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Everything You Need to Know Before You Watch “Avengers: Endgame”

We’re living in exciting times, y’all. We’re living in a world that is post-“Avengers: Infinity War,” the most ambitious crossover in cinematic history and the climax of one of film’s absolute greatest franchises (a franchise of franchises? Franchise-ception?). The highly anticipated follow-up, “Avengers: Endgame,” is right on the horizon.

Anyone that has kept up with the MCU knows that there is a LOT in play here and even more at stake. We know that you’re amped for “Endgame” and we’re here to make sure you’re ready.

ALL ABOARD THE MARVEL HYPE TRAIN! WOO WOO!!!!!

Here’s everything you need to know, going into the final battle.

What happened?

Thanos (aka The Mad Titan, played by Josh Brolin) is one bad motherfucker and is hellbent on a single goal: solving overpopulation in the universe by way of mass genocide. In order to achieve his goal, he needed to assemble all Infinity Stones (The Soul Stone, The Reality Stone, The Mind Stone, The Space Stone, The Time Stone and The Power Stone) into the all-powerful Infinity Gauntlet.

Despite the best efforts of the Avengers (with the help of the people of Wakanda and the Guardians of the Galaxy), Thanos is successful and wipes out half of all sentient life in the universe with the literal snap of his fingers.

The result? Mass devastation and buckets of Marvel fan tears.

Avengers End Game
Photo credit: Marvel Studios/Disney

Who is dead?

Basically everyone. “Infinity War” was the Red Wedding of comic book movies. No fan favorite was safe. For our purposes here, there are two categories of Dead in the “Avengers”: Killed Pre-Snap and Disintegrated.

Who died Pre-Snap?

  • Loki (Tom Hiddleston) – Killed during an attempt to assassinate Thanos in the opening scene of “Infinity War”
  • Heimdall (Idris Elba) – Killed during Thanos’s attack on the Asgardians
  • Gamora (Zoe Saldana) – Sacrificed by Thanos to obtain the Soul Stone
  • Vision (Paul Bettany) – Gets his head straight up crushed by Thanos and has the Infinity Stone ripped straight out of his skull

Brutal stuff, right? But that’s not even the half of it.

Who was disintegrated?

  • T’Challa/Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman)
  • Peter Parker/Spider-Man (Tom Holland) Writer’s Note: Still not over it. Will never be over it.
  • Stephen Strange/Doctor Strange (Benadryl Cumberbund/Benedict Cumberbatch)
  • Bucky Barnes/The Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan)
  • Sam Wilson/Falcon (Anthony Mackie)
  • Wanda Maximoff/Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen)
  • Peter Quill/Star-Lord (Chris Pratt)
  • Drax/Just Drax, Like Cher (Dave Bautista)
  • Mantis (Pom Klementieff)
  • Groot (Voiced by Vin Diesel)
  • Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson)
  • Maria Hill (Cobie Smulders)
  • Hope Pym/The Wasp (Evangeline Lilly)
  • Hank Pym and Janet Van Dyne/The OG Ant-Man and the Wasp (Michael Douglas and Michelle Pfeiffer)
  • Shuri (Letitia Wright) Note: Though her demise in the events of the film is uncertain, Marvel’s “Avenge the Fallen” campaign that debuted in March 2019 confirmed our suspicions.

Ashes to ashes, dust to dust. That’s… pretty devastating. So, who is left to battle Thanos?

Here’s who survived The Snap:

  • Rocket Racoon (Voiced by Bradley Cooper)
  • Steve Rogers/Captain America (Chris Evans)
  • Tony Stark/Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.)
  • Thor (Chris Hemsworth)
  • Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson)
  • Bruce Banner/The Hulk (Mark Ruffalo)
  • James Rhodes (aka Rhodey)/War Machine (Don Cheadle)
  • Nebula (Karen Gillan)
  • Okoye (Danai Gurira)
  • M’Baku (played by “Us” star and all-around daddy, Winston Duke)
  • Scott Lang/Ant-Man (Paul Rudd)
  • Clint Barton/Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner)
  • Carol Danvers/Captain Marvel (Brie Larson)
  • Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow)
  • Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson)
  • Wong (Benedict Wong)

What happens to the OG Avengers?

Many of the survivors of The Snap make up the original Avengers team that we initially saw in action back in 2012. While it is a relief to see long-beloved characters that have been there since the beginning surviving to fight another day, Marvel fans everywhere are anxiously wringing their hands.

Avengers End Game
Photo credit: Marvel Studios/Disney

What members of the original team will fall to make way for the next generation of heroes?

And, keep in mind, alive does not necessarily mean “doing well.” We last left Tony Stark floating in space and on death’s door. Cap and Thor are down but not out as both of these OG heroes went toe to toe with Thanos in direct combat in “Infinity War” and walked away. They can hold their own, but will it be enough?

Perhaps the most exciting member of the surviving squad is Captain Marvel. The titular character in the most recent Marvel release leading up to “Endgame” is already an immensely popular character… not to mention an incredibly powerful hero, unmatched (as far as we know) in the universe. Hell, she’s Nick Fury’s emergency contact! Her inclusion in “Endgame” spells big trouble for Thanos.

Captain Marvel
Captain Marvel (Brie Larson) | Photo credit: Chuck Zlotnick ©Marvel Studios 2019

Which brings us to this point… the dawn of “Endgame.”

Carol Danvers has joined the surviving Avengers and the ultimate face-off is about to go down. Check out the official “Avengers: Endgame” synopsis:

After the devastating events of “Avengers: Infinity War,” the universe is in ruins. With the help of remaining allies, the Avengers assemble once more in order to undo Thanos’ actions and restore order to the universe.

But how?

Avengers: Infinity War
Photo courtesy of Marvel Studios/Disney

What exactly are we dealing with here?

The most important development of “Infinity War” is the fact that Thanos now holds all of the Infinity Stones. This is the source of his ultimate power and proved to be a huge obstacle to our heroes in their battles with him in that first installment.

The fact that he still has the Gauntlet means that Thanos is still incredibly dangerous. These are the stones Thanos has and the powers they render to him:

  1. The Soul Stone: Obtained by Thanos in “Avengers: Infinity War” after sacrificing Gamora. Its powers are not entirely known, but it is regarded as the most powerful and mysterious of all the Stones.
  2. The Reality Stone: First introduced in “Thor: The Dark World” and obtained by Thanos in “Avengers: Infinity War.” The stone grants its possessor the ability to bend laws of reality and physics, converting matter into dark matter.
  3. The Mind Stone: First introduced in “The Avengers,” the stone was held in Loki’s scepter, as a gift from Thanos so that Loki may be able to obtain the Tesseract. Following the Battle of New York, the stone fell into S.H.I.E.L.D’s possession before being stolen by HYDRA. In “Avengers: Age of Ultron,” Tony Stark experimented on the gem, leading to the creation of the villain Ultron, who possessed the stone until it was reclaimed and used to birth the hero, Vision. Vision possessed the stone from the events of “Captain America: Civil War” through the majority of “Infinity War,” before Thanos ripped it from Vision’s skull. The Mind Stone grants its possessor the power to control the hearts and minds of others.
  4. The Space Stone: First introduced as the Tesseract, this Infinity Stone has been held by many individuals including Johann Schmidt of HYDRA, Mar-Vell of the Kree, the Skrulls and Loki of Asgard. In “Infinity War,” Thanos shatters the Tesseract to reveal the Space Stone. The Space Stone grants the wielder control over space itself and gives them the ability to open portals and achieve interdimensional travel.
  5. The Time Stone: First introduced in “Doctor Strange,” the Time Stone was first contained inside the Eye of Agamotto and was under the protection of the Masters of the Mystic Arts, then was eventually wielded by Doctor Strange. In “Infinity War,” Doctor Strange relinquished the Time Stone to Thanos in exchange for Iron Man’s life. The stone grants its possessor the ability to manipulate time, even places beyond time (like the Dark Dimension).
  6. The Power Stone: First introduced in “Guardians of the Galaxy,” the Power Stone was hidden within the Orb and pursued by Thanos throughout the film. At the end of “Guardians of the Galaxy,” Star-Lord was able to hold the Power Stone (which typically kills any being that touches it), revealing his divine heritage. The Power Stone was entrusted to the Nova Corps on Xandar, where it remained until Thanos attacked Xandar in “Infinity War.” The Power Stone is incredibly dangerous and is capable of destroying entire planets.
Avengers End Game
Photo credit: Marvel Studios/Disney

Popular Theories for “Endgame”

Clearly, Thanos poses a massive threat and while fans are optimistic that he will be defeated no one is quite sure how. After the shocking twists in “Infinity War,” no one is 100% certain on what to expect from this follow-up. Here are some of the most popular theories, floating around out there:

1. The Quantum Realm

This is perhaps the most likely scenario. At the end of “Ant-Man and the Wasp,” Scott Lang is exploring the Quantum Realm during The Snap and is spared — his companions, not so much. We know that Doctor Strange looked into time and saw all possibilities and one outcome where the Avengers can defeat Thanos. We also know that Doctor Strange has been able to manipulate the Time Stone to travel beyond time, a power that Thanos now possesses. However, the Quantum Realm exists outside the fabric and gets down to the very molecular level of the universe. Is it possible that Ant-Man and maybe the other Avengers will be able to travel in a fabric outside of time? Maybe outside the detection of Thanos?

2. Captain Marvel Whoops Some Ass

Our girl Carol proved herself a force to be reckoned with in “Captain Marvel,” and fans everywhere are convinced that she’s tough enough to bring a world of pain down on Thanos, now that we know she survived The Snap.

3. Cap Bites the Dust

Marvel fans have been whispering for years that the death of one of the original Avengers must be coming soon. Honestly, I think we were all surprised to see so many survive the first wave.

Captain America seems to be at the top of everyone’s list for heroes that fall to Thanos. Maybe it’s his age, maybe it’s what he symbolizes, maybe it’s that the comics leave room for a new hero to take up the star-spangled shield, or maybe it’s that rumors have been floating around about Chris Evans and his Marvel contract.

Either way, Captain America has the odds against him in the dead pool.

4. The Ant-Man Theory…

There is, if you can believe it, a very popular theory out there that Ant-Man will save the universe by shrinking himself, running up the Mad Titan’s butthole, and then expanding and blowing up Thanos from the inside. Seriously.

While the film’s creators have refuted this particular theory, one can only hope.

Photo credit: Marvel Studios/Disney

What comes next?

Do you want to know the truly crazy part of this whole MCU deep dive? It doesn’t end with “Endgame.”

That’s right. The MCU will continue with more adventures and films lined up beyond the horizon. We’ve got the next installment in the Spider-Man franchise coming, another “Guardians of the Galaxy” has been greenlit, Black Widow is finally getting her own movie, and the list continues.

Since Marvel is a Disney property I can say this: The MCU shall go on… to infinity and beyond!

“Avengers: Endgame” opens in theaters on April 26, 2019. And remember #DontSpoiltheEndgame until next week!

More Marvel reading:

“Captain Marvel” Film Review

“Avengers: Infinity War” Film Review

“Ant-Man and the Wasp” Film Review

“Black Panther” Film Review

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