Warning: Minor SPOILERS ahead for Avengers 4 and MAJOR SPOILERS for Avengers: Infinity War
Marvel Studios did an incredible job of keeping Avengers: Infinity War's plot under wraps, and they'll likely keep up that same level of secrecy in the lead-up to Avengers 4. The sequel wrapped principal photography several months (Avengers 3 and 4 were shot back-to-back), but we still don't even know what its title will be. There are another two Marvel Cinematic Movies on the way before Avengers 4 hits theaters - Ant-Man and the Wasp and Captain Marvel - but since those are both set before the events of Infinity War, we're unlikely to learn much from them.
What we do know about Avengers 4's plot has mainly been gleaned from the characters confirmed, some intriguing set photos, and occasional hints dropped by the actors and creative team in interviews. Now that Infinity War is in theaters we know that Avengers 4 will deal with the fallout of Thanos' catastrophic finger snap, but even that doesn't tell us much. Here is everything we know (and a little that we've guessed) about the plot of Avengers 4.
Avengers 4 is a 'Finale' For the MCU
In terms of Avengers 4's overarching plot, it will serve as a "finale" for everything we've seen in the MCU so far. Marvel Studios boss Kevin Feige has said that "there will be two distinct periods. Everything before Avengers 4 and everything after. I know it will not be in ways people are expecting." This has led to speculation that the movie will completely change the timeline, or that it will permanently disband the Avengers, or that core characters like Iron Man and Captain America will be killed off, or a combination of these things. What we do know for sure is that Avengers 4 will bring the Avengers' story full circle by returning to where the team was born: in the Battle of New York.
It's a Time Travel Story
The most revealing set photos from Avengers 4 have shown members of the team once again at the Battle of New York, with Captain America wearing his original uniform and Thor still with his long, flowing locks, but Tony Stark wearing street clothes and sporting blond hair. Ant-Man is also in these scenes, despite the fact that he wasn't there the first time around, and Mark Ruffalo was on set in a mo-cap suit, indicating that he'll be appearing as the Hulk. Interestingly, in these set photos most of the characters are wearing strange devices strapped to their hands, which some have speculated could be a means by which they travel through time. However it happens, it seems clear that, at the very least, Iron Man and Ant-Man travel back in time to the Battle of New York. Moreover, since Avengers: Infinity War killed off more than half of the superheroes in the MCU, some kind of time travel will surely be necessary in order to bring them back.
Characters Who Were Killed Off Will Return
Infinity War really thinned the ranks of MCU characters, taking out everyone from Loki to Spider-Man, but you won't have to wait long to see them again. Loki, for example, will return when the Avengers go back to the Battle of New York (set photos have shown him wearing the metal mouth guard that was used to silence him after his capture). Even Gamora, who was sacrificed by Thanos in exchange for the Soul Stone, will be returning - though whether we'll see her in the real world, or just her captured soul in Soul World, is currently unknown. Vision will be back, despite dying after the Mind Stone was ripped out of his head, and if Tony and his surviving friends go cruising back through the timeline, it's likely that we'll see just about everyone again.
There Will Be a Massive Scene With 'Everyone' In It
If Infinity War brought together the largest collection of Marvel heroes we've ever seen, Avengers 4 just might outdo it. Not only will the characters who were killed off be returning, but we'll also see characters who were missing (like Ant-Man and Hawkeye) join the fray, along with new characters like Captain Marvel and Janet van Dyne (the original Wasp, played by Michelle Pfeiffer, who will make her debut in Ant-Man and the Wasp). According to Bucky Barnes actor Sebastian Stan, there is one scene in particular where just about every Marvel character under the sun is brought together:
"There was one scene, I think, we had where everybody was there. I can’t really talk about that scene, but I knew it took them three months in planning this scene to have everyone there. You look around and you just saw everyone from Samuel L. Jackson to Michael Douglas to Michelle Pfeiffer. Everybody was there."
Clint Barton Will Return as Ronin
Set photos of Jeremy Renner have shown him wearing a new suit that matches Clint Barton's Ronin costume from the comics. "Ronin" is the Japanese term for a masterless samurai, and we also know that Avengers 4 filmed some scenes in Japan, with a few set photos emerging from the shoot in Tokyo. Scarlett Johansson was involved in filming those scenes, so if we had to guess, we'd say that Black Widow hears that Hawkeye has adopted a new identity and goes to Japan to re-recruit him into the Avengers. As for why Hawkeye would take up this new name and mantle - well, Thanos did wipe out half the universe, so Hawkeye almost certainly lost some of his family members in the process, possibly even all of them. The ensuing cocktail of anger and grief may end up driving him out of retirement and back into the superhero business.
- Captain Marvel (2019) release date: Mar 08, 2019
- Ant-Man & The Wasp (2018) release date: Jul 06, 2018
- Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019) release date: Jul 02, 2019
- The Avengers 4 / Avengers: Endgame (2019) release date: Apr 26, 2019