As the calendar slowly turns to 2019, we inch closer and closer to finding out more information about Marvel Studios' Avengers 4, a movie that we know little about. While a teaser trailer is inevitable by the end of the year — Marvel Studios boss Kevin Feige confirmed as much, after all — we'll start seeing toy marketing popping up all over the place soon.
In fact, some toy packaging designs have already leaked and one of the action
According to the merchandise:
“The Asgardian Thor wields the mighty Stormbreaker in his battle against new foes. Rocket teams up with a new crew to guard the galaxy from an even greater threat.”
Wow, OK — that’s certainly a lot to unpack. If we take it literally, Thor fighting new foes means that Thanos nor his Black Order — Proxima Midnight, Corvus Glaive, Cull Obsidian, and Ebony Maw — are the antagonist here.
And if Rocket and his new squad come across threats bigger than Thanos himself, that’d certainly make for a blockbuster movie, right? But who could those bigger threats be? We have some ideas.
OK, so hear this out. When Thanos (Josh Brolin) used the Infinity Gauntlet to rid the universe of half of its life at the end of Avengers: Infinity War, the Gauntlet was visibly tattered. Scarred and broken as it is, we’re not even quite sure if it’s still functional.
But let’s say it is. How could Thanos possibly become even stronger than he was at the end of Infinity War? He gets a second Infinity Gauntlet — for his other hand.
Yeah, this theory is absolutely bonkers. But maybe, just maybe, it could pan out. One of the primary theories talked about in Avengers 4 involves the use of time travel. How else are the heroes going to stop Thanos?
The Avengers travel back in time to get Eitri (Peter Dinklage) to forge them an Infinity Gauntlet of their own, making it so two Gauntlets exist in the timeline. What happens if Thanos catches wind of this and stops them, only to then find himself in possession of two Infinity Gauntlets?
It’s unlikely. Probably impossible. But for a more plausible solution, how about…
If you’ve been online the past few weeks, chances are you’ve seen the rumor that Avengers 4 will be called Avengers: Annihilation. While those rumors have little to no foundation behind them, they do present an interesting situation.
Should that rumor turn out accurate, that means Marvel Studios would most likely be adapting — at least in some part — Annihilation, a fan-favorite Marvel comics event from the mid-2000s.
Often considered a staple of Marvel’s cosmic mythos, the primary Annihilation mini-series has to deal with Annihilus’ invasion of the universe. With Annihilus and his bug-filled Annihilation Wave in tow, the universe is essentially razed save for a group of survivors led by Richard Rider and some of the Guardians of the Galaxy, such as Peter Quill, Gamora, and Drax.
In the Marvel Cinematic Universe, introducing Annihilus in a post-Infinity War world makes a load of sense. With half of the universe suddenly gone, it certainly leaves the universe without several of its best defenders and extremely susceptible to larger attackers from otherworldly beings.
The problem with this? Annihilus was originally introduced in Fantastic Four Annual #6 (November 1968), so his live-action rights are owned by Fox. (And there's no telling how far along any potential purchase was when Avengers 4 first came down the pike.) While that does seem like a relatively large hiccup, we’ve seen Marvel and Fox’s ability to work out trades before.
After an abysmal cameo in Fox’s Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer, it’s probably safe to say that Marvel Studios is going to pull out all of the stops when they inevitably bring Galactus into the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
There’s really only one of two scenarios that'd work for introducing the world-eating villain to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The first: treat Galactus like the next Thanos and feature a 10-year buildup to the character’s major on-screen debut.
The second scenario would be to introduce Galactus in Marvel Studios’ biggest movie of all time. Sure, Infinity War set several records at the box office earlier this year, but one has to think that Avengers 4 will break whatever records set by its predecessor. With a big movie in tow, it’s only fitting that Feige and company would choose to introduce their biggest villain in their biggest movie.
Much like Annihilus, Galactus first appeared in a Fantastic Four comic — Fantastic Four #48 (March 1966), to be exact — so his live-action rights are currently owned by Fox. Although if Marvel Studios sees fit, they could very well have worked out a deal for the character’s live-action rights.
Here's where things start to get funky. Needless to say, when Thanos followed through with "The Snap" in Infinity War, he disturbed the natural flow of the universe. He didn’t allow life to take its necessary,
Suffice to say, there very well could be a larger-than-life entity — or two — that are upset with what Thanos has done.
In the Marvel mythos, when the Big Bang created the universe, it also created several cosmic entities. Those entities included brothers Lord Chaos and Master Order, the cosmic embodiments of what their names represent.
While Master Order, the agent of universal balance, is the one that’d take up an issue with Thanos killing half of all life with a snap, you can’t have order without chaos. Literally. In the comics, Master Order cannot live without his brother Lord Chaos and vice versa.
Giving some credence to this theory is the fact that comic writing legend Jim Starlin had previously said more of his creations would appear in Avengers 4. And surprise! Lord Chaos and Master Order made their comics debut in Marvel Two-in-One Annual #2 (December 1977), an issue written by Starlin.
Throughout the 20 movies in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, we’ve been introduced to two Elders of the Universe: Benicio del Toro’s The Collector and Jeff Goldblum’s The Grandmaster.
In the Marvel lore, the
Another group of characters we’ve already seen in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, a larger-than-life threat that could be more dangerous than Thanos, would be a Celestial or two that still happened to be alive.
In MCU canon, the Celestials were the original users of the Infinity Stones, so in the instance of Thanos, they could arrive to take back their possessions to save them from further misuse.
In a brief flashback in Guardians of the Galaxy, we saw The Collector show a hologram of Eson the Searcher, and Marvel Studios retconned Ego the Living Planet’s origin; instead of making him an Elder of the Universe, like his comic book counterpart, they turned Ego into a Celestial. Additionally, although it’s not quite a Celestial, the mining colony Knowhere is located in the decapitated head of a former Celestial.
The reemergence of Celestials would make perfect sense in the current MCU timeline, especially when looking at Marvel Studios’ upcoming slate. The cosmic beings were the creators of The Eternals, which are rumored to get their own movie in 2020.
Arguably the most bizarre character on this list, Marvel Studios would please several die-hard comic book fans if they decided to introduce the Living Tribunal in live action. Much like Lord Chaos and Master Order, the Living Tribunal is a cosmic entity that was created after the Big Bang.
Confirmed to by Thanos himself to have more power than both Lord Chaos and Master Order, the Living Tribunal maintains the balance of life across the Marvel multiverse. Essentially serving as the ultimate judge across all realities, the Living Tribunal has virtually limitless power, and the entity has been shown to have the ability to stop the Infinity Stones from being used at the same time.
Needless to say, if Marvel Studios introduced the Living Tribunal in live-action form, fans couldn’t complain about the lack of comic book materials Avengers 4 would draw from.
In typical Marvel fashion, we know next to nothing about Avengers 4. At this point, we don't even have a name for the highly anticipated Marvel Studios flick.
Regardless, would you be excited to see one of the characters on this list make their live-action debut in Avengers 4? Is there a bigger threat in the Marvel lore
Upcoming Marvel Cinematic Universe movies include Captain Marvel on March 8, 2019, Avengers 4 on May 3, 2019, and Spider-Man: Far From Home on July 5, 2019.