'Avengers: Infinity War' spoilers: The questions that need answering in 'Avengers 4'

This image released by Disney shows Chris Evans in a scene from Marvel Studios’ “Avengers: Infinity War.” (Chuck Zlotnick/Marvel Studios via AP)

Avengers: Infinity War is finally here, so there’s a good chance you’ll have seen it by now.

Juuuust in case you haven’t, Thanos ordered us to stay silent, so we’re going to strap on our Infinity Gauntlet and hit you with a MASSIVE SPOILER WARNING.

Regardless of what the Russo brothers will tell you, Infinity War ends on one almighty cliffhanger.

It’s the biggest blockbuster cliffhanger since The Empire Strikes Back ended with Han Solo frozen like a popsicle, so we’re already counting down the days until Avengers 4 (3 May, 2019, mark it on your calendar) to find out what happens in the final, ultimate, definitely the last chapter this time, film in Phase 3 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Warning: Infinity War spoilers coming up…

To recap, Infinity War ends with Thanos wiping out half of the universe’s living population with one snap of the Infinity Gauntlet fingers. Tony Stark is stranded on Titan with Nebula, while the last remaining Avengers are gathered in Wakanda having suffered a crushing defeat at the hands of the Mad Titan.

With two prequels next out of the gate from Marvel Studios – the post-Civil War set Ant-Man and the Wasp in July, and the 1990s-set Captain Marvel in March, 2019 – we’re going to have a long wait to find out if Thanos can be defeated, and how the Avengers are going to do it.

Along with that huge question mark hanging over the as-yet-untitled fourth Avengers movie, these are the biggest plot points left dangling by the end of Infinity War.

Are they all *really* dead?

As we all know, death is rarely final in the Marvel movies.

Spider-Man, Black Panther, and virtually all the Guardians of the Galaxy, were wiped out by Thanos at the end of the film. But we know Disney is already planning sequels to their respective solo movies, which suggests to us they’ll be resurrected somehow in Avengers 4.

Set photos from the fourth Avengers film show time travel may play a part in the plans, possibly using the Time Stone, and many of the actors, whose characters seemingly died in Infinity War, have confirmed they’re back in the next film, so we won’t be wearing a black arm band for Peter Parker just yet.

Could any of the characters that died before the “snap”, return?

Tom Hiddleston’s time as Loki is drawing to an end. (Disney)

Thanos’ population-controlling rapture wasn’t responsible for every major character death in the movie. The other deaths in the film definitely felt a lot more permanent.

We don’t see a way back for Tom Hiddleston’s Loki or Idris Elba’s Heimdall who were offed at the start of Infinity War. Nor do we see any reason for Benicio Del Toro’s The Collector to make a comeback – he’s not really had anything to do in the MCU so far, so why bother bringing him back?

However, we suspect we haven’t seen the last of Vision yet. His body remains, so he could – in theory – be brought back to life. He is a synthetic life form after all.

We also wouldn’t bet against Gamora making a comeback either. The appearance of her younger self during Thanos’ vision after the “snap” suggests her consciousness exists somewhere in the cosmos.

Could she return if the Soul Stone is traded back?

Where did Thanos go after the “snap”? Is the Infinity Gauntlet now totally knackered?

This image released by Disney shows Josh Brolin as Thanos in a scene from Marvel Studios’ “Avengers: Infinity War.” (Marvel Studios via AP)

It looked like there was a heavy price to pay for Thanos’ grand plan. After the “snap”, and his vision of Gamora, the Titan was transported to another world, where he sat down to watch the sunrise, just like he’d planned to earlier in the story. This new location didn’t look like Earth, so does that mean Thanos is done with our little blue planet?

The toll of wiping out half of all life seems to have exhausted him, and the Infinity Gauntlet, which looked totally frazzled beyond repair.

If the Time Stone is now unusable, just how exactly will the Avengers hope to undo this mess?

Did Wong/Shuri/Ant-Man/Thunderbolt Ross etc live?

We’re if the opinion that anyone whose death wasn’t explicitly shown on screen will likely be alive in Avengers 4. Here’s hoping Shuri makes it through to the next film as we’re sure she’s got the capability to kick some serious Than-ass.

Where were Ant-Man/Hawkeye/Valkyrie/Korg anyway?

Paul Rudd and Jeremy Renner on duty as Ant-Man and Hawkeye in Captain America: Civil War (Disney)

Ant-Man and Hawkeye, who were subject to so much speculation before the film’s release, don’t appear at all in Infinity War. They apparently “made a deal” to atone for their crimes in Captain America: Civil War, hence their non-appearance, but does that mean a deal like a witness protection job and they’re in hiding?

Or, and we prefer this theory, they made a deal to take on a secret mission for Nick Fury or S.H.I.E.L.D. which is how they’ll feature in Avengers 4.

Ant-Man and the Wasp, out later this summer, will hopefully shed some light on their secret mission.

Valkyrie and Korg (and Mick), the Asgardians who we last saw at the end of Thor: Ragnarok just before Thanos attacked their ship, didn’t appear in Infinity War at all. Thanos says he wiped out half of the Asgardians in his attack, so they might have survived to fight another day. It doesn’t explain why Thor didn’t get the Guardians to rescue them from the wreckage of the Sanctuary II escape ship though.

How will Tony Stark return to Earth from Titan?

With his suit basically destroyed and Doctor Strange – with his teleporting abilities – now a pile of dust, Iron Man is stranded on Titan, separated from the rest of the Avengers.

He’s not alone though, as he’s also with Nebula who can probably pilot a ship back to Earth, but our bet is on Thor’s new weapon – the Stormbreaker – with its Bifrost abilities, will help get Tony back to terra firma.

Why did Doctor Strange give Thanos the Time Stone?

This image released by Marvel Studios shows, from left, Benedict Cumberbatch, Robert Downey Jr., Mark Ruffalo and Benedict Wong in a scene from “Avengers: Infinity War.” (Marvel Studios via AP)

We covered this in some detail in our feature about what the ending of Infinity War means for the future of the MCU. Essentially, we believe that Doctor Strange’s decision to save Tony’s life in exchange for the Time Stone comes down to the 14m outcomes Benedict Cumberbatch’s character saw for their showdown with Thanos.

Although handing over the Stone meant the Avengers had lost the battle, they hadn’t necessarily lost the war and we think Strange knows Tony Stark is the key to the scenario that eventually defeats Thanos in Avengers 4, hence the deal.

Why kill off Black Panther after his hugely popular solo movie?

This moment is sure to ruffle a lot of feathers. It was certainly the death that caused the biggest stir in the cinema when we saw it, along with the demise of Spider-Man. Marvel has seemingly killed off the star and lead of its biggest movie to date (on American soil anyway), and with very little fuss.

This seems like PR suicide for Marvel who won legions of new fans with Black Panther, but we think it’s essential they killed T’Challa, particularly for the events of Avengers 4. Note Shuri, M’Baku, and Okoye survived the battle of Wakanda – had T’Challa survived, he may have chosen to isolate Wakanda from the world once again in a bid to save his people from future genocides.

With T’Challa a victim of Thanos, this should rally the people of Wakanda to the Avengers’ cause making them valuable allies in the upcoming war with Thanos.

What were The Defenders up to while all this was kicking off?

Charlie Cox, from left, Krysten Ritter, Finn Jones and Mike Colter attend Netflix’s “Marvel’s The Defenders” original series premiere at the Tribeca Performing Arts Center on Monday, July 31, 2017, in New York. (Photo by Charles Sykes/Invision/AP)

At this point it’s pretty clear Marvel’s Netflix heroes are only connected to the MCU in the very loosest sense. Speaking at a Netflix preview event recently, Luke Cage showrunner Cheo Hodari Coker was asked how Infinity War would affect the upcoming second season of the New York-set superhero show, and he suggested it wouldn’t at all, as he had no insight into Marvel Studios movie plans.

There may be token gestures to the events of Infinity War in the Netflix Marvel world, but we’d be surprised if it doesn’t impact the shows at all. A bigger question about the connection of the two universes would be: If Aliens exists in Spider-Man’s world, how come Sigourney Weaver is in The Defenders? Hmm.

What’s the significance of Captain Marvel and the role she’ll play in the next film?

We covered this extensive detail here in our analysis of the post-credit scene. Let’s just say Captain Marvel is going to be a big deal in Avengers 4, and probably all future Marvel Studios movies.

Why did they take Thor’s eye in Ragnarok, only to give it back in Infinity War?

Thor ended Ragnarok wearing an eye-patch after losing an eye during the battle with Hela. Partly it symbolised his ascent to the throne, as it made him look more like his father Odin, but it also symbolised that – along with Mjolnir that was also destroyed – that there’s more to Thor than his costume and weapons.

This newly humbled Thor starts Infinity War with the patch, but he quickly gets a replacement eye in a hilarious exchange with Rocket. So what gives? Was the patch to costly to CGI in for every shot, or does this new eye have a bigger role to play in Avengers 4? We think it’s the former.

What happened to Xandar?

Glenn Close as Nova Prime in Guardians of the Galaxy (Disney)

At the end of the first Guardians of the Galaxy, the Guardians left the Power Stone with the Nova Corps on Xandar. Thanos starts Infinity War having already acquired the Power Stone from Xandar, so this is a huge set piece that happens completely off screen.

How he managed to take down the Nova Corps so easily has yet to be explored, but it would be a cool thing to show in Avengers 4 if only for another cameo from Glenn Close and John C Reilly.

Avengers: Infinity War is in cinemas now. Watch our exclusive interview with the film’s directors below.

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