We apparently all saw Avengers Infinity War, as it crushed Star Wars The Force Awakens for highest opening at the box office. Since we’re so familiar with the film and it’s outcome, you likely know that not everyone came out alive at the end of the film. So what happens now as we look to the yet untitled Avengers 4 and Phase 4 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe? While the main answer may be obvious, the alternative is quite radical and exciting.
Last chance for spoilers! In Infinity War, Thanos kills off half the universe with a snap of his fingers. With that action, half of the Avengers died including Dr. Strange, Star Lord, Spider Man and Black Panther. But many fans weren’t worried. Marvel has already green lit sequels for the Guardians of the Galaxy and Spider Man and would be foolish not to greenlight Black Panther 2. So how could the MCU tell all these tales if all these characters are dead? The likely outcome is that those events aren’t permanent and the Time Stone will set things right.
But what if those movies all take place before “Infinity War”? It’s a crazy idea, one that came me in a conversation with my SO, but one that’s more exciting the more it’s pondered upon. And it’s not that crazy to imagine either. First off, Ant man and the Wasp and Captain Marvel both take place prior the events of Infinity War. Sure, those films will likely flesh out Avengers 4, but it’s the catalyst for this idea. Captain America: Civil War took place in 2016 and Infinity War in 2018 thanks to a comment from Tony Stark, so there’s two years of potential stories out there to be told. In Black Panther, the events of the film took place days after the events of Civil War. That means it’s been almost two years since we saw T’Challa in action before he shows up on the battlefield in Infinity. There’s tons of room for plenty of stories in that space of time, and it’s not limited to T’Challa either.
We know that Spider Man Homecoming 2, or whatever it’ll be called, will take place in high school again so there’s a good chance not a lot of time has passed for Peter between Homecoming 1 and Homecoming 2. Even though the filmmakers got the opening title card wrong, Homecoming also takes place in 2016 thanks to it also being in the days following Civil War. So Peter still has quite a bit of high school left. In fact, he’s probably a senior by the time Infinity rolls around.
Strange is the one without a concrete date in the timeline but it’s implied that the whole movie takes a few years. What if a few years, or even months, passes before he meets up with Thor and Loki? Again, plenty of room for further storytelling. And the Guardians are in space and can easily tell a story right after their after credits time jump-Vol.2 picked up not long after Vol. 1 after all and it was released years after.
Marvel has shot themselves in the foot by announcing these films in advance which took away some of the tension from Infinity War. Furthermore, the MCU has a tendency to bring characters back to life regularly, which deflates any tension when someone seemingly perishes. When all those characters died at the end, many reactions were “but they’re coming back” instead of “oh no they didn’t just do that!”. Personally, with an event film like Infinity, the studio should have kept quiet on all future project announcements for the betterment of the audience. Unless of course, it’s all a ruse.
By setting phase 4 before the Infinity War (at least for those characters who died), the MCU can not only tell brand new stories with many of our favorite characters, but can keep the shocking ending of Infinity War intact. It’s an extremely bold move, but the Russo Brothers swearing that the stakes are very real in Infinity War and it’s sequel, this could be a way to make that moment even more shocking. As for Phase 5, we can get a completely new roster of characters or begin to introduce alternate realities. Or perhaps everyone will just be resurrected and we’ll continue the MCU in a relatively linear manner.
What are your thoughts on this wacky but interesting theory? Could it be done, should it be done? Let us know and be sure to check out our biggest questions after seeing Infinity War and what the after credit scene means for Avengers 4!