Marvel may have left the clues to an answer to the film’s shocking ending.
Major spoilers for "Avengers: Infinity War" below. If you haven't seen the movie and don't want to be spoiled, do not read any further. (In fact, don't read the Internet for the next few weeks.)
Wakanda be kidding me!
If your mouth fell open and stayed there for the last five minutes of Avengers: Infinity War, congratulations, you’re a person with a human soul, who is probably wondering what in the cosmos is happening right now.
To sum it up: Marvel killed off half of the superheroes in its Cinematic Universe when Thanos (Josh Brolin) succeeded in his quest to collect the six Infinity Stones. His victory led to audiences watching in horror as beloved newcomers like Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman), Spider-Man (Tom Holland), Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen), Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan), Star-Lord (Chris Pratt), Mantis (Pom Klementieff), Drax (Dave Bautista), Groot (Vin Diesel), Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch), Falcon (Anthony Mackie) and more dematerialized before our very eyes.
After the moment of disbelief wore off, you likely realized that there’s no way Marvel would ever allow this ending to stand. For one thing, many of these stars, including Black Panther and the Guardians of the Galaxy already have sequels in the works. There’s no use in shedding your leaves over Groot’s second death just yet; however, that does not mean that this was all simply an attention-grabbing gimmick and that Avengers 4, due to hit theaters next May, won’t include any significant deaths.
In fact, it seems that this film has set us up to lose some of its biggest stars.
Here's the prediction:
It doesn’t seem like a coincidence that all of the original Avengers -- Captain America (Chris Evans), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), and Hulk/Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo) -- were left behind, Rapture-style, at the end of this film.
With Vision (Paul Bettany) carrying one of the Infinity Stones in his head, the group made sure to reinforce the phrase, "We don’t trade lives." Could it be that this is exactly what they will do in the fourth Avengers film? Perhaps the old squad will trade -- or sacrifice -- their lives for the sake of the next generation of Marvel heroes, aka The New Avengers. It would be the ultimate changing of the guard.
There were some definite ties between the old and new generations in this film. Though Iron Man’s link to Spider-Man was certainly the strongest, we also saw Black Widow step in for Scarlet Witch, Thor use a hammer made partly of Groot and Bruce Banner trade wisdom with both Doctor Strange and Shuri (Letitia Wright), whose fate was left unknown at the end of the film. Captain America has an obvious life-long connection to Bucky, but he also developed a close connection with Black Panther.
After a decade in the spangly tights and cape business, it could be that the original stars are ready to lay down their cool gadgets and move on. Evans has been particularly vocal about his contract being up after Avengers 4, implying he won’t be embodying Steve Rogers much longer. Ruffalo has also noted that Banner had a three-film arch, which would take him from Thor: Ragnarok to Infinity War to the fourth Avengers film.
The one possible outlier in the original Avengers theory could be Thor himself, who had a resurgence with last year’s widely popular Thor: Ragnarok. It could be that the son of Odin will live on to bring in another $800 million plus?
From the post-credits scene, we know that Captain Marvel (Brie Larson) will play a part in Avengers 4. If she steps in and helps save the day, Carol Danvers could become the new point person for the Avengers, helping re-materialized stars like Black Panther, Doctor Strange and Spider-Man usher in a new generation to carry out the Avengers’ mission.
So what do you think? Is this theory more off-base than viewers being forced to believe that the romance between Vision and Scarlet Witch is something worth destroying Wakanda over? Is Black Panther just totally dead and Marvel has collectively lost its Sanity Stone (made-up stone created for the point of this rant)? Tweet me at @rachelmcrady!