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Avengers: Infinity War did something incredible. It brought (almost) every Marvel Cinematic Universe hero into the fray against Thanos—and then sucker-punched us with the “deaths” of nearly every known character besides the core Avengers. But, of course, there will still be a fourth Avengers film, and with it comes a mountain of fan theories about what will happen to Earth’s mightiest. Sure, we now know that Tom Holland will return in Spider-Man: Far From Home, but it’s unclear how Avengers: Endgame will turn out. We’ve scoured the internet for all the best Avengers: Endgame theories we could find.
Avengers Endgame theories
1) Tony Stark dies
Let’s start with the obvious. Tony Stark is nowhere to be seen in the trailer for Spider-Man: Far From Home, which released on Jan. 15. For one, the fact that there’s a Spider-Man sequel shows us Peter Parker is returning (unless it takes place earlier in the timeline), which means he (and likely others) will be resurrected in some fashion.
Stark has been Parker’s mentor for several movies now, and his absence is sorely felt in this trailer. Instead of Tony pushing Peter into action, we get a scene with Happy Hogan flirting with Aunt May. Later, Samuel L. Jackson’s Nick Fury shows up unannounced and wielding a tranq gun in his hotel room.
Further suggesting Stark is gone, we can see Pepper Potts’ signature on a Stark Foundation check in the Far From Home trailer. Perhaps Potts is just using her station as Stark Industries CEO (this was her last known job title in Iron Man 3) to sign off, but it’s a little weird to not see Stark’s name in his own checkbook.
Plus, Robert Downey Jr. hasn’t publicly signed onto any future Marvel movies. Surprises are possible, but Downey is the man who kickstarted this universe. It only makes sense that the actor and character needed an exit plan.
2) Doctor Strange actually used the Time Stone
Reddit user LoL-Guru received more than 10,000 upvotes for this theory. Like many Endgame theories, it’s just as convoluted as it is sensible.
First, LoL-Guru points out Thanos’ line from the battle on Titan as he closes in on Doctor Strange, who seems to refuse to use the Time Stone: “You never once used your greatest weapon.”
Then, as LoL-Guru reminds us, Thanos began his conquest with the Power Stone. It appropriately boosts the holder’s strength, enhances abilities, and charges up the other four stones. As Doctor Strange took the time to view all possible futures, he knew that using the Time Stone normally wouldn’t work because Thanos had the Power Stone. So, what to do?
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LoL-Guru points out that Strange pulled the Time Stone from thin air (much like Loki and the Tesseract) and that the stone glowed. Normally, when an Infinity Gem glows, that means it’s being used. LoL-Guru also points out that Strange looks hesitant—both when he’s conjuring the Time Stone and when Thanos is about to put it on—as if he wasn’t sure the Time Stone would actually appear or that Thanos would respond to its glow. LoL-Guru says the stone must be glowing because it’s traveling back in time, which lines up with other theories about the Avengers using time travel in Avengers Endgame.
“This is why the Gauntlet breaks from the snap!” LoL-Guru writes. “It’s using a time stone from a reality where the Avengers have already won and sent it back in time. The paradox of using a stone from a mutually exclusive reality breaks the gauntlet and helps advance Dr. Strange’s plan even further because it cripples Thanos’ ability to fight back when the Avengers start mounting their counter offensive.”
LoL-Guru closes out the theory by reminding us that some shots from the first Infinity War trailer didn’t end up appearing in the actual movie (Hulk charging Thanos’ army; Stark taking off glasses to gaze at New York’s destruction while Wong and Strange stand behind him). But what if those are from an altered timeline where Stark, Strange, and other Avengers search through time for a way to rob Thanos of his powers?
3) Was Shuri killed?
The posters do seem to confirm this, though it remains murky.
Shuri, Black Panther’s younger sister and a scientist with a genius to rival Tony Stark, was likely turned into dust after Thanos used the Infinity Gauntlet to wipe out half the universe. In the very first teaser trailer for Avengers: Endgame, we see Shuri’s face in a digital slideshow of other MCU characters who were all wiped out, so you can connect the dots pretty easily, but with one exception. We see Paul Rudd’s Scott Lang on the screen, and he’s very clearly knocking down the Avengers’ door. So here’s to hoping that Shuri made it.
4) The Avengers will fight a younger Thanos
Reddit user ak2sup recently posited to r/FanTheories that the Avengers will fight a younger, less powerful version of Thanos. It’s predicated on a lot of what-ifs but otherwise presents a possible roadmap for how we get from half the universe being dead to not-so-dead. Here’s the full text:
In Infinity War we saw that Thanos collected all 6 powerful infinity stones and snapped his fingers & wiped out half of life in universe. And now, he is a retired guy who is doing farming on a planet, living a simple and peaceful life. So, one may ask that why would he be the bad guy again? He did what he wanted, he succeed in his goal, then why? Well, I believe that Thanos we see in Endgame will be of past- 2012 New york battle (time-travell), a more evil version of mad titan without any infinity stone, All he had back then was a double bladed chitauri Sword and an Army, remember what he was back then? A ruthless killer who used to go planets by planets and wipe out half population with no mercy.
Utilize time travel Using quantum realm and travel to past 2012 timeline during the events of New York battle and kill/defeat Thanos there.
According to me,this is what going to happen, Kevin fiege said that Star Trek:TNG episode “all good things” have influence on A4, for those who dont know what happens in that episode; “Captain Picard travel back and forth in the time and work with his all crew from past, present and future to save the humanity from anamoly” sounds familiar?? Yes, most probably, Endgame following a similar path to avert the snap. And if thats not enough, then Wasp star Evangine Lilly also compared the plot of Endgame to LOST season 4 , So here’s the plan- Heroes (Tony, Antman, Captain Marvel, Nebula, Thor, Rocket,Natasha, Rhodey, not Present Bruce banner and Sterve Rogers because they need both of them from past timeline) will travel to 2012 timeline of New York invasion (as shown in the set photos) , all of them will go undercover to hide from their pastselves to avoid time paradoxes,
Tony & Antman will steal the Sceptre/Mind stone (for temporary use) and interogate Loki to learn more about Thanos and his current whereabouts & erase Loki’s memory of these all, then they’ll team up with Past Steve Rogers and Hulk. Together they travells to Sanctury I- the domain Of Thanos, at that time Thanos had no Infinity stone but Just a double bladed Sword, Black Order, they can also introduce Supergiant, with and an army (this also explains Tony’s AoU vision, remember MCU put meaningfull lines/scenes to use them later so, Tony’s vision was some kind of foreshadowing) Avengers fight both Supergiant and Thanos and manage to defeat/kill the mad titan there, as they defeat/kill him in past(2012), the events of Infinity War will be erased and thus Snap never happens i know this will alter the events of GotG 1 but a little bit and many things remain same.
Conclusion: As they defeat/kill Thanos without the knowledge of past Avengers, no future events after 2012 timeline were altered except for GotG 1 and Infinity War. In present, Black order never arrive in NY, Peter never get off his bus and Nick fury still working on his plan B looking through his global bases (this will explain why fury meets Peter Parker in Venice- FFH), and this way events of Far from home take place.
Ak2sup is right on at least one significant mark. Marvel Studios chief Kevin Feige is a big Star Trek fan, and he did cite The Next Generation episode “All Good Things,” which served as the series finale. In “All Good Things,” Captain Picard jumps through time and space to several different locations and events significant to the USS Enterprise. During his travels, he comes face to face again with the mysterious Q, who in the first season challenged Picard to prove humanity’s evolutionary worth and revealed that Picard’s adventures had all been cumulatively judged as part of humanity’s “trial.”
5) Doctor Strange planned for all of this
Remember in the Doctor Strange movie when the doc managed to defeat the evil entity Dormammu by essentially trapping both of them in a time loop? And remember in Age of Ultron when Bruce Banner, frustrated with Tony Stark’s constant scheming, says “I’m in a loop! I’m caught in a time loop!”
Well, Marvel does like its Easter eggs, and Reddit user RahulVijh caught onto this. In addition to the two previous mentions of time loops, Infinity War’s Doctor Strange says he searched through 14 million possible futures for one in which the Avengers win—and only found one.
RahulVijh asks why Strange looked at only 14 million futures. By definition, an infinite number of realities and/or timelines means 14 million barely even registers.
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“By that logic, it does not make sense why Strange saw a subset (large as it may be) of the alternate futures and why in only 1 do they win,” RahulVijh writes. “By definition, there cannot be only one out of all possible alternate universes in which they win. 14,000,605 is too arbitrary a number.”
RahulVijh also mentions the glowing Time Stone theory described above but goes one step further by pointing out Strange’s comment to Ebony Maw: “You will find a dead man’s spell…hard to break.”
Perhaps, then, Strange wrapped up the last several films worth of Avengers plotlines into a neat little time loop. Sure, Strange was turned into dust by Thanos’ snap, but that doesn’t mean anything. We witnessed Strange get killed a thousand gruesome ways when he bargained with Dormammu.
6) Red Skull will end up being Mephisto
You might want to read some Mephisto lore to figure out how deep this one goes, but it’s a popular theory on Reddit and not a bad one. Mephisto, of course, is a demonic entity that inhabits hell in the Marvel universe, although he isn’t a Christian interpretation of Satan. As for Red Skull, remember that the villain of the first Captain America returned as the keeper of the Soul Stone, instructing Thanos on the terrible sacrifice he’d have to make before he could acquire it.
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Reddit user CarniLvr79 begins their theory by comparing the title “Endgame” to the “endgame” in chess, which is where the final moves are made. CarniLvr79 points out that in Captain America: Winter Soldier, Nick Fury hands Cap a file on the Tesseract. But look below, and you’ll see some dark text at the bottom: “…how they want to be used, and deny certain wishes. Mephisto was who proposed that a billion-sentient universally-linked will could overcome this problem, and that the Cubes could be as powerful as the Infinity Gems.”
To be frank, the theory starts to fall apart from there and relies too much on wordplay, but the overall idea is that Mephisto has needed to collect souls to grow his own strength. Thanos’ universe-wiping plan fits into that nicely. IIt’s admittedly super weird to see Mephisto mentioned in an Easter egg like that so blatantly (they had to know people would see it, right?), but it wouldn’t be the first time Marvel backtracked on a clue. Remember the “court death” line from the end of the first Avengers film? Lady Death, Thanos’ original fixation, has had zero presence in the MCU.
Of course, like any fan predictions, the Endgame theories may or may not prove to be accurate. Only time will tell, but it’s fun to speculate.
7) Ant-Man will crawl inside Thanos’ butt and expand
Despite the popular resurgence of this Reddit idea in meme form—Ant-Man expands inside Thanos’ butt and secures victory for Team Avengers that way—it is highly unlikely that this will happen in the film. Ant-Man can technically do this. But even Paul Rudd agrees that this is not going to happen—it is too absurd and wouldn’t be appropriate. But maybe he’s lying?
"Ant-Man will go up Thanos' ass" has edged out "Thanos did nothing wrong" as the meme through which i understand the Avengers pic.twitter.com/zXXqyescXB— Miles Klee (@MilesKlee) March 27, 2019
This post has been updated.
Joseph Knoop is a gaming writer for Daily Dot, a native Chicagoan, and a slave to all things Overwatch. He co-founded the college geek culture outlet ByteBSU, then interned at Game Informer, and now writes for a bunch websites his parents have never heard of.