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As Vox explains, the imminence of Avengers: Endgame (in its possibly three hour and two minute glory) has led to the resurfacing of the infamous meme theory, which is so ridiculous it might just hold weight (and therefore warrants an unlikely spoiler warning).
Since the build-up to Infinity War, when people thought Thanos would be defeated within that film, this theory has been around in some way. On July 29, 2017, Redditors on the r/marvelstudios subreddit began speculating on the worst ways the Avengers could defeat Thanos. Reddit user sodabased came up with the most popular post in that thread, which involved sending the Hulk into Thanos’ mouth with Ant-Man’s suit and deactivating it when the Hulk was in Thanos’ urethra.
Later that year, Reddit user maxwellthebeech posted a mock-up poster of a slightly different, less graphic version of this theory on the r/Marvel subreddit and received over 1,200 upvotes.
The most recent incarnation originated on Twitter from user filmgloss and was written after the release of Infinity War.
marvel saw the post about how ant man could defeat thanos by crawling into his ass and instantly growing in size and that’s why they didn’t put him in the movie, send tweet— c a t (@filmgloss) April 30, 2018
The joke reached its pinnacle in July 2018 when an interviewer confronted Paul Rudd directly with the theory. After asking Rudd to read the tweet in question, the interviewer and Rudd had a rather straight-faced conversation about the possibility of this theory coming to fruition.
In the stinger of the first Avengers: Endgame trailer, Ant-Man’s appearance signaled that he would play a significant role in the movie’s plot after being noticeably absent in Avengers: Infinity War. Since then, fans of the 2017 meme have been boosting momentum for the theory on social media and speculating that the plan still could be on the table for Endgame.
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literally almost every mcu fan: haha what if Nick Fury's eye was scratched out by the cat— Jennifer (@sapphic_tracer) March 25, 2019
Captain Marvel: Nick Fury's eye was scratched out by the cat
literally almost every mcu fan: haha what if ant-man went into thanos's ass then grew to defeat him
Part of the groundswell is definitely just due to the funny nature of the theory. It’s also possible that the formulaic superhero film model has subconsciously forced consumers to absurdist extremes to distract them from how truly predictable these movies are.
Avengers: Endgame releases in Australia on April 24, the U.K. on April 25, and in the U.S. on April 26.
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Ignacio Martinez is a reporter specializing in online gaming and political communities. His work has previously appeared in the Texas Observer and on the airwaves at KVRX 91.7 FM. He is based in Austin, Texas, and you can follow him on Twitter at @NacioMartinez.