Avengers 4 is going to be a turning point in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The untitled Avengers movie will complete the story that begins in 2018's Avengers: Infinity War – the showdown with the giant, purple space villain Thanos.
Characters will die (probably), heroes will retire, and the stage is being set for a greatly changed MCU. Here's what we know so far.
Avengers 4 release date
We'll start with the easy one first. The untitled Avengers movie will be out in the UK on April 26, 2019, and in the US on May 3, 2019.
Avengers 4 title
Clearly we don't know the title yet. It was originally given as 'Avengers: Infinity War – Part 2'.
Around the release of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2, Gamora actress Zoe Saldana seemed to accidentally reveal that the film is called 'Gauntlet' – presumably 'Avengers: Infinity Gauntlet', after the comic that the third and fourth Avengers movies are loosely based on. Guardians director James Gunn insisted that she just misspoke.
Other titles related to the Infinity Gauntlet stories could give us the titles 'Avengers: Infinity Crusade' or simply 'Avengers: Infinity'.
Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige hinted that the title of the movie could be a spoiler. 'Avengers: Iron Man is Going to Die Horribly', perhaps?
Avengers 4 cast
Avengers: Infinity War is shaping up to have the biggest superhero movie cast ever, and unless Marvel surprises us by killing off a significant portion of their heroes, we expect most of those actors will be back for part 2.
Actors who have been confirmed to definitely be back for more are Saldana, Scarlett Johansson (Black Widow), Mark Ruffalo (Hulk), Gwyneth Paltrow (Pepper Potts), Don Cheadle (War Machine), Karen Gillan (Nebula), Sebastian Stan (Winter Soldier), Jon Favreau (Happy Hogan), Robert Downey Jr (Iron Man), Paul Rudd (Ant-Man) and Pom Klementieff (Mantis).
Other safe bets for the movie are Josh Brolin (Thanos), Chris Hemsworth (Thor), Chris Pratt (Star-Lord), Elizabeth Olsen (Scarlet Witch), Benedict Cumberbatch (Doctor Strange), Chadwick Boseman (Black Panther), Anthony Mackie (Falcon), Tom Holland (Spider-Man), Dave Bautista (Drax) and Paul Bettany (Vision).
So, basically everyone then.
Brie Larson won't be making her Avengers debut in Infinity War, but after her actual first appearance in the '90s-set Captain Marvel, the speculation is that she'll join up with the other heroes in Avengers 4. Feige has hinted at that by promising that her story is "going to be a big part of heading towards this epic conclusion and epic finale of 22 movies over the course of 10 years". That sounds pretty unequivocal to us.
Ty Simpkins, who played the kid Harley Keener from Iron Man 3, is reported to be returning too.
Oh, and Stan Lee will have a cameo if it's practically possible. Can't forget Stan Lee.
Directors Anthony and Joe Russo are returning after Infinity War. Well, 'returning' isn't quite the right word, as they filmed the two movies back-to-back. And Brolin hinted that it might be their final project for Marvel.
Avengers 4 plot
Infinity War will deal with the Avengers and the Guardians of the Galaxy teaming up against Thanos, who (with his lieutenants/children the Black Order) will be collecting those superpowered MacGuffins the Infinity Stones for his Infinity Gauntlet.
Avengers 4 follows on from that – we're assuming after a big disastrous climax that leaves our heroes on the back foot (but not so much off balance that Ant-Man and the Wasp won't fit comfortably between the movies). Mark Ruffalo let slip that climax might be a battle in Asgard – but Asgard was destroyed in Thor: Ragnarok, so we're not sure we believe him.
Not knowing the specific details of Infinity War, it's hard to know exactly what will happen in its sequel. We expect more tussling with Thanos, but what form that will take is hard to say.
Another bit of speculation is that the film could have something to do with the comic book event Secret Invasion – in which Earth was revealed to have been thoroughly infiltrated by shapeshifting Skrull aliens. To be honest, we're not sure that Marvel is likely to slip that story in at this relatively late stage, even if the aliens are introduced in Captain Marvel.
There is also some evidence (including various actors donning their old costumes) pointing towards a time-travel plot for the movie. The Time Stone (first seen in Doctor Strange) could easily account for such goings on.
And Tony Stark is going blonde. That has to be a huge plot point, right?
What we do know for certain is that the untitled Avengers movie will mark an ending to what will be an 11-year-old, 22-movie-long story at that point (kicked off in the distant past by 2008's Iron Man).
Chris Evans has said that Avengers 4 is "going to wrap everything up". It marks the end of Marvel's Phase Three, and leads directly into the first Phase Four film, the sequel to Spider-Man: Homecoming. And we mean directly – Spider-Man 2 is set mere minutes after the end of Avengers 4.
What form will this end take? It's a safe bet that some long-time MCU stars will take Avengers 4 as a good opportunity to bow out. Will Downey or Evans finally retire from the franchise, as has been teased repeatedly over the last few years? Or maybe Hemsworth is on his way out. Feige has been teasing possible deaths to round off Phase Four.
And how will these exits happen? It's a toss up between walking off into the sunset for a well-earned retirement, being murdered brutally to spur on their allies, or the tried and tested Noble Sacrifice™.
Phase Four, we're promised, will mark a big change for the MCU. Whatever form those changes take, Avengers 4 is where it all starts.
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