The title of Avengers 4 remains one of Marvel's most closely-guarded secrets - but could the film actually be called Avengers: Divide and Conquer? Marvel originally claimed they were holding the title back because it would somehow spoil the ending of Avengers: Infinity War. That film released back in April, though, so the title would long since have ceased to have that kind of effect. It's now looking as though Marvel's reticence is, at heart, a smart marketing ploy.
The last few months have seen a frenzy of speculation as to possible titles. Right now, the most popular are Endgame and Annihilation; both carry the same sense of finality and foreboding, and both would arguably serve as potential spoilers. "Annihilation" in particular would be a strong hint that Thanos would triumph in Infinity War, succeeding in his insane goal of erasing half the life in the universe with a snap of his fingers. At this stage, though, neither of these titles can truly be said to be proven, and absolutely anything is possible.
The latest theory - from Screen Rant reader Christopher Yin - is that the title could be Avengers: Divide and Conquer. Where has this title suggestion come from, and what evidence supports it?
- This Page: Where the "Divide and Conquer" Title Comes From
- Next Page: Why "Divide and Conquer" Would Make Sense For Avengers 4
The Origin of Avengers: Divide and Conquer
Avengers: Divide and Conquer uses a proposed title lifted straight from dialogue in the first Avengers movie. There's a key scene towards the end of the second act in which the Avengers have apparently been broken. Loki is preparing for an even grander victory, setting up his base on Stark Tower in New York in order to open up a portal to bring the Chitauri to Earth. But the God of Mischief has made a crucial mistake; he's killed Agent Phil Coulson, and the S.H.I.E.L.D. agent's death serves to motivate the Avengers to come back together. Steve Rogers and Tony Stark finally get over their differences after the Avengers have been scattered and determine to re-assemble and stop Loki:
Tony Stark: He made it personal.
Steve Rogers: That's not the point.
Tony Stark: That IS the point. That's Loki's point! He hit us all right where we live. Why?
Steve Rogers: To tear us apart.
Tony Stark: Yeah, divide and conquer is great, but he knows he has to take us out to win, right? THAT'S what he wants. He wants to beat us, he wants to be seen doing it. He wants an audience.
If you treat Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers 4 as a single continuous story, that's exactly where the narrative is right now. The surviving Avengers are divided and demoralized; Rogers and his allies are in Wakanda, reeling in horror, while a grieving Tony Stark is on Titan. Had they just chosen to work together - had Stark picked up that phone and given Rogers a call - then things could well have played out very differently. It's not hard to imagine a scenario where the assembled Avengers triumphed against Thanos on Titan or even in Wakanda; but they were divided, and so they were defeated. All the universe paid the price for that division.
There's also a subtle comic book connection. The Russo brothers have taken loose inspiration from Jim Starlin's seminal comic book event miniseries, such as Infinity Gauntlet and Infinity War. The title "Divide and Conquer" was emblazoned on the cover of 1992's Infinity War miniseries, a story that saw Thanos forced to work alongside the Avengers against a dark force that was attempting to rewrite reality itself. It's quite rare to see the comics treat Thanos as a hero, still less as a universal savior - which is what the MCU version believes himself to be, of course.
- Captain Marvel (2019) release date: Mar 08, 2019
- The Avengers 4 / Avengers: Endgame (2019) release date: Apr 26, 2019
- Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019) release date: Jul 02, 2019