Warning – contains major spoilers from the outset for Avengers: Infinity War.
Avengers: Infinity War ends with the unthinkable happening – Thanos wins.
We last see him sitting down to watch the sunset after a job well done – that job being ‘erasing half the population of the universe’ with his Infinity Snap. Thanos has completed his life’s work, but does that mean he won’t be back for Avengers 4?
Will Thanos be back?
The short answer is: ‘almost certainly’.
Thanos actor Josh Brolin worked through to the end of the back-to-back Infinity War/Avengers 4 shoot, and has talked about what we can expect from the sequel, so it sounds very much like he’s involved. But what will be the circumstances surrounding his return?
Although Thanos’ character arc is essentially complete, we can’t imagine that the surviving Avengers and Guardians of the Galaxy are going to let him off so easily. He killed all their friends, after all – plus half the population of the universe.
Thanos also has in his possession two objects (two Infinity Stones, to be more precise) that could be instrumental in restoring all those lives that were lost at the end of Infinity War. One is the Soul Stone, which is theorised to contains the souls of all his victims. The other is the Time Stone, which would be very handy if – as rumoured – the movie involves a time-travelling element.
Or maybe he’ll show up in the past somewhere.
Is Thanos Avengers 4’s big bad?
So Thanos will probably be back, but will he be Avengers 4‘s main villain?
We’ve had no indication that another of Marvel’s many bad guys has been tapped to battle the Avengers and Guardians for the next film. But the movie can hardly be a second round of fighting. We know how Thanos vs Hulk turns out, and even if Brie Larson’s Captain Marvel is as super-powerful as promised, her showing up in the final act and punching the big purple guy out wouldn’t be particularly satisfying.
We’re hoping that the Russos might return to their Captain America: Civil War model, perhaps relegating Thanos to a Zemo-like supporting role and focusing on the heroes as they try to fix the mess he has made. We’ve waited long enough for Iron Man and Cap’s reunion – hopefully it will get some room to breathe (and kiss and make up).
Can Thanos and the Avengers work together?
The whole ‘killing half the universe to tackle overpopulation’ was a pretty stupid plan to begin with, and we can see there being some repercussions for meddling with reality on such a big scale.
A threat could conceivably emerge that is so big it forces Thanos and his superhero enemies to work together to save all existence. This would fit nicely into the portrayal of Thanos in Infinity War as a troubled individual doing bad things for the right reason.
Throw in some noble sacrifices in the final act and the stage is set for the MCU’s Phase Four.
Avengers 4 will be released in the UK on April 26, 2019, and in the US on May 3, 2019.
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