Massive spoilers for "Avengers: Infinity War" below.
The entirety of Avengers: Infinity War is chockablock with exclamation point moments: Steve Rogers meeting Groot! Peter Parker pulling an Aliens! Black Widow, Okoye and Scarlet Witch teaming up to take down Proxima Midnight! The unexpected return of Red Skull! A distress call to Captain Marvel! And an ending that blew my mind, leaving me feeling like Vision after Thanos ripped an Infinity Stone out of his head! After the lights came on in the theater, though, I had a few lingering questions to be answered.
How does Ant-Man and the Wasp possibly follow Infinity War?
Not in how high the bar has been raised -- though, also that -- but Infinity War ended with half of life on Earth turning to ash. Does Ant-Man and the Wasp take place in a world where half the population just...disappeared? That seems like it'd be sort of a big deal. In the same vein as Ragnarok taking place around the same time as Civil War, does this Ant-Man take place during the timeline of Infinity War? And the end-credits scene will be Ant-Man or Wasp disappearing?
Which other superheroes were raptured?
We get eyes on most of the heroes from this movie that disappeared with a snap of Thanos' fingers: Black Panther, Doctor Strange, Groot, Scarlet Witch, Star-Lord and Spider-Man, among others. But what about Shuri? And Wong? Are they still around? And what about the superheroes who weren't in the movie? Could Ant-Man, Hawkeye, Nakia or Vakyrie turn up, unraptured, to help out in Avengers 4?
Who survived the Asgardian massacre?
Is Valkyrie even still alive? At the beginning of the movie, Thanos attacks the Asgardian's ship, it seems, purging half the Asgardians aboard before claiming the Space Stone. Yet we see neither see hide nor hair of Thor: Rangarok's breakout star: Tessa Thompson's Valkyrie. Not to mention, Korg and Miek. Did they escape with the surviving Asgardians and are somewhere in the cosmos? There's no way they were killed off off-screen, right?
Will Gamora's death stick?
There are deaths in Infinity War and there are "deaths." The characters that ashed in the end will be brought back, somewhere, somehow. A number of characters met their maker before that, however. I can believe that Heimdall, Loki and Vision are gone for good, but it's harder to buy Gamora death, sacrificed by Thanos in his quest for the Soul Stone. (Would they really kill off Gamora with Guardians Vol. 3 on the horizon?) As it happens, this is the exact type of situation where the Soul Stone comes in handy...
That's not the last we've seen of the Soul Stone, is it?
One of the biggest and best-kept secrets of the film came during Gamora and Thanos' sojourn to Vormir, where it's revealed that the Stonekeeper safeguarding the Soul Stone is none other than...Red Skull, the Stone-obsessed villain of Captain America: The First Avenger. (In that film, Red Skull was played by Hugo Weaving, but here it is nano-impressionist Ross Marquand.) Assuming the Stones are still functional post-snap, I've got a feeling the Soul Stone -- and the true extent of its powers -- will come into play in Avengers 4, But is this the last we've seen of Red Skull? Will we return to Vormir? (And after all the theories about where the Soul Stone was located, why Vormir, a relatively non-important location from the comics?)
When will Peter Quill finally return to Earth?
The legendary outlaw known as Star-Lord has not set foot on Earth since Yondu beamed him up more than 30 years ago. With the Guardians finally teaming up with Earth's mightiest heroes, I assumed this would be a crucial moment in Infinity War -- but the closest Quill got to his home world was Titan. (He did encounter earthlings in Tony Stark, Stephen Strange and Peter Parker.) Groot and Rocket, meanwhile, have now visited Wakanda, so Quill's pilgrimage to Earth can't be too far behind.
When will Tony Stark and Steve Rogers mend fences?
One major yarn connecting Civil War to Infinity War was the schism between Iron Man and Captain America -- at the beginning of the movie, Tony refuses to call Steve, even as NYC is being invaded by alien henchmen, and the film ends without the two ever interacting. Now, when it is absolutely imperative they put their differences aside and work together, Tony is seemingly stuck who knows how many miles away on Titan, while Steve is in Wakanda.
Is Hulk afraid of Thanos?
Infinity War isn't completely devoid of the big guy. In the first minutes, he's called on to clobber Thanos...but winds up getting the green beat out of him. After Hulk is Bifrosted to Earth, Banner calls on him a number of times to no avail. (The money shot from the trailer, of Hulk slo-mo running alongside the rest of the Avengers, is not in the movie.) Is the Hulk refusing to show himself because he's terrified of the Mad Titan? Or is something else at play?
What did Doctor Strange mean by "We're in the endgame now"?
Ahead of their showdown with Thanos, Doctor Strange looked into the future -- cool new power! -- and saw a million predictions of how the scenario would play out, but only one in which the Avengers and Guardians emerge victorious. And though you would assume maintaining possession of the Time Stone would be imperative to clinching that victory, he is pretty casual about handing it over to Thanos. (Admittedly, in exchange for Tony's life). What does Strange know about the endgame that the others don't? And why didn't he clue them in to it?
Where did everybody go? How will they come back? And does any of it involve the Kree-Skrull War?
Infinity War leaves us in a place few Marvel movies have: With genuinely no idea of what will happen next. Are the raptured heroes dead? Or were they transported somewhere else? (An alternate dimension or timeline, perhaps?) We know they have to come back somehow -- the Guardians, Black Panther and Spider-Man all have future movies in the works -- but...how? And how do the Kree and Skrull connect to any of this? (The Kree-Skrull War is a significant arc plucked from the comics about warring alien races that will play out in Captain Marvel, the movie preceding Avengers 4.)
What is the title of Avengers 4?
Avengers: Endgame, maybe? Something more specifically spoiler-y?