After months of endless buildup and continuous speculation, the very first trailer for Avengers 4, officially titled Avengers: Endgame, has arrived. Picking up after our heroes suffered a devastating defeat in Infinity War at the hands of Thanos (Josh Brolin), who wiped out half of all life in the universe, Endgame must figure out a way to conclude 11 years of Marvel Cinematic Universe storytelling. That’s not an enviable task for co-director Joe and Anthony Russo, who released the trailer on their Twitter account earlier this morning.
But our first glimpse of 2019’s most anticipated blockbuster offers all manner of footage to splice and dice as we dive into the teaser with our thinking caps on. Upon first viewing, here are our biggest questions and theories about Avengers: Endgame.
How is Tony Stark Saved?
The trailer opens with Robert Downey Jr.’s Tony Stark drifting through space recording a message for Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow) as his oxygen is set to expire the next morning. Things aren’t looking too hot for Mr. Stark at the moment. But we all know that Iron Main ain’t going out like that, so the real question becomes: how does he make it back to Earth alive? (Also, where is Nebula? Tony is in the Guardians ship, the Benatar, and he was just on Titan with Gamora’s sister. Did they go their separate ways? Is Nebula on the ship with him?)
In our previous post detailing what we hoped to see in the Avengers 4 trailer, we mentioned how exciting it would be to see Brie Larson’s Captain Marvel (check out our theories and questions regarding her solo movie and how it ties into Endgame). Although that didn’t happen this time around, we know she’s going to be in the film thanks to the post-credits scene of Infinity War and, given her cosmic origins, it seems more than plausible that she will come to the aid of Tony Stark. Would it not be fitting to introduce the new foundational building block of the MCU through the eyes of Downey’s Stark, the first hero to ever kick off this enormous cinematic endeavor way back in 2008? It’s a nice little bookend.
What’s up with Hawkeye?
Jeremy Renner’s Hawkeye was noticeably absent from Avengers: Infinity War after voluntarily submitting to house arrest following the events of Captain America: Civil War. But here, we finally catch a glimpse of the former SHIELD archer…and he’s wielding a sword? What’s up with that?
Well, in the comics, Clint Barton AKA Hawkeye adopts the alias Ronin after he rejoins the Avengers following the print version of Civil War. Multiple characters have used the Ronin identity, which refers to the Japanese term for a master-less samurai. Maya Lopez, a deaf woman with photographic reflexes, was the first person to don the Ronin identity. Hawkeye followed in her footsteps.
This could hint at his disillusionment with the power structures around him, though he’s obviously not willing to just let the world end. Good for you, Clint.
What is the Plan?
In the trailer, Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) says to Captain America (Chris Evans), “This is going to work, Steve.” Naturally, this implies that they have a plan. We have spent countless hours theorizing extensively about how the Avengers may be able to mount a comeback victory against Thanos in Avengers: Endgame, but we have no idea what specifically the two characters are discussing in this moment.
Remember, our Earth bound heroes at the conclusion of Infinity War were completely separated from Iron Man, Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) and the Guardians of the Galaxy, who were all fighting Thanos on his home planet of Titan. Whatever plan Cap and Black Widow are hatching is a mystery and we’re wondering if they have somehow gotten in touch with Tony and the others at this point to coordinate a final assault. Unfortunately, we can’t tell when exactly this conversation takes place in the course of the film.
However, there are several compelling theories as to how the Infinity Stones may play a crucial role in Thanos’ inevitable downfall, though those involve Doctor Strange.
How’s Thanos Doing?
We don’t get a full-on shot of Thanos in this trailer, but we do see his armor hung up and his damaged Infinity Gauntlet-clad hand passing gingerly through some tall grass in a way that is very reminiscent of Maximus passing over into the afterlife in Gladiator. We can’t be sure of anything, but it feels to us like Thanos still isn’t fully recovered from the wounds he suffered in Infinity War (an axe to the chest from the God of Thunder will do that to you, ya know?)
With the power of all six Infinity Stones, Thanos could theoretically heal himself in an instant. But perhaps the Snapture expended all of the stones’ power? The Gauntlet is visibly damaged, after all. Or, perhaps Thanos believes his suffering is part of his sacrifice to do, what he believes, was the right thing in “balancing” the universe. Whatever the case may be, we very much hope Thanos isn’t pushed to the sidelines in Endgame as he can still be a fascinating antagonist.
What Will Bruce Banner/Hulk’s Role Be?
In the trailer, we see Mark Ruffalo’s Bruce Banner scanning over the heroes presumed lost in the Snapture. This has to be weighing particularly heavy on his soul, as he was unable to bring the Hulk out in Infinity War after his first encounter with Thanos. He looks to be feeling immense guilt and might be questioning how the conflict could have gone differently if he could have controlled Hulk.
Ruffalo has said that last year’s Thor: Ragnarok began a three-film arc for his character, which continued in Infinity War and will presumably conclude in Endgame.
“Kevin [Feige] brought me in and he said, ‘What would you do if you could do a standalone Hulk movie?’ I said, ‘I think it should be this, this, this, and this, and it should end like this,'” Ruffalo explained to IGN. “And he said, ‘How about if we do that — love that — let’s do that starting with Thor 3 and end in Avengers 3, and we’ll use those three movies to basically do a standalone Hulk movie. How about that?’ I was like, ‘That sounds great.'”
We assume Endgame will see Banner and Hulk reach some sort of equilibrium that keeps both beings happy. We can’t imagine the big green guy won’t eventually get a Round 2 with Thanos, especially if Avengers: Endgame features World Breaker Hulk. We’ll let YouTube Webhead explain:
“I wouldn’t be surprised if Marvel put this character on screen. They usually produce a version of these characters that isn’t as powerful as [their comic book counterparts], because world breaker Hulk can literally destroy worlds with just a single punch. This is where Hulk is most powerful. He glows all green, and becomes extremely enraged, destroying everything in his path.”
Thor must be feeling particularly guilty in Endgame. Thanos was right when he told him he should have gone for the head. Not only is Asgard destroyed and his people now an endangered species, but half of the universe’s population is gone too. Yeesh, tough break there, kid.
But there is some speculation that, following Thanos’ defeat, Thor could use the Soul Stone to bring his brother Loki (Tom Hiddleston) back to life and rebuild his homeworld. That might not be the best path to take as Loki’s non-death hasbecome a running punchline at this point (and the character is getting his own Disney+ limited series), but we wouldn’t mind seeing some version of that theory come to fruition. Thor’s entire MCU journey has, in one way or another, been connected to eventually assuming the throne of Asgard. It would be nice to eventually see him rule as the benevolent leader he has finally matured into after all these years.
Ant-Man and the Quantum Realm
When last we saw Paul Rudd’s Ant-Man/Scott Lang, he was being trapped in the microscopic Quantum Realm at the end of Ant-Man and the Wasp thanks to Thanos’ Snapture. As we see in the trailer, the Avengers believe he was lost in the decimation, along with Tom Holland’s Peter Parker/Spider-Man (trailer for Spider-Man: Far From Home coming soon) and Letitia Wright’s Shuri, plus the characters we saw get dusted in the last film. But then, all of a sudden, Scott pops up at the front door of the Avengers facility. How the hell did that happen?
Potential Spoiler Warning for Avengers: Endgame
Multiple leaked photos and reports from the set of Avengers 4 has hinted that previous events in the MCU timeline, such as the Battle of New York in 2012’s Avengers, will be revisited in the upcoming sequel. While these could very well be flashbacks, the prevailing theory is that time travel will factor heavily into Endgame in some form. One belief is that the Quantum Realm, which is essentially a subset dimension with access to other physical realities, might serve as a conduit to other timelines. In other words, Ant-Man might be able to escape the Quantum Realm and warn the Avengers in the past of Thanos’ looming threat before somehow making his way back into the present.
Disney CEO Bob Iger has even said that “different realms” will be explored in the MCU capper: “They can be separate geographically, or separate in time—not just in place, but in time. So there’s almost—it’s not quite infinite, but the directions we could go are extraordinary.”
The Marvel movies take place in real time (for the most part), but there’s no telling how much time has passed since the Snapture and this moment. In fact, we’re not even sure how long after Infinity War this sequel is supposed to take place.
Captain America’s Final Stand
The common belief among Marvel fans for years has been that Captain America will sacrifice himself in some way to defeat Thanos and save the universe. That would be completely on brand for his noble character (remember, he did it in The First Avenger) and provide definitive emotional finality to his arc. Death is important to storytelling—it establishes real stakes and reminds audiences that there are consequences to our actions. But as fans, we just love Evans’ Steve Rogers so much that we don’t want to see him die. So, if the Russo Brothers are feeling altruistic, we have an alternative suggestion.
In the trailer, we see Steve gaze longingly at a picture of Peggy Carter, his one true love back in the 1940s who died of old age in Civil War. After defeating Thanos, we’d love to see the other Avengers gift Steve the Time Stone so that he can return to Peggy and live out the rest of his life with her. It would be the ultimate reward to the MCU’s most deserving character.
(Chris Evans also bid the character goodbye in an emotional message to fans, so we all have to brace ourselves for the end of Steve Rogers in one way or another).
Avengers: Endgame Post-Credits Scene
We have no idea what to expect from the post-credits tease Marvel will attach to Avengers: Endgame, but we have a theory.
Disney’s acquisition of Fox will not be officially approved until early 2019, so there is no legal way that Marvel can use any of Fox’s Marvel characters until that point. Even then, all signs point to the rebooted X-Men and Fantastic Four not appearing in the MCU until 2021 at the earliest (we have thoughts on who should be recast in the iconic roles for both franchises). However, there’s no reason why Marvel couldn’t be coy in its teasing of what’s to come in the post-credits scene.
One realistic way for the MCU to weave in the idea of Mutants is to suggest that alien lifeforms—which could easily be the Kree or Skrulls, who will be appearing in March’s Captain Marvel—visited Earth hundreds of thousands of years ago and conducted genetic experiments with early man’s DNA (we expand on this theory here). A brief conversation between surviving Avengers and Nick Fury could easily hint at upcoming developments while offering a potential sneak peek at the future of our favorite characters. Just picture it:
Tony Stark (kicks feet onto table and cracks a beer): Well, we did it team. We saved the universe. Again. I really think we should start getting hazard pay.
Nick Fury: Not so fast, Stark.
Tony: Ugh, what now…
Nick: The war may be over, but that doesn’t mean our jobs are. There have been increasing reports of (dramatic pause) enhanced individuals. Children being born with special abilities—bending metal, strange weather phenomena. That sort of thing. Care to look into it? (Nick hands him a USB drive of sensitive intel)
Tony: ….Fine, but after this, I’m taking a vacation.
Avengers: Endgame will arrive in theaters on April 26, 2019.