We’ve been covering the latest Avengers films for months now, trying to figure out what will happen after that infamous snap. We know that plenty of the dead Avengers will be resurrected, and we’ve seen plenty of fan theories that try to explain how things will go down between the Avengers and Thanos in the future. But the following plot rumor, which seems to be confirmed by an insider, is both the best and most terrifying Avengers 4 spoiler I’ve read so far. And I hope it’s accurate.

Back in April, a rumor (via MCU Cosmic) emerged saying that the action in Avengers 4 is set some five years in the future. A few days ago, an insider repeated the same thing on Twitter:

In replies that followed on Twitter, he said the action starts five years from where we left off, and that he could not divulge the identity of his source. He did not share other details about the upcoming Marvel picture, but let’s explore what this revelation means, if it’s accurate.

On one hand, it’s awesome for us, when you think about it. On the other hand, it’s terribly sad for the surviving characters. They all had to live with those deaths for five years. They had to deal with the losses and find a way to keep hoping they’ll somehow be able to undo all those deaths. The Avengers may be beaten at the end of Infinity War, but they’re certainly not ready to throw in the towel. And it’s likely they regrouped to try to figure out a course of action as soon as Thanos disappeared. But they may end up waiting for the missing piece of the puzzle that would actually let them face him again.

Remember, this is the only way they win. Tony knows that from Doctor Strange. So, over the course of these five years, he’ll be working hard to achieve Strange’s prophecy. He may not know how or when this win will occur, but he will believe in it. That doesn’t change the fact that so many good friends died, and dealing with all those feelings for so long will have a considerable impact on Tony and everyone else. Not to mention that, in the five years that pass, so many other things can happen that could further influence the arcs of the characters.

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Tony is stranded on Titan with Nebula right now. But he’ll get back home and he’ll likely find out that Pepper is pregnant, as we already learned. That detail adds a whole new layer of intensity to his struggle. He’ll have everything on the line as he tries to lead the Avengers to Strange’s victory. Captain America will finally meet back up with Tony and they’ll probably resolve their differences for good.

That other Captain of the MCU, Captain Marvel will come to Earth’s aide following the distress signal that Nick Fury sent out before he died. But since there’ll be no Fury or Maria Hill anymore, she’ll probably have to join the Avengers somehow. Shuri will probably take over as Black Panther, as she must be the next in line for Wakanda’s throne now that her brother is gone. If nobody from the rival tribes challenges her, that is.

Hawkeye is also alive after the snap, that much we know. But what about his wife and children? It’s likely he lost someone after the snap as well, and that he’s equally motivated to find Thanos. Hulk, meanwhile, has plenty of time to come out of hiding. And let’s not forget there’s unfinished business between Bruce and Natasha.

But you know who might not have to deal with five years of sorrow like everyone else? Ant-Man, that’s who. He’ll have his own problems down in the Quantum Realm, where he’s trapped, as far as we know. But he also knows that time vortexes are around. And the best exit for him, in my opinion, would be a time vortex out of the Realm and back to real life that will send him five years into the future — that would be the time frame of Avengers 4, and it would explain why Scott Lang’s daughter is expected to be a teenager in the new movie.

Ant-Man might be the missing piece of Stark’s puzzle. Again, Stark knows this is the only way to win, but he might not have all the resources necessary to pull it off.

Imagine Lang showing up at Stark’s door with questions about everything that happened. Because as soon as Scott realizes he’s in the future, he’ll be briefed on happened to Hope and her family, and he’ll want some sort of revenge. And Ant-Man could show Stark the only other way to travel in time other than wielding the Time Stone, which is still in Thanos’ possession.

Other characters including Thor, Rocket, and Nebula, are all still there as well, and each of them would experience a tough five years. Not to mention that Thanos is still out there somewhere. What would Thanos do during that long time span?

Of course, I’m just speculating here. The idea is that, as sad as this time difference between events may be, it’ll add another layer of complexity and heartbreak to an already amazing story.

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