The Marvel Cinematic Universe as fans know it will come to an end with Avengers 4 next year - and there are plenty of ways in which the groundbreaking shared universe can both end and start anew. Although Marvel Studios changed their plans along the way, the overarching narrative has always been building to an ultimate showdown between the Earth's Mightiest Heroes and the Mad Titan Thanos, which finally came to a head in Anthony and Joe Russo's Avengers: Infinity War. Now, it's time to look forward to its sequel.
The Russos' Avengers 4 releases next May - based on a script by Captain America and Infinity War scribes Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely - and brings an end the 22-movie narrative that began a decade ago. That not only means defeating Thanos but also saying goodbye to the core MCU superheroes, such as Iron Man, Captain America, and more. Although not much is known about the movie, there are quite a few ways in which the story can play out based on what has been revealed thus far.
- This Page: Thanos Defeats Himself & The Avengers Trade Souls
- Page 2: Nebula's Comic Ending, Gamora Defeats Thanos, & Iron Man's Sacrifice
Thanos Defeats Himself
Thanos' motivations in Infinity War are starkly different than what his goals are in the comics, but his actions, for better or worse, are somewhat the same: he obtains all six Infinity Stones (or Gems) and uses them to wipe out half of all life in the universe. In the Infinity Gauntlet comic arc, Thanos does that to finally satisfy Mistress Death - the one person/being he's longed for his entire life - whereas in the movies, he does that to balance the universe so that every life form could thrive without worrying about consuming too many natural resources. No matter how Thanos goes about it, it's clear from his battles and his past that he doesn't truly deserve to harness the power of the Infinity Stones - and that will be his undoing.
Thanos is already a worthy opponent on his own, but with the Infinity Stones, he's impossible to beat. There's nothing in the universe that can stop someone who wields a completed Infinity Gauntlet... unless that person allows themselves to be defeated. That's exactly what Thanos has done in the comics over the years, and it's something that Adam Warlock points out in Infinity Gauntlet, which is why Warlock waited for the moment in which Thanos let himself be defeated - either by self-imposed sensory deprivation or something else. So, Thanos may allow himself to be vulnerable the second time around in Avengers 4, which will give the Avengers, and whichever remaining heroes are left in the universe, a 0.5 percent chance at success.
The Avengers Trade Their Souls
The Soul Stone's location was one of the biggest mysteries going into Avengers: Infinity War, and everything associated with it - from its reveal to its location to the person presiding over it - was perfect for the movie. Plus, the real Soul Stone reveal was better than all the theories that came before it. For those that were left confounded by it all, Gamora found a map leading to the Stone's location on Vormir. Thanos took Gamora with him to recover the Stone after she reluctantly shared its location with him. And when they got there, it was revealed that the Red Skull had been tasked with guiding Soul Stone seekers for decades. To get the Soul Stone, Thanos had to sacrifice the thing he loved most: Gamora. A soul for a soul.
Although there are six Infinity Stones, the Soul Stone is peculiarly different from the rest. It holds a special place amongst the pack and it requires a sacrifice to obtain it. So, it only seems fitting that perhaps the remaining team members - most of which are played by actors and actresses whose Marvel contracts are up - will trade their lives to bring back the MCU's newer heroes, like Black Panther and Spider-Man. After all, Vision and Captain America repeatedly mentioned in Infinity War that they don't trade lives. It's an interesting thing to bring up without having a payoff. Plus, it's worth pointing out that the Infinity War lineup is also perfectly balanced.
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