Dread it. Run from it. Avengers: Infinity War is finally here, bringing with it all sorts of questions about just what comes next for the Marvel Cinematic Universe in the wake of Thanos’ true arrival. Need some answers? Well, we have a few, as well as some extra questions about what happens now...
Right now? A whole lot of people. Infinity War’s casualty list is to an extreme unlike anything we’ve seen in the Marvel movieverse:
- Lots of Xandarians
- The Black Order—Ebony Maw, Proxima Midnight, Cull Obsidian, and Corvus Glaive
- The Collector (probably)
- Black Panther
- Doctor Strange
- Scarlet Witch
- Maria Hill
- Nick Fury
- Oh, and half of the entire universe’s population.
Damn, what a bloodbath.
Most of them, honestly. There simply isn’t a world where characters who have future movies in development—like Black Panther, Spider-Man, and the Guardians, don’t come back.
However, those first few deaths before Thanos snaps his fingers feel pretty permanent—so Heimdall, Loki, and maybe even Gamora could permanently be toast. We have some thoughts about that last one, though...
Once Thanos snaps his fingers and kills half the universe, we see him in a yellow-tinged plane of existence—empty, save for the Mad Titan and the young Gamora, who asks Thanos if it was worth all the sacrifice. In the comics, the Soul stone (the one Gamora was sacrificed for by Thanos) houses a realm called Soul World, where part of a trapped victim’s soul is saved separately from the rest of their “real” self. Even if that real version dies, the soul in Soul World lives on—so if that does end up being the MCU’s take on Soul World, there’s a chance Gamora’s soul could be freed, and she could be restored to life either in Avengers 4 or even Guardians 3.
Well, aside from what we just said about Gamora, the people “dusted” by Thanos’ use of the Infinity Gauntlet can probably bought back through the use of the stones themselves—in particular the Time Stone, because, as Thanos did with Vision, it’s easy to use that and undo the moment of the snap itself. Given there have been rumors about time travel in Avengers 4, it wouldn’t be surprising if that’s how that horrifying casualty list gets trimmed a bit.
If you cast your mind back to Captain America: The First Avenger, the Red Skull doesn’t actually die when he interacts with the Tesseract during his climactic fight with Cap—the stone opens up a portal to space and the Skull is beamed up into it. Now we know that trip dumped him on Vormir, and he’s spent the decades since guarding the path to another stone, the Soul stone, and working on his best Death cosplay.
It sure seems like it. After Thanos snaps his fingers, we see the gauntlet has become a crispy mess. His arm is kind of screwed up too. This sure makes it seem like the one vessel in the universe that could harness the power of all six stones at once is now toast, and it seems unlikely Eitri would make him another. If Thanos wants to use the stones again, it’s unlikely he’d be able to use them all together, and that could be just the opening our heroes need.
The final shots of Infinity War are of a victorious Thanos, emerging from a rickety homestead onto an idyllic-looking world and smiling at his accomplishment of a job well done. But we’re never actually told what that world is. It’s certainly not Titan, which, finger-snap or not, is still a wasteland. Could it be Zen-Whoberi, Gamora’s homeworld? Thanos used it as an example earlier in the movie that his harsh methods bore fruit, and given the grief he felt about having to kill her, him taking his rest on her homeworld would make some sense.
Just before he dies, Nick Fury presses some kind of beaten up intergalactic pager—and we see the message is sent to someone bearing the emblem of the Hala Star, the symbol of the Kree homeworld Hala in the comics. But it’s not just any star, given the red, blue, and gold motif of it: That’s the costume of Carol Danvers, the mighty Captain Marvel. How does Fury know her and how to contact her? We’ll find out in March 2019, when Captain Marvel is released in theaters. It’s set in the ‘90s, and we already know a young Nick Fury (as well as Agent Phil Coulson) will appear.
But maybe the real question is why, if Nick’s known Carol is out in space all these years, did it take Thanos for him to call her in. Why didn’t he summon her for the Chitauri invasion or Ultron? The real-world answer to that is “There wasn’t going to be a Captain Marvel movie yet,” but maybe we’ll get an in-universe answer in her solo film.
So, obviously, Captain Marvel is coming down to save the day in Avengers 4. We’ll see her movie in March, then she’ll return for the Infinity War follow-up in May. We’ll have much more on this soon, but the TL:DR version is that she’s ultra powerful and will likely not only be able to unite the stones but also punch... like, really hard. It also is sure to help that she’s from Earth, which is a nice rallying cry for Earth’s Mightiest Heroes.
Despite everything going on in Infinity War, the laws established in Captain America: Civil War, the Sokovia Accords, still went into effect, meaning that superheroes cannot legally operate unless officially sanctioned too. According to a prelude tie-in comic for the film, Hawkeye retired after being broken out of the Raft at the end of Civil War, and as mentioned in Infinity War, Scott Lang went back to San Francisco, kept under house arrest for his role in assisting Captain America to break the accords. Hopefully, they survived Thanos’ snap, because the world’s gonna need all the help it can get in Avengers 4.
At the end of Thor: Ragnarok, Valkyrie and Korg were on the ship with the rest of the Asgardians, including Thor, Hulk, Loki, and Heimdall. It’s the same ship Thanos ravages to get the Tesseract and where we witness countless, unmoving bodies. Valkyrie and Korg’s absence seems odd, but there’s a line in the movie that says half of the people escaped. So it seems likely that the two of them, but Valkyrie especially, led those people to safety before Thanos came on board. It seems quite likely that at least she’ll be in Avengers 4, when we’ll probably also get an answer as to where they actually spent their time during the events of Infinity War. That said, Valkyrie actress Tessa Thompson has an entirely different (albeit joking) theory about where she was.
Stormbreaker, Thor’s new Thanos-killer of an ax, also has the sneaky power of being able to access some form of the Bifrost, allowing the God of Thunder to show up in dramatic style in Wakanda. But how can he do it if the Bifrost was destroyed in Thor: Ragnarok?
Well, the start of Infinity War proves that you don’t actually need the rainbow bridge to teleport. After all, one of Heimdall’s final acts is to use his own sword, Hofund—which, fun fact, was also forged by Nidavellir’s star—to teleport Hulk back to Earth. So Stormbreaker, as a weapon forged in Nidavellir, presumably has a similar ability. As for how Thor knew to go to Wakanda specifically, maybe he just asked Stormbreaker to take him to his friends, and the ax worked it out from there?
At the beginning of the film, Thanos already has the Power stone, which we last saw at the end of Guardians of the Galaxy on Xandar for safekeeping. We hear that he’s already destroyed that place and gotten the stone. So it’s odd we don’t see it. Or is it? The movie is already long, dense, and expensive. Plus there’s not really anyone there audiences care about (sorry, Glenn Close). Of all the stones, that seems like the one you cut for all of those reasons, not to mention it probably would have been crazy expensive to show the destruction of another world. There’s also a chance it was filmed and it just got cut, but we haven’t heard anything like that yet.
Bruce Banner spends a lot of Infinity War as, well, not the big green guy. Mark Ruffalo and Kevin Feige are on record as saying Ragnarok, Infinity War, and Avengers 4 are sort of a three-movie arc for Hulk and a lot of his story here is wrapped up in him desperately trying to hulk out, but failing to do so. That means we’ll surely get a resolution in Avengers 4, but it’s also reasonable to assume that the Hulk is trying to show some dominance over Banner and may even be scared of what Thanos actually represents, in terms of sheer power. After all, he does get beat the hell up by Thanos pretty easily in the opening of the film. Insert your own performance anxiety jokes here, folks.
Shuri plays a small but crucial role in the Avengers’ plan to save Vision and destroy the Mind Stone, but she gets interrupted during her surgery by Corvus Glaive, leading to Vision entering the fray in the climax of the movie... but then we don’t actually see Shuri again. Vision doesn’t return to her once dealing with Glaive, he stays out and fights. We don’t even know if she’s still alive after Thanos’ finger-snap. So it’s hard to say what Shuri ended up being able to accomplish before she was attacked—she clearly understood the stone and Vision’s connection to it more than anyone else did. Could she have made some other modifications knowing she wouldn’t be able to remove it in time? Does she have Vision 2.0 on some Wakandan hard drive? Time will tell.
This is explained in the film but it’s not spelled out super clearly. Basically, we saw Strange visit millions of possible futures and find out that there’s only one chance in those millions that Thanos loses. He then tells Tony that giving Thanos the stone was “the only way,” meaning, in that one possible future where the Avengers win, Thanos had to complete the Gauntlet and kill half the universe. So why fight it when you know that’s the best thing for you?
The end of this movie is grim enough, but when you think about it, you realize that Tony Stark and Nebula are left all alone on Titan, after Thanos leaves and then literally everyone else with them is turned to ash. Nebula’s little pod got wrecked when she came crashing in to attack Thanos, and so did Ebony Maw’s ring-ship, so that’s not a way off the world. So... how on Earth (well, on Titan) could they possibly make their ways back?
The actual answer is most likely going to be that the Guardian’s ship is on the planet. After all, how did Drax, Mantis, and Star-Lord get there? Nebula would know how to fly it, at least. Or maybe Wong, detecting the loss of the Time Stone, opens up a portal there?
During the big fight on Titan, Tony is using everything he’s got packed into that fancy new suit of his to gain the upper hand. He never causes much of a dent. That is, until he draws blood. To which Thanos replies, “All that for a drop of blood?” It sounds too important to be a throwaway line and something tells us, yeah, Tony did do all of that for a drop of the Mad Titan’s blood. Will it serve as part of his eventual destruction? We’ll see...
As you sat waiting to see the final end credit scene, one particular credit may have stood out. The Fox/Netflix sitcom Arrested Development was given a quick tip of the cap. Odd? Not so much. Infinity War directors Joe and Anthony Russo worked on that television show and have put a few winks in previous films (the Bluth stair car is at the airport in Civil War, for example) and Infinity War is no exception. When Thanos is on Knowhere and we glimpse a version of the Collector’s items, a certain blue man in jean shorts can quickly be glimpsed in the background. That’s Dr. Tobias Fünke, played by David Cross in the show, but not in the movie. Just another thing to look out for when you see Infinity War again.
We’ll find out the title in the coming months, and see the conclusion of this story on May 3 (or possibly April 26, after the success of Infinity War’s slightly earlier opening), 2019.