Spoilers for Avengers: Infinity War, and speculation for Avengers 4, ahead.
At the end of Avengers: Infinity War, the credits promised "Thanos will return." But while Josh Brolin's purple-tinted, gigantic villain will return in 2019's Avengers 4, who else will be back? If you've seen Infinity War, you know it's a bit of a mystery. Here come the spoilers!
In his quest to balance the universe, Thanos acquired all the infinity stones and zapped half of the universe's population, just as he threatened. Many of Marvel's major heroes were among the vanished half of the population that just kind of ... turned into piles of sand that then blew away.
So Avengers 4 has a major situation: No way are all those money-making Marvel heroes gone for good. But some of them probably have to bite the dust for sheer dramatic reasons (and because a few actors have talked publicly about moving on). We'll have to wait to see exactly who's taking early retirement, but for now, we can sum up what we know.
We'll update this story as we learn more.
What's the title of the Infinity War sequel?
The film is still being referred to as Avengers 4, or Untitled Avengers Movie. And there may be a spoiler-y reason why the title is being protected. When a fan on Twitter mentioned being scared about the title because it spoils Infinity War, directors Joe and Anthony Russo ominously said fans are right to be freaked out.
The best title guess we've heard is Infinity Gauntlet, which would give away the fact that Thanos acquired all the magical infinity stones in Infinity War. But it's fun to speculate on a more creative option: "Avengers 4: Black Panther Goes Bye-Bye Forever" (not happening). "Gee, The World Is Really Less Crowded These Days, Maybe Thanos Was Right"? "Avengers: Some Of Us Were Left Behind After The Rapture"? The possibilities are as infinite as the stones.
When will Avengers 4 come out?
The release date is one of the few things we know -- or think we know. Avengers 4 is scheduled for a May 3, 2019, release in the US and April 26 in the UK, with no Australia release date known yet. But remember: Avengers: Infinity War was scheduled for a May 2018 date, and then Marvel moved it up one week for a late April global release. Maybe keep all of late April-early May 2019 free, just in case.
The film was shot back-to-back with Infinity War, beginning in August 2017 and with principal photography ending in January 2018. Filming was done in the Atlanta area. According to the Scottish newspaper The Daily Record, more scenes will be filmed in Edinburgh and Glasgow, Scotland, in July 2018, with reshoots coming later in the year.
The film is the fourth in a series, so if you want to watch all three previous Avengers films, check out 2012's The Avengers, 2015's Avengers: Age of Ultron, and 2018's new Avengers: Infinity War. Done with that? There are plenty of other Marvel movies to watch to soak up the various heroes' backstories. Here's our suggested order to watch them in.
What we know about the plot
Well, Thanos will be back -- the credits promised. He seemed pretty satisfied with his balancing of the universe, last seen resting at a nipa hut (the scene was shot at Banaue Rice Terraces in the Philippines), so it would seem the remaining Avengers will have to take the fight to him.
Some think we could look to the comic-book version of this story for how things might work out, but there are always deviations between the comics and the movies, so don't expect an exact copy. Still, if things fall that way, expect major roles for Nebula (Karen Gillan) and Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch). Remember, Strange made an odd decision in Infinity War, handing over the time stone he said he would always protect. Is it because this was required for the one scenario in which he saw our heroes winning? He likely has the best idea of what's about to go down.
Did you remember to stay in your seats after Infinity War ended to watch the post-credits scene? We break it down here, but it looks as if Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) successfully sent a message to Captain Marvel, based on the symbol shown on what looks like Fury's pager. Brie Larson will play Captain Marvel in a March 2019 solo movie, and since that's just a month or two before Avengers 4, it's expected to set up some plot points.
Who'll be dead to stay?
Here's a list of who vanished, melty-sand style, thanks to Thanos eliminating half the population:
- Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan)
- Drax (Dave Bautista)
- Groot (Vin Diesel)
- Mantis (Pom Klementieff)
- Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen)
- Spider-Man (Tom Holland)
- Peter Quill (Chris Pratt)
- Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch)
- Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman)
- Falcon (Anthony Mackie)
Remaining to fight another day (as far as we know -- we didn't see these heroes vanish) are:
- Captain America (Chris Evans)
- Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.)
- Thor (Chris Hemsworth)
- Hulk (Mark Ruffalo)
- M'Baku (Winston Duke)
- Okoye (Danai Gurira)
- Rocket (Bradley Cooper)
- War Machine (Don Cheadle)
- Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson)
- Nebula (Karen Gillan)
Any of the vanished heroes are likely to return, at least for a while. Marvel would no sooner keep them all dead than let an intern feed hundred-dollar bills into a paper shredder: Too much money to lose.
Some we KNOW will be back -- Black Panther and the Guardians of the Galaxy have additional movies planned, so T'Challa and Star-Lord aren't going anywhere, though not all of the Wakandans and Guardians may make it through.
The future might not be so bright for the big three -- Captain America, Iron Man and Thor. Chris Evans has said he's moving on after this film, and Downey and Hemsworth have also hinted at it. But we won't know till we know, and besides, Marvel is famous for rebooting characters who've died/been frozen/hung up the uniform.
And as Infinity War watchers know, some characters died -- or seemed to be dead -- before Thanos did his thing. Heimdall (Idris Elba), Loki (Tom Hiddleston), Gamora (Zoe Saldana) and the Vision (Paul Bettany) are on a different level of death than the others, although again, dead doesn't always mean forever in Marvel-land.
And some characters are anyone's guess. We didn't see the fates of Shuri (Letitia Wright), M'Baku (Winston Duke) and Wong (Benedict Wong). Plus, Ant-Man (Paul Rudd), The Wasp (Evangeline Lilly) and Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) didn't even appear, so we have no clue if they'll show up in Avengers 4.
Fans have theories
With a year between movies, fans have plenty of time to think about what's going to happen. Here are a few ideas, some more serious than others:
Meet the cast (we think)
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