The weekend has seen fan speculation ramp up over the title of the enigmatic Avengers 4. In a remarkable interview, #Marvel visionary Kevin Feige was asked if the title contained a spoiler, and he gave a simple answer:
“Yeah, for sure.”
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Naturally, those three words left fans eagerly speculating as to what the title could be, and what it revealed about the future direction of the MCU. Unfortunately, it seems not everybody at Marvel got the memo to keep that title under wraps. The cast of #GuardiansOfTheGalaxy2 are currently doing the rounds, and Zoe Saldana may have just let the cat out of the bag.
Here's What She Said
Marvel originally planned to film #InfinityWar and Avengers 4 side-by-side, but that proved impossible to coordinate - not least because of the mammoth cast. So the Guardians have just wrapped up their scenes, and will return later in the year to film Avengers 4. Except that's not what Zoe Saldana calls it.
"We all have to go back for Gauntlet later this year."
There's only one 'Gauntlet' this could possibly refer to; the Infinity Gauntlet.
Now here's where it gets interesting, though; pressed about Zoe's comments, James Gunn has just responded:
“It’s not the title. My guess is that Zoe just misspoke. I’ll talk to Zoe today, but I would imagine that is just Zoe misspeaking and saying ‘Infinity Gauntlet’ instead of ‘Infinity War’.”
Is he telling the truth, or simply leading us on? Fans are divided. After all, the reality is that this title would make a lot of sense...
'Avengers: Infinity Gauntlet'
Published in 1991, Infinity Gauntlet is one of the most dearly-loved cosmic stories Marvel Comics has ever released. Under the capable pen of Jim Starlin, #InfinityGauntlet took us through an epic adventure in which Thanos, the Mad Titan, has gained control of the Infinity Stones and assembled them into the famous Infinity Gauntlet. Bearing the Gauntlet, he possesses literally infinite power.
It's an epic story, one in which Thanos cuts loose like never before, and literally erases half of the universe's living beings. The Earth is devastated before Thanos's onslaught, with our world knocked from its axis and sent hurtling into space. Of course, ultimately the power of the Infinity Gauntlet is used to reverse Thanos's destruction, but the simple fact is that this story dwarfs any other story Marvel has ever told in terms of scale.
We knew (from the above tweet) that Marvel insiders were reading Infinity Gauntlet in preparation for Infinity War. For all that's the case, though, the plot of the film has increasingly seemed to differ wildly from Jim Starlin's comics. You have the Black Order, for example, who weren't introduced until 2014's Infinity event; and you have the shocking revelation that Adam Warlock is not in Infinity War—in theory, at least. Now, though, we can understand what's going on.
This Is Why The Title Is A Spoiler
The Infinity Gauntlet comics begin with Thanos already in possession of the Gauntlet, and move on from there. In the #MCU, though, Thanos first has to collect the Infinity Stones - and that, it seems, is what Infinity War is all about. Thanos comes, with his agents the Black Order (and armies of Chitauri?), and hunts down the Infinity Stones. Our heroes assemble to stop him - but evidently they'll fail. We can safely say that the film will end with Thanos triumphant, with the Mad Titan finally gaining the infinite power he so desperately seeks.
Avengers 4 won't be released till a year later, and - should it be titled Infinity Gauntlet - we'd assume it will see Earth's Mightiest Heroes assemble against Thanos's might. But what will Earth's fate be in the meantime? Is it possible that Infinity War will end with the Avengers' greatest defeat, with the power of the Infinity Stone used to ravage the Earth? Whatever happens to the Earth, it seems likely that the film will close with the Avengers heading into space for their ultimate showdown with Thanos. If that's the case, then both #AntManandtheWasp and #CaptainMarvel will be set in a world without heroes, and will see new heroes step forward to protect the Earth while the Avengers are offworld.
Meanwhile, the title of Infinity Gauntlet also adds weight to Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. We know that #JamesGunn's sequel involves a focus on the family dynamic between Zoe Saldana's Gamora and Karen Gillan's Nebula; it's set to give us an in-depth look at Nebula's character and motivation in particular. That's important because Nebula played a key role in the resolution of the Infinity Gauntlet comics, stealing the Gauntlet from Thanos. Unfortunately, well, let's just say Nebula proved just as dangerous a bearer of the Gauntlet as Thanos...
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It's possible that #ZoeSaldana has let the cat out of the bag - and given us a massive hint at the future shape of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. If her throwaway comment is right, then Avengers 4 bears a simple, ominous title: Infinity Gauntlet. Personally, I'm thrilled. As exciting as the prospect of Infinity War may be, if it's setting up Infinity Gauntlet? So much the better.
Are you looking forward to 'Avengers: Infinity Gauntlet'?
(Poll Image Credit: Marvel Comics)