Avengers 4 is going to feature some form of time travel - but why, and how will it work? With Avengers: Infinity War now out for more than a month, Marvel fans' focus has almost fully shifted to next year's Part 2.
Marvel Studios has been very cagey about what people can expect from the MCU Phase 3 capper, but between leaked set photos and pieces of information revealed regarding the movie, as well as other forthcoming Marvel releases, it's safe to say that time travel will be a major factor in Earth's Mightiest Heroes' final bout with Thanos.
It's currently unclear how time warping would be possible in Avengers 4, especially since the MCU hasn't really utilized the concept, bar some minor dabblings by Doctor Strange. However, there are actually a few ways on how the MCU can go about it - depending on why they're doing it in the first place.
- This Page: HOW The Avengers Can Time Travel
- Page 2: WHY The Avengers Would Use Time Travel
The Quantum Realm
Initially introduced in 2015's Ant-Man, the Quantum Realm - "a reality where all concepts of time and space become irrelevant as you shrink for all eternity," as explained by Hank Pym - is one of the most-discussed ways that the remaining MCU heroes can go back in time. It's already been established that the Quantum Realm will play a significant role in the MCU moving forward with the alternate dimension being a pivotal part of Ant-Man & The Wasp and Captain Marvel. As they're both releasing before Avengers 4, it's been theorized they're actually roundabout setup for the team-up.
Ant-Man & The Wasp is expected to further explore the Quantum Realm via Pym Particles (it could also be entered with the use of Doctor Strange's Sling Ring) - the same particles that allow the titular heroes to change in size. Trailers for the film have teased a vessel that can be used to travel to the Quantum Realm without risking the possibility of being trapped in the multiverse by going subatomic. The aforementioned craft will be used by the heroes attempt to save the original Wasp, Janet Van Dyne, who has been trapped in the Microverse for decades. Captain Marvel, meanwhile, has been theorized to use the Quantum Realm as a way to explain why Carol Danvers has been absent for the past 20 years.
Given two time displacement uses are coming up, it would extend that the surviving Avengers members like Tony Stark and Steve Rogers could enter the Quantum Realm and use it to go to different points in time - possibly with the help of new sign-up Ant-Man.
Tony Stark Develops Time Travel
It's not a secret that Tony Stark will play a pivotal part in Avengers 4 considering how connected his personal narrative arc is with Thanos' arrival. Doctor Strange's decision to give up the Time Stone to save Stark's life after the Sorcerer Supreme peeked into the future is further indication that the MCU's founding hero will be significant in ultimately defeating Thanos. While there are several ways for him to contribute, developing a way to travel back in time is undoubtedly within the realm of possibility considering his scientific genius.
The Russo brothers have previously shared that Stark's Binary Augmented Retro Framing aka. B.A.R.F - a technology that hijacks the hippocampus to clear traumatic memories, introduced in Captain America: Civil War - will play a significant part in Avengers 4. At that time, Stark has made it clear that the tech could not alter reality but simply help people deal with regret and depression. However, that doesn't mean that he won't continue to tinker with his creation if he learns that it might be the answer to his Thanos woes. During his M.I.T. speech, Stark has also specifically ended his presentation by saying "Reframe the future" which could very well be a foreshadowing of how he's going to do just that with the use of an improved B.A.R.F.
The third option would be the obvious, albeit most difficult route: using Time Stone. Considering that Thanos has the stone and Doctor Strange is currently a pile of dust, there's some barriers, although given the Mad Titan believes that he has now accomplished his life-long mission, he is open to attack from the Avengers.
The question becomes who attains it. Avengers: Infinity War has established that Nebula almost succeeded in assassinating Thanos while he was aboard the Sanctuary, and with her adoptive father no longer operating at a high alert level - not to mention the loss of the Black Order - sneaking in to snatch one of the Infinity Gems will be easier.
This also gives Nebula a strong character arc in Avengers 4. In the comics, she has a major role in defeating her adoptive father, but Infinity War sidelined that, giving the spotlight to Gamora instead. However, with Gamora supposedly gone, this paves the way for Nebula to fulfil her print narrative.
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