In the five months since Avengers: Infinity War hit cinemas I’ve seen numerous fan theories about what had just happened in the MCU and about what we might see next in the Avengers 4 sequel. Some are heartbreaking wishful thinking stories, while others make more sense, and are extremely elaborate and well explained. But the following one, which has time travel at its core, must take the cake, as it’s looking at the new movie from a solid perspective, the characters arcs.
Here’s how Reddit user Ramennov starts this “Tale of Two Timelines” fan theory:
When coming up with fan theories for movies, especially well-written movies in a serial, it is important to consider character arcs and ensure that our theories are consistent with them. This is especially true for the MCU and theories for Avengers 4, since they will need to conclude the arcs of several key characters that have been developed for over a decade.
The theory suggests that Iron Man and Nebula will each embark on their own different journey. Tony Stark will travel back in time to ensure the Thanos Snap never happens, while Nebula will go hunting her father, having the same goal in mind.
Doctor Strange is key to Stark’s new arc, as the theory says he willingly gave Thanos a copy of the Time Stone, with the actual stone being sent forward in time on Titan so that Stark would get it.
[The] next best option was to allow Thanos to succeed for two reasons: that he would leave Titan believing he had won and stop pursuing the Avengers, and that the Snap would cause Tony Stark to fully realize the consequences of his ego and guilt. Tony will descend into despair until the Time Stone reappears and Tony, having some familiarity with the Stones and a newfound hope, will use it to go back in time.
Throughout the MCU, Tony is cursed with the well-intentioned need to protect the world but being utterly incapable of it due to his ego and guilt. His actions dissolve the Avengers and rendered them unable to defend against Thanos. Tony’s worst fear having occurred (the Snap) finally gives him the clear-headedness and sense of purpose he needs to do the right thing and change key moments in the MCU’s history using the Time Stone.
Ant-Man, who’s stuck in the Quantum Realm will probably use time vortexes to comprehend what’s happening and help Stark along the way.
Nebula, meanwhile, will search that elusive revenge she’s been seeking.
At the end of Infinity War, Nebula remains behind on Titan after the Snap. It’s no coincidence that her arc is incomplete, and that being one of the few remaining characters in the movie has elevated her importance so that she may complete it. Nebula’s arc is connected to Gamora and Thanos. Nebula’s relationship with Gamora has evolved from antagonistic to compassionate, with Nebula being concerned for Gamora’s safety. Indeed, she mourns Gamora after Thanos says he killed her. This builds on Nebula’s unresolved animus for Thanos that she’s been harboring throughout the MCU. I speculate Nebula will almost certainly seek revenge on Thanos, and that she will leave Titan to seek him out shortly before the Time Stone reappears.
Nebula’s quest may even force Thanos to seek help from the Avengers, the theory says, as Nebula will become an unwitting villain as she ends up wielding her father’s Gauntlet.
Both Stark and Nebula would actually try to fix the same problem, but only one of them can succeed. And, if the Avengers are to win this fight, only Tony’s solution is viable:
Both Nebula and Tony will try to prevent the Snap from happening, but only one may succeed. It has to be Tony. Nebula rewinding time to before the Snap leads to two results: an infinite loop in which the Avengers are still dissolved and ineffective against Thanos, and Tony prevented from going back in time. Tony will end up uniting the Avengers and in his timeline, Thanos will be defeated on Earth when he comes for the Mind Stone. The Snap will not only be undone, but will be prevented from happening in the first place. The older heroes (at least some) will die bringing back the newer heroes, giving the audience a passing-of-the-torch moment. After their success, Doctor Strange will use the Reality and Space Stones to transport the Time Stone back to Titan, ensuring their current timeline will happen (Strange is willing to give the Time Stone away in this infinite loop because doing so also protects it). Tony’s success also prevents Nebula from seizing the Gauntlet and dissolves her “present” timeline. Note that Tony’s actions only succeed in building up enough of a defense on Earth and will not affect events beyond Earth. This means that any characters who died prior to the fight on Titan will remain dead, because Thanos had to arrive on Titan to retrieve the Time Stone.
The fan theory also suggests other interesting details, such as Clint’s entire family being Snapped, or Hulk and Bruce Banner finally solving their brewing conflict. Ultimately, someone will die, with the Reddit user also pointing at Captain America and Tony as the likely characters to perish while saving everyone else.
Marvel is doing everything it can to prevent Avengers 4 secrets from leaking, but that’s a daunting task, especially considering the reach of social media these days. And it’s thanks to new social media posts that we can tell you we have even more proof that two more beloved Avengers characters who died at the end of Infinity War will be resurrected in Avengers 4.
They are Mantis (Pom Klementieff) and the Wasp (Evangeline Lilly). Yes, we already knew both of them would return to life since both of them mentioned shooting scenes with Brie Larson, who plays Captain Marvel in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Karen Gillan, who plays Nebula in the movies, posted the following image on Instagram a few days ago:
This seems to indicate that the two actresses were getting ready for Avengers 4 reshoots together. And we do know that reshoots are underway in Atlanta right now. Gillan also posted the following image a few days ago (via Digital Spy), which hinted that Nebula will be going after Thanos in Avengers 4.
The Mantis post reminded fans of an older Gillan teaser from August, when she said Nebula has a new BFF in Avengers but she couldn’t tell us who it is. “I know who her new BFF is and I can’t tell you. I can’t. But I promise you it’s brilliant and unexpected and just so good,” she said.
It’s not just Gillan who teased that a dead character will return from the dead at some point during Avengers 4. Lilly posted the following image on Instagram, which was taken at the airport, per ComicBook.
She also posted other images of Instagram, teasing that the Wasp may appear in Avengers 4:
The Wasp’s death was not shown in Infinity War — but she turned to ashes in the credits scene during Ant-Man and the Wasp. Lilly, like Klementieff, also teased shooting scenes with Larson, which is a clear indication that the Wasp is coming back from the dead. Those remarks were made well before we knew the Wasp would temporarily die.
Because Avengers: Infinity War ended the way it did, we’ve been speculating ever since on what it all means. As the days turned into weeks and months, we learned that the horrific deaths in Infinity War aren’t as final as the writers and directors would have us believe. Plenty of the dead Avengers are going to return to life in the next movie somehow, especially the ones that are set to appear in films that follow Avengers 4 in Marvel’s chronology. The list includes Spider-Man: Far From Home and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3.
We also learned that time travel will play a significant role in the upcoming events. The Avengers are in the endgame right now, the only future that will end up with some sort of happy ending. Mind you, we already expect this happy end to be peppered with tragic outcomes for some of the heroes. That’s because everything is possible in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but at high personal cost, as Marvel teased before. This brings me to one of the best fan theories I’ve ever read, because it explains some of the things we witnessed in Infinity War and sets the stage for the sequel.
The more I thought and wrote about the events of Infinity War and the things to come in Avengers 4, the clearer it was to me that Doctor Strange is indispensable to the team. I said before that the best reason why I think he did not die at the snap is that he could see beyond his death, as he looked at over 14 million futures, of which only one offered the Avengers the real win. Strange made sure that Ant-Man would be in the Quantum Realm when the snap occurred, that Iron Man would not be killed while fighting Thanos, and that Star-Lord would disrupt the team’s effort to steal Thanos’ powerful Infinity Gauntlet during the battle on Titan.
Also, let’s not forget that Spider-Man star and Marvel leaker Tom Holland inadvertently told the world that Doctor Strange has a lot of Quantum Realm dialog in the new Avengers movie, something we did not see in Infinity War. The implication was that Strange may talk all that Realm talk in Avengers 4. That means he’s either alive or he’s visited Scott Lang to tell him how those time vortexes work when exploring alternate futures.
With that in mind, here’s the theory that Reddit user WilliamHolz posted: “How Thanos and Star-Lord unwittingly saved the universe from the Avengers.” Wait, that’s crazy, right? Did they really do that? Well, a better title for the theory comes from the post: “Destroying the Mind Stone might be worse than losing half the universe.”
The gist of this theory is that the Infinity Stones can’t be destroyed, no matter what. And the Avengers wanted to beat Thanos by protecting/destroying the Mind and Time Stones they possessed. In fact, they achieved as much when Vision’s Mind Stone was destroyed. Thanos then turned back in time to prevent its destruction, thus completing his collection.
But that’s only because Doctor Strange allowed events to proceed in this particular way so that Thanos would get his hands on the Time Stone before going for the Mind Stone:
Every time the heroes succeed in defeating Thanos, the Universe gets stabbed in the brain and starts to unravel.
Every time the heroes force Thanos to try to take the Mind Stone without the Time Stone, the Universe gets stabbed in the brain and starts to unravel
In ONE timeline, the heroes don’t defeat Thanos on Titan because Star-Lord loses it and he ends up in front of Vision with the Time Stone as the Mind Stone is destroyed. In that one future he can use the Time Stone’s second power (rewinding time for an object) to restore the Mind Stone.
With the Mind Stone saved, the Universe continues forward. Half is snapped away, but it at least has a future.
Strange may have witnessed some 14 million Avengers victories in which they were able to destroy the MInd Stone before Thanos got it. And that’s what may have set in motion a chain of chain of events far worse than losing half of the population of the known universe.
The theory perfectly explains why Strange, who’s just witnessed all those alternate futures, did not prevent Star-Lord from waking up Thanos. Think about it; all the Avengers needed to do was to remove that Infinity Gauntlet to beat Thanos. But Strange played along, fully aware that this was the only way for the Avengers win. That also explains why Strange was willing to give Thanos the Time Stone, even if he vowed to protect it at the beginning of the movie, regardless of the cost.
Whatever happens next, the Avengers can’t destroy any of the Stones if the premise is that destroying any Stone would essentially kill the universe. So in Avengers 4, they may want to collect them all from different timelines before Thanos gets them. A leak recently did say that Avengers 4 is a time travel heist movie. And you know what else? Not having to destroy the Mind Stone means that Vision wouldn’t have to die. Then again, we already expect Shuri, Tony Stark, and Bruce Banner to figure out a way to remove the Stone from Vision’s head without killing him in Avengers 4.
For months now, we’ve been gathering plenty of evidence from the Avengers cast and Marvel execs that proves the dead Infinity War heroes will be resurrected in Avengers 4. We have no idea how it’ll happen, but there are plenty of fan theories floating around, as well as teasers that say it’ll involve traveling through time. While we usually talk about dead Avengers who are suddenly confirmed to be reappearing in Avengers 4, this time is a little different.
An Avengers star has started teasing the return of his character in the upcoming Infinity War sequel. But he never died on or off the screen in the first movie. When Thanos snapped his fingers, most people wondered what happened to the characters who didn’t appear in the film, including Ant-Man, The Wasp, Valkyrie, and Hawkeye, to name just a few.
Hawkeye was an unexpected surprise in Infinity War. As in, he didn’t appear in the movie at all in spite of being one of the original Avengers. But we soon learned that Jeremy Renner would be back in Avengers 4. And a few days ago, the actor teased his return, dropping a few interesting other hashtags along the way.
Here’s that message in full:
Day is done! It’s Friday … enjoy your weekend everyone @[email protected] #purplebadguy🖕🏻 #hawkeye#widow? #avengers? #A6 ? #sendinglove #🏹 #cawcawmfs#isanyonegonnashowup??? #whoISstillALIVE?
What’s interesting is that he posted a bunch of hashtags that seems to indicate Hawkeye might team up with Black Widow again. We already know they were partners before.
Also, the #A6 hashtag is a reference to the original Avengers team: Iron Man, Hulk, Captain America, Thor, Black Widow, and Hawkeye. Marvel already told us that leaving the original Avengers alive at the end of Infinity War was intentional. For some of them, this might be the last fight, with Captain America and Iron Man being two of the most likely to die by the end of the next film.
And a bunch of the original Avengers went for an A6 tattoo not too long ago, including Robert Downey Jr. and Renner:
So what will happen to Hawkeye next? We have no idea but that #purplebadguy hashtag is an indication that he’s suiting up for battle. Also, we might see him in other Marvel movies down the road. I’d venture a guess that Hawkeye will also appear in the Black Widow film that’s supposedly in the works.
Marvel hinted earlier this year that Renner isn’t quite done with the MCU when the studio acknowledged Hawkeye’s absence from Infinity War (via ComicBook):
We [at Marvel] love Hawkeye. There are big, big story things coming up for Hawkeye and Jeremy Renner is as strong an actor as anyone in the MCU and awesome as this character. But ‘The guy with the bow and arrow jokes,’ right? There are a lot of ‘Guy with bow and arrow jokes.’ He even makes ‘Guy with a bow and arrow’ jokes in some of the movies. So I love that people go from ‘Oh, Hawkeye is just lucky to be there,’ to ‘Oh, where is he? He’s not there? What’s going to happen? We need Hawkeye. We want more Hawkeye.’ I love it. It’s the best.
And Renner seems to be pretty excited to be back because he posted a second photo on Instagram acknowledging his return:
Avengers 4 hits theaters on May 3rd in most markets, although Europeans will get to see it a few days earlier.
Next April can’t come soon enough if you’re a fan of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Marvel’s brilliant cliffhanger in Infinity War made sure that fans will speculate on what’s coming next in Avengers 4 for months. And so far, that’s exactly what’s happening. With each day that goes by, we learn more details about the upcoming film that are meant to reassure us. The dead heroes are coming back; we’re confident of that. And time travel will play a significant role in undoing the events that led to Thanos using the Infinity Gauntlet to reduce the population of the entire universe by half. With all that in mind, I realized that what really bothers me about the Infinity War ending has nothing to do with the massive amount of bloodshed. It’s something entirely different.
Captain Marvel. Yes, I actually meant the very end of the movie, the credits scene where we see Maria Hill and Nick Fury turn to ashes in New York just as they realize something’s terribly wrong. And with his dying “motherf,” Fury pressed on that silly old intergalactic pager to call Captain Marvel for help. Let’s watch it again:
What bothers me is that in 19 Marvel movies so far, not once did we hear Fury mention Captain Marvel. And it’s not like Earth hasn’t been in dire situations before. How come nobody alluded to calling upon Captain Marvel before? Was Fury so sure that the Avengers he assembled would be enough to defeat Loki in New York? Or deal with Ultron? Or survive Civil War?
When Captain Marvel launches next year, we’ll learn her origin story. We already know she’s the most powerful Marvel hero and she’ll be instrumental to the Avengers’ victory over Thanos in Avengers 4. The Captain Marvel marketing campaign has already started, with Entertainment Weekly providing a bunch of interviews with Brie Larson and other members of the cast, as well as plenty of photos from the movie. One of these stories actually contains details about the Fury-Captain Marvel relationship.
“She is more powerful than any character we’ve introduced thus far,” Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige said about Captain Marvel. “So that alone tells you that there’s a reason Nick hit that button at the end [of Infinity War], when he realized that they were up against something far bigger than they had ever been up against before. And having her on your side is hopefully going to change the balance of power in a way that they desperately need.”
The movie will also show us a Fury who is a lot more human than the SHIELD guru we’ve grown to love. “This is a mind-changing, attitude-changing moment for him that leads him to become the person that we know,” Samuel L. Jackson said about the character he plays. “He [now] understands that there are these other things out there. He understands that they’re not all enemies, and we do need to find allies who have specific kinds of skills that humans don’t have. And trying to convince people above him is a difficult task because they haven’t seen it or experienced it.”
With all that in mind, I can’t understand why Fury never said anything about Captain Marvel in all these years. To anyone. Yes, he may have to keep her secret. But shouldn’t the Avengers know that there’s a “Hail Mary” plan if everything else goes wrong? What if something happened to Fury between the 1990s and the present day? Who would carry that pager?
Oh, and make no mistake, Fury has been taking that Captain Marvel pager with him every day, whether he worked at SHIELD or this new secret ops organization we’re yet to discover. And in Infinity War, he runs to grab it even before fully knowing how bad things are. He went for it just knowing his death might be imminent. But there was no suggestion that whatever started happening on Earth can’t be fixed by the Avengers. Not to mention that Earth could have been annihilated just as easily when Loki unleashed hell on New York. Nobody even considered calling Captain Marvel back then. Is Captain Marvel just a one-time trick for Fury? Can’t he call on her every time Earth needs her help?
It almost feels like Marvel had no plans to introduce Captain Marvel until recently, which would explain why we don’t have meaningful Captain Marvel Easter eggs all over the MCU that would hint someone’s always on call when it comes to defending Earth.
Like Fury, Tony Stark carries a means of communication with him at all times, and that’s the phone Steve Rogers gave him at the end of Civil War. Stark knows that Rogers and the rogue Avengers are just one phone call away if things go south fast. Shouldn’t he also be aware that of Captain Marvel’s existence, as the leader of the Avengers?
That said, once Captain Marvel hits theaters on March 8th we’ll learn everything we need to know about this secret Fury-Captain Marvel pact. And Marvel will probably tell us how she’s supposed to instantly respond to a request for help such as Fury’s at the end of Infinity War. Can she pop out like some Genie and save the day? And while we’re at it, it wouldn’t hurt if someone told us what Carol Danvers has been up to in the nearly 30 years since her origin story.