Marvel Studios has always been willing to try new things. After the success of movies like Iron Man and Captain America: The First Avenger, the film studio could have just kept producing more and more sequels that followed this same exact formula.
Instead, they have re-invented themselves many times since 2008. Now, they’re doing so once again.
Recently, they shocked everyone with Avengers: Infinity War, and according to Kevin Feige, Avengers 4 is going to be different from most superhero movies in one big way. Warning: This article will contain spoilers for Avengers: Infinity War.
Avengers 4 hits theaters in May 2019
Avengers: Infinity War was advertised as the end of the Marvel Cinematic Universe as we know it. But fans suspected this was probably a bit misleading since there was another Avengers movie on the schedule for just a year later. In fact, Infinity War was originally going to be titled Infinity War: Part 1.
As is typical of a “part one,” Infinity War ended on a massive cliffhanger. It’s going to be followed up by Ant-Man and the Wasp in July, and then Captain Marvel in March 2019. However, both of these are set before the events of Infinity War.
So in order to see how that crazy ending of Infinity War wraps up, you’ll need to wait until May 2019.
It was shot at the same time as Infinity War, but we don’t know the official title yet
It appears that the Russo Brothers really did approach these two Avengers movies as one story. And just like The Lord of the Rings or Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, the two films were shot back to back.
We actually still don’t even know what the film is called, though. Right now, it’s just being referred to as Untitled Avengers, or Avengers 4. Kevin Feige once said that the title was a spoiler, but he later backtracked and said that the studio just wanted people to focus on Infinity War. It sounds like they probably didn’t reveal the title before just because they didn’t want to give away that Infinity War ends on a cliffhanger.
Needless to say, though, Avengers 4 is looking to be the second half of the story, complete with Thanos returning, as per the end credits of Infinity War.
It’s the culmination of everything Marvel has been building up to
Avengers: Infinity War was in a lot of ways the culmination of the entire MCU so far. But that will be even more true of Avengers 4.
In July 2017, Feige suggested that Avengers 4 — not Infinity War — is what Marvel has been building to for years. He told the Toronto Sun, “This original 22-movie arc ends with the untitled Avengers in May of 2019…”
This quote was significant, as it suggested that Avengers 4 would be the end of an era. However, it wasn’t entirely clear just how final it would be. Would this movie feel like the end of one chapter and the opening of another chapter? Or would it truly feel like a TV series finale, with a different TV show beginning afterward?
Feige says the movie will provide something few superhero films do: a finale
In an interview with Vanity Fair, Feige doubled down on this talk of Avengers 4 being a definitive ending. He emphasized that what they’re doing will be something entirely unique, telling Vanity Fair that the movie “bring things you’ve never seen in superhero films: a finale.”
Feige has a point. With most superhero movies, the goal is always to set up what’s to come, as is the case with comic books. Rarely do we see a superhero movie that feels like it has a true ending. After all, the story is always in motion, and there are almost always more movies to come.
One of the only counterexamples that comes to mind is The Dark Knight Rises, which was a definitive conclusion to Christopher Nolan’s era of Batman that did not set up the Zack Snyder era in any way. However, Avengers 4 would be offering a finale on a much larger scale after 22 films.
Many of the Avengers will likely die or retire
Infinity War featured the death of several Marvel characters, but all of the original Avengers were kept alive. This was a bit surprising since many fans expected Tony Stark, Steve Rogers, or another original Avenger to die.
However, it sounds like this is being saved for Avengers 4. Strategically, Marvel had all of the newer characters disappear when Thanos snapped his finger, and all of the original characters stay alive. This seems to be so that Avengers 4 can be a swan song to these classic heroes, at least one — and maybe all — of whom will die or retire.
After all, there’s one section in the Vanity Fair article released last fall in which Mark Ruffalo, Scarlett Johansson, Chris Evans, and other Avengers are hanging around on set together playing Words with Friends. Hemsworth then tells the Vanity Fair journalist, “We’re all aware that this is going to be the last time we get to hang out like this.”
That quote is quite ominous and suggests a much bigger change of cast post-Avengers 4 than just losing a single actor. Anthony Russo also told Vanity Fair that “it’s an end for some of these characters,” although he added that “some of these characters will go on.”
It will usher in a new era for Marvel
In another fascinating quote from the Vanity Fair article, Kevin Feige said that a new era of the Marvel Cinematic Universe will begin after Avengers 4. “There will be two distinct periods,” Feige said. “Everything before Avengers 4 and everything after. I know it will not be in ways people are expecting.”
The article then notes, “‘Everything after,’ without these Marvel mainstays, will be hard work,” implying that Marvel will be forced to rebuild after Avengers 4 without many of its biggest draws.
Feige also said that Marvel has another 20 movies on the docket, and these will be “completely different from anything that’s come before—intentionally.”
It will probably involve the surviving Avengers trying to save their friends
After seeing Infinity War, we can make some educated guesses about the plot of Avengers 4. Based on the ending, it would appear that the next film will be about the surviving heroes going on an adventure to save their friends who died at Thanos’ hands.
This could play out a number of ways. They could set out to try to find Thanos, knowing that if they get the Infinity Gauntlet, they could reverse time and bring everyone back to life. They could also time travel in some other way — maybe a way related to Ant-Man and the Quantum Realm — going back to stop Thanos from getting the stones in the first place. After all, some set photos have suggested that Avengers 4 involves time travel.
Finally, in the comics, the Soul Stone has the ability to trap people in a realm known as Soul World. So it’s possible all the heroes who “died” in the snap are simply stuck here, and the Avengers must save them. One theory is that the only way to get them out will be for the original Avengers to sacrifice themselves, which would allow for the classic heroes to go off into the sunset and for the new heroes to usher us into the new era.
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