Let’s teach Marvel about spoilers.
Does Marvel know what spoilers are? We’re skeptical. On the subject of the title of the follow-up movie of Avengers: Infinity War, a yet untitled sequel, they appear to be confused. Yesterday, Cinema Blend published an interview with Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige, who answered the direct question of “I’m curious if the reason [they’re not going to announce the title] is because it’s a spoiler” with “Yeah, for sure.”
This led to all sorts of speculation as to what kind of spoiler would be so hot that Marvel wouldn’t want to release the title of the Infinity War sequel until after we’ve seen the first movie. For a time, it was fun. Then later in the day, a BBC News reporter talked to Zoe Saldana on the red carpet for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, who said that after Infinity War, they had to go back for Gauntlet. This infers that Infinity Gauntlet is the title of the fourth Avengers film. And that’s not a spoiler. As our friends at io9 point out, not only is “Gauntlet” not a spoiler, it’s possible that’s just the working title of the film.
So either Marvel doesn’t have a handle on what a spoiler is, or they’ve given their actors a placeholder title to talk about. At this point, we don’t particularly care. Eventually they will release all kinds of news about their fourth Avengers film and the pop culture blogosphere will cover it breathlessly. In the mean time, we’d like to have some fun with this idea and present pitches for Avengers 4 plots that would actually be spoilers for Avengers: Infinity War.
Let’s see how this goes…
Brad Gullickson: Here is my dream scenario: the cadre of 20th Century Fox executives press stop on the Fantastic Four franchise, shrug their shoulders at the stillborn monstrosity flat-lining on the table, and simply pass the problem back to Marvel Studios. No need for any fancy Sony/Spider-Man business dealings, they’ve proven that they have no understanding for these characters, and concede the property back to the House of Ideas. This will launch Phase Fantastic 4…I mean, where can you go after defeating the omnipotent onslaught of Thanos and his Infinity Gauntlet? With the Fantastic Four comes Doctor Doom, The Silver Surfer, the Skrulls, Dragon Man, Moloids, the Negative Zone, and Galactus. GALACTUS!!! And we’re not talking some fart cloud of techno bugs like we last saw in Tim Story’s embarrassing sequel. I want to see The Devourer of Worlds: that giant, goofy, purple crowned, Jack Kirby drawn, intergalactic titan. Own it. That’s what the MCU is all about.
So why, Annihilation? We cannot dive directly into the Herald of Galactus storyline; obviously, you leave that potential planetary destruction for the final end credits tag of Avengers 4. Annihilation announces to the comic book freaks in the crowd that the FF have returned home, and tantalizes at a myriad of epic comic book possibilities. The Annihilation arc that spread throughout the cosmic titles at Marvel back in 2006 certainly took advantage of several characters that the modern fanbase is already aware of (Drax, Ronan The Accuser, Nova, Thanos, and the rest of the Guardians), but it also requires the involvement of the dimensional tyrant, Annihilus. A metallic green, freakshow arachnid, Annihilus escapes from The Negative Zone to wreak havoc on the cosmos. Bugboy does this by unleashing “The Annihilation Wave,” an endless armada of warships that obliterates any homeworld that dares stand in its path. Imagine The Last Starfighter plot stretched to Lawrence of Arabia’s epic landscape and runtime. The saga easily allows for The Avengers to be drawn into the conflict, and will provide ample opportunity to tease a number of future projects. A true war film that will still pale under the inevitable threat of Galactus and his unstoppable hunger.
The Avengers: Hydra Strikes Back
Max Covill: Everyone expects Captain America and/or Iron Man to die in Avengers: Infinity War. That much isn’t much of a surprise. Listen to this though. Perhaps even though the Avengers suffer great loses, Thanos is ultimately defeated. This leaves a massive hole in the MCU as to where to go next. The has been one underlining thread through all these films and it is that Hydra is not dead yet.
The biggest way they could do this is by having Captain America go over to Hydra like the current comic book arc. It would be matching what Marvel has been doing in current comic arcs and would totally shock audiences who aren’t familiar with the comic book storyline. This would allow Hydra to come back in a big way and prove that Thanos wasn’t the ultimate villain all along. Of course, this would mean Captain America has to survive Infinity War, but given where Iron Man and Captain America left off anything could happen.
William Dass: Nathaniel Richards, baby. Rama-Tut! If we’re letting backroom deals go wild, I say we go all in for the time traveling Kang the Conqueror. I know, 20th Century Fox owns the rights. But, Marvel has “weird” deal powers, right? Aren’t you looking forward to that (Sony) Spider-Man movie? Kurt Busiek’s Forever arc is the original story line, but the MCU has some flexibility. Kang made a great television appearance in Avengers: Ultron Revolution. And that featured Old Man Thor! Bonus, the time-traveling Kang gives us a chance to pull new heroes out of thin air. New Avengers plus Jason Aaron’s Old Man Thor with the arm of the Destroyer? Yes, please. I can’t think of a more fun way to send off our current roster of Avengers and try out new ones in the process.
Avengers: Secret Invasion
Brad Gullickson: Having spent the last two films meandering through space while having their butts handed to them by the Mad Titan, The Avengers return to Earth only to discover that the shapeshifting Skrulls have invaded every branch of government. Based on the popular mega event written by Brian Michael Bendis and illustrated by Leinil Yu, Secret Invasion provides plenty of paranoid conspiracy to keep the Russo Brothers interested, and a heap of tragedy to infuriate the ravenous fan base. Oh, you thought you loved Black Widow? Well, she’s been a Skrull since Iron Man 2 and everything you know has been a lie!!! An absolutely horrific climax that sets the stage for a truly villainous sequel — Norman Osborne is your new Iron Patriot! Plus, while the Skrulls are devastating the population that still leaves a giant gap in space for Galactus to trounce through (all things must build to Galactus).
Avengers: Infinity War Part II: Electric Boogaloo
Jake Orthwein: After Thanos gets hold of the Infinity Stones, he subjugates the earth, stripping both the Avengers and the Guardians of the Galaxy of their power. But universal domination soon bores the supervillain, so he decides to stage a competition: the Avengers and the Guardians will be pitted against one another in a breakdance competition for the future of humanity. The catch of the dance off is of course that only one team can win; Thanos plans to destroy the losers before surrendering the Infinity Stones to the winners. Paralyzed by their nobility, both teams initially refuse to accept the terms of the competition. But when Starlord busts an unexpected move, the two sets of heroes are locked in a disco-tastic boogie to the death, with the fate of the planet hanging in the balance.
Avengers: Secret Wars
Brad Gullickson: By the time we reach the fourth Avengers film, we will have witnessed 21 interconnected movies in the MCU cycle. We will have ventured multiple times to the cosmos, the dark dimension, the micro-verse, and Planet Hulk. We are ready to get real weird, bring on the Multiverse.
The Avengers are broken. Ripped apart during their conflict with Thanos, Doctor Strange attempts to right some wrongs when he pulls the Infinity Gauntlet free from the Titan. Accessing both the Time and Reality gems, Strange unleashes a series of alternate realities, and they all come smashing together on one celestial body — BATTLEWORLD. Based loosely on Jonathan Hickman and Esad Ribic’s relaunch of Marvel’s first epic crossover event, Secret Wars pits multiple Spider-Mans, Hulks, and Captain Americas against each other. Each corner of Battleworld represents a possible reality. Over one wall you could find Marvel Zombies, over another, The Age of Ultron succeeded in its global extinction. Characters we thought we lost are resurrected, dark paths they could have taken have been ventured. It’s all a big setup to re-start reality, re-introduce the Fantastic Four, and that purple planetary gobbler, Galactus. Again — all terrors must lead to Galactus!
Avengers: Down with the Sickness
Jake Orthwein: With Thanos safely defeated, the Avengers decide to take advantage of their newly amassed Infinity Stones to explore the Galaxy. Ever-conscious of their roles as role models to the community, they decide to share their space travels with an intern: a shy, young biology student named Peter Parker. While collecting organic samples on an alien planet, Peter gets bonded to a Symbiote, amplifying his powers dramatically. At first the Avengers are pleased to learn they have another hero in their midst, but soon Parker becomes aggressive. Convinced that the Avengers are no match for his superior new powers, he plots to steal the Infinity Stones and rule the world for himself. Parker’s plan nearly comes to fruition but is stopped when the Symbiote migrates to a new host: Eddie Brock.
Avengers: The Child Of [Insert Avenger Here]
Ciara Wardlow: The Avengers franchise has already made it clear that it’s not opposed to giving people super-secret families (see: Hawkeye’s weird-ass rural utopia). Unfortunately, family man Clint in Age of Ultron played off less like a major plot twist and more like a major plot face-plant. With this in mind, maybe the MCU feels compelled to make one of those “repeat yourself to redeem yourself” moves, like the Star Wars franchise did with Kylo Ren and prequel Anakin Skywalker, to prove it can do a secret family reveal that doesn’t play out like the world’s most boring fever dream.
Christopher Campbell: We’re all expecting someone to die by the end of Avengers: Infinity War, but confirming that would be a spoiler, for sure. Maybe it’s a couple characters, namely Iron Man and Captain America, because it’s time for Robert Downey Jr. and Chris Evans to get out of the franchise. Infinity War ends with their funerals and then a cliffhanger where they’re hands reach out of their graves. Then the next movie sees them come back as zombies. It turns out that something out in the cosmos infected their dead bodies, and that infection returned to Earth with the mighty heroes. Zombie Iron Man and Zombie Cap attack the other Avengers and more and more of them become undead monsters, as well.
Turning Downey and Evans’s characters into zombies would make it so they could continue on screen without their actors being involved. Surely Marvel has bought them off for their likenesses, right? So they can digitally throw zombified versions of their faces onto surrogate actors and maybe by the time of their being cured the technology is so good that even normal versions of the characters can be portrayed completely digitally. Disney and Marvel have been developing this enough that by 2019, it should be more passable than it was with Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. Of course, with Infinity War and Avengers 4 filming back to back right now it’s likely Downey and Evans don’t need to be replaced just yet.
So maybe Avengers 5 can be Avengers: We Don’t Need Actors Anymore.