It is almost time for the Avengers to assemble for their most ambitious adventure yet, and fan excitement is at a fever pitch. Avengers: Infinity War will finally bring Thanos into the picture, and he is the biggest threat that our heroes have ever faced.
Every movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe comes with its fair share of fan theories, but with Thanos' dark presence looming over the proceedings (as well as various actor contracts possibly expiring), the theories are coming fast and loose. Most theories spell certain doom for many MCU characters, as this upcoming showdown seems almost guaranteed to come with some kind of body count. There are also several parts of the "Infinity Gauntlet" mythos that haven't been explored yet, and the movie is likely to address them.
Even though these are just theories, some of them are quite plausible. For that reason, we're going to put up a SPOILER ALERT. If you truly don't want anything to come close to hindering your Infinity War freshness, go and chill on Hawkeye's farm.
Everybody ready? Clench up, Legolas... it's time to journey to Knowhere and take a look at the biggest and craziest Infinity War fan theories.
This is one of the most predominant theories out there, mostly because actor Chris Evans' contract allows for only so many films. The "Captain America" mantle has been passed on several times in the comics, and the thinking is that if someone has to go in this film, it will likely be Steve Rogers — the heart and soul of the team.
LIKELIHOOD: Things don't look good for Cap, but there's still Avengers 4, which Evans supposedly signed on to do a while ago. They could (and probably will) wait to finish the Rogers saga there.
This was teased in Avengers: Age of Ultron. When every Avenger is trying to lift Thor's hammer, only Steve Rogers is able to move it the slightest bit. The tiny movement was enough to wipe the smile right off Thor's face, and some fans are thinking that this is a possible precursor to Steve lifting the mighty hammer full-on. Vision lifting the hammer was one of the best moments in Ultron — to have Cap repeat the move would certainly be a great moment. Of course, Thor is currently hammer-less... but another theory suggests he may not be that way for long.
LIKELIHOOD: Possible — either here or in Avengers 4.
Instead of dying, there is a theory that has Steve Rogers getting a more peaceful send-off. Whether by way of the Infinity Gauntlet, the Time Stone, or both, Cap could potentially be returned to the 1940s. The "man out of time" would be back in his proper time once again. He's been forever changed, but he would also be able to live happily ever after with his true love, Peggy Carter. This entire theory would be problematic, as Carter had an eventful life after Steve went into the ice. Steve would also have to tell Peggy that he kissed her great-niece, Sharon (awkward). Still, an alternate timeline is always possible. Not only would this bring Hayley Atwell back to the films, it would put her and Chris Evans together again.
LIKELIHOOD: We love it, but we're not gonna get attached. If they do this, it seems like another Avengers 4 moment.
If Steve Rogers dies (or goes back to live happily ever after with Peggy Carter), the mantle of "Captain America" doesn't necessarily have to go with him. The title has been taken up by others in the comics, and one of the most notable is Steve's childhood best friend, Bucky Barnes. It would make for a fascinating arc for Bucky, and if Steve had to hand over his shield, it makes sense that it would be to the guy who he's with "to the end of the line." Actor Sebastian Stan has quite a few more films to go on his nine-movie contract with Marvel, too, so there's also that.
LIKELIHOOD: High, either in this film or the next one. If it's not Bucky, then it will be...
If it's not Bucky, it'll be Sam. Sam "The Falcon" Wilson has also assumed the guise of Captain America in the comics, giving the stars and stripes an avian flair. It's really a toss-up as to whether the shield will be passed to Anthony Mackie's Wilson or Stan's Bucky — they're both fantastic, and both are certainly worthy.
LIKELIHOOD: Again, high. If Steve goes, expect either Sam or Bucky to take up the shield.
We get glimpses of the Hulkbuster, aka Veronica, in the trailers, but we never see who is inside of it. We see Tony in his own armor alongside the Hulkbuster in the same shot, so for at least part of the film, someone's in there who isn't him. One fan is guessing that the Hulkbuster armor is being worn by none other than the Hulk himself and that he's gonna bust out of it at some point in a moment of glory. If you look at the Hulkbuster shots in the trailers, it does kind of look like it's moving like Mark Ruffalo's Hulk.
There are six Infinity Stones, and we know where five of them are. That still leaves one stone to be discovered, and it's the Soul Stone, possibly the most powerful Stone of them all. The predominant theory is that this stone is located somewhere in Wakanda, which would explain why so much of the action in both trailers is centered there. Is the Soul Stone nestled all snug within the giant mountain of Vibranium that we were introduced to in Black Panther?
LIKELIHOOD: Very possible.
One comic book story is centered around, believe it or not, the Soul Stone being embedded in Tony Stark's brain. Some fans are saying that this is the case here, while others are floating a theory that Howard and Maria Stark used the Soul Stone to create Tony in the first place. All of this sounds like lunacy, and a more moderate theory suggests that Tony is still attached to the Stone... it's just somehow a part of his armor, and not in his head. The theory is supported by poster art and dreaded leaked toy images, so break out the salt. Still, the idea that Iron Man himself is deeply connected to the final Stone is interesting.
LIKELIHOOD: Low. It might be interesting, but a lot of this is also creepy. And considering the amount of blood that would come from Thanos literally tearing the Soul Stone out of Tony's head, it seems even less likely.
If you take the first letter of where all of the other Stones are located, it almost spells out "Thanos." The problem comes with trying to find the H, and that's where everyone's favorite Norse gatekeeper comes in. The thinking here is that the Soul Stone is inside of Heimdall, or is somehow his eyes? We're not sure, really. It would explain his powers, and if Thanos had to rip Heimdall apart to get the stone, it would give Idris Elba some freedom from the MCU. Still, Heimdall having powers only because he has a Soul Stone in his head takes away some of his coolness. Elba doesn't need a stone in his head to be cool, and neither does Heimdall.
LIKELIHOOD: Again, low. We think Thanos may rip Heimdall apart anyway, and he could provide a hint to him about where the Stone is, since Heimdall is an all-seeing being. As much as we'd laugh at the reveal that the final stone is INSIDE OF IDRIS ELBA, we doubt this is the case.
You know that red planet we keep seeing in the trailers? Someone thinks THAT is the Soul Stone, and that it's been hiding in plain sight all this time. The theory also claims that this isn't just any red planet — it's Titan, the home planet of Thanos, "The Mad Titan." If the Stone has always been there, did Thanos already know, or will it be a surprise discovery? Was the real Soul Stone the friends he made along the way? We'll see — we'd rather see Thanos rip this planet in half than touch Idris Elba.
LIKELIHOOD: Wakanda still seems like the more logical choice, but who knows.
Ever since he was named in the post-credit scenes of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, many fans have been convinced that Adam Warlock would play his comic-standard role in this story. Beyond that, many also thought that Warlock would be the key to the Soul Stone.
LIKELIHOOD: Not gonna happen. We're excited to see Adam Warlock, too, but it's been confirmed by Guardians director James Gunn that Adam won't appear in the MCU until the third Guardians film.
Here's an idea — save something for Avengers 4. Though the Wakanda theory seems the most plausible, the Russo Brothers might be planning to spread the Stone love a little thin. There's nothing demanding Thanos complete his charm-glove all in one film, so some fans are thinking the Soul Stone won't be seen in this film at all.
LIKELIHOOD: Huh, not bad. Seems possible.
Many fans are demanding this movie have real consequences, and that can be a troubling prospect if you have one of the Infinity Stones in your head. The Mind Stone has proven tricky thus far in the MCU — it was placed in a scepter and given to Loki to use in his bid to conquer Earth, and then we find out at the end of the first Avengers film that Thanos was behind that.
Because of this, we know that Thanos had full possession of the Stone at one point. We guess he leased it out to Loki, but Loki was defeated. The scepter was then used by HYDRA to give powers to Pietro and Wanda Maximoff (Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch) before it was captured by the Avengers and partially used to create Ultron, who then proceeded to crack the scepter open and reveal the stone within.
Then the Stone was used to create Vision, and it has remained in his head ever since. The first trailer showed Vision literally being held down as someone tries to rip the stone from his head, so his chances of survival don't seem too great. This one seems pretty obvious, but we REALLY don't want to lose Vision.
LIKELIHOOD: Unfortunately... high.
Count on it. He may not be the God of Hammers, but come on — Thor's not going to go hammer-less for long. Many think the trailer image above depicts Thor using some kind of cosmic forge, and that a new Mjolnir will emerge in this film. Once again, the dreaded leaked toy photos support this theory. Mjolnir may look different, but Thor will have a hammer. He'll hammer in the morning, and he'll hammer in the evening. Will Steve Rogers pick it up at some point? Here's hoping.
LIKELIHOOD: Very high, to the point we'd be very surprised if this didn't happen. He'll hammer at suppertime.
We'd never considered this, but it would be a nice way to get a fully grown Groot back in on the action. We suppose the team will need all of the fighting power they can get, and fully grown Groot is formidable. That said, we haven't seen what Teen Groot can do — angst goes a long way.
LIKELIHOOD: We guess it could happen? If Groot does age up, it makes sense that Doctor Strange would be the one to do it.
The trailer makes it clear that Loki will give the Tesseract (the Space Stone) to Thanos, but an interesting theory posits that this is a fake-out. In one final moment of sacrificial defiance, Loki could use the Space Stone to send Hulk to the Sanctum Sanctorum. Because of his betrayal (and failures on more than one occasion), Thanos will kill Loki and claim the Space Stone.
LIKELIHOOD: High. It would explain why Banner is back on Earth in the trailers while Thor is bouncing around the cosmos with the Guardians. It would also bring Loki's story full circle. Will Marvel be so bold as to (actually) kill off their best chaotic-neutral antagonist? We hope not. We'd say the betrayal is very likely, and the death a bit less likely. Sorry, but we're kind of attached to Tom Hiddleston.
Less of a theory and more of a given at this point — it's directly shown in the first trailer. We never saw Tom Holland's Peter show any sign of the character's iconic Spider Sense in Spider-Man: Homecoming, which many fans saw as a misstep on Marvel's part. Seems the MCU is ready to make up for the mistakes of the past.
LIKELIHOOD: It will definitely happen.
Some think that because of all of the alien action in the film, Peter Parker will receive the famous symbiote suit. In the comics, this was pivotal to the creation of Venom. Whether they are thinking this will tie into Sony's Venom movie is not clear. Whether that is the thinking or not, it's a little early in the life of Tom Holland's Spidey to even say the word "symbiote."
LIKELIHOOD: Debunked. Sony has said that the film will not tie into Venom. Aside from that, just... no.
Due to Marvel being on the verge of getting all of these characters back thanks to the recent Disney/Fox merger, many are thinking that the events of this film will reveal the presence of mutants in the MCU.
LIKELIHOOD: No way. For one thing, the acquisition isn't finished yet, and even if it were, this film was shot well before. Fox is still moving forward with its own X-projects, and this movie will be packed full as it is. We wouldn't expect this for Avengers 4, either. Plus, Marvel boss Kevin Feige has explicitly said that the merger won't change any of the already slated MCU films (including the next two Avengers movies).
Though we were led to believe there were no strings on him, many believe Ultron was preparing things for Thanos' arrival in the previous Avengers film. Split the team, divide and conquer, things like that. Ultron wanted to destroy the Avengers, and without them, Thanos would have a much easier time.
LIKELIHOOD: It's possible, even very possible, but that doesn't mean it'll be mentioned. It might change the way we see the previous film, but we don't think anyone's going to name-drop Ultron. That said, he is tied up in the lore of the Mind Stone, and getting the straight story about Thanos' convoluted Mind Stone schemes wouldn't be a bad thing.
Side note: Thanos' Mind Stone Schemes is a new show that is coming soon to the Food Network.
In the original comic, Thanos' capture and use of the Infinity Gauntlet was all a means to impress the personification of Death. Some speculate that in this film, the position of Death will be filled by the Goddess of Death, Cate Blanchett's Hela from Thor: Ragnarok.
LIKELIHOOD: Low, for a few reasons. Cate Blanchett has given no indication whatsoever that she is in this film, and it certainly looked like Hela perished at the end of Ragnarok. Also, Thanos has revealed in trailers that his plan is all about "balance" or some such thing. He's been building up to this for the majority of the MCU, and to have it all be a means to impress Hela? Well, it is Cate Blanchett, so that actually does track. There's no indication they are going the "impress Death" route from some of the comics with this, but if they end up doing it, Hela would be the logical Death substitute.
The powers of the Infinity Gauntlet are immense, even with just a couple of stones in it. Many believe Thanos will use its power to bring back Red Skull, the villain from Captain America: The First Avenger. The last time we saw him, he was being vaporized by the Space Stone. Thanks to Loki, Thanos is set to get his hands on that Stone pretty quickly. Does Thanos need Red Skull? Maybe not, but we always need Hugo Weaving.
LIKELIHOOD: It could happen, and it would be great. We've had no information about Weaving being involved in the film, so they would have kept that secret pretty well. Also, they could potentially do Red Skull without him. Thanos would need people to run things after he's had his fun... who better than Red Skull and the HYDRA gang?
Almost every major MCU villain has theories about them coming back. Malekith, Ronan, Kaecilius... Hammer. Why not? With all this talk about Thor getting a new hammer, maybe THIS is the hammer he ends up with?
LIKELIHOOD: Very low, but we can dream.
We've heard repeatedly that Brie Larson will not appear as Captain Marvel in the MCU until her solo film premieres in March 2019, and after that she will appear in Avengers 4. Even though an early appearance here has been debunked, people are still hoping it will happen. We don't blame them — we want Brie Larson's Carol Danvers to blast onto the scene as soon as possible, too.
LIKELIHOOD: Very low, almost completely debunked. If she pops up, it'll have been one heck of a long con. Expect her in Avengers 4 for sure, though.
We're not being jerks, we swear that we read this theory in a comment section somewhere. One very furious fan was adamant that Superman will be in the film because "you can't have all of these heroes together without Superman." Nobody could convince him why this was impossible; he was dead set on it. We don't remember where the comments were posted, so we can't prove it, but it happened. Trust us. We're just as confused as you.
LIKELIHOOD: Depending on your personal beliefs, it's either impossible or inevitable.
We may have made this one up. We know, we know... but what it if does???
LIKELIHOOD: Depends on the previous entry. Can't have one without the other, can you?
As the doom train rolls on, many are predicting the death of Robert Downey Jr.'s Tony Stark, the character who started the MCU in the first place.
LIKELIHOOD: Maybe possible, but we don't think so. We can't imagine an MCU without Robert Downey Jr., and this seems like another moment for Avengers 4 if it happens at all.
Whether or not Tony dies, many believe he will pass on the mantle (and armor) of Iron Man to someone else. In the comics, it is 15-year-old MIT student Riri Williams who becomes the chosen one — in the MCU, the people have chosen Black Panther's Shuri. We already know her, we love her, and we can't wait to see what happens when the Stark/Banner science bros become a science trio.
LIKELIHOOD: Very possible. Letitia Wright gave the biggest breakout performance in a film full of breakout performances, and the MCU needs as much of her as it can get. This may not happen in this film (or in Avengers 4), but we think it's possible down the road.
There is a surprising lack of doom theories regarding Thor — despite the above image from the trailers, most fans think that Thor is safe at the moment. Unlike Cap and Tony, Thor doesn't really have someone to take up (the reforged) Mjolnir after he's gone. Jane Foster filled that role in the comics, and we're not expecting Natalie Portman back anytime soon. Plus, the Asgardians just lost their last king, Anthony Hopkins, and their entire realm in Thor: Ragnarok; the Asgardians have been through enough already. The MCU can't take Thor from them (yet).
LIKELIHOOD: High. Thor is just coming into his own, and it would be a shame (and a waste) to lose him. Thor lives! Unless...
How's THIS for consequences? End of franchise — smash cut to credits. As we've already said, the powers of the Infinity Gauntlet are immense.
LIKELIHOOD: Either very low, or possible... it would depend on whether the following happens:
The franchise survives! Just this once, everybody lives! We're quoting the wrong Doctor, but it still applies.
LIKELIHOOD: If so many characters start dying that it gets to an almost comical point, we can expect it to be reversed somehow. Some permanent deaths will happen, but if the film starts going full X-Men: The Last Stand, then hopefully Doctor Strange can "come to bargain" and save some lives. Let's just say that if T'Challa ends up dying, it will definitely be reversed, no doubt about it.
We admit... we may have made this one up, too. Or did we? Can you imagine it? Unlikely... but what if he WAS???? Minds. Blown.
LIKELIHOOD: Certain. Confirmed. It's in the script. It's in the movie. It's in our hearts. It's in your heart. Let's do this.
Did we miss any? Do you have any theories that you're dying to share with the world? Let us know in the comments, because the premiere of Avengers: Infinity War is right around the corner on April 27.