Let's Unpack That Wild "Avengers: Infinity War" Ending Together

We're all sad, but there's hope.

This is a post about the end of the movie Avengers: Infinity War. If you don't know the ending already and don't want to, I highly suggest you don't scroll down any more.


OK, so we've all been collectively destroyed by the end of Avengers: Infinity War. So many people are dead. But let's take a step back and examine what the ending actually means in the grand and MARVELous scheme of things:

1. This is clearly the first part of what will be continued in the fourth, untitled Avengers film, which is set to debut in May 2019. So, it isn't over.


The credits clearly told us that Thanos will return, and though codirector Joe Russo has said Infinity War and Avengers 4 don't form "a true two-parter," he did confirm they're narratively connected.

In the meantime, we only have solo movies featuring Ant-Man (absent from Infinity War) and Captain Marvel (brand new to the Marvel-verse and also absent from Infinity War except for that quick nod in the post-credits scene).

None of the "dead" Avengers have solo movies coming out in the year between Infinity War and Avengers 4 (Spider-Man's second solo film comes out right after Avengers 4, but it's unclear when that will take place, and it's entirely possible it could be set before the events of Infinity War) β€” but it's almost certainly not because they're dead forever. It's likely a strategic choice to add to our collective agony, build hype, and make us theorize for a full year β€” which, of course, we will.

2. Chances are that everyone major who died in Thanos's mass murder β€” a huge chunk of the Avengers crew plus half of the entire universe β€” will be brought back in Avengers 4.


Some central, and even recently introduced, Marvel heroes died in this movie. But very few of them are likely to stay dead. It feels safe to assume all the major players who died in that single attack β€” Black Panther (his first film grossed over a billion dollars); Spider-Man (Homecoming was a hit); Bucky (aka the almost certainly future Captain America); Groot (HE CANNOT DIE AGAIN); Doctor Strange (he's only had one solo movie); and Star-Lord (there's no Guardians movie without Peter Quill, and a third one is coming in 2020) β€” will be brought back in the next Avengers movie.

3. How they do that is a little tricky. Obviously, there's a Time Stone. But using that alone likely won't be enough to reverse Thanos's actions, and it certainly won't be enough to defeat him if he still possesses the other Stones.


Unfortunately, the Time Stone expert, Doctor Strange, turned to dust. So it's very likely that even if the Avengers get the Time Stone back from Thanos, either no one's gonna know how to use it, or Wong will inform them that there are some additional rules about using the Time Stone that will prevent a quick fix.

We also don't really know exactly how the Time Stone works in tandem with the other Stones. But Strange did tell Tony that of all the 14,000,605 alternate futures he saw, the one that Infinity War ended with was always "the only way."

4. More importantly, there's a Soul Stone.


This is a mysterious new Infinity Stone, and it doesn't work like the others. As Red Skull explained on Vormir in Infinity War, the Soul Stone holds "a special place" among the Infinity Stones and has "a certain wisdom." It requires a sacrifice to possess it, and we haven't seen Thanos wield just the Soul Stone yet. We don't really even know what it does. It might be the key to bringing back our dead faves, way moreso than the Time Stone.

AND the Avengers might need to possess all the Infinity Stones to reverse the genocide that Thanos committed. There are a lot of variables, like how they'll wield all of them. Thanos's Infinity Gauntlet looked pretty wrecked at the end of Infinity War after he used it to, ya know, kill half the universe. He might need to go to Nidavellir and make Sad Peter Dinklage give him the original mold.

The remaining Avengers could also do the same and try to make a competing Infinity Gauntlet of their own to hold the Stones. There's also Stormbreaker, Thor's new axe, which might have the ability to wield the Stones β€” it did hold up against them during that final scene when Thor stabbed Thanos.

5. Hopefully not everyone will come back, or the stakes will feel too low going forward.


If everyone who died in Infinity War comes back, the stakes are going to feel too low, possibly for the rest of the Avengers series. One or two people will have to stay dead, or someone major will have to die in their place.

My bet is that Gamora will stay dead at least until the third Guardians movie in 2020 to spice things up; Loki will stay dead but fulfill Tom Hiddleston's reported six-film contract (Infinity War is his fifth) with some sort of flashback in a future Avengers or unannounced solo Thor movie; Heimdall (Idris Elba) has reached the end of his supporting character arc; and Vision (Paul Bettany) is probably truly dead but will return in some form thanks to Shuri copying at least a part of his brilliant synthetic mind.

6. Someone major will probably have to die in the fourth Avengers movie β€” I'm betting on Tony Stark or Steve Rogers (for real this time).


Like Coulson said all the way back in The Avengers, "This was never gonna work if they didn't have something to..." and then he died, but his point lives: The Avengers need something (or someone) to avenge. A major death in their own ranks would bind them for the foreseeable future. It's just a matter of whom.

As pissed as I am that we'd never see his wedding, Tony Stark could definitely die. Infinity War made it clear that not even Pepper can get him to take the Iron Man suit off. The chances of Tony ever retiring are slim to none. Plus, his protΓ©gΓ© Peter Parker is just beginning his solo movie career. Spider-Man would benefit narratively from losing yet another father figure and his tech benefactor. However, Thanos defeated Tony already and almost killed him, which is why my money's on Steve Rogers.

Steve had a pretty small role in this movie, but he's primed to take the lead in Avengers 4 as one of the six surviving members of the team. He has a Captain America heir apparent in Bucky, who's been to Spa Wakanda and even referred to himself as a "semi-stable man" in the movie. Progress!

Most importantly, Steve hasn't really faced Thanos yet. During the final battle in Wakanda, the only Avenger who briefly holds Thanos up is good ol' Steve Rogers. Thanos looks at him with some kind of uncharacteristic emotion β€” maybe confusion at Cap's unexpected strength or maybe (hopefully) fear.

Either way, as sad as you are now, think about how sad you'll be next year when someone actually dies.

7. When you think about it, this huge, dark twist β€” one that's been foreshadowed since Tony's chilling vision in Age of Ultron β€” is pretty necessary to the Avengers franchise.


The first Avengers movie helped establish the group's tone and dynamic β€” it was by far the funnest. Age of Ultron tested their mettle and commitment to each other and their collective cause. Then Captain America: Civil War tore them apart. Infinity War is the reckoning that reminded them what's truly at stake, and Avengers 4 will reunite and revive them (or most of them, depending on who survives). A major death would give them even more perspective and a stronger long-term bond.

8. A shake-up like this was bound to happen before Marvel entered Phase 4. It's actually very cool. Eliminating, or at least decentralizing, the Infinity Stones as a main plot point β€” and possibly killing off a major Avenger β€” will give us a clean slate.


The fourth Avengers movie will mark the end of Phase 3 and the beginning of Phase 4 in the expansive Marvel Universe. Marvel's already confirmed that it won't be announcing any of the Phase 4 movies until after Avengers 4 is released β€” or it'd clearly give away who does and doesn't make it out alive.

With no idea who will be back, and therefore who's getting solo movies in Phase 4, Marvel's breathing new life and anticipation into the fandom. Plus, if they do end up destroying the Infinity Stones in Avengers 4 β€” which have been the franchise's cinematic connective tissue for years β€” it opens up a ton of narrative possibilities for the remaining Avengers movies and their corresponding stand-alone films.

So, basically, don't be too sad yet. There's hope, my nerds.

Read More: The BuzzFeed Guide To "Avengers: Infinity War"



A BuzzFeed News investigation, in partnership with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, based on thousands of documents the government didn't want you to see.