Thanos

Since Marvel Studios announced their original Phase Three slate in late 2014, fans have been looking forward to Avengers Infinity War: Part 1 and Part 2, the two-part epic in 2018 and 2019, respectively, that would see Earth's Mightiest Heroes finally battling Thanos. However, back in May, directors Joe and Anthony Russo stated that those titles were "misleading," and that they would be changed at some point. Two months later, Marvel has revealed that the third movie will retain its current title, but the fourth one will be called something different.

News just broke from The Wrap that the third Avengers movie has dropped Part 1 from its title, and is now Avengers: Infinity War. As for the fourth Avengers movie, it's simply being called Untitled Avengers for the time being. While this may prompt speculation about if Avengers 4 will be a completely separate story featuring the eponymous heroes, it's too soon to tell whether that's the case.

Since 2012's The Avengers, Thanos has been looming in the Marvel Cinematic Universe's background. Like his comic book counterpart, his goal is to collect the six Infinity Stones to finally gain ultimate power. The previously-named Avengers: Infinity War movies were expected to show him finally gaining these precious jewels and terrorizing the Marvel heroes, similar to the 1991 Infinity Gauntlet comic book storyline. Now that the fourth movie's title has been changed, we're left wondering just how much connection there will be between the two movies. However, it does finally confirm that these are two independent movies, rather than a gigantic one split in half.

While the title changes certainly loosen the link between the next two Avengers movies, that doesn't necessarily mean that they won't be closely connected, at least more so than The Avengers and Avengers: Age of Ultron were. Despite his lack of action thus far, Thanos has been touted as the MCU's greatest threat, so it's hard to believe that he would be defeated in one movie. Also, Avengers 4 is still intended to be the final movie of Phase Three, so whatever the story ends up being, it will need to cap off this saga with a bang. On the other hand, there is the possibility that the Mad Titan will be vanquished in Avengers: Infinity War, paving the way for a new antagonist give our beloved heroes trouble the following year. There are few individuals who are more powerful than Thanos in the Marvel universe, but if the right individual is picked, they might have leave an even bigger impact on the MCU than the purple-skinned chair-lover has. Anything is possible.

Despite the name changes, the release dates for these movies haven't changed. Avengers: Infinity War hits theaters on May 4, 2018, and Avengers 4, a.k.a. Untitled Avengers, will follow on May 3, 2019.

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