(Warning: This article contains spoilers for various Marvel movies — including Avengers: Infinity War — and potential spoilers for Avengers: Endgame. You have been warned!)
Even before the release of the first trailer for Avengers: Endgame, anticipation for the sequel was at an all time high. While Infinity War was certainly one of the most hyped films in recent memory, Avengers: Endgame is primed to be the movie event of the decade. In 24 hours alone, the aforementioned trailer garnered a record amount of views, which should give you an idea of how excited people are for its release.
Naturally, Marvel kept plot details close to the chest with the trailer largely focusing on what seem to be various character moments. Despite the lack of solid information, that hasn’t stopped everyone – including this writer – from speculating how the characters might overcome the ending of Infinity War. Although we recently learned that the so-called “snappening” has been given an official name – “the Decimation” – the trailer itself reveals subtle clues as to how our heroes might be able to undo it.
With that said, let’s jump into 5 Avengers: Endgame theories based on the first trailer!
The Movie Will Feature a Significant Time Jump
It’s been speculated that Avengers: Endgame will feature some sort of time jump, and the trailer largely plays into this theory. With that in mind, the trailer also seems to be downplaying how significant that time jump actually is. It’s still unclear if this is one of Marvel’s famous marketing bluffs, but the trailer as a whole feels like it only compiles scenes from the first act. For instance, when we first see Tony, it seems that only a short time has passed. However, it’s also reasonable to think that more time has gone by since Tony’s last appearance than the trailer implies.
If this is the case, then there’s no reason to think that the film couldn’t pick up immediately after Infinity War, explore the effects of the Decimation, and then have a flash-forward at the end of the first act. Scott would arrive after this time jump – as he does in the trailer (more on that later) – and spur the remaining Avengers to use the portable quantum tunnel as a means of reversing the Decimation. Considering that Scott isn’t an expert on the Quantum Realm, it could feasibly take years for him to figure out how to escape. The fact that Steve asks Natasha if the footage of Scott arriving is an old message only adds further weight to this idea. While it’s clear that the duo presumed Scott to be dead, their surprised reactions also imply that a decent amount of time has passed since the battle of Wakanda.
Similarly, we see a clean-shaven Steve Rodgers living in what looks like the abandoned Avengers HQ. Thor and Bruce are also shown brooding in the abandoned facility. We also see Hawkeye in full Ronin mode, looking much more grizzled and pissed off than ever before. It’s possible that the reason for his personality change is the loss of his family during the Decimation. This would surely take a heavy toll on Clint, but one that would also take an ample amount of time to overcome. With all of these small details pointing to a time jump, it’s probably safe to assume that at least a year will have passed at some point during the movie, whether it’s at the beginning or closer to the first act break.
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Time Travel/Alternate Timelines Will Absolutely Be Involved
One of the more widely accepted theories about Avengers: Endgame – even before the trailer dropped – is that the plot would involve time travel. Besides the fact that there have been multiple leaks to back this up, the trailer pretty much admits this, albeit in more subtle ways. Two of the biggest clues come near the end of the trailer, where a particular interaction stands out. While Steve and Natasha are planning how to undo the effects of the Decimation in this scene, the trailer cuts to a shot of Cap’s pocket watch. Aside from the possibility that the picture of Peggy teases her return (which we’ll circle back to), it may not be a coincidence that this dialogue exchange is overlaid with a literal representation of time.
After this, the title reveal at the end sees a decimated Avengers logo being re-assembled in what looks like a reverse fashion, further suggesting that time travel will be instrumental in undoing the Decimation. At this point, it’s really less about whether time travel will be involved, but rather how large of a role it will play in the story. There might not be that much time travel, but that doesn’t mean that it won’t be a crucial element in the heroes’ strategy. In fact, the Time Stone – possibly in conjunction with the Quantum Realm – really seems like the most viable option to nullify the Decimation.
Plus, it’s also worth mentioning that of all the stones that Thanos possesses in Infinity War, he seems to favor the Power Stone above the rest. This makes sense, since it’s an important part of why he was able to succeed in the first place. Considering that Infinitiy War outright ignored how Thanos razed Xandar in order to obtain the Power Stone, this feels like a natural point for our heroes to begin to undo the Mad Titan’s plan before it can come to fruition.
It Won’t Be Captain Marvel Or Pepper Who Rescues Tony
Once Infinity War was released, one of the biggest questions fans had after leaving the theater concerned how Tony and Nebula would make it home after the battle on Titan. While the trailer itself certainly answered that question right off the bat, it also opened another can of worms entirely. Although we don’t know exactly how much time has passed when we pick up with Tony in Avengers: Endgame, it’s clear that he’s on his last legs during these scenes. The trailer also hints that Nebula leaves Tony alone on the Benatar to presumably find some sort of help. This would leave Tony alone in space for a lengthy amount of time, mirroring Iron Man’s origins in the Afghan cave a decade prior.
Since the Avengers: Endgame trailer debuted, people have speculated that either Carol Danvers or Pepper Potts (in her famous Rescue armor) will eventually save Tony. While these are certainly valid options for Tony’s rescue, they seem a little too obvious. It’s a bit of a stretch, but it’s possible that someone else discovers Tony, such as Valkyrie and the surviving Asgardians, all of whom were notably MIA during Infinity War‘s opening scene. Hell, maybe even Nebula herself comes back to save him. If alternate timelines are indeed involved, Tony could very well die during this timeline, only to be resurrected when the Decimation is undone.
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Ant-Man Will Escape the Quantum Realm Using a “Time Vortex”
Another question the trailer left us hanging with is how the heck Scott managed to get out of the Quantum Realm. As we learned in the post-credit stinger from Ant-Man and the Wasp, Scott was stranded in the alternate dimension as Hank, Janet, and Hope turned to dust. In what seemed like a throwaway line of dialogue at first, Janet told Scott, “Don’t get sucked into a time vortex. We won’t be able to save you.” Oddly enough, a time vortex might be exactly what ends up saving him.
Marvel has always been good about planting seeds for future films, but a time vortex seems like the optimal way for Scott to escape the Quantum Realm. We don’t really know how these vortexes function, but we can safely assume that they have the ability to send objects backwards and forward in time. Using this logic, one could surmise that either Scott remembers this tidbit of information and uses it to his advantage or he accidentally gets sucked into the vortex (but given his rather bumbling disposition, it’s probably the latter). Either way, it’s possible that Scott will be flung forward to a time long after the Decimation has transpired.
When Scott eventually arrives at Avengers HQ and formally learns about Thanos’ actions, the remaining heroes might attempt to utilize these time vortexes to visit the past in order to acquire the time stone before the Mad Titan can get his grimy purple hands on it. From there, you can imagine how the rest might play out as we revisit the events of prior MCU films, specifically Infinity War.
Captain America Might Get a Happy Ending
While it may be the most controversial prediction on this list, it’s certainly plausible that Steve Rogers could make it out of Endgame alive. There’s a lot of baggage to unpack with trying to predict Cap’s fate in the sequel. He may be the figurehead of the eponymous superhero team, but Cap’s stint in the MCU has been anything but glamorous. From Captain America: The First Avenger all the way through to Infinity War, he’s arguably suffered more misfortune in his life than any other MCU character. In many ways, Cap is a shell of his former self by the end of Infinity War. Although it might feel like mercy to kill the character off in next summer’s installment, it’s hard to imagine such a beloved interpretation of the character leaving the franchise for good.
Having said that, if the movie does wind up featuring time travel as a plot device, then there’s no reason why we couldn’t see Cap return to the forties and settle down with Peggy at the end of the film. Considering the shot of Steve’s watch in the trailer and the role that Peggy played in shaping him as a hero, this feels like a natural conclusion to Cap’s story. It’s simply more rewarding to see him get a happy ending to what has otherwise been a tragic life. Avengers: Endgame is burdened with the seemingly impossible task of both closing out this era of the MCU and ushering in the next. Permanently sending Cap back to postwar America might be the perfect way to give him his just desserts and also to set the stage for what’s to follow.