Fan theories are a whole lot of fun and, once in a while, they can also be accurate. That’s why we’ve devoted an embarrassing amount of time to breaking down the Avengers: Endgame trailer for clues, while also keeping a running list of major theories about its predecessor, Avengers: Infinity War (not to mention our offshoot speculation surrounding Brie Larson’s Captain Marvel and Benedict Cumberbatch’s Doctor Strange). Now a new fan theory that originated on Reddit has caught our attention because it reframes Infinity War and potentially sets up Phase IV of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
*Warning: potential Avengers: Endgame spoilers ahead*
Leaked photos and reports from the Avengers: Endgame set have revealed that we’ll be revisiting past events within the MCU timeline, such as the Battle of New York in 2012’s The Avengers. The prevailing theory is that Endgame will feature a heavy dose of time travel, presumably thanks to Paul Rudd’s Scott Lang and the Quantum Realm in Ant-Man. However, what if the Quantum Realm offered another kind of solution?
According to this new fan theory, Thanos’ Snap may not have killed half of all life in the universe. [Puts on tin foil hat.] Perhaps the Snapture merely created two parallel realities that divided the population into different planes of existence. Maybe the dusted heroes aren’t dead but are actually just somewhere else, and the only way to reach them is through the sub-dimension of the Quantum Realm, where Scott just so happens to be trapped at the moment. There’s been plenty of speculation that next year’s Captain Marvel may also connect to this microverse and reveal new information about the governing logic of the MCU. A story featuring Ant-Man traversing the two existences to bring them together could be riveting.
This wouldn’t be completely out of Marvel’s purview either, as many of the company’s mobile games deal with colliding realities and Doctor Strange introduced the concept of the multiverse. It’s also been heavily rumored—not to mention teased by Marvel figures—that the future of the MCU will more thoroughly explore cosmic story lines and characters. It’s easy to see how Marvel Studios head Kevin Feige could use this type of thinking in Endgame to set up Phase IV of his shared cinematic universe.
Specifically, a reveal along these lines could lay the groundwork for the iconic comics arc Secret Wars—in which a cosmic entity teleports a group of Earth’s heroes and supervillains to a different galaxy—to become the next central big-screen Marvel tale. It’s a defining story from the 1980s that seems particularly well suited for blockbusterization.
We’ll find out if this intriguing theory holds up when Avengers: Endgame hits theaters April 26.