Spoilers for Avengers: Infinity War are ahead
With the snap of his fingers—and after one very heartbreaking sacrifice—Thanos turned half of the universe into cosmic dust. It was a cruel, shocking ending to a journey that fans have enjoyed for ten long years. Now, we have just under twelve months to wait until we see how Tony Stark and the Avengers will undo this mess.
Very few concrete details have been revealed about Avengers 4. We know for sure Captain Marvel will make an appearance. We also know that time travel will play a part. But exactly how the Avengers will defeat Thanos and restore order to the universe remains to be seen. One thing’s for sure: Hitting the undo button might come at a big cost for Earth’s Mightiest Heroes.
There have been a lot of theories floating around since Avengers: Infinity War concluded, and a lot of them sound plausible. So, we’ve rounded up a few of our favorite theories that may unfold when Avengers 4 hits theaters next May.
This is all part of Doctor Strange’s master plan
On Titan, Thanos’s home planet, Doctor Strange uses the Time Stone to see how the Avengers could defeat Thanos. He sifts through 14 million possible scenarios, finding one outcome in which they’re victorious.
When Thanos arrives, their plan unfolds beautifully, but just as they nearly pry the Infinity Gauntlet from Thanos’s hand, Peter Quill’s agony over the death of Gamora allows Thanos to break free of Mantis’ spell.
Thanos soon overpowers the Avengers and stabs Tony Stark, threatening to kill him unless Doctor Strange hands over the Time Stone. Strange does so, taking Thanos one step closer toward completing the Infinity Gauntlet.
Considering how Avengers: Infinity War ends, it seems as though Strange’s decision to hand over the Time Stone was a bad one—but wait: it might be part of his master plan, which would required Thanos to win in order for him to lose.
Letting Stark live will likely be crucial to defeating Thanos. After all, Strange tells Stark that handing the Time Stone over was the only way. You have to figure Strange is letting a larger plan unfold, despite paying a big price.
Gamora is trapped in the Soul Stone
Immediately after Thanos eliminates half the universe, we find him briefly suspended in an ethereal plane. There he finds a younger Gamora, who asks him what he sacrificed in order to complete his mission. “Everything,” Thanos responds. Clearly, he feels guilty about what he did.
Gamora’s appearance at the end of the film, even after she had died, suggests she might be trapped in the Soul Stone. However, comments from the directors of Avengers: Infinity War might have thrown cold water on this theory.
According to Joe Russo, the appearance of Gamora at the end was simply a vision, a creative choice the directors made to further convey the weight of what Thanos sacrificed along the way. In other words, what we saw was nothing more than a spiritual representation of Gamora.
That doesn’t mean, however, that Gamora’s fate isn’t intertwined with the stone, which Thanos obtained after throwing her off a cliff. It was one of Avengers: Infinity War’s more emotional moments, because it showed the very complicated relationship between Thanos and Gamora.
Another theory tied to Gamora is that her appearing in Thanos’ vision is meant to reference Death, a character Thanos badly wanted to impress in the comics. Younger Gamora could reject Thanos’ actions, possibly causing him to reverse the damage done, or at least save Gamora in an act of (partial) redemption.
Going back in time
Set photos from Avengers 4 show Iron Man, Captain America, Hulk, and Ant-Man together, which isn’t particularly odd. Look closer, however, and you’ll notice something very peculiar about the images, aside from seeing Iron Man and Captain America once again fighting side-by-side.
One thing that stands out is Captain America’s outfit (plus the lack of a beard!), which looks like a throwback to what he wore in the first Avengers movie. Also take note of the devices the characters are wearing on their hands. No doubt, that’s a Tony Stark creation, but what are they?
People are speculating that in Avengers 4 Tony Stark will create a device that allows him to go back in time, likely in an attempt to undue the damage that’s been done. Ant-Man’s ability to enter the Quantum Realm might also play a major part as the team attempts to defeat Thanos.
Another possibility is that the devices are Pymtech and allow the Avengers to jump into alternate realities through the Quantum Realm. One theory is that all the characters who disappeared at the end of Avengers: Infinity War exist in this alternate reality—maybe in a world tied to the Soul Stone—so it’ll be a matter of bridging the two.
A new Infinity Gauntlet
This theory ties in to the time travel aspect. But it posits that the remaining Avengers will attempt to create their own Infinity Gauntlet before Thanos collects the Infinity Stones for himself.
In Avengers: Infinity War, Thor and Rocket visit Nidavellir, where Eitri builds him Stormbreaker. It’s there we also see an Infinity Gauntlet prototype. It’s possible Eitri will finish his work on the gauntlet, allowing Tony Stark and the other remaining Avengers to collect the Infinity Stones for themselves.
With a gauntlet in their possession, Stark might travel back in time and obtain the stones before Thanos can. That would, in turn, give Stark the ability to completely undue the damage from Avengers: Infinity War.
How they’ll obtain the numerous stones remains to be seen, but it’s certainly a distinct possibility.
There are other theories floating around, too, like how the original Avengers will sacrifice their lives to save the newer Avengers, but they’re just theories at this point. We won’t know what happens until the movie drops next year.
That being said, we do know a few things about Avengers 4, so we have some idea of what to expect. Actor Sebastian Stan, who plays Winter Soldier, recently said there’s at least one scene in Avengers 4 in which everyone is together, which means we’ll see everyone alive again, even if it’s temporary.
We’ll see what happens when Avengers 4 hits theaters on May 3, 2019.