Social media can be one of the greatest launching points for film theories to begin swirling — especially when it comes to superhero movies. Earlier this week, Robert Downey Jr. took to Twitter to give us a sneak peak behind the scenes of Avengers: Infinity War.
In this mealtime photo, we see Robert Downey, Jr., Benedict Cumberbatch, Mark Ruffalo and Benedict Wong sharing an off-screen moment and everyone looks to be in high spirits. Even though RDJ evokes some fond memories of facial hair bros, there is a bigger potential secret hiding in this picture if you look closely: RDJ is sporting a familiar shirt with an iconic circular hole.
By the end of Iron Man 3, Tony Stark had had his arc reactor removed from his chest. So the question is, why does he have that hole built into his costume again? Could this foreshadow big things for Iron Man?
There are a bunch of theories out there, some plausible and others, well, kind of a stretch. But there's a reason for everything in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, so here are a few possibilities to think about:
1. Could Thanos Be Playing With Time Travel?
Although farfetched, it's possible the Mad Titan will at some point take Doctor Strange's Eye of Agamotto, considering that it's an infinity stone. Yet, how he would use that power is unknown — so we could see Thanos alter time and space, taking us back in time to a point where Tony needs the arc reactor to stay alive.
2. Does Tony Need It For Outer Space?
In The Avengers, Tony only barely cracked the atmosphere when he diverted a nuclear missile from New York City into the wormhole. He was drained of a great deal of energy and his suit promptly shut down when it breached the wormhole. Realizing that there are so many unknowns in the depths of space, Tony may realize that his suit needs some major modifications.
In the history of the comics, Tony has several suits that allow him to travel into space, so it would make sense that — with Thanos coming to Earth — we could see one of Tony's space armors. With each of these suits requiring massive amounts of power and energy, it stands to reason that Tony would have to utilize a more powerful arc reactor; this could easily mean that he would need to place the reactor in his chest again.
3. Does Iron Man Have A New 'Bleeding Edge' Nanotech Suit?
With Thanos coming to Earth for the final showdown, Tony may need to bring a new arc reactor to the fight — quite possibly leading to the introduction of the Bleeding Edge Armor.
The Bleeding Edge Armor, a.k.a Model 38, has only appeared in the comics as of 2010, so it's fairly new to the comics legacy. But it made Iron Man one of the most powerful heroes in the world, able to go toe-to-toe with Thor and even a fully enraged Red Hulk. This armor is made of billions of nano-machines that can be commanded at will to become any sort of structure on Tony's skin — from armor to clothes, or even to disguise himself as a different being altogether.
This armor is completely stored inside Tony's body, and is powered by a manmade star, which could explain the hole in his shirt — as he'd likely need to hold that star in a reactor-style device on his chest.
Either way, Avengers: Infinity War is going to be the most incredible teamup that we've seen on screen, and the possibilities are limitless when it comes to Tony Stark as he's always been known to have something up his sleeve to pull out at the last moment and save the day.
Avengers: Infinity War hits theaters on May 4, 2018.