By Anthony Breznican
April 08, 2019 at 01:18 PM EDT
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You’ve already heard descriptions of this scene: Captain Marvel and the surviving Avengers devise a plan to hunt down Thanos and use the Infinity Gauntlet to reverse the snap.

It’s what’s not in this Avengers: Endgame scene that’s worth noting. And it’s generating some ominous theories. Basically, where’s Iron Man?

A longer version of this scene was shown to journalists during this weekend’s press event. Just before the clip above begins, Karen Gillan’s Nebula tells the Avengers that Thanos had a garden that he liked to visit on a remote planet. Then Rocket Raccoon points out that an energy signature similar to The Snap was used on the lush world that Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow is examining.

Then the team rallies together and takes off in the Benatar starship to see if they can reverse this devastation.

But … if Nebula is on Earth, where is Tony Stark?

Robert Downey Jr.’s billionaire playboy philanthropist was last seen trapped with Nebula in the Benatar while it was adrift in deep space.

You’ve seen him in the trailer, recording a message for Gwyneth Paltrow’s Pepper Potts, but even that footage is a misdirect. In the actual scene, which is another that reporters saw this weekend, Stark is emaciated.

He has been in space with limited food and water for 22 days — and it shows. Joe Russo, who co-directed Endgame with his brother Anthony, confirmed that the trailer footage was released before the visual effects were complete, which reduced Downey to a more skeletal form.

There are some lighthearted moments in which Stark tries to pass the time by playing paper football with Nebula, but his goodbye message to Pepper is actually more haunting, more whispered than what we see in the trailer.

We know Nebula makes it to Earth, but … does he?

If he does, he’s going to be in bad shape. Maybe he’s just not ready to get back on the front line.

Or maybe there’s something more going on here.

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