Before you read any further, just have to warn you: possible Avengers: Endgame spoilers ahead. Princess Shuri. Scarlet Witch. Peter freaking Parker—lost to us forever. Can the good guys actually win this thing? We can't be sure how or if Thanos will be defeated until the premiere of Avengers: Endgame this weekend, but that's not stopping fans from coming up with their own theories about how things will play out.
To recap the events of Avengers: Infinity War: Delusional titan Thanos wanted to restore balance to an overpopulated universe by erasing half of its inhabitants, a feat he could achieve only by harnessing the collective power of the five Infinity Stones. The Avengers did their very best (excluding Peter Quill/Star-Lord—he's utterly useless) to subdue the supervillain, but Thanos ultimately succeeded in completing his Infinity Gauntlet. A quick snap of his fingers caused the instant dusting of half the population, including many of our beloved Avengers. RIP, sweet King T'Challa. You are dearly missed...at least until whenever Black Panther 2 comes out.
At present, the survivors of the snap are mourning the lives of their lost ones and trying to come up with a plan to bring them back. Although the introduction of time-traveling, reality-altering technology in Ant-Man and the Wasp as well as the timely debut of Captain Marvel in her 2019 origin story offer a possible means of settling the score, Thanos is still very big and very bad. It's going to take something drastic to avenge (it's allll coming together now) the villain's crimes against the universe, and like Doctor Strange told Tony Stark, there's only one way. Here's how fans think it may all go down:
A Trip Through the Quantum Realm
Did you catch the post-credits scene in Ant-Man and the Wasp? If you did, you saw that Ant-Man successfully entered the Quantum Realm but got stuck there when Thanos did his whole "decimating half the population" thing. As seen in the Endgame trailer, he was able to escape and link up with the rest of the Avengers. If Ant-Man and the gang can figure out how to go back in time and thwart Thanos's plan, we might have ourselves a real fix.
Big Bang Theory
One Redditor is convinced that Thanos's snap didn't actually kill half of the population—it just created a parallel universe for them to live in. Unlike other bad guys who just kill to kill, Thanos feels like his particular strain of evil is for the greater good. The universe is becoming overpopulated, and the quality of life is rapidly decreasing as a result, so why not create another reality to balance things out? Per this odd theory, the remaining Avengers will duke it out with Thanos to somehow 1) reverse the snap and bring everyone back or 2) kill the supervillian but keep the two parallel universes. I'm not completely sold on this one (why do we need two universes?), but it could actually be a great way to introduce other characters like the X-Men and the Fantastic Four into the MCU.
Mind (Stone) Control
Out of all the six Infinity Stones, the Mind Stone is said to have the power to manipulate whoever is in possession of it at the time into doing very bad things, and MCU history seems to confirm that fact. Take Loki for example: the scepter that Thanos gifted Thor's baby brother caused him to wreak havoc on Earth in The Avengers. Loki was sketchy at worst, not at all evil enough to enslave the entire human race. Cue the Mind Stone, subtly bringing out the worst parts of him. Could that same stone also be capable of planting the delusion in Thanos? If so, the team will have to find a really good way to destroy the true villain of the Infinity Saga.
A Leader's Sacrifice
This theory is super sad, but it's also pretty much confirmed. The contracts of several of the most prominent Avengers are up after Endgame, and fans have a strong feeling that it's a wrap for them, especially for Tony Stark. In Infinity War, Doctor Strange told Tony that he had to survive in order for their only chance (out of the 14 million that he saw) of winning to actually pan out, so we know that he's going to play a significant role in the plot of this film. Some say he'll use his technological savvy to figure out the Quantum Realm, others say he'll create his own Infinity Gauntlet. Either way, we might have to say our goodbyes because Tony is probably going to meet his end.
Thanos is the biggest threat that the MCU has seen to date, but what's coming is sure to be a lot scarier. One Redditor hypothesizes that Thanos's plan was actually a move to save the universe from someone far bigger and badder: Galactus. Found mainly in Fantastic Four lore, Galactus is a cosmic entity known for literally eating whole planets. According to this theory, Thanos, knowing that the devourer was on his way, took it upon himself to destabilize the entire universe via the dusting. The Avengers don't know this, obviously, and if they're able to reverse what Thanos has done, they could very well be setting themselves up for an even more tragic fate. #ThanosWasRight?
You can catch Avengers: Endgame in theaters on April 26.
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