Beware - major Marvel Cinematic Universe spoilers ahead! Do not continue reading until you have seen all of the MCU films, including Infinity War!
If you’re anything like me, you walked out of your local AMC in complete shock after watching the post-credits scene of Avengers: Infinity War. Actually, you were probably in tears, and even days later, you can’t bear the thought spending a whole year hoping for the revival of your favorite characters (Loki).
You’ve probably spent hours watching YouTube videos on Thanos’s meaningful *snap* and the importance of the Captain Marvel reference in the post-credit scene, but still - how can you be expected to process so much information from so many places?
After scouring the internet and my brain, I’ve put together a collection of fan theories regarding the most important and tragic part of Infinity War - the ending. Hopefully these will tide you over until next May:
Here I am only going discuss deaths at the end of the movie since there isn’t quite as much to speculate regarding the deaths of other characters in the beginning of the film. Hopefully Loki and Heimdall just faked their deaths…
...but that (sadly) seems very unlikely.
Anyway, in Infinity War’s climax, we lost Scarlet Witch, Black Panther, Groot (again!), Spider-Man, Doctor Strange, and (lots) more! Although Peter Parker’s final words were heartbreaking, I have good news - there’s probably still hope for him.
1) Will we get the disintegrated characters back?
According to CinemaBlend, Tom Holland will be playing Peter Parker in Avengers 4. What if it’s only a flashback, you ask? Well, Spider-Man: Homecoming 2 will be kicking off Marvel’s Phase 4 as the only film set to be released after Avengers 4 next May. Therefore, the living characters must find a way to bring back Peter; if they can bring Peter back, why can’t they revive the others as well?
Along with this, Doctor Strange told Tony Stark while on they were Titan that of the 14,000,605 possible outcomes of the battle with Thanos, the Avengers manage to succeed in only one of them. Yet, he never explains the events needed for the team to beat the Mad Titan. After an epic battle with Thanos later on, Strange goes back on his promise of sacrificing Tony and/or Peter to protect the Time Stone and offers it to Thanos in exchange for Tony’s life. Strange later tells Tony that giving up the Stone was the “only way.” Doctor Strange is known for his logical way of thinking, so I (and many others) theorize that Doctor Strange only gave up the Stone because he saw that the decimation of the earth’s population was necessary to defeat Thanos and that it could be undone afterwards.
Here’s another interesting point I saw in a Buzzfeed comment: In the film Doctor Strange, the Ancient One was unable to see past her own death. If Strange was in fact following the path that led to the Avengers’ win, then he must not have died when he disintegrated, or he wouldn’t have been able to see their victory later on. Since Strange is probably smart enough to follow this path, we can hope that he will live long enough to see the Avengers come out on top.
Speaking more realistically, Marvel created the MCU for profit. With Black Panther’s recent box office success, Marvel Studios will definitely want to continue making Black Panther movies, even if it’s for nothing more than the money, and they’d need to revive T’Challa to do so.
Also, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 is in the works, but Marvel Studios will need to recover at least some of the Guardians they killed in Infinity War in order to have enough characters for the movie.
But how will they be revived?
There are three main theories on this one -
a) The Time Stone will be used to undo Thanos’s actions and bring the characters back to life. Yet, this would still force the Avengers to battle Thanos again, and there’s no guarantee that they will win.
b) Everyone who disintegrated is trapped inside of the Soul Stone. Some of the Soul Stone’s powers were displayed when Thanos was able to visit a younger Gamora, even though he had just killed her. The scene’s orange tint matches the color of the Soul Stone as well. (Co-director Joe Russo actually confirmed that Gamora was in the soul stone recently.) According to the internet, the same theory can be applied to the others that were decimated - they are just trapped inside of the Soul Stone and can/will be released by the remaining characters.
Either way, the Avengers will have to find a way to recover one of the Infinity Stones, which will be no easy task.
c) Captain Marvel may also be instrumental in bringing these characters back. In the post-credit scene, Nick Fury made a call as Maria Hill began to disappear. As Fury disappeared, the camera zoomed in on his pager, showing that he was calling Captain Marvel. We’ll presumably find out more about her in her upcoming solo film (to be released 3/6/19) and the possible ways in which she could help the Avengers.
2) Vision may be a little harder to bring back.
Since Vision was destroyed rather than disintegrated, he won’t be brought back by the Soul Stone. However, before Vision’s demise, Shuri (aka the best Disney Princess) began to copy part of Vision’s “brain.” Although she had to stop before the replication was done, she still has a good portion of the data. Also, Vision is really just an extension of JARVIS. Sure, he might have new memories or feelings, but the basis of his existence is in a computer program that Tony probably still has access to. With Tony and Bruce alive, they may be able to use what they have to create a new “Vision” who is at least similar to the old one - kind of like what happened in Big Hero 6.
3) Still, which characters will stay safe?
Whether it’s for the sake of our sanity or because the theory is actually realistic, we’ve agreed that the disintegrated characters will return for Avengers 4, right? Yet, as I said before, getting an Infinity Stone from Thanos is going to be quite difficult. Even if the Avengers manage to get the Stone, how would they wield it? The gauntlet looked pretty beat up after Thanos killed half of the universe. Also, Spider-Man: Homecoming 2 has been confirmed to take place minutes after the events of Avengers 4, so maybe the plot of the next Avengers will be to revive the decimated characters, and Peter Parker’s next movie will take place after he is brought back.
Either way, here’s a small detail that may be important in figuring this out - after the snap, most of the characters that had been introduced in more recent MCU movies died, leaving the “OG Avengers” - Tony Stark; Steve Rogers; Natalia Romanova/Natasha Romanoff; Bruce Banner; and presumably Clint Barton, whose fate was never confirmed. This may be more than a nod to the first Avengers film; many fans believe that these characters are the ones who will end up dead by the time Avengers 4 is completed. People have theorized for a long while that Tony Stark’s or Steve Rogers’ time will be up soon. Although they surprisingly didn’t die in Infinity War, some think that the original Avengers will sacrifice themselves for the others, who can create and lead a new, younger alliance of superheroes. If the Soul Stone theory is correct, it would make sense that each character would have to sacrifice themselves to save another; Steve has indicated that he would sacrifice himself for anyone (and definitely Bucky, right?), and most fans like to believe that Tony would do the same for Peter Parker. Some think that a “fresh start” would be ideal for Marvel as they welcome in a new generation of heros after over 20 movies surrounding the current characters. In other words, your favorite surviving characters may not be so safe after all.
4) How will Infinity War affect future MCU films, and what will happen in Avengers 4?
This question is another week of research (and tears) in itself, and the speculated plots of future films probably won't even be accurate. There are so many possibilities! As of right now, there aren't enough details available to answer this question. However, if you're interested in further reading, I strongly recommend this article, which will hopefully clarify everything unrelated to Infinity War's ending that I did not discuss here.
Days 'till Avengers 4: 353