The Big Questions We Have After Avengers: Infinity War
SPOILERS! Now that Marvel has released the first part of its two-part Avengers mini-finale, we outline the big questions we have after Avengers: Infinity War.
PLEASE NOTE: This article discusses Avengers: Infinity War in detail. If you haven’t seen the film, please turn away now. Thar be spoilers here.
Now that Avengers: Infinity War has been released and is in the process of utterly smashing box office records with no signs of slowing down, we have several questions. There’s a good chance that people that saw Infinity War are already planning their next trip to the theater to see it again, but we are looking ahead to the next film that will hopefully resolve all (or at least most) of the questions we have after seeing Infinity War.
We’ll have to wait until “Avengers 4” hits theaters on May 3, 2019 to get the answers to these questions, but it’s never too early to start talking about it.
Where has Captain Marvel been?
After the credits, the button scene shows Nick Fury sending a message via a high-tech (possibly alien-infused) pager. The response suggests that either Captain Marvel received the signal, or it triggered something related to her. But that raises the obvious question – if Fury had the means to contact Captain Marvel all this time, why didn’t he do so earlier, especially when the Earth was invaded?
The upcoming Captain Marvel – set to hit theaters on March 8, 2019 – is set in the 90s. The plot is being kept under wraps, but it will involve the Kree and feature more of the galactic side of the MCU. It hasn’t been revealed exactly what year the film takes place, but there will be at least a 20-year gap between her story and Infinity War. So where has she been?
The obvious answer is that she’s been in space. Assuming Marvel Studio won’t want to hide Oscar winner Brie Larson under pounds of prosthetic to make her look 20+ years older, either she has been deliberately avoiding Earth (maybe as a consequence of what happens in her solo film) and her powers/location kept her from aging, or she has been in some kind of suspended animation.
The former would make more sense. Having her somehow banned from Earth would give her 20 years of experience, and that with her powerset would instantly make her one of the most powerful MCU characters. It would also explain why Fury was reluctant to call on her (although it would still have made sense to call her during the invasion in Avengers). It it’s the latter, why didn’t Fury release her earlier? Was he worried about her seeking revenge against him?
We’ll find out soon enough.
Why was Dr. Strange’s deal with Thanos the “only way?”
Just before Dr. Strange turns to ash, Tony Stark asks him why he would trade the Time Stone. Dr. Strange replies that it was the only way. This is no doubt connected to Strange’s earlier look through millions of timelines where he only saw one path to victory. That apparently meant giving Thanos the stone willingly, but why?
One possibility is that Tony Stark (and possibly Nebula, who remains with Tony on Titan after the mass death) must survive in order to defeat Thanos and bring back the “dead” heroes. In the comics, Nebula is the one that steals the Infinity Gauntlet and does just that, so it’s possible that if Strange hadn’t given the stone to Thanos, everyone on Titan would have died and they wouldn’t have been there when they were really needed.
Another possibility is that Thanos needed to win in order to later defeat himself, which would also be in keeping with the comics, where Marvel characters that obtain godlike powers are frequently undone by their own self-doubt. If strange hadn’t given the stone away, Thanos may have taken a different path that would have allowed him to win without the hope of a reversal.
How will the erased heroes return?
The end of Infinity War felt like a gut punch, but it won’t stick. Not only is Marvel Studio not going to kill off half its extremely profitable characters, this is also a semi-familiar storyline for fans of Marvel comics. Plus, there are already Spider-Man, Black Panther, and Guardians of the Galaxy sequels confirmed for after Avengers 4.
So how will the characters be brought back? Someone is going to use the Infinity Gauntlet, and they will probably use the Time Stone in exactly the same way that Thanos did with Vision. There have already been hints that Avengers 4 will feature time travel, the question is who will be wielding the gauntlet when it happens.
There’s always a chance that Thanos will do it himself. He’s a complicated character, and there may be something that convinces him to undo what he’s done – maybe the death of his beloved Gamora. That seems unlikely, but it is a possibility. If the story follows the comics, it will be Nebula – but it could be anyone. Tony Stark seems like a distinct possiblity too.
Will those that died before Thanos’ victory stay dead?
It seems obvious that the characters that turned to ash at the end of Infinity War will be resurrected, but those that died before Thanos snapped his fingers may not be so lucky.
Before Thanos won, Loki, Heimdall, Gamora, and Vision were all killed. Viewed through the lens of contractual obligations, Loki’s death makes sense, and it’s tough to keep someone as famous as Idris Elba on the sidelines as a minor character. Vision’s death also fit the story, as did Gamora’s. But will they stay dead?
Loki is a trickster and has “died” before, plus there’s probably a loophole where he can be resurrected, possibly as a woman – it happened in the comics. Paul Bettany is rumored to be in Avengers 4 and the Vision is an important character, so he may return, although he may not make it beyond the next film and it could be in flashbacks.
Gamora, however, is integral to Thanos (and the Guardians franchise), so there’s a good chance she may return. In fact, given that her death involved the Soul Stone, she may appear in the “Soulworld,” a reality hidden inside the Soul Stone similar to purgatory. There’s even a chance that’s where Thanos goes when he sits to watch the sunset – the orange sky would fit. And when you add time travel (see above), anything is possible.
Who will die in Avengers 4?
We’ve already written about who will die before this phase of the MCU concludes, and with a few minor exceptions, our opinion hasn’t changed.
For a sense at the odds of who will die, start by looking at the actors’ contracts. Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, and Chris Hemsworth are probably living on borrowed time (Hemsworth may stick around, as he is relatively inexpensive compared to the other two). Mark Ruffalo seems to be planning his departure as well, and unless Jeremy Renner and Scarlett Johansson both get solo movies, they might exit too.
If we had to put money down, our bet would be on both Downey Jr. and Evans. It would also be a great send off to have Iron Man and Cap reunite and forgive each other, then sacrifice themselves to save the universe. If Marvel isn’t concerned about the money, Tony Stark may live on and retire, with Downey Jr. occasionally making the odd cameo in the future (but not as Iron Man). But it’s hard to imagine Steve Rogers just fading away, and there are at least two characters that can take his place as Captain America (Bucky and Falcon).
What is the official title of Avengers 4?
When Marvel first announced the films in Phase 3, it listed Avengers: Infinity War – Part 1, and Avengers: Infinity War – Part 2. The studio later backed off of that and said Part 2 wasn’t really part 2 at all, and it should be seen as a separate movie. After seeing Infinity War, that seems slightly disingenuous – Avengers 4, whatever it ends up being called, will probably pick up right where Infinity War ended. There are too many dangling plot threads to just skip a year ahead and start from there, so this film will be a direct sequel – even if it has a different name.
Marvel boss Kevin Feige later came out and said that the studio would keep the name under wraps for a while in order to keep the attention on Infinity War. Of course, once Marvel announced that the name was changing, fans began speculating immediately. It didn’t help that Anthony and Joe Russo, directors of both films, said that fans should be scared of the title.
The only thing we know for sure in regards to the name is that it will not be “Infinity Gauntlet” – Feige shot that down himself. Another possibility, however, would be “Avengers: Infinity Crusade,” the third “Infinity” Marvel comics series. The name could also take from another well-known Avengers storyline, leading to “Avengers: Disassembled” or even “Avengers: Reassembled.” Neither is particularly ominous though. There’s also the chance that we’ve actually heard the title and just didn’t realize it. “Avengers: Endgame” has a nice ring to it.
No word on when Marvel will announce it, but it may not be until after Infinity War leaves theaters.
When/How will Hawkeye and Ant-Man return?
Both Hawkeye and Ant-Man were conspicuously absent from Infinity War, although they are both mentioned in the film as having taken deals following the Sokovia Accords in order to reunite with their families. Both characters are expected to be in Avengers 4, however, which may be a bad sign for them. There’s a chance that both characters will be compelled to put on their suits and lend a hand due to their heroic nature, but with half of the people on Earth turning into ash, both may have lost people close to them.
We may find out a little more this summer when Ant-Man and the Wasp hits theaters on July 6. The film will take place before Infinity War, but given Marvel’s love of teasing other films using the post-credit scenes, we may find out if the Pyms and Scott Lang’s family survive the culling.
What happened to Valkyrie (and Korg)?
One of the breakout stars of Thor: Ragnarok was Tessa Thompson’s Valkyrie, so it was expected that she would play a decent role in Infinity War. To the surprise of many, she was nowhere to be seen, leaving fans to wonder what happened to her and whether or not she even survived the Asgardians’ confrontation with Thanos.
The good news is that Joe Russo seemed to confirm that the character is still alive, although he didn’t go into any detail. Oddly, despite confirming that, he refused to comment about Korg, the rock-like gladiator voiced by Taika Waititi (which may just mean he knew what’s next for Valkyrie but not Korg). He went on to confirm that many of the people on the Asgardian ship made it to escape pods, leaving the Thor franchise a little wiggle room.
It’s not clear if we’ll see Valkyrie in Avengers 4 or not, but the character will almost certainly return at some point.
Is Xandar really gone?
It seems a little odd that the climax of Guardians of the Galaxy was essentially invalidated off-screen in a quick comment, but regardless of how the MCU heroes stop Thanos, Xandar is apparently in ruins. This could actually have big implications for future MCU films.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 has already been confirmed for 2020 so the fate of Xandar may play into it, but there’s another hero that may be created because of the destruction. Xandar is the home of the Nova Corps, and there have been rumors of a Nova movie – or an ensemble movie featuring the character of Nova – for a few years now. If the Nova Corps were at full strength, it would be a little tougher to explain how a kid from Earth managed to take possession of the Nova power, but if the Nova Corps is in ruins, it might make a little more sense. And if what is left of the decimated Nova Corps (following the attack on Xandar by Ronan) took on Thanos, there may not be many of them left.
Will we see Adam Warlock in Avengers 4?
In the comics, the character of Adam Warlock is deeply connected to the Infinity Stones/Infinity Gems. He is the guardian of the Soul Gem, and he has a long history with Thanos. And while we haven’t seen him in the MCU yet, he is on the way – albeit with some big changes.
In Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, the leader of the Sovereign is seen creating a being who she calls Adam, which is almost certainly Adam Warlock. That’s a significant departure from the comic history of the character, but that doesn’t really matter. Comic fans may hope to see him appear in Avengers 4, it might be easier to hold him until Guardians Vol. 3. There are already plenty of characters in Avengers 4 without having to introduce and explain a gold, messianic cosmic character with spiritual powers.
What’s next for Red Skull?
One of the biggest surprises in Infinity War was the appearance of the Red Skull as the guardian of the Soul Stone. There have been a lot of theories that he didn’t actually die in Captain America: The First Avenger but was instead teleported somewhere (just as Loki used the Tesseract to teleport to Earth), but it was still a surprise.
Part of that might be because Hugo Weaving did not reprise his role, and instead, the character was played by Ross Marquand. Weaving has said in the past that he was contractually obligated to appear in multiple films, but he also said he didn’t want to reprise the role (mainly because of the extensive prosthetics). That seemed to leave the character in limbo but Marvel found a way around it, and it sounds like there are plans for the character beyond Phase 3.
In an interview, Samuel L. Jackson claimed that he wasn’t in Infinity War (which may have been true at the time, and his scene may have been filmed later or he may have filmed it for Captain Marvel). During that interview, he also let slip that Fury wasn’t idle even if he wasn’t onscreen and that he had been busy chasing down leads on the Skull. That seems hard to reconcile since the Red Skull was trapped on Vormir, but he could have been speaking about future events as well.
As for how the Skull escapes Vormir, there are several possibilities – Thanos may have given him a lift, he may discover a path opened after Thanos takes the Soul Stone, or a dozen other possibilities that will hopefully be addressed. He may even appear in Avengers 4 if the resurrected Guardians decide to look for Gamora. However he survives, he may have a big role to play in Phase 4. It would be a bit of a change, but Avengers: Masters of Evil, anyone?