All good things must come to an end and that also includes The Avengers in Captain America: Civil War. Marvel's Phase 3 is putting a lot of focus on new characters like, Doctor Strange, Captain Marvel, Spider-Man and Black Panther and the last look we'll get at an original Avenger is going to be in Thor: Ragnarok.
That is, of course, until the Infinity War starts - and there's been some interesting inside knowledge leaking out about Marvel's plans for the Avengers leading up to the Infinity War movies. Let's look at what we know and what plans Marvel has up their sleeves for how they are going to reassemble the Avengers after Captain America 3.
Take note: Possible spoilers for Avengers: Age of Ultron and Captain America: Civil War follow.
The Avengers Age of Ultron Aftermath
Avengers Age of Ultron is doing a lot of Phase 3 set up - which makes a lot of sense seeing as it was developed as the final movie of Phase 2 before they decided to squeeze Ant-Man into it. From everything that we've heard confirmed or through second hand, trusted sources, is that Avengers 2 will directly lead into the events of Captain America 3, Thor 3, Black Panther and possibly even introduce Captain Marvel in a late scene cameo (though that rumor seems to be solely based on old drafts of the Avengers 2 script and possibly even debunked by now).
What is certain is that there will be catastrophic damage done in The Avengers: Age of Ultron and this time it isn't going to be just centered in the Avengers hometown of New York. Avengers 2 is moving the story to a global scale, raising the stakes and putting the kind of pressure on the Avengers that can cause them to splinter apart.
The Scarlet Witch Hex Effect
Not helping things is a pesky Scarlet Witch who will be giving many, if not all, of the Avengers some hex induced nightmares - including treating Thor to a vision of some possible Ragnarok-y things to come up in Asgard since Loki has been unwittingly left in charge of things. This is going to cause Thor to be absent from the proceedings in Captain America 3 but his Thor: Ragnarok is expected to have a strong indication of where things are heading in the Infinity War saga.
Scarlet Witch also plays a big part in why Hulk goes bonkers in Avengers 2 - the recent description of the beginning of the Hulkbuster fight that came out of the Disney shareholders meeting featured Tony Stark trying to reason with Hulk by saying, "The witch is messing with your brain! You’re smarter than her, you’re Bruce Banner!"
The fallout of this fight between Hulk and a Hulkbusting Iron-Man will result in Bruce Banner going back into seclusion. Whether that means he'll disappear into another isolated part of the world or if he'll end up locked away somewhere as he found himself after the events of World War Hulk, remains to be seen. You should expect both Thor and Hulk to reemerge during the Infinity War movies, which leads me to believe, among other obvious reasons, that they won't be launching Hulk into space quite yet.
The Death and Rebirth of Captain America
I've recently written a pretty thorough run down of who you should expect to see on both sides of the battle lines in Captain America: Civil War. But who might not make it out of Captain America 3 alive? There is definitely a big bullseye on the back of Captain America going into his third movie. This is primarily due to the fact that all of the past 10 years of Captain America's storyline in the Marvel Comic books hinge on the events of Civil War - and the fact that he is shot at the end of that series of books.
It certainly doesn't help matters that all the main figures in that assassination were introduced and set up during the events of Captain America 2 - we have Sharon Carter, Crossbones and The Winter Soldier all in play for the MCU's Civil War, meaning Captain America is very likely to take a bullet before the credits roll. Of course Steve Rogers doesn't end up dead for very long and that's definitely how it'll play out in the Infinity Wars as well.
After Captain America: Civil War, the last of the original Avengers we'll see for a while will be in Thor: Ragnarok. Much of the plotting that is going on at Marvel is clearly laid out to be headed toward the Infinity War movies and Thanos' plan for the Infinity Gauntlet. Clearly Thor, Asgard and Ragnarok are going to play a big part in getting us there as that magical glove is being kept under glass in the halls of Asgard.
To Infinity Wars and Beyond
Some informed knowledge is out there that tells us that you shouldn't expect to see many of superhuman Avengers, outside of Hulk and our undisputed leader Iron-Man (further negotiations pending), until Avengers: Infinity War Part 2. But it doesn't really take much in the way of confirmation or insider knowledge to figure that out since we can look at contracts and see that after Thor 3 there's only room for one more movie to bring the entire gang back together.
This means that Chris Evan's Captain America and Chris Hemsworth's Thor really do have to be saved until Avengers: Infinity War Part 2 unless more unpleasant negotiations kick into gear. I wouldn't be surprised if there is a Captain America, in the form of Bucky Barnes, making an appearance in Avengers: Infinity War Part 1 but if these Infinity War movies are indeed being considered two separate movies, even though they are reportedly being filmed back-to-back by the Russo Brothers, you shouldn't expect the Avengers reunion to occur until Part 2.
I think it makes perfect sense as well. There is going to be a lot of new characters to establish during Phase 3 and it is a good idea to devote an Avengers movie to the ones who are really going to be doing a lot of the heavy lifting when it comes to putting together the story leading up to the Infinity War. You have Doctor Strange, Captain Marvel, Spider-Man, Black Panther and the high probability of Black Bolt and the Inhumans to deal with in Avengers: Infinity War Part 1 and they deserve some room of their own to assemble.
It's not like Marvel will have to worry about getting butts in seats for an Avengers movie even if Thor and Cap aren't in the picture. I'm sure there will be plenty of hints that the old gang will be jumping into this Infinity War eventually and people aren't going to skip the first episode when they know the second one is right around the corner - you might as well take advantage of that.
What do you think? How do you see the the events of Marvel's Phase 3 drawing to a conclusion? Let us know in the comments below!