It’s finally time for Avengers: Endgame, the 22nd movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe that promises to be the big finale that wraps up everything that’s come before. Robert Downey, Jr. might be leaving the MCU, while Chris Evans has confirmed he definitely is. A lot of the characters we’ve followed for the past decade might not make it to the end of the movie.
There are plenty of questions that Endgame has to answer. Where did half our favorite heroes go after Thanos snapped his fingers and turned them all to dust? How is Ant-Man going to get himself out of the Quantum Realm? Is Captain Marvel going to defeat Thanos? Who is going to be left to lead the MCU’s future at the end of the movie? Along with those questions and the fact that we’ve had to wait a full year for them to be answered have come dozens of fan theories about the goings-on in the MCU.
Anything could happen – the MCU doesn’t have much of a rigid schedule past Endgame. So, ahead of the release of the epic finale and all of those questions getting definitive answers, here are 25 Crazy Fan Theories About The MCU Before Avengers: Endgame.
25 Doctor Strange Told The Hulk Not To Come Out
In Thor: Ragnarok, we found out the Hulk had been in control of Bruce Banner’s body for a couple of years, fighting as a gladiator on Sakaar. One theory is that while he was there, Doctor Strange went to see him and told him not to come out when he was on Earth. This could’ve been part of the “one in 14 million” scenario that Strange is trying to engineer.
Remember, when Heimdall saved the Hulk, he sent him down to the Sanctum Sanctorum in New York – this could’ve been part of the plan, too. Mark Ruffalo has contradicted this theory by saying the Hulk simply doesn’t want to come out due to a disagreement with Banner over the fact he only ever uses him when he’s in danger. Still, that could’ve been a lie – or just what Banner himself thinks is going on.
24 Goose The Cat Will Save Everyone
Goose the cat – or rather, Goose the Flerken – was unexpectedly introduced as one of the most powerful characters in the MCU in Captain Marvel. She has a mouth full of tentacles, a stomach that can store entire dimensions, and the ability to travel between dimensions.
There’s plenty of Flerken abilities to explore in the MCU. The only problem with Goose saving the day is that it would be too convenient. Also, it would make the movie inherently comedic, and from the trailers, it seems as though the filmmakers are going for more dramatic heft than that.
23 Pepper Potts Will Fly Out In An Iron Man Suit To Save Tony
Gwyneth Paltrow is the latest actor to announce they’re leaving the MCU after Endgame. But it seems like she might go out in a pretty epic way, as Paltrow has posted a photo from the set in which she wears an Iron Man mask.
This could just be the actress messing around between takes, like when Robert Downey, Jr. donned Doctor Strange’s cloak, or it could be a hint that she’ll fly out into space to save Tony. It’s unlikely, though. If she flew out and found he’d already passed away, it would be pretty sad.
22 The Black Knight Is Joining The MCU
Ever since Peyton Reed told fans to look closely in all the Quantum Realm scenes in Ant-Man and the Wasp, fans have been spotting hints at future MCU characters and story-lines left and right. The most obvious one is the inter-dimensional city confined inside a bubble that someone noticed in the background.
This suggested that the Quantum Realm is much bigger than we initially thought, and could actually have people living in it. One such character suggested to be living there is the Black Knight, which would introduce him into the MCU.
21 Hawkeye Is Training His Successor
In the trailer for Endgame, we saw Clint Barton training a young girl to use a bow and arrow right before cutting to him with his new grizzled look as Ronin. This could be Kate Bishop, who is mentored by Hawkeye in the comics and eventually takes his place as the Avenger whose superpower is archery.
More likely, it’s his young daughter, who was introduced in Age of Ultron, but she could be taking Kate Bishop’s place in the story. If this is the case, maybe they’ll get more respect from the fans than Hawkeye did.
20 Everyone Who Vanished Is In The Soul World
After Thanos traveled to Vormir and passed the test to get the Soul Stone by sacrificing the person he loved most, Gamora, he saw a vision of her in an ethereal orange world.
Since the Soul Stone itself is orange, some fans have theorized that she didn’t actually pass away, and we saw her in the Soul World, the world held inside the Soul Stone. Some of those fans took that a step further and suggested that everyone who turned to dust at the end of Infinity War went there, too.
19 Ant-Man To The Rescue!
Ant-Man seems very confused when he shows up at Avengers HQ in the first Endgame trailer and when he wanders through the streets in the second trailer. When we last saw him in Ant-Man and the Wasp, he was stranded in the Quantum Realm with none of his friends left to get him out of there.
The fact that he managed to get out of the Quantum Realm by himself at all shows us he could have a very important role in saving everyone. He might lead the Avengers through the Quantum Realm to save everyone who disappeared.
18 Bucky Barnes Is The New Captain America
With Chris Evans leaving the MCU and, as a result, Steve Rogers behind, he probably is not making it to the end of Endgame. The Captain America shield will be lying around with no one to wield it. Bucky Barnes may be the guy to take up the mantle, to keep the legacy of his fallen friend alive and also to complete his journey of redemption.
Bucky’s whole character arc has revolved around moving on from being a brainwashed assassin to be a free-thinking hero again. What better way to do that than to become the new Captain America?
17 Red Skull Will Come After Captain America
According to the Russo brothers, Red Skull is free to leave Vormir if he wants, perhaps because he stuck around until he found someone who passed the test unto whom to bequeath the Soul Stone. Given how coy the producers are about the issue, Red Skull is expected to play a large part in the plot of Endgame.
Conveniently, he’s still alive and free to enter the wider world at around the same time his arch nemesis Captain America was thawed out. So, they can settle their old score before Chris Evans leaves the MCU, completing his character’s journey that began in The First Avenger.
16 The Thunderbolts Will Join The Avengers
In one Marvel Comics storyline, while everyone in the world thought that the Avengers, the X-Men, and the Fantastic Four had been lost forever, a new superhero team took over called “the Thunderbolts.” These were super-villains disguised as superheroes, who were secretly exacting evil while they pretended to be helping people.
The only indication this will happen in the MCU is the fact that most of the world’s superheroes have gone missing and The Incredible Hulk’s General Thaddeus “Thunderbolt” Ross was subtly reintroduced into the MCU a couple of years ago.
15 Thanos Will Get Tricked Into The Quantum Realm
One of the most popular theories about how the Avengers will defeat Thanos involves somehow deceiving him into entering the Quantum Realm and then stranding him there. It seems to be the only option left: he’s been mystically restrained, he’s had an axe in his shoulder, he’s fought the Hulk, and nothing has worked.
Maybe he can’t be terminated by the Avengers, but just stranded outside reality, which is good enough. The only obstacle is that he won’t fit in the back of Luis’ van, but the Pym Particles can be used to enlarge the van to take care of that.
14 Iron Man, Cap, And Thor Will Be Rebooted
There’s a theory that, with Robert Downey, Jr., Chris Evans, and Chris Hemsworth looking to leave the MCU after Endgame, their characters will be recast. It has been called the “New Universe Theory” and the “Reboot Theory.” The theory is that this will be explained by some parallel timeline where they look and sound slightly different.
It’s a wild theory, but at least it would be explained within the storyline, unlike most reboots. Still, can anyone accept someone besides Downey as Iron Man, or someone besides Evans as Cap, or someone besides Hemsworth as Thor? Probably not.
13 Endgame Ends With Tony And Pepper’s Wedding
Sebastian Stan fueled speculation that Endgame would end with – or at least contain – a scene in which Tony and Pepper get married, with all our favorite characters in attendance, when he said, “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.” The fact he can’t talk about the content of the actual scene suggests it might be a wedding. If it was just some big battle, he’d be free to at least say that.
12 The Wedding Scene Will Be A Nightmarish Vision
The wedding theory isn’t exactly consistent with the very obvious inevitability that Tony Stark will not survive to the end of Endgame. One dark theory is that, as Tony runs out of oxygen or hydration on board the Milano and leaves a message for Pepper, he’ll have a nightmarish vision of everything he’ll miss out on as his life comes to an end.
While the kids in the audience wouldn’t be too thrilled about being plunged into a horrifying nightmare induced by Tony Stark’s feverishness in his final moments, it would certainly be something new.
11 Tony And Pepper Have A Daughter
In an interview, Gwyneth Paltrow said, “Pepper and Tony have had a real long journey together... The relationship evolves, and now, this decade later, they’re married and they have a child.” What?! Either that’s a mistake or it’s a major, major spoiler for Endgame.
It was hinted in Infinity War that Pepper was pregnant when she told Tony he was “going to be...” before being interrupted. Going to be a father? If Paltrow is referring to Pepper and Tony being both married and having a child, then she’s referring quite far into the future, either confirming time travel or a time jump within the narrative.
10 Tony Will Meet His Daughter In The Future
As long as the Avengers are traveling through time, Tony Stark might meet his daughter in the future when she’s all grown up. We still don’t know who Katherine Langford is playing, and after she posted a picture from the set on Instagram in which she had red hair, many fans speculated she’d be playing Tony and Pepper’s grown-up daughter.
What would be sadder than Tony meeting his daughter, who has grown up without a father, as an adult in some time vortex, and then passing away? In fact, his daughter might even appear in the nightmare sequence where Tony envisions his own wedding.
9 The Avengers Will Travel Back To When They First Got Together
Based on Doctor Strange’s ability to use the Time Stone and all the set photos featuring characters like Captain America and Loki in their 2012 costumes, it seems like time travel will play a large role in the plot of Endgame. More specifically, a lot of fans have theorized that the characters will go back to the first Avengers movie.
That was when Earth’s mightiest heroes first got together, and also when Thanos first became interested in destroying them after they defeated his Chitauri army and he realized he’d underestimated their power.
8 Loki Is Alive
When we supposedly lost Loki in Infinity War, he stabbed Thanos with his left hand as opposed to his right. This has led many fans to believe that it wasn’t actually him, but rather a projection. We’ve seen the trickster god project himself and not really get terminated before, so it wouldn’t be surprising if he did it again.
Also, just ask Tom Hiddleston if he’s in Endgame and he gets all skittish, so Loki’s probably alive. Disney has confirmed that Loki will be the star of his own original series on their new streaming service, Disney+, although we can’t discount the chance that this is a prequel.
7 The Missing Characters Are The Lucky Ones
The characters who disappeared after Thanos snapped his fingers are the ones with sequels coming up: Black Panther, Doctor Strange, Spider-Man, most of the Guardians of the Galaxy. The ones who survived are the ones who either are or might be leaving the franchise: Iron Man, Captain America, Thor etc.
We’ve been assuming the ones who disappeared are the ones in danger, but maybe they were sent to a new world to live in harmony while the original world crumbles. Ant-Man and Captain Marvel are safe, because they can pass through the Quantum Realm to safety. The hint that this is the case is Thanos telling Tony Stark, “I hope they remember you.”
6 Monica Rambeau Will Go Full Photon In Endgame
Monica Rambeau’s transformation into the superhero Photon was teased in Captain Marvel when she was shown to idolize Carol Danvers and begged her mother not to ignore the call for adventure when an alien race needed her help, establishing her heroic spirit.
Plus, her mother’s call-sign was revealed to be “Photon.” She was just a kid then, but don’t forget, Captain Marvel was set in the ‘90s. Monica will be in her 30s now, a prime age to join the Avengers and take on Thanos with her heroic half-alien aunt.
5 Nick Fury Knew About The Whole Thing From The Beginning
In the post-credits scene of Infinity War, despite their mysterious disappearances, Nick Fury and Maria Hill don’t necessarily not know what’s going on. One fan theory goes that Doctor Strange went back in time to visit Nick Fury in the ‘90s, right after the events of Captain Marvel, telling him to page Carol Danvers at exactly the moment he eventually does.
We know that Strange is masterminding the whole thing based on the “one in 14 million” outcome he saw. This would explain why Fury went from being a bright-eyed optimist in Captain Marvel to a grizzled cynic in Iron Man – he’s gravely aware of what’s coming.
4 Death Is Joining The MCU
Death’s introduction into the MCU has been teased since the post-credits scene of The Avengers, in which Thanos was warned that taking on Earth’s mightiest heroes would mean courting Death and he smiled at the prospect. In the comics, Thanos and Death are lovers.
Some fans expected Cate Blanchett’s Hela from Thor: Ragnarok to be revealed to be Death (sometimes known in the comics as Lady Death or Mistress Death,) but that turned out to be untrue. If she’s going to be introduced into the MCU, Endgame would be the perfect time to do it.
3 Endgame Will Set Up A New Avengers Team For The MCU’s Future
It’s very likely that some of the O.G. Avengers will pass away in Endgame. Robert Downey, Jr. has signed up to star in more non-MCU movies in the next year than he has in the last ten years since he started playing Iron Man, suggesting he won’t survive the new movie, while Chris Evans has outright confirmed he’s leaving the franchise.
Meanwhile, we’ve got a nice new Avengers team set up with Captain Marvel, Spider-Man, Black Panther, Doctor Strange, and Ant-Man. So, maybe the original team established in 2012 will be completely replaced.
2 Captain Marvel Is Going To Lead The Avengers Past Endgame
Captain Marvel is pretty clearly being primed for the role of the Avengers’ leader. She’s the strongest, fastest, most powerful superhero in the MCU yet. Plus, she has the title of “Captain,” which is the same title of the Avengers’ current leader, Captain America.
With Chris Evans leaving the MCU after Endgame, Captain Marvel will likely take over as the team’s leader. We know that Brie Larson was initially reluctant to take the role, and this could be because she would be required to play the character who leads the team for the next decade and that’s a huge commitment.
1 Defeating Thanos Will Be The Easy Part
One Redditor theorizes that defeating Thanos will not be the most difficult challenge faced by the Avengers in Endgame. Rather, the Mad Titan will be taken care of within the first 20 minutes of the movie, and then the real challenge will be reversing his devastating finger-snap. The real villain of the movie will be the apocalyptic “Decimation” and the dangerous conditions of the Quantum Realm.
Either that, or an entirely new villain will emerge. Another hint at this is the fact that Thanos was featured prominently on the Infinity War poster and turned out to be the main villain of that film, while he’s faded into the background of the Endgame poster, suggesting he won’t be around much.