At the end of Avengers: Infinity War, the credits promised “Thanos will return.” So Josh Brolin’s purple-tinted, gigantic villain will be back in April’s Avengers: Endgame, but who else? If you’ve seen Infinity War (and a lot of you have by now), you know it’s a bit of a mystery. And a three-hour-long mystery, according to revelations from directors Joe and Anthony Russo — so take your bathroom breaks before you take your seat.

Below are three recent tidbits.

Here’s that trailer

Sometimes, movie studios drop hints as to when their big trailers will drop — during the Super Bowl, or at Star Wars Celebration. But on Thursday, March 14, the Avengers: Endgame trailer arrived with little warning. And guess who’s joining the gang? Captain Marvel, of course.

It’s a flashback-filled trailer, showing Captain America dreaming of measuring up to World War II soldier level, and also hints at the future, featuring the surviving Avengers seemingly preparing for something in white Star Wars Stormtrooper-like suits. (Space? The Quantum Realm?)


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Record-setter?

To no one’s surprise, a lot of people want to see Avengers: Endgame, and film research site Exhibitor Relations is reporting that the movie could shatter records. According to Collider, Exhibitor Relations lists the movie on track to beat its predecessor, Avengers: Infinity War, and set a new opening weekend record of $282 million. Avengers: Infinity War set a record with its $258 million opening weekend in 2018.

Take a break

Marvel films have been coming fast and furious (sorry, wrong franchise) lately, but a break is coming. July will see the release of Spider-Man: Far From Home, which reportedly takes place just minutes after Avengers: Endgame’s conclusion. But Avengers: Endgame was the last film in the MCU’s Phase Three, while Spider-Man: Far From Home is not only coming from Sony, but is the beginning of a whole new phase. As Deadpool co-creator Rob Liefeld said on Twitter, the break after so many films may feel odd to fans.

“Still wrapping my head around the fact that there are no Marvel movies currently filming,” Liefeld wrote on Feb. 27. “So a full year absent Marvel films following Spider Man?”

Yes, looks that way. Here’s our list of all upcoming Marvel movies, and after Spider-Man: Far From Home, there’s a year-long break until Black Widow gets her solo film in May 2020.

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In his quest to balance the universe, Thanos acquired all the infinity stones and zapped half the universe’s population, just as he threatened. Many of Marvel’s major heroes were among the vanished half of the population that just kind of… turned into piles of sand that then blew away.


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So Avengers: Endgame now has a major situation: No way are all those money-making Marvel heroes gone for good. But some of them probably have to bite the dust for sheer dramatic reasons (and because a few actors have talked publicly about moving on). We’ll have to wait to see exactly who’s taking early retirement, but for now, we can sum up what we know.

What’s with that name?

There was much speculation about what the film would be called — for a long time, it was simply known as Avengers 4, and many feared that the real title would be a giant, gut-wrenching spoiler. Endgame was mentioned early on in the rumor game, in part because Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) says it in Infinity War, ominously telling Tony Stark, “We’re in the end game now.”

The term actually comes from the chess world, referring to the stage of the game where very few pieces remain, which makes nice allegorical sense. In Infinity War, Thanos and the Avengers were matched in a giant game of chess, and then Thanos pulled out what seems to be a checkmate.

But the game may not be over. Doctor Strange himself made a baffling sacrifice, handing over the time stone to Thanos, just as chess players may strategically sacrifice a piece to build toward an eventual victory. Now we wait to see how exactly the endgame plays out, and which sacrifices remain to be made.

When will Avengers: Endgame come out? 

Officially, Avengers 4 is scheduled for an April 26, release in the US, April 25 in the UK, and April 24 in Australia.

Need a super-specific countdown? Marvel launched a countdown clock in November 2018, in case you want to just sit there and watch it tick down to the release date.

The film was shot back-to-back with Infinity War, beginning in August 2017 and with principal photography ending in January 2018. Filming was done in the Atlanta area. According to the Scottish newspaper The Daily Record, more scenes were filmed in Edinburgh and Glasgow, Scotland, in July 2018.

In February 2019, directors Joe and Anthony Russo confirmed it’s still at three hours, though that could change. That would make it the longest film in the MCU — Avengers: Infinity War was 2 hours and 40 minutes long.

The film is the fourth in a series, so if you want to watch all three previous Avengers films, check out 2012’s The Avengers, 2015’s Avengers: Age of Ultron, and 2018’s Avengers: Infinity War. Done with that? There are plenty of other Marvel movies to watch to soak up the various heroes’ backstories. Here’s our suggested order to watch them in.

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Tackling the trailer

The first trailer came out in December, after an agonizing wait. It’s pretty depressing.


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Tony Stark/Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) is floating in space, speaking into a recording for girlfriend Pepper Potts about how he’s likely to die in the morning. The other Avengers are shown mourning the heroes and friends they’ve lost, and a few heroes that weren’t in Infinity War show up — namely, Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) in his Ronin armor, and Ant-Man (Paul Rudd).


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And on Super Bowl Sunday, a TV spot that isn’t really a trailer, showed up. It flashed through the various lost heroes, and shows how the survivors are coping. Cap is attending a support group, Iron Man and Nebula are working on armor, and Black Widow is practicing at the gun range. If anyone suspected the Avengers were just going to give up on their lost friends and move on, here’s their wake-up call.

As we mention above the second trailer came out of nowhere on March 14, and is likely the last full trailer before the film’s release.


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It’s HOW long?

Yep, as of February 2019, the directors are saying Endgame is running three hours long. Now, edits aren’t finished, but realistically, how much are they going to be able to shave off at this point?

I spoke to Dan Gardner who runs the app RunPee.com, which tells moviegoers when to duck out for a bathroom break, and while he hasn’t seen the movie yet, he suggests fans watch for a scene that appears to be setting up a big battle. That’s usually a good break point before the fighting begins.

And author and film critic Robert K. Elder said that while this film is exceptionally long, it’s tying up a lot of loose ends. Marvel’s earned its’ fans patience with this one, but likely superhero films won’t consistently stay this long.

What we know about the plot

Well, Thanos will be back — the credits promised. He seemed pretty satisfied with his balancing of the universe, last seen resting at a nipa hut (the scene was shot at Banaue Rice Terraces in the Philippines), so it would seem the remaining Avengers will have to take the fight to him.

Some think we could look to the comic book version of this story for how things might work out, but there are always deviations between the comics and the movies, so don’t expect an exact copy. Still, if things fall that way, expect major roles for Nebula (Karen Gillan) and Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch). Remember, Strange made an odd decision in Infinity War, handing over the time stone he said he’d always protect. Is it because this was required for the one scenario in which he saw our heroes winning? He likely has the best idea of what’s about to go down.

It’s for sure a movie that’ll matter. In an Instagram Q&A on Nov. 8, director Joe Russo was asked if the stakes would be higher in Avengers 4 than in previous movies. “Absolutely 100 percent the highest of any of the films to date, without question,” he said. 

Did you remember to stay in your seats after Infinity War ended to watch the post-credits scene? We break it down here, but it looks as if Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) successfully sent a message to Captain Marvel, based on the symbol shown on what looks like Fury’s pager. Brie Larson will play Captain Marvel in a solo movie coming in March 2019, and since that’s just a month or two before Avengers 4, it’s expected to set up some plot points.

If Mark Ruffalo, who plays Bruce Banner/Hulk, has anything to say about it, his character’s two sides will somehow battle each other. On The Marvelists podcast in September 2018, he said, “I always thought it would be great to see them in some sort of subspace where they get to battle it out with Banner’s brains as some sort of his own superpower, like psych weaponry or psi weaponry against Hulk’s brute strength.”

And some fans are speculating that Avengers 4 will have to deal with the power of the Infinity Gauntlet and possibly send the heroes traveling through time, with Thanos possibly performing his deadly “snap” over and over again with different results.

Also, thanks to some popcorn packaging that earned buzz in early February, we’re wondering if these might be some of the Avengers’ new outfits for the film. There’s probably a really good mall in Wakanda with a hair salon, and maybe even a gym.

Who’ll be dead to stay?

Here’s a list of who vanished, melty-sand style, thanks to Thanos eliminating half the population: 

  • Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan)
  • Drax (Dave Bautista)
  • Groot (Vin Diesel)
  • Mantis (Pom Klementieff)
  • Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen)
  • Spider-Man (Tom Holland)
  • Peter Quill (Chris Pratt)
  • Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch)
  • Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman)
  • Falcon (Anthony Mackie)

Remaining to fight another day (as far as we know — we didn’t see these heroes vanish) are: 

  • Captain America (Chris Evans)
  • Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.)
  • Thor (Chris Hemsworth)
  • Hulk (Mark Ruffalo)
  • M’Baku (Winston Duke)
  • Okoye (Danai Gurira)
  • Rocket (Bradley Cooper)
  • War Machine (Don Cheadle)
  • Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson)
  • Nebula (Karen Gillan)

Any of the vanished heroes are likely to return, at least for a while. Marvel would no sooner keep them all dead than let an intern feed hundred-dollar bills into a paper shredder — too much money to lose.

Some we KNOW will be back — Black Panther and the Guardians of the Galaxy have additional movies planned, so T’Challa and Star-Lord aren’t going anywhere, though not all of the Wakandans and Guardians may make it through. Dave Bautista, who plays Guardian Drax the Destroyer, told Den of Geek he’s returning for both Avengers: Endgame and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, though he confirmed he doesn’t know how Drax will be back. (So technically, he could still die and be seen in flashback.) And he confirmed it again in September 2018 on the UK television show Good Morning, Britain, saying he felt a little guilty for sharing, but that “nobody told me not to say anything.”

The future might not be so bright for the big three — Captain America, Iron Man and Thor. Chris Evans has said he’s moving on after this film, and Downey and Hemsworth have also hinted at it. But we won’t know till we know, and besides, Marvel is famous for rebooting characters who’ve died/been frozen/hung up the uniform.

Many fans saw a possible spoiler on Oct. 4, when Chris Evans, who plays Captain America, tweeted that he’d finished his work on the film, and went on to say that playing this role over the last eight years “has been an honor.” That sure sounded to many fans like Cap had breathed his last, at least in this go-round of films, and at least with Evans playing him.

“In other words Cap’s dead,” wrote one fan bluntly. Responded another, “No, he’s just gonna marry Sharon Carter and move to a farm upstate with Old Yeller. Right?”

As Infinity War watchers know, some characters died — or seemed to be dead — before Thanos did his thing. Heimdall (Idris Elba), Loki (Tom Hiddleston), Gamora (Zoe Saldana) and the Vision (Paul Bettany) are on a different level of death than the others, though again, dead doesn’t always mean forever in Marvel land.

Actor Benicio del Toro, who plays The Collector, told Cinema Blend his character is still alive, though it’s unclear if he’s joking. But he later seemed to confirm this belief on The Late Show With Stephen Colbert.

And some characters are anyone’s guess. We didn’t see the fates of Shuri (Letitia Wright), M’Baku (Winston Duke) and Wong (Benedict Wong).

Hawkeye, who wasn’t seen in Infinity War, is returning for Avengers: Endgame. Jeremy Renner posted a photo in early September declaring that it’s “good to be BACK!!!” and then followed up with another one with a batch of Avengers-related hashtags. At least one fan theory suggests Hawkeye’s family, or part of it, disappeared during the big Thanos snap, and the archer is now out for revenge.

Also, for nearly a year now, there have been rumors that Hawkeye is taking on another super-identity, that of masked ninja Ronin, one of Hawkeye’s comic book identities. The trailer would seem to confirm this, as Hawkeye looks to be wearing Ronin’s armor.

And remember what we said about Gamora’s death being different from those affected by the snap? That doesn’t mean she’s gone for good. One Reddit user poses an intriguing theory about Gamora’s spirit being trapped in the Soul Stone, a plot that has roots in the comics. In this theory, she wouldn’t be freed in Avengers: Endgame, but in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, which is, as we all know, in production limbo. This theory has legs — it’d create a huge quest for GOTG3, as Star-Lord and crew would certainly be fighting to the last breath to get their team member back.

Leaked photos from the reshoots emerged in September 2018, and lent more credence to the idea that time travel will play a large role in the plot. (Note Captain America’s clean-shaven look, and Black Widow, peeking out of a diner, seems to have the red hair she sported in earlier Avengers’ films.) And hey, there’s Paul “Ant-Man” Rudd!

John Slattery, who played Tony Stark’s father Howard in Iron Man 2 and Captain America: Civil War, reportedly has a role in the film. Howard Stark was killed by the Winter Soldier in a disturbing scene shown in 2016’s Civil War. While he could be seen in flashback or simply one of Tony Stark’s memories, perhaps time travel could play a role in bringing him back too.

And let’s talk about Valkyrie, the Asgardian hero played by Tessa Thompson. In late September 2018, a fan on Twitter asked Thompson if her character disintegrated in the snap, and she responded, “No, she’s in one piece and THRIVING.”

And some online sleuthing by The Wrap seemed to track Thompson traveling from London to Atlanta on the same private jet as Chris Hemsworth (Thor). Nothing’s guaranteed, but this kind of photo evidence would make it seem as if Valkyrie has a decent-size role to play in Avengers 4.

On Oct. 24, a photo of Gwyneth Paltrow, who plays Tony Stark’s love interest, Pepper Potts, was posted to Instagram by the Uncanny Comic Quest podcast.

It’s completely unofficial and unconfirmed, but it seems to show Paltrow in what looks like her own personal version of an Iron Man suit, posing in front of a green screen. “Does Tony die and Pepper takes her revenge out on Thanos?! Let us know in the comments below,” the post reads.

Where does that suit come from? Insider points out that the suit looks like one Stark builds for Potts in the comics, one which she wears under the hero alias Rescue. It’s not the first time the suit has surfaced recently. A week before this photo was shared, a photo showing toys from Avengers 4 also featured a similar armor suit.

Paltrow later said she’s retiring the character unless needed by the studio one day. 

“I mean, I’m a bit old to be in a suit and all that at this point,” Paltrow told Variety But she praised the films, and said if she was needed for a cameo or flashback in the future, she just might assemble with the Avengers again. “Of course, if they said, ‘Can you come back for a day?,’ I will always be there if they need me,” she said.

It’s yet another juicy rumor for fans to chew over as the long wait for Avengers: Endgame continues.

On Oct. 26, The Wrap reported that Katherine Langford, who starred as Hannah in Netflix’s 13 Reasons Why, has filmed scenes for a role in Avengers: Endgame. Langford was nominated for a Golden Globe for her part in the Netflix series. There’s no word yet on who she’ll be playing.

Fans have theories

With a year between movies, fans have plenty of time to think about what’s going to happen. Here are a few ideas, some more serious than others:

Meet the cast (we think)

With death not likely to mean goodbye, here’s who you can expect to see in the next movie. 

This piece was originally published on April 30, 2018, and is updated as news of the sequel rolls in.

How to watch every MCU property in the perfect order: From Marvel films to the shows on Netflix, here’s the best order to experience the MCU.





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