It won’t be Hawkeye because it would be cruel to do that to his family. It won’t be Black Widow because she has a potential movie coming.
It has to be Cap. And Cap laid the groundwork for his own death in his scant screentime in Infinity War. Apparently he’s in the movie for six minutes, and in those six minutes he must say “We don’t trade a life for a life” like six times. So yeah, he’s going to trade his life for a life.
Cap’s death in Infinity Gauntlet is one of the great deaths in the series. Thanos has demolished the other heroes in hand-to-hand combat, and Cap stands up to him despite being way less powerful than all the other dudes Thanos just wiped out.
That’s truncated, but you get the gist of it.
Here’s how I want it to go down: I want Cap to go full circle. I want Thanos to use the Infinity Gauntlet to remove the Super Soldier Serum from Steve’s blood, returning him to a skinny dork. And I want Steve, all skin and bones, to keep standing up to Thanos, to sacrifice his life at a strategic moment. Do the grenade moment from Captain America: The First Avenger. Remind us that Cap’s heroism is about his internal strength, not his physical strength.
Maybe Steve trades a soul for a soul – putting himself in the Soul Stone to get Gamora out. Having Steve in the Stone leaves open the door for a triumphant return after a whole movie where Bucky Barnes takes on the mantle.
Speaking of the mantle: by the end of the movie Cap will have shaved his Nomad beard and will have gotten back into the classic WWII suit, complete with his shield (Tony Stark will have had it repaired and repainted for him). Cap’s limited screentime in Infinity War is setting us up for A LOT of Cap in Avengers 4.
There’s A New Avengers
At some point at the end of Avengers 4 we are going to get a new team of Avengers, and it will be without most of the current heavy hitters. My guess on who is on the team moving forward into Avengers 5?
The Falcon and Hawkeye are possibilities (Hawkeye could make for a good Nick Fury type, giving the team missions), but I feel like this is a team that makes the most sense with who we have on deck for Phase Four. Doctor Strange, I think, does his own thing, and The Guardians of the Galaxy will go back to space.
The new Captain America probably won’t be on the team, but he’ll be involved in some way.
Spider-Man could be involved, but the Marvel/Sony deal is such that it might make sense for Marvel to keep him sidelined in case things go south. The deal should be getting revisited after Avengers 4, and it’s not impossible that Sony, full of the success of the rebooted Spidey, thinks they can take it from here and not need Marvel’s input.
There Will Be A Hero Shot, And Cap Will Say “Avengers Assemble”
One of the glaring things missing from Infinity War: a shot of all the heroes together. It’s like THE iconic moment of The Avengers, and there’s no way Marvel can resist recreating it with 25 heroes all together.
What’s more, Captain America has never said “Avengers Assemble” in any of these movies (he keeps getting cut off), and they’re saving the phrase for this moment, when literally every MCU hero will come together, to have him say it. It’s gonna be big. It’s gonna give everybody chills. He’ll also get killed not long after saying it.
Iron Man Is Over… For Now
The very end of the movie will have Tony Stark really laying down the Iron Man armor for good. Married and with Pepper pregnant, he’ll realize that he needs to take care of the people closest to him. The Thanos attack has brought his greatest fears true… but he also was able to see that it all worked out, that there are lots of incredibly talented, brave people who can take the burden. He will have worked through his PTSD (possibly by taking a BARF trip back to the Battle of New York), and will be ready to let the next generation take over.
It Will Be Called AVENGERS DISASSEMBLED
Marvel hasn’t released the name of the movie because it’s a spoiler. They like to use the titles of storylines when possible, and this title works literally and figuratively. It’s also a good title if the next movie is called The New Avengers.
What do you think? What are your guesses?