When Avengers 4 hits theaters on May 3, 2019, it will be the Marvel Cinematic Universe's 22nd film. Filming for Avengers 4 kicked off in early August 2017, in conjunction with Avengers: Infinity War. So we're compiling our notes on what we know thus far. As more news drops, you’ll see it added here. So bookmark this page if you want to keep up with what's going on with Avengers 4!
**This article has been updated with the latest Avengers 4 news.**
Avengers 4 — as yet untitled because the title is supposedly a spoiler — is the 10th and final film of the MCU’s Phase 3. It’s also the second half to Avengers: Infinity War, which premiered and broke the world's collective heart on April 27, 2018.
On the production side, Joe and Anthony Russo will direct Avengers 4, their fourth film in the MCU after Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Captain America: Civil War, and Infinity War. Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely are writing both films, and have worked on all of the Russos’ MCU films in addition to Thor: The Dark World and Captain America: The First Avenger, as well as being executive producers on Agent Carter. Kevin Feige, Jon Favreau, Stan Lee, Victoria Alonso, Louis D'Esposito, and Trinh Tran will produce.
Unless you’ve somehow managed not to see Infinity War and to avoid spoilers, then you know by now that the heroes lose. We know little to nothing about the story we can expect in Avengers 4 (more on that later), but we do know where we last saw our heroes.
On Earth, Captain America (Chris Evans), Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), M’Baku (Winston Duke), Okoye (Danai Gurira), Rocket Raccoon (Bradley Cooper), and War Machine (Don Cheadle) were left to deal with the consequences of their defeat. Meanwhile, on Thanos’ homeworld of Titan, Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) and Nebula (Karen Gillan) were forced to watch all their other allies fade away and assume, just from that, that Thanos won.
As of Ant-Man and the Wasp’s post-credit scene, Scott Lang’s Ant-Man (Paul Rudd) is stranded inside the Quantum Realm without anyone knowing it.
Hawkeye is... hanging out with his wife and kids on the farm? Honestly, no one knows.
And we’ll find out more about what to expect of Brie Larson’s Carol Danvers, aka Captain Marvel, when she appears in her self-titled standalone film, which premieres on March 8, 2019.
While Infinity War’s cast was stacked with just about every character you’ve loved for the past 10 years of Marvel films, Avengers 4 is a bit more bare. Sure, Chris Hemsworth is here to exact some revenge as Thor and Downey is still hanging on as the beloved Tony Stark, but a lot of your faves are missing from the official cast list on IMDb.
Here's the cast list:
Evangeline Lilly as Hope van Dyne/The Wasp
Karen Gillan as Nebula
Scarlett Johansson as Natasha Romanoff / Black Widow
Paul Rudd as Scott Lang / Ant-Man
Chris Hemsworth as Thor
Josh Brolin as Thanos
Brie Larson as Carol Danvers / Captain Marvel
Michelle Pfeiffer as Janet van Dyne
Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark / Iron Man
Sebastian Stan as Bucky Barnes / Winter Soldier
Chris Evans as Steve Rogers / Captain America
Jeremy Renner as Clint Barton / Hawkeye
Dave Bautista as Drax
Chadwick Boseman as T'Challa / Black Panther
Mark Ruffalo as Bruce Banner / Hulk
Jon Favreau as Happy Hogan
Ty Simpkins as Harley Keener
Gwyneth Paltrow as Pepper Potts
Don Cheadle as James Rhodes / War Machine
Missing from this list are heavy hitters like Tom Holland’s Peter Parker/Spider-Man and Chris Pratt’s Peter Quill/Star-Lord, both of whom didn’t feel so good by the end of Infinity War. It might give you some hope to see that Hope and Janet van Dyne made the cast list despite their characters crumbling to dust during Ant-Man and the Wasp’s post-credit scene and that Bautista’s Drax is firmly in place despite also blowing away in the wind. Clearly, Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) or Thanos or someone will do something to save the day or mess everything up — either way, it seems likely our heroes might come out on top in the end. Right?
What’s the one thing we haven’t seen much of in the MCU? Consequence and high stakes. That is, we didn’t see much until Infinity War. Until then, you always knew the main heroes were making it out alive. Yes, characters like Quicksilver and Yondu got tagged and old age finally got Agent Carter, but the superheroes were always fine.
We can assume that just because Marvel has already confirmed Black Panther and Spider-Man: Homecoming sequels that T’Challa’s Black Panther and Peter Parker’s Spider-Man will make it out the other end somewhat okay. And, honestly, given that 2018’s Black Panther was such a hit and Spider-Man is, well, Spider-Man, there’s no way Marvel is going to give those cash cows up anytime soon.
But as far as permanent deaths go, we can probably assume that some of the deaths from Infinity War and maybe from Avengers 4 are going to be sticking. It seems likely that all the characters killed pre-snap — Loki, Heimdall, Gamora, and Vision — are going to stay dead post-whatever solution Avengers 4 has in mind. But will any of the other big names bite the dust?
It’s well known that Chris Evans has been meaning to get out of the superhero business for a while. And seeing as how Downey has been at this billionaire playboy game for 10 years now, he might be looking to move on. Avengers 4 could be the perfect excuse for them to leave; let the heroes win in the end, but with consequences (aka, the team’s original leaders either giving up their mantles or just plain dying).
In the comics, Rhodey has filled the Iron Man mantle during Marvel’s “Demon in a Bottle” stories. Currently, Riri Williams is using a Stark suit. Both the Winter Soldier and Sam Wilson have carried Captain America’s shield after Steve Rogers. And Mjolnir is currently held by Jane Foster, not Thor. So, if Marvel wants a different generation of actors to fill the roles of the heavy hitters, there’s an established foundation for that.
When MCU boss Kevin Feige says something, we all listen. And he has gone on record to say that he's not sure what will happen beyond Avengers 4, that we should all be expecting a different MCU, and that the franchise’s famous “Phases” may be retired post-Avengers 4. To us, that almost sounds like future MCU films won’t be building toward something like, in this case, an all-hands-on-deck against an omnipotent, power-thirsty Big Bad. Team-ups seem likely, but constructing 20-plus intertwined films again is probably not.
Spider-Man: Far From Home (July 5, 2019), according to Feige, is supposed to be the bridge between Avengers 4 and a post-Avengers 4 MCU. Beyond Far From Home and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 (which is seeing its own slew of troubles post-James Gunn’s firing), nothing has been actively planned.
So the current slate of Marvel Studios films includes: Captain Marvel (2019), Avengers 4 (2019), Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019), and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 (TBA). Feige has promised that a Doctor Strange sequel is a guaranteed thing, but we know nothing about a premiere date. After years of knowing the Marvel slate inside and out, having so few answers is a new, mildly frustrating, but definitely exciting thing.
Then there’s the Russo brothers, who posted “Beginning the end” with a picture of a purple hand to signify the start of Avengers 4 filming. What does that mean? Could it mean the end of Phase 3? Could it be the end of the Marvel MCU in its current state and structure? Or could it mean that end is near for some characters, and this goes back to who is contracted beyond Avengers 4?
Or it could be a hint for what to expect of Avengers 4’s plot. Maybe it's beginning at the end. Maybe that's what they've been planning all along.
FINALLY, THE PLOT (MAYBE)
Thanks to some set pictures taken by both paparazzi and sneaky fans (look away for potential spoilers if you’re the kind of person who doesn’t like them), it seems like Avengers 4 will include some time travel. Or, at the very least, some insane flashbacks.
Pictures taken on set show not only Hemsworth in his old-school Thor armor with wig, hammer, and everything, but also Evans sporting his star-and-stripes Avengers-era Cap uniform, joined by Downey, Ruffalo, and, oddly, Rudd in his Ant-Man suit. The sets they’ve appeared on look eerily familiar — we can see them aboard what might be the S.H.I.E.L.D. Helicarrier and maybe on the rubble-strewn streets during the Battle of New York — and most if not all of the pictures appear to be of the OG Avengers crew (minus Ant-Man). Now all we need is a stunt double wearing Loki’s Avengers armor and being escorted by Thor down a hallway. Oh, wait, we have that.
While none of these photos are official, it seems fair to assume time travel will be involved. Since Scott Lang is trapped in the Quantum Realm — a space not dictated by the regular rules of time and, well, space — he might find his way into some of the old MCU films. Was that the one instance Doctor Strange saw in which the good guys won? Is Ant-Man the hero we need?
Then, on a less massive but equally exciting scale, there’s the potential spoiler that Gwyneth Paltrow dropped during an interview in May. In the interview, Paltrow says that her character Pepper and Tony (Downey) are dealing with a lot in Avengers 4, including, to everyone’s surprise, a child. Tony keeps insisting in Infinity War that they should have a kid or that they already have one on the way — so maybe he was right. Maybe, in another universe (since, y’know, Marvel Comics has never shied away from alternate universes and crossovers), Tony and Pepper have a kid. Or maybe they do in the MCU. Who knows? It’s all a mystery.
And most of it will remain a mystery until Avengers 4 premieres in theaters on May 3, 2019.