“We’re in the endgame now.”
We should’ve listened to Doctor Strange! He gave us the title of the new Avengers film back when Infinity War concluded.
And actually, it goes back even further than that. In Avengers: Age of Ultron, Tony Stark points to the heavens and says, “That up there… That’s the endgame. How were you guys planning on beating that?”
Now we have the title, a trailer, a new release date, and far more details than anyone expected from the latest Marvel Studios story.
Let’s explore what we know (so far).
After being completely absent in Infinity War, sharpshooter Clint Barton (Jeremy Renner) is now slashing bad guys under the mantle of the masked vigilante Ronin.
Marvel Comics fans will recognize this sword-wielding mystery character as the lone warrior who was created in 2005. The mask has passed to several characters in that relatively brief time, and after the events of the comic book Civil War, the identity was claimed by Hawkeye.
Looks like that’s exactly what happened after the cinematic Civil War, too.
We don’t know who he’s attacking or why, but we can infer that the world would be in tremendous upheaval in the wake of Thanos’ snap, which wiped out half the life in the universe.
In the comics, he took on this identity after being brought back to life, shedding his Hawkeye persona for a merciless vigilante.
We can also guess that Barton would never be doing this if he had his family back at the farm to watch over. Did he lose them in The Decimation? It’s extremely likely.
Shuri is … gone
Shuri does not live, apparently. Black Panther‘s tech-wizard little sister is tallied among the missing as Bruce Banner scans through data files at Avengers HQ.
We didn’t see her fate in Infinity War, so fans have been wondering if she too was reduced to dust by the snap. There is a glimmer of hope. All this tells us she is among the “missing,” but a moment after this, her file switches over to Peter Parker.
If someone had seen her turn to ash, she wouldn’t be in this file. So, Shuri fans can hold out some hope that she is somewhere working on this problem.
We know Spider-Man vanished in the snap, (“Mr. Stark, I don’t feel so good…”), but it makes sense that no one on Earth would know what happened to him. He was last seen hitching a ride out of New York City on one of Thanos’ Q ships.
Ant-Man and the Wasp revealedthat Scott Lang is merely trapped in the Quantum Realm. So, perhaps Shuri survives to bring her ingeniuity to the fight.
Tony Stark’s goodbye
The Avengers: Endgame trailer begins with a mournful message in a bottle — Tony Stark preparing a holographic farewell to “Miss Potts” while lost in space.
Iron Man is out of gear. The mask he uses to record the message is partly demolished. He’s out of food. Out of water. Out of oxygen. Out of time.
He’s not out of smart remarks. “Just for the record, being adrift in space with zero promise of rescue is more fun than it sounds…”
His Arc Reactor has power, but he does not. So Tony Stark has given up, telling Pepper Potts that he’s awaiting rescue, but no longer expecting it.
Maybe she’ll find the message someday. Maybe she is among the decimated. We don’t know, and neither does he. Tony Stark is preparing to join the half of existence that was just wiped out.
His escape vessel looked at first like one of those asterisk-shaped attack ships he found abandoned on Titan during the final battle with Thanos. But it’s actually the Benatar, the Guardians of the Galaxy ship, whose fate was unclear. (Destroyed by the Mad Titan’s moon throw? Apparently not.)
It got him off-world, but it doesn’t seem to be the kind of vehicle that has the ability to get him closer to Earth — at least not in time.
The trailer doesn’t make this clear, but he is probably not alone.
Nebula (Karen Gillan) also survived the battle on Titan, and later in the trailer she is seen walking through a ship that looks similar to the Benatar.
Who could save them? If only we had an all-powerful superhero who could explore the deep reaches of space while navigating a path back to Earth.
Marvel Studios and directors Joe and Anthony Russo really started on a downbeat note with this trailer. Iron Man must survive, of course. No question about that. But we’re leaning heavily into grief and loss.
There will be more to come, just in the trailer alone. But also, some hopefulness, too.
The Mad Titan’s old armor is now propped up like a scarecrow.
It’s still intimidating, but just a relic of a more sinister life for him — one spent trying to take the lives of so many others.
It’s unclear what kind of crop the former galactic tyrant is growing. (What are the odds that a being who kills half of everything would have a successful harvest?)
There’s actually a glimmer of hope in the scarecrow imagery. This is what became of him after he lost in the 1991 Infinity Gauntlet comic book series. He went into hiding, tending to his fields, and trying to remain out of sight, a fugitive from a world he sought to rule.
“We lost … all of us,” Steve Rogers says. “We lost friends, we lost family.” A tear runs down Captain America’s face.
The God of Thunder is mourning, too. Remember, in Ragnarok he lost his entire home world, and even the survivors (including brother Loki) were wiped out by Thanos in the opening of Infinity War.
Has there ever been a superhero movie, let alone a trailer, that emphasizes grief this powerfully?
This where we also see Nebula, walking alone through the Benatar, pensively running her hands over the equipment.
After spending so much time hating her “adopted” sister Gamora, she finally connected with her in shared scorn for their kidnapper and enslaver Thanos.
Now that she’s a “hero” instead of a villain, she grieves with the good guys.
It’s up to Black Widow to keep it together to deliver some kind of official report on the Decimation, explaining to the powers that be that Thanos was victorious in his quest to kill half the universe.
There’s a weight not just of grief but of exposition about this sequence. We’re being reminded not just of who was lost, but which heroes are still standing.
An Unclear Plan
“This is the fight of our lives,” Captain America says. But fans are going to have to wait a little longer to know exactly who they are fighting, and how they intend to do it.
“This is going to work, Steve,” Black Widow tells Cap. But what will work? All we can assume is that there must be a way to return the Decimated.
There are sequels to make, folks. And they aren’t going to star heaps of ash.
Perhaps most devastating in this trailer is a shot that reveals Steve Rogers still carries a compass that still has Peggy Carter’s photo inside it. She died of old age, after a long, full life.
And yet, to Stever Rogers, she may as well be among the lost. She is lost to him.
But is there a way to go back, undoing not just the Decimation, but maybe restoring Cap to something he sacrificed long ago?
Rogers has always been a man out of time, and Endgame may give him a chance to make up some of it.
That would be a conclusion for Cap that is both happy and bittersweet.
“Can you buzz me in?”
A bright spot arrives at the end, almost like a post-credit sequence. We don’t know how he escapes the Quantum Realm, but here is Scott Lang, knocking on the Avengers HQ door.
“Is this an old message?” Cap asks.
“It’s the front door,” Black Widow tells him.
We don’t know how he will fit into the plan. (Again, what is the plan?)
Maybe the surviving heroes are just glad to see a familiar face. Or maybe Ant-Man is a critical part of what they need.
We’ll find out on April 26.