In a classic episode of the NBC comedy Parks and Recreation, the actor/comedian/writer Patton Oswalt was asked to play a character delivering a filibuster at a City Council meeting. The script provided minimal guidance as to what Patton Oswalt should say, just as long as he rambled at length. On the last take Oswalt improvised a proposed plot of the still in development Star Wars film Episode VII (which would become The Force Awakens, whose plot was not a fraction as creative as what Patton suggested). This brilliant, geeky soliloquy was as if the great jazz improvisers Charlie Parker and Miles Davis had a baby, and only let it read science fiction pulps and Marvel comic books.
It is in the spirit of this Patton Oswalt monologue that I present my speculations for what may transpire in the next Avengers film due in theaters in 2019. Discussing the film with friends after the third Avengers film (Avengers: Infinity War) opened, I developed the following hypothesis.
Please be advised that this discussion will contain multiple spoilers for the third Avengers film, Avengers: Infinity War. Stop right here if you do not want to learn anything about that movie.
I stress that what follows below is pure speculation on my part. I have no knowledge of any sort as to what will actually happen in Avengers 4. I don’t even know what the sub-title of the film will be, though if I had to guess, it will likely be something like: Avengers: With Half of Humanity Gone, Apartment Hunting is a Breeze, so….Thanks, Thanos?
So, Thanos, having acquired the six Infinity Stones, snapped his fingers and half of all humanity was randomly wiped out of existence. The gauntlet housing the six stones appears damaged afterwards, though Thanos is still able to use the Space Stone to teleport off Earth. I propose that the gauntlet is now burnt out, and that Thanos no longer has any ‘god-like’ powers, but he nevertheless is still able to employ the capabilities of each of the six Stones separately.
Using the Time Stone, Dr. Strange had viewed 14,000,605 alternate futures and discovered the one possible pathway that leads to Thanos defeat. The fact that the gauntlet is a ‘one-time use’ affair means that Thanos will never again be as invincible as he was when he snapped his fingers. If one were to wrest the gauntlet and its Stones from Thanos, one could, presumably using the Time and Reality Stones in some combination, revert the state of the Universe to its original status.
A comment thread on io9.com in the first days after Avengers: Infinity Wars opened suggested that Dr. Strange, using the Time Stone, had sent an astral projection back in time to communicate with Ant-Man and/or the Wasp, in a scene that might show up as a mid-credit stinger in Ant-Man and the Wasp that opens in July. (It’s also possible that Dr. Strange sent a message to Nick Fury, to the effect that if and only if half of humanity faded from existence, he should summon Captain Marvel using his ‘space-pager’ – which accounts for why he did not use it when Earth was threatened by the Chitauri invasion or the menace of Ultron). This idea has percolated around the internet long enough that it was discussed in a story on ComicBookResources.com.
Here is what I believe Dr. Strange will say: After some introductions and preliminaries, he will instruct Scott Lang (Ant-Man) and/or Hope Van Dyne (Wasp) to, on a certain date, go to 177A Bleeker Street. Shrinking down into the Quantum Realm, they should go into the Eye of Agamotto, and wait there. Later, on Titan, when Thanos takes the Eye and crushes it upon realizing that it does not contain the Time Stone, they should transfer onto Thanos’ body.
Assuming Hawkeye survived the Snappening, then the original six heroes from the first Avengers film will eventually join forces (along with Rocket, Rhodey, Nebula and others we have not seen after Thanos’s action, such as Shuri and Wong) and mount an attack on the Mad Titan. When Tony Stark and Nebula are brought back from Titan (presumably via Wang’s spell of teleportation), Tony will get that man (Steve Rogers) a shield, returning Cap’s original red, white and blue disc to its rightful owner.
The final battle will be one for the ages. Thanos’ harming Black Widow will trigger the Hulk’s transformation. Thanos will dispatch Hulk, Iron Man and Thor. Captain America, removing all doubt that he is worthy, will lift and wield Thor’s new hammer/axe Stormbreaker. It has been demonstrated at the end of Infinity War that Stormbreaker can wound Thanos, even when he is in possession of all six Infinity Stones. Now, Captain America, the last man standing, wielding Stormbreaker will take off Thanos’ left hand.
The Mad Titan swats Captain America away, and lunges to reclaim the gauntlet that is now on the ground. However, before he can reach it, Scott Lang exits the quantum realm, and growing Giant sized, blocks Thanos from reach the gauntlet. The glove is picked up by Nebula, who realizes that the way to truly hurt her adoptive father is to undo everything he has struggled for, and resets the universe (just in time for the Spider-Man, Black Panther and Guardians of the Galaxy sequels).
Again, this is just a guess on my part. I have used the same principles we employ in scientific research – taking partial data and proposing a theoretical framework consistent with current observations. Unlike String Theory, we will be able to test these predictions in less than a year, when Avengers 4 opens in theaters.
Hawkeye’s absence in Avengers: Infinity War suggests that there might be a simpler fix to all of these problems. Has anyone tried just shooting Thanos with an arrow?