Avengers: Infinity War shook up the Marvel Cinematic Universe in a pretty major way, and fans are waiting with bated breath to find out just how Avengers 4, aka Endgame, is going to carry the story forward.
It's been a long time coming, but we finally have a name for the film and the first official trailer. Also read on for a release date and a few bits of confirmed casting.
Avengers: Endgame release date
Here's one of the few things we know for sure about Avengers 4: when it's coming out. The big day is 26 April 2019, a week earlier than the original 3 May release.
It'll be preceded slightly by the next Marvel movie, Captain Marvel, in early March. Check out our guide to every other big film coming out in the next year to see what else we have to look forward to.
Watch the trailer
After months of teasing and waiting, Marvel has released the first trailer for Avengers 4, including the reveal of the film's official title: Endgame.
Posters and photos
Marvel has released one official poster for Endgame so far, and it's right in classic Avengers tradition: a big ol' A. This one's a little dustier than usual though...
Cast and crew
Just like with the most recent Avengers film, Avengers 4 is set to have a massive sprawling cast - so here are most of the actors we're expecting to see when the film arrives next year:
|Robert Downey Jr.||Iron Man/Tony Stark|
|Chris Evans||Captain America/Steve Rogers|
|Scarlett Johansson||Black Widow/Natasha Romanoff|
|Mark Ruffalo||The Hulk/Bruce Banner|
|Jeremy Renner||Hawkeye/Clint Barton|
|Benedict Cumberbatch||Dr. Strange/Stephen Strange|
|Chadwick Boseman||Black Panther/T'Challa|
|Tom Holland||Spider-Man/Peter Parker|
|Paul Bettany||The Vision|
|Elizabeth Olsen||Scarlet Witch/Wanda Maximoff|
|Paul Rudd||Ant-Man/Scott Lang|
|Evangeline Lilly||The Wasp/Hope van Dyne|
|Brie Larson||Captain Marvel/Carol Danvers|
|Chris Pratt||Star-Lord/Peter Quill|
|Bradley Cooper||Rocket Raccoon|
|Sebastian Stan||Winter Soldier/Bucky Barnes|
|Anthony Mackie||Falcon/Sam Wilson|
|Don Cheadle||War Machine/James Rhodes|
|Gwyneth Paltrow||Pepper Potts|
|Samuel L. Jackson||Nick Fury|
We've almost certainly missed a few names off there, so let us know if there's anyone we should add - though we have made a point of including a few characters who didn't make it to the end of Infinity War, just in case they somehow turn up again next time around...
There's also speculation that Tessa Thompson's Valkyrie from Thor: Ragnarok may make an appearance, fuelled in part by this tweet. It also looks like Tilda Swinton's Ancient One from Doctor Strange may make a brief appearance, after a producer let slip in a panel that they'd gotten her back for one day of filming.
More concretely, Frank Grillo will apparently be returning as the villain Crossbones - last seen exploding at the beginning of Captain America: Civil War - apparently as part of a flashback sequence of some sort (though there might be more to it than that - read on for some of our big plot speculation). Grillo has since said that he "confirmed nothing" and was just having fun, but we have our doubts.
13 Reasons Why star Katherine Langford is also appearing in a mystery role, though given she's an up-and-coming star, we suspect it'll either be significant for Avengers 4 or even setup for a major role in future films.
Behind the camera, brothers Joe and Anthony Russo are directing again, after calling the shots on Infinity War, and both Winter Soldier and Civil War before that.
Their regular cinematographer Trent Opaloch is also along for the film, and he's shooting a script written by Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely, who wrote those same three films, along with an assortment of other bits and pieces across the MCU.
Acclaimed composer Alan Silvestri is also back, bringing his fourth Marvel score, after Infinity War and each of the first Avengers and Captain America films.
Avengers 4 has been kept under such secrecy that even the name - Endgame - was kept secret until only a few months before the film's release. While Avengers 4 started out as Infinity War Part II, that changed when directors Joe and Anthony Russo decided that the two films were really separate entities, rather than two parts of the same movie.
They never really said why they were keeping the title so secret, so it was widely assumed that it was because it was a spoiler for either Infinity War or Ant-Man and the Wasp, though Endgame isn't really. It's one of the things Doctor Strange says as he looks ahead at the group's possible routes to victory, but beyond that it doesn't give much away.
So what do we know about the plot? Well, spoilers obviously, but we know it picks up at some point after Thanos has gone and killed off half the universe. The remaining Avengers - mostly the classic team - are left picking up the pieces, and from the looks of the first trailer than includes Tony Stark drifting helplessly in space after being stranded on the planet Titan.
We know that Ant-Man is going to turn up after being presumed dead - he was left stranded in the Quantum Realm at the end of his last movie - and we'd put big money on that somehow tying into how the Avengers go ahead and save the day.
That film leans heavily on the Quantum Realm - the subatomic universe that exists between particles - and given that Ant-Man was conspicuously missing from Infinity War, it's very possible that Ant-Man's biggest secret could hold the power to bring back the Avengers, and, well, 50 percent of the universe.
The Ant-Man and the Wasp post-credit scene reveals that it's the Quantum Realm that saves Ant-Man himself from the Thanos snap, which kills the rest of the Pym/Van Dyne family. That in itself doesn't reveal much about what's to come, but there is one potentially interesting element: he's in the Quantum Realm to collect 'Quantum Healing Particles' - we wouldn't be shocked if they're somehow used to fuse Hulk's personalities, or somehow bring back the snapped characters.
This could also somehow tie into the rumours of a time travel plotline in Avengers 4, thanks to set photos of the main cast back in their Phase 1 outfits, which would be a very neat way to undo all of Thanos's damage. We could easily imagine there's a plot in which the Avengers have to travel back through the previous movies to gather all of the Infinity Stones and use them to reverse the Snap.
It's also possible that the Skrulls will have a major role to play. We know that Captain Marvel is going to turn up in the film after debuting in her own solo movie in March, in which she'll be fighting against the shapeshifting alien race the Skrulls.
It's possible Marvel might draw on the classic Secret Invasion arc from the comics, a story which revealed that some of the most beloved Marvel heroes were actually aliens in disguise - though we're not sure how they'd tie this into the Thanos stuff.
Either way, Captain Marvel herself has to turn up and bring some of her cosmic power to bear one way or another.
It seems almost like a given that someone - or multiple someones - are going to have to die as part of the effort to bring back the snapped heroes, with Captain America and Iron Man the obvious choices. Both are major characters played by big (expensive) stars at the end of their contracts, who Marvel will no doubt be keen to replace or re-cast.
Chris Evans has often hinted that he'd soon be done with the part, and his tweet after wrapping production on the new film sounded a lot like a farewell to the character. Of course, this being the MCU, there's always another wrinkle, and this one comes from co-director Joe Russo.
"I think it was more emotional for him than it was us because he’s not done yet," he told USA Today. "I won’t explain what that means but fans will soon understand what I’m talking about."
So... he's not going to die? Is the character not done yet, or the actor? Is Chris Evans going to do more films? A TV series? WHAT'S GOING ON!?!
Whatever's happening, one of the few specific plot details the screenwriters have revealed is that Captain America and Black Widow both “have a much bigger role to play in that second film,” whatever that means.
We've also seen what might be our first look at the new team in action, thanks to a piece of supposedly official leaked concept art:
If it's real, the concept art offers a few interesting hints to the film. For one, note the inclusion of both Ant-Man and Hawkeye (missing from Infinity War), along with the first appearance of Brie Larson's Captain Marvel - in a costume that has since turned out to be pretty accurate to what she'll be wearing in her solo film.
There have also been a few costume changes. Captain America is back in his patriotic duds, War Machine has had some major upgrades, Hawkeye looks to have shifted towards his Ronin persona from the comics (since seen in the first trailer), and most interestingly Hulk is in a unitard - suggesting he may have adopted the Professor Hulk persona, a fusion of Hulk and Bruce Banner that boasts the strength of one and the intellect of the other.
We were a little sceptical that this was legit, but another leak makes it look more likely. Images shared on Twitter show art of some of the separate characters from the above poster in the exact same poses (along with some extra glimpses of Captain Marvel), showing the art that the poster as a whole was built out of. Of course, these could just be the files used to mock a fake up in the first place, but the extra Captain Marvel images make us think not - so we reckon this is how our heroes are going to look next time around.
Those might not be the only new costume designs though. The back of a supposed toy set featuring Rocket Raccoon and Thor has also appeared online, showing the pair of them in some spiffy new white duds that are pretty unlike anything we've seen in the films so far:
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