WARNING. THIS ARTICLE CONTAINS SPOILERS FOR PAST MARVEL FILMS INCLUDING AVENGERS INFINITY WAR
Just under a year ago, Marvel fans and film critics alike were left in complete awe and heartbreak when some of MCU’s most beloved heroes crumbled to dust. Thanos’ twisted plan of balance by means of genocide was complete and for the first time since the beginning of Avengers, the team lost. At the end of Avengers: Infinity War, the heroes watched helplessly as Bucky aka The Winter Soldier, Spider-Man, Black Panther, Scarlet Witch and other key members of the elite squad faded away.
Recently, Marvel released the first trailer for the next installment of the Avengers, finally releasing a title — Endgame. Soon after came an all-new circulation of theories for how the remaining Avengers — at least not those drifting further into a galactic abyss— including Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner), Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), Captain America (Chris Evans), Thor (Chris Hemsworth) and Dr. Banner aka Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) were going to reverse Thanos’ infinity gauntlet empowered snap that wiped out 50 percent of all Earth’s living creatures.
Here are 3 of the top fan theories since the latest Endgame trailer.
THE DEATH OF IRON MAN AND CAP
According to one fan theory, Captain America and Iron Man will die in the next Avengers installment. But, that’s not all. This fan takes its reasoning all the way back to the Age of Ultron, where the term “end game” was first used.
In the 2015 film, Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) and Cap (Evans) have one of their famously heated exchanges about the creation of Ultron. Stark argues the need for Ultron, or something similar yet less villainous, referring back to the Thanos-led Chitauri attack in the first Avenger. Stark says, “A hostile alien army came charging through a hole in space. We’re standing 300 feet below it. We’re the Avengers. We can bust arms dealers all the livelong day but that up there, that’s… That’s the endgame. How were you guys planning on beating that?”
However, it’s the following exchange that makes the conversation more telling. Cap replies, “Together.” Stark tells the shield-carrying legend that the Avengers will lose, and he replies, “Then we’ll do that together too.”
STRANGE LET THANOS WIN
Even though Infinity War and Endgame directors Joe and Anthony Russo said the now known title of the fourth Avengers film was never spoken in past Marvel movies, it has twice. The term “end game” was not only used in Age of Ultron but in Infinity War. After Dr. Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) willing gave Thanos the time stone, staging the admitted defeat as an effort to save Iron Man’s life, Strange told Stark it was the only way and
“We’re in the endgame now.”
So, why would Dr. Strange willingly surrender the time stone? Following his assertion to Iron Man that his sole mission is to protect the time stone and that he would not hesitate to let Stark or Parker aka Spider-Man (Tom Holland) die to ensure that job is done, it can be assumed that it was not to protect the millionaire from Thanos.
After using the stone to look into the future at the possible outcomes of the battle with Thanos — 14, 000, 605 to be exact — it seems as though Strange’s strategy was to stall Thanos. He stalls him with small talk, attempts to hold him down while his team members retrieve the gauntlet and then by bargaining with him; the stone for Stark’s life. This could mean that everything that follows was all part of Dr. Strange’s plan to reach that one out of billions of chances to defeat Thanos. The essential events may include; the fight scene with Stark and Thanos where Iron Man actually draws blood from the Mad Titan, the arrival of Nebula (who plays a key role in Thanos’ defeat in the comics) Nick Fury’s (Samuel L. Jackson) summoning of Captain Marvel and possibly Ant-Man (Paul Rudd) entering the Quantum Realm. Is it possible that the only way for these events to unfold was for Dr. Strange to momentarily let Thanos win?
THE QUANTUM REALM
The Quantum Realm was first introduced in Ant-Man in 2015. However, for most of the film, Dr. Pym (Michael Douglas) and Hope van Dyne (Evangeline Lily) describe the dimension as a fearsome, bottomless pit where they lost a wife and mother. But, at the end of the film Scott Lang aka Ant-Man goes subatomic the way Janet van Dyne (Michelle Pfeiffer) had and is able to return to his standard size and dimension.
Rather than a bottomless pit, viewers, alongside Ant-Man and his cohorts, learn in Ant-Man and the Wasp, that the Quantum Realm is a dimension that exists on a subatomic level accessed by shrinking down endlessly. It is even home to living beings and hosts Janet van Dyne for 30 years.
During Hope and Dr. Pym’s efforts to retrieve Janet from the Quantum Realm in the second Ant-Man, they visit Dr. Bill Foster (Laurence Fishburne) who is lecturing his students about quantum physics. He says that phase shifting, as experienced by Ghost (Hannah John-Kamen), on a quantum level could cause a split into multiple parallel realities. If Ant-Man gets afflicted with quantum energy in a similar way during his time in the realm, he may be led into an alternate parallel reality where the original Avengers fade and the other half of humanity survives. It’s even possible that Ant-Man could stumble on both realities and find a way to merge them, bringing both halves of existence back together.