WARNING: This column will have SPOILERS for Avengers: Infinity War. Stop reading now if you haven't yet seen the film.
When Marvel Studios announced its Phase Three slate of movies back in late 2014, originally the third and fourth Avengers movies were titled Infinity War Part I and Infinity War Part II, indicating that they would be two halves of one massive story. However, by July 2016, Marvel rid Avengers 4 of its Infinity War Part II title, as directors Joe and Anthony Russo didn't want moviegoers thinking that these movies were one large epic split in two. That said, if you've seen Avengers: Infinity War, you know that Avengers 4 will remain closely tied to its predecessor. With an ending like Infinity War's, it has to!
Regardless, ever since Avengers 4 went untitled, there's been plenty of speculation about what its new title will be from both general moviegoers and the MCU actors. The Russos have said that they're going to wait until people have absorbed Avengers: Infinity War enough before dropping the title, though Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige has admitted that holding the title back has backfired. There's still a lot to unpack over what went down in Infinity War, but with a year to go until Avengers 4's release, we've gathered together some possibilities for what Phase Three's final chapter will be called.
Avengers: Infinity Gauntlet
Thanos has been one of Marvel Comics' greatest villains for over four decades, but what arguably remains his biggest story is 1991's The Infinity Gauntlet, which saw the Mad Titan using the six Infinity Gems to wipe out half of all life in the universe to impress the personification of Death. Avengers: Infinity War was loosely inspired by The Infinity Gauntlet, but Thanos killing half the universe is only, well, half of the storyline. Eventually the surviving heroes had to triumph over him, and since we'll (hopefully) see that happen in Avengers 4, then perhaps that makes Avengers: Infinity Gauntlet a worthy title candidate. Let's not forget that at the end of Infinity War, Thanos' Infinity Gauntlet, although damaged, was still intact, and the Infinity Stones appeared to still be functional, too, suggesting that he's still an all-powerful, godlike being. If the surviving MCU heroes can miraculously take the Gauntlet and Stones back from him, they might be able to undo his genocide.
The original Avengers: Disassembled crossover event saw Earth's Mightiest Heroes' "traditional" roster being destroyed, resulting in the creation of several new Avengers teams (more on one of them later). Several notable heroes also died during this event, so while the MCU wouldn't be directly adapting this story, the Disassembled subtitle is incredibly fitting. Of Avengers: Infinity War's main heroic lineup, only 10 individuals (including Black Panther allies M'Baku and Okoye) are confirmed to still be alive. It'll be 11 once Captain Marvel arrives on the scene, but nevertheless, these heroes have suffered immeasurable loss, and I suspect they won't all still by chummy with one another when Avengers 4 rolls around. We know that eventually these characters will band back together and somehow bring back most, if not all, of their fallen comrades and the rest of the universe, but considering where we left off with them at the end of Infinity War, calling the next movie Avengers: Disassembled would be in keeping with the bleak turn of events.
Unlike the other entries on this list, there isn't a Marvel Comics storyline/series called Endgame, but if you listened closely during Avengers: Infinity War, the word popped up in an integral moment. After Thanos obtained the Time Stone and transported himself to Earth, Doctor Strange told Tony Stark that they were in the endgame now. Strange didn't elaborate on this statement, but as you'll recall, before Thanos arrived on Titan, Strange used the Time Stone to witness over 14 million possible futures, and in only one of them did the heroes win. Strange had also said to Stark earlier in the movie that he wouldn't hesitate to let him and Spider-Man die in exchange for keeping the Time Stone safe, but then he later willingly handed the green-colored crystal to the Mad Titan in exchange for keeping Tony alive.
The general consensus online among fans is that Strange gave up the Time Stone as the first step in a plan to ultimately defeat Thanos and undo everything he did, i.e. making sure that one winning timeline comes to pass. It's still unclear how letting half the universe dies helps lead to victory, but the endgame will nonetheless unfold next year, so Avengers: Endgame is not only appropriate, it sounds incredible ominous.
Marvel Comics' Annihilation was one of the company's biggest cosmic crossover events, with characters like Thanos, the Guardians of the Galaxy, Silver Surfer and Nova all involved. It's a great storyline to read if you're interested in getting some distance from Marvel's Earth-based tales, but for the sake of the MCU, Avengers 4's connection to Annihilation would be in name only. Put simply, 'annihilation' is a great word to describe what happened at the end of Avengers: Infinity War: half of life in the universe was annihilated, and in order to undo all this, you can bet there will be even more destruction and chaos when the surviving heroes go for Round 2 against Thanos. Information is still scarce on what to expect from Avengers 4, but from what we have learned, it will be just as big in scale as Infinity War, if not bigger. For a movie like that, Avengers: Annihilation has a nice ring to it.
Avengers: Infinity Crusade
Here we have another title where its similarity to the original storyline would be in name only. Published in 1993, The Infinity Crusade, which was a sequel to The Infinity Gauntlet and The Infinity War, saw Adam Warlock using the fully-powered Infinity Gauntlet to expel his good and evil aspects to become totally logical, and the personified good aspects, known as The Goddess, soon targeted the Marvel heroes. Adam Warlock was teased in one of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3's mid-credits scene, but James Gunn has already said he's been saved for a future MCU film (though there's no guarantee it will be Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3). But even ignoring that fact, there's too much that went down in Avengers: Infinity War for Avengers 4 to come remotely close to adapting The Infinity Crusade faithfully. That being said, if the surviving heroes will be trying their hardest to undo what Thanos did by seizing the Infinity Stones for themselves, then Avengers: Infinity Crusade still works remarkably well as a title.
Avengers 4 isn't just the final Phase Three film of the MCU; it also marks the end of an era that began when this franchise launched in 2008. The MCU will continue after that, but Kevin Feige has said that Avengers 4 will deliver a conclusion to the narrative that began with Iron Man. With this conclusion will come big changes with our lineup of protagonists. Even after the universe reverts back to normal, some heroes will depart for good, others will become more prominent. So much like how a New Avengers team formed in the comics after the Avengers: Disassembled storyline, Earth's Mightiest Heroes will also undergo a major shift, even more so then at the end of Avengers: Age of Ultron. Why not highlight this by taking a cue from writer Brian Michael Bendis and call this movie New Avengers. It's short, it's simple and it's to the point.
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