In Avengers: Infinity War a lot of characters met their end and we're not just talking about those who crumbled when Thanos snapped his fingers to "balance" the universe. There were other, more tangible deaths leading up to "The Snappening", including that of the Collector. However, Benicio Del Toro isn't so sure we've seen the last of the character.
In a recent appearance on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, Del Toro and Colbert discussed the idea of expressing story through actions and expressions rather than words. Del Toro decided to have a little bit of fun with Colbert at that point and stopped answering questions by speaking. Instead, he let his face communicate for him -- including possibly confirming that the Collector will return in Avengers 4.
"You're the Collector in Avengers 3. You appear to die, spoiler alert. Do you appear in Avengers 4?" Colbert asked. He got his answer in a literal blink
"Just blink... a-ha! That's verified," Colbert said when Del Toro blinked at him in response.
The confirmation-by-blinking lines up with what Del Toro told Cinema Blend as well when they directly asked if he thinks the Collector somehow managed to survive Infinity War.
"I think he's alive, yeah," Del Toro said. "I think that, you know, I think he's alive. You're talking to him!"
While the Collector appearing in Avengers 4 might feel like a hopeful confirmation of the prevalent fan theory that the fourth Avengers installment will somehow undo the events of Infinity War, fans probably shouldn't get too excited just yet. It's entirely possible that Del Toro could appear as the Collector in Avengers 4, but not in the present tense. He could show up as a flashback or a recording.
It's also worth considering that Del Toro is playfully misleading fans. Marvel is infamous for the lengths they go to to keep details of Marvel Cinematic Universe films under wraps until the last possible moment and given the stakes, Avengers 4 is no different. Already there appears to be conflicting information floating around that film as well as installments of other, associated franchises. Specifically, there's some mystery about when in the timeline Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 will take place. The Russo Brothers have directly said that future MCU movies may not take place in a linear timeline and strongly hinted that Vol. 3 could take place prior to Infinity War.
Chris Pratt also teased that a "prequel" of sorts could be in the cards for Vol. 3, but then Guardians director James Gunn entered the fray, recently telling a fan on social media that the film would take place after Infinity War. Though it's entirely possible that Gunn was having a bit of fun himself -- fans pointed out that, technically, Vol. 3 will be after Infinity War based on release date -- it's also possible that the conflicting messages about the third installment of the Guardians story is intended to keep fans wondering until Avengers 4 hits theaters.
As for the Collector, if Del Toro is right and he does come back in Avengers 4 it could have an interesting influence on Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 should it take place in a linear timeline. After all, Thanos did seriously mess up his collection. He might want to rebuild it -- with or without the Guardians' help.
Avengers: Infinity War is in theaters now. It will be followed by Ant-Man and the Wasp on July 6, 2018, Captain Marvel on March 8, 2019, the fourth Avengers movie on May 3, 2019, the sequel to Spider-Man: Homecoming on July 5, 2019, and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 in 2020.