You may have hoped that the day will never arrive, but believe it or not, the end is near.
Avengers: Endgame, that is.
While the highly anticipated sequel won't hit cinemas until 26 April, many fans from all over the Internet are already diving into theories predicting what is going to happen to your favourite superheroes.
For your entertainment, we've sussed out some of the most popular and hopeful ones. Check them out below:
It's not a matter of if, but how exactly Steve Rogers is going to leave the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Chris Evans has already made it clear that Avengers: Endgame will be his last MCU movie, going as far as tweeting a farewell message last October. Many theories seem to lean towards an honourable sacrifice, such as this one penned by Reddit user farores_wind:
In the final fight, a pregnant Pepper Potts will don Rescue. She fights because she feels Thanos is attacking her family, and that Tony won’t quit his addiction to defeating Thanos.
Thanos will be about to kill Pepper, and Tony’s unborn child, right in front of Tony.
Steve Rogers will sacrifice himself to save Pepper, very in line with his character arc and his “we don’t trade lives” mantra.
Tony will fight Thanos one final time. Tony will have the upper hand, filled with rage that Thanos tried to kill Pepper and that Steve sacrificed himself for Tony and his family, when he realizes he didn’t deserve that sacrifice. So he will fight Thanos to earn that sacrifice, truly embodying what it means to be a hero (for a long time Tony wavers between what is right and what is self-beneficial in his own movies). This is Tony’s chance to ‘become’ Captain America. Tony will be the one who says ‘Avengers, Assemble.’ And he will use his Iron Man suit and Captain America’s shield in combination to defeat Thanos.
Tony will kill Thanos.
Tony will retire, and have his family that he always wanted.
Steve will die, sacrificing himself so that others could live the life they wanted, and the life he never was able to have.
Just how powerful is the Time Stone? It appears that Doctor Strange is one of the only few beings in the universe privy to that knowledge. Towards the end of Infinity War, while Iron Man, Spider-Man and the Guardians wait for Thanos to arrive on Titan, Doctor Strange spends most of this time analysing potential futures. 14,000,605 futures, to be exact. What we don't see, however, is what he does with this prescience. Could he have used the same time-loop technique that helped him defeat Dormammu? Reddit user RahulVijh theorises so:
I do not think that Strange saw all possible outcomes - rather he saw 14000604 iterations "until the heroes win". There literally is "only one way to stop Thanos". That makes even more sense because he is using the Time Stone which controls time. Alternate realities should be the domain of the Reality Stone (and I don't think we have seen the true potential of the Reality Stone) not the Time Stone. Though admittedly of course 14 million iterations might take the plot a tad too far.
In Infinity War, when Strange cedes the Time Stone to Thanos, the stone is clearly glowing and thus "activated" - since the events of Infinity War at least at that point are within the time loop.
Even though Strange is dust, that does not break the time loop, as we saw in Doctor Strange (when Dormammu repeatedly kills him). We are again reminded of that by Strange when he tells Ebony Maw, "you will find a dead man's spell.. hard to break.." in Infinity War.
Scott Lang (Ant-Man) is the wild card in breaking the loop. Since he went into the Quantum Realm, he may escape the time loop (perhaps by going to a Time Vortex mentioned in Ant-Man 2). That would explain why Time Vortices were so wittily mentioned in the movie. Everything we see in Civil War and Ant Man movies is part of the time loop - but going through a Time Vortex while stuck in the Quantum Realm allows Ant-Man to escape the time loop.
While most theories seem to focus on more popular characters like Iron Man, Captain America, Ant-Man and Doctor Strange, an interesting theory posed by Reddit user sfmarch07 posits that the wildcard in Avengers: Endgame is the one person that has been rather ever-present since the beginning of the MCU - Nick Fury.
I believe Nick Fury in the 90's in the Captain Marvel movie will be shown or made aware of the future and future events, potentially even by Dr. Strange coming back in time from Infinity War, and he will be shown specific things that he and other characters have to do throughout the entire MCU to ultimately set up future events for how they need to be in order for the Avengers to win in Avengers 4, per Dr. Strange's end game plan from the possible 1 out of 14 million outcomes. Meaning everything that has happened in MCU so far had to happen the way it did but more importantly was set up in certain cases to happen the way it did partly by Fury himself.
During Captin Marvel, Nick Fury learns about aliens and cosmic threats for the first time, which is his true motivation for assembling the Avengers in the first place. And I don't think its a coincidence that Tony Stark is the first Avenger that he recruits either, which is the other part of my theory.
I think in A4 the Avengers will try and retrieve the stones from different points in time as has also been heavily speculated. In order to retrieve the soul stone though, Tony is going to have to sacrifice something, the same way Thanos had to sacrifice Gamora. But instead of sacrificing Pepper Potts, what if Tony instead has to go back in time to 1991 and infiltrate Hydra or seek out the Winter Soldier, and order the hit on his parents himself, sacrificing the thing he loves most, to enable him to get the Soul stone to fight against Thanos, knowing all the while what it will cause in the future and all the anguish it will personally cause him along with the events of Civil War, breaking up the Avengers, and everything that happens after that. Or maybe Nick Fury back in 1991 tells Tony that he has to do this.
With the unimaginable and unlimited powers of the Infinity Stones, it's not too crazy to believe that Thanos is actually capable of creating another universe if he wanted to, akin to a Big Bang-esque reset of all life as we know it. This theory by Reddit user joethehamface wonders if instead of simply "snapping" half the universe away, Thanos simply transported them into a parallel dimension.
What if it simply split the reality in two taking half of everyone into each version missing the other half but retaining the same resources. The two parallel realities could be joined by a sort of bridge in the quantum realm. Since Scott was in the quantum realm at the time of the split he was unaffected by the snap and not bound to either reality leaving him free to travel from one to the other over this bridge. Maybe this leaves him free to travel through to the parallel dimensions created by Thanos splitting the time stream. He would be the only way for them to communicate with the other. Maybe he exists in both realities and gains knowledge from both due to some strange form of quantum entanglement.
Among the many deaths in Infinity War, it's become quite clear that many of them are going to be reversed at some point in Avengers: Endgame. After all, you can't really do a Spider-Man: Far From Home without Spider-Man, or a Doctor Strange sequel without Doctor Strange. That being said, the fact that Loki was choked to death suggests that his passing may be a permanent one. However, if history has taught us anything, it's that the Asgardian God of Mischief has a nasty habit of faking his own death. Reddit user FantasticCreature offers plenty of reasons why we haven't seen the last him:
First of all, his suspicious "re-entrance" from the side after the Thanos and Hulk fight should be noted. Second, He's not going to try to "sneakily" stab Thanos in front of him without using a clone, he's not stupid. Third, Thor said something along the lines of "I don't think he's resurrecting this time" (also Thanos touched on that when he "killed" him) but when Thor said it I felt like the directors/writers were winking at us or reminding us in a too obvious way.
I'm sure there are hundreds of "Loki isn't actually dead" theories but I wanted to throw my "evidence" (if you can even call it that) out there. Also because there are a lot of "everyone before the snap are dead" theories that I wanted to touch on Loki specifically because he seems like the most obvious one to be alive.
Like Loki, the permanency of Vision's death is also contentious. Reddit user wheresthetrigger123 posits that when Thanos ripped the Mind Stone from the android's forehead, Vision was not actually killed, but simply "deactivated."
When Vision dies through Wanda's hands, we saw him shatter into red pieces of himself but when Thanos rewinds time and grabs the stone on his head, he grayed out almost like this time he was able to transfer his mind to the mind stone and might've even had an influence on what actually happened to the dusted characters.
Thanos thinks he killed half of all life but Vision might've put them elsewhere ...
Even though the most convincing theories put forth so far have all incorporated time travel, many fans have also been quick to highlight the one piece of technology that might play a key role in Avengers: Endgame. First introduced in Captain America: Civil War, Tony Stark's Binarily Augmented Retro-Framing (B.A.R.F.) invention allows users to explore their own memories, and that in itself could be one of the possible methods the remaining Avengers could employ to influence the past. The Russo brothers have also stated in an interview that B.A.R.F. "was laid in for a very specific reason." As Reddit user WadeWatts37 theorises:
So, let's say Tony and company decide that they need to go back in time and get-the-stones, or alter-the-timeline in some way that they think will stop Thanos. They'll certainly be aware of all the potential sticking points....So, what is one way they could overcome the time-travel problem/paradox?
The remaining Avengers could travel back in time to make those changes, AND simultaneously use Tony's B.A.R.F. system to project what they remember happening the first time they experienced it. This way they could be taking a stone, or altering the timeline in some way, but with Tony's B.A.R.F. reality being projected from their memories, the bystanders would experience exactly what happened before, preserving the timeline from everyone else's perspective, even though Tony and company would be, in fact, altering it to save half the Universe.
Tony Stark started us on this journey, it will be his destiny to end it. Whether he deals the killing blow to Thanos or makes the ultimate sacrifice, Tony WILL BE there when it happens. He has to right? This would explain why Doctor Strange sacrificed the Time Stone to save Tony's life after asserting early on that he would rather let him die than give it up. As Reddit user cuddlebirb postulates: It all loops back to the beginning.
Is it possible the Infinity Gauntlet has already been used a second time in the future (by Tony Stark), and we've been seeing echoes from this event in the present?
1. Tony has prophetic visions: nightmares about Thanos, dreams of having a kid. He's a "futurist."
2. Tony's left arm pain, which was emphasized in CA:CW and SM:H.
If future Tony does manage to wield the gauntlet, what if it has some odd, temporal side-effects? If the stones don't obey the standard rules of time/space, then couldn't it be possible past Tony is suffering visions and phantom pains from the tremendous power of all six Infinity Stones?
As for how Tony would be able to use the gauntlet, I think the New Element-fueled arc reactor could make it possible.
In The Avengers, Nick Fury told Steve Rogers that Howard Stark was working on something that would provide "unlimited" energy when he studied the Space Stone -- and we know the result of Howard's research was the New Element that Tony rediscovered in Iron Man 2. If the New Element-powered arc reactor can provide unlimited energy? Then it should be able to power the Infinity Gauntlet.
Thematically, it would also be a bookend. The arc reactor is the symbol representing the 1st MCU hero. The arc reactor is what defeated the 1st MCU villain. And the New Element is the 1st Infinity Gem-related nod in the MCU (as it appeared before the Tesseract itself).
Photocredit @ Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
Avengers: Endgame opens in cinemas on 25 April 2019.