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Even with Black Panther being the talk of the town right now, there's a ridiculously high amount of anticipation for the Marvel movie afterwards, Avengers: Infinity War, which will see this franchise's heroes battling Thanos and the Black Order. Our esteemed protagonists will fight their hardest to ensure that the Mad Titan doesn't seize all six Infinity Stones and become a god, but with Avengers 4 arriving next year, it's entirely possible that either they won't be successful or that a new threat will rise up in Thanos' place. Taking into account what the Infinity Stones are capable of when joined together, as well as the fact that Avengers 4 will mark the end of an era in the MCU, that leads me to suspect that the final Phase Three entry will be partially set within an alternate reality, kicking off an epic story requiring the surviving heroes to revert things back to normal.

Even though Avengers: Infinity War isn't concluding the MCU's Phase Three, it's been teased for years that it will have huge ramifications on this universe, so much so that Marvel is still keeping tight-lipped on what Avengers 4 will be called. But before going too deeply into that, let's look at what movies Marvel is releasing between Infinity War and Avengers 4: Ant-Man and the Wasp and Captain Marvel. It was revealed last summer that Captain Marvel will be set in the 1990s, telling Carol Danvers' origin story that involves a Nick Fury who still has two working eyes. We'll reunite with Carol in Avengers 4, but our first encounter with her will take place approximately a decade before the modern day MCU events begin.

Then there's Ant-Man and the Wasp, which is a little harder to pin down. We know for a fact that the Ant-Man sequel is set after Captain America: Civil War, and judging by the trailer that was released last week, it looks like Scott Lang is coming at the end of his house arrest, and one would imagine it'd be difficult (though not impossible) to finagle his way out of that to save the world from a purple-skinned alien warlord and then return to life as usual. Although Paul Rudd is credited on IMDB for Avengers: Infinity War, but he hasn't been shown in any of the movie's previews or marketing material so far, suggesting his role is either minimal or non-existent. So perhaps something happens in Ant-Man and the Wasp that prevents Scott from either fully participating in the battle or he just isn't around at all, which could also double as the reason for why Wasp isn't present.

This is obviously in no way official, but for the sake of argument, let's assume that Ant-Man and the Wasp is also set pre-Avengers: Infinity War. This means that within the MCU timeline, Infinity War and Avengers 4 will happen one after the other, allowing for the former movie to set up a shocking twist for the latter movie, like a full-blown reality change. Thanos admitted in the first Infinity War trailer that he wants to balance the universe, though it's unclear if he wants to follow in his comic book counterpart's footsteps and destroy it all as a profession of his love to Death, or if he just wants to remake reality to something more to his liking. We also can't discount the possibility that someone else using the Infinity Stones to change reality, as in the Infinity Gauntlet comic book storyline, both Nebula and Adam Warlock briefly possessed those powers. Josh Brolin did admit that Thanos might not obtain all the Infinity Stones, but that doesn't mean another individual couldn't succeed where he failed.

Thanos in Avengers: Infinity War

Some unofficially-released information concerning Avengers 4 also suggests that our protagonists won't quite be themselves during the movie, from Clint Barton potentially becoming Ronin to Robert Downey Jr. wearing a S.H.I.E.L.D. jacket and having blonde-ish hair in a scene where he's interacting with a younger Captain America. Granted, these could simply be status quo changes from the aftermath of Avengers: Infinity War, but if Avengers 4 is going to be as large in scale as Infinity War, if not larger, then seeing these characters living similar, yet very different lives in an all-new reality would be a cool way to bring something unique to the table.

We also know that Tony Stark's holographic B.A.R.F. technology will factor into Avengers 4, so maybe Tony or someone else is able to retain their memories of the main MCU (like how Wolverine remembered the original Marvel universe during the House of M comic book storyline), and they have to use B.A.R.F. to display these memories as a template for how reality is supposed to look once they start putting everything back to normal with the Infinity Stones or some other kind of great cosmic/magical power. That objective would surely be accomplished towards the end of Avengers 4, if not somewhere closer to the middle part of the movie. When all is said and done, the world we've watched on the big screen for more than a decade would be functioning normally again, marking the end of one chapter and segueing into a new one.

RELATED: 9 Big Things We Want to See in the MCU in 2018

Avengers: Infinity War will be released in theaters on May 4, and Avengers 4 will follow on May 3, 2019. Keep checking back with CinemaBlend for news on both movies, and don't forget to browse through our Marvel movies guide to learn what other theatrical MCU projects are on the way.

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