If you've seen Avengers: Infinity War, then you know one thing for certain: the were some significant status quo changes. After all, with Thanos as the film's central villain viewers were guaranteed to see some big shifts but what if what played out on screen wasn't the whole story?
This is the part where I tell you that if you haven't seen Avengers: Infinity War yet you want to stop reading right now. There are going to be huge, major, detailed plot spoilers from this point forward so if you're trying to avoid spoilers? Now's a good time to go check out some of our other articles. You've been warned!
Even though many fans had a strong gut feeling going into Infinity War that Thanos would prevail it was still shocking to see it happen. The Mad Titan gathered all six Infinity Stones, snapped his fingers, and half of the life in the universe crumbled. Gone, presumably dead, were beloved heroes like Winter Soldier, Black Panther, Falcon, even Spider-Man. One snap, so many deaths with only a few people left behind to try to make sense of it all. Fans looked on in horror as Captain America, Black Widow, Bruce Banner, Rhodey, M'Baku, Okoye, Rocket and Thor watched their friends disappear, their hearts breaking when they realized Iron Man and Nebula were the lone survivors on Titan. These were dark scenes.
But what if the heroes fans thought they saw survive didn't survive at all? What if those who turned to ash were the ones who remain alive and very much confused while the "survivors" are the ones have died or, possibly even worse, been taking into Soulworld? On first glance it seems like an insane theory. Why would people crumble if they weren't the ones snuffed out? Doesn't it make sense that the original Avengers would survive? Both are valid points, but there is something to be said for the idea of a twist and there are a few of moments in Avengers: Infinity War that seem to hint that the ending audiences saw may not be the ending they got.
And they all involve Tony Stark.
There are two lines during scenes on Titan that stand out as potentially hinting that the "survivors" are actually the victims. The first is from Thanos himself when, while fighting with Tony, he says that he hopes those who survive remember him. He literally says, "I hope they remember you." Yes, he was preparing to kill Tony at the time -- and ultimately did not because Doctor Strange gave up the Time Stone to save him, but that doesn't mean Thanos didn't expect Tony to vanish when he snapped his fingers. Thanos spared Tony from immediate death. There's no promise that he spared him from the random act of "balancing" the universe. And yes, balancing the universe would be a random act. Thanos previously recalled how he had a completely fair plan to halve the population of Titan by randomly choosing those who would die. The Mad Titan might be well, mad, but he does seem to have a solid sense of equality.
The second hint is when Doctor Strange apologizes to Tony, telling him that he is sorry but that it -- giving Thanos the Time Stone -- was the only way. Why would Strange owe Tony an apology unless, in the one possible outcome where the good guys won Tony ended up dying, sent to another dimension, or somehow otherwise suffered?
There's also the matter of Thanos recognizing Tony and informing him that Tony isn't the only one cursed to know things.
As for why it would be presented that these selected heroes survived but were actually dead, that's anybody's guess, but it certainly would take some of the most powerful and capable heroes off the gameboard, as it were. While it's unlikely that Thanos fears anyone coming after him, there's a lot to be said for demoralizing the real survivors of the universe by taking their greatest heroes. Maybe he intends it as a sobering lesson to not go down the same path again. It’s also worth considering that the ending we saw was a manipulation of reality. Thanos has all the stones. He can make people see whatever he wants them to see. Maybe the perspective audiences saw in the end was the perspective Thanos wanted them to see. Maybe even the dead don’t really know they’re dead yet because of that stone. There are limitless possibilities – and in this case, none of them particularly happy.
The only thing about Infinity War that is absolutely certain is this: Marvel has left us with a lot of unanswered questions and Avengers 4 can't get here fast enough to answer them.5comments
Avengers: Infinity War is in theaters now.
Do you think Marvel threw us a curve ball with the ending of Infinity War or do you think it was more straightforward? Let us know your thoughts in comments!