In Avengers: Infinity War, Earth's Mightiest Heroes will face their greater threat yet, which begs one big question: how exactly can the Avengers beat Thanos? The epic culmination of the MCU will see the Mad Titan head to Earth in pursuit of the Infinity Stones. Should he achieve his goal and collect all six in the Infinity Gauntlet, he will have power over life and death; and be able to "rebalance the universe" by wiping out half the life in the cosmos.
Thanos isn't coming alone, either. He's got the Children of Thanos and a swarm of Outriders ready to help him his gather the Stones. And gather them he will: one TV spot teased him in possession of four of the Stones, a terrifying prospect. How can the Avengers possibly stop him? They may be Earth's Mightiest Heroes, but this time around, they're seriously outmatched.
Fortunately, while Thanos may seem unstoppable, there are several ways we can see the Avengers winning out. Some of them are hinted at in the movies, others have precedent in the original comics, but all of them carry a price.
The Avengers Defeat Thanos With Sacrifice
What does it really mean to be a superhero? That question has haunted Tony Stark over the past decade's worth of films. "I never said you were a superhero," Christine Everhart needled Stark back in Iron Man, prompting him to out himself to the world in a press conference. "You're not the one to make the sacrifice play," Steve Rogers fumed in The Avengers, "to lay down on a wire and let the other guy crawl over you." He was proven wrong when Stark flew into a portal carrying a nuclear bomb, but ever since that day Stark has wrestled with questions of power and responsibility. What does it mean to be a hero? What mistakes and failures is he responsible for, and can he truly protect the world from the greatest threat it has ever faced? It's all come to a head in Infinity War, and it would be so very appropriate for Tony Stark to give his life to save the world - to make the ultimate "sacrifice play."
The reality is that Infinity War and Avengers 4 are the swan song for many of Earth's Mightiest Heroes. Robert Downey, Jr., Chris Evans, and Chris Hemsworth are all expected to be high-profile casualties in the battle against Thanos. Some of them will die at Thanos' hand - screenwriter Stephen McFeely promised that there would be a cost every time Thanos acquired an Infinity Stone - but the victory itself is sure to cost the Avengers dearly too. It's time for the changing of the guard, with a new generation of heroes - Black Panther, Spider-Man, and Doctor Strange - stepping up.
Thanos Causes His Own Defeat
The classic Thanos story is Jim Starlin's Infinity Gauntlet, in which the Mad Titan gained possession of the Infinity Gauntlet. Towards the end of that miniseries, Adam Warlock revealed - via the Soul Stone - the deepest secret of Thanos' heart; that he doubts himself, that he does not believe he is truly worthy, and thus that he sabotages his own victories. While Thanos' motives in the MCU have been subtly changed, this secret weakness could still remain.
Read Theory: Thanos Will Cause His Own Defeat, Not The Avengers
And this weakness is important when it comes to wielding the power of the Infinity Gauntlet. It allows reality to be structured according to the wearer's deepest desires - including their subconscious ones. Reality itself will be structured according to Thanos' will, creating the opportunity for his defeat. This won't make the heroes' victory seem much easier, and the Avengers may still pay a terrible price, but it at least makes it more feasible for Thanos to be beaten.
- Ant-Man & The Wasp (2018) release date: Jul 06, 2018
- Captain Marvel (2019) release date: Mar 08, 2019
- Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019) release date: Jul 02, 2019
- Avengers: Infinity War / The Avengers 3 (2018) release date: Apr 27, 2018
- The Avengers 4 / Avengers: Endgame (2019) release date: Apr 26, 2019