We learned a few days ago that the first Avengers 4 trailer will be released by the end of the year, but we did not get a firm premiere date. It’s been widely speculated that the first teaser, of which a purported script has already leaked, will drop in mid or late November. At that point, we’ll hopefully learn the title of the movie, which is currently rumored to be Avengers: Annihilation. But while we wait, I’m going to show you a fan theory about a key event in the Infinity War sequel that would be brilliant but simultaneously heartbreaking.

A few days ago, a leak claimed that the movie takes place some five years after the events in Infinity War. Our favorite heroes will need time to assemble and formulate a plan that can actually lead to altering the past and defeating Thanos. It’s believed the Avengers will go back in time to try to prevent Thanos from snapping his fingers, with some theories saying that Tony Stark and Co. will attempt to create their own alternate gauntlet.

The Infinity Gauntlet requires all Infinity Stones to pull off the kind of mass genocide Thanos delivered at the end of Infinity War. All of the Stones have particular attributes, and obtaining them isn’t easy. But one of them is only available at high personal cost, the Soul Stone. Thanos sacrificed Gamora in Infinity War to get it.

Image Source: Disney

Reddit user sfmarch07 posted his theory online a few days ago, which contains one huge moment related to that Soul Stone.

The Redditor says that everything that happened in the MCU so far has guided the heroes to that one single timeline in which defeating Thanos is possible. Crucial to everything is Doctor Strange, but also Nick Fury, whom Strange may have briefed in the past:

What I mean by that, is I believe Nick Fury in the 90’s in the Captain Marvel movie will be shown or made aware of the future and future events, potentially even by Dr. Strange coming back in time from Infinity War, and he will be shown specific things that he and other characters have to do throughout the entire MCU to ultimately set up future events for how they need to be in order for the Avengers to win in Avengers 4, per Dr. Strange’s endgame plan from the possible 1 out of 14 million outcomes.

That would explain why Fury held on to that Captain Marvel beeper for so long and only used it when he realized the Thanos threat was real. According to this theory, Fury had a clear gameplay in mind, and did everything in his power to make sure he followed Doctor Strange’s instructions:

If you go back and watch most of the scenes and post-credit scenes with Nick Fury in the MCU movies, it’s like he always knows something that the other characters don’t, and knows how to tell them just what they need to hear or he contributes something that makes a big difference with no explanation of how or why he knew to do it, from recruiting Iron Man, Hulk, and Captain America, to in Iron Man 2 when he gives Tony his fathers box. Or like at the end of Thor 1 when he instructs Erik Selvig to work on the cube. Or in Age of Ultron when he shows up out of nowhere in the barn and then pushes Tony and the team forward to where they ultimately create Vision with the Mind Stone.

The sad part involves Tony, who will have to sacrifice something to get that Soul Stone. Some speculated that it might be Pepper who he gives up for the Stone. But that might not be the case. This theory says that it’s Tony who sets up the plan to execute his parents, which happens to be the event that shattered his relationship with Captain America:

Tony is going to have to sacrifice something, the same way Thanos had to sacrifice Gamora. But instead of sacrificing Pepper Potts, what if Tony instead has to go back in time to 1991 and infiltrate Hydra or seek out the Winter Soldier, and order the hit on his parents himself, sacrificing the thing he loves most, to enable him to get the Soul stone to fight against Thanos, knowing all the while what it will cause in the future and all the anguish it will personally cause him along with the events of Civil War, breaking up the Avengers, and everything that happens after that.

Or maybe Nick Fury back in 1991 tells Tony that he has to do this. It would be the hardest decision that any character has had to make in the entire MCU, and a decision that only Tony Stark himself could make, a burden that only he could bear, truly exemplifying him as “Iron” Man. I don’t think its a coincidence either that Captain Marvel takes place in 1990 and Tony’s parents are killed in 1991. In fact, the actor who portrays Howard Stark in Civil War has already been reported to be returning to play Howard Stark in Avengers 4. Then Nick Fury agrees not to recruit younger Tony until he’s ready after the events of Iron Man 1 in 2008. This would create a time loop sort of or a causal loop or bootstrap paradox in the MCU timeline, without necessarily needing to change anything in the past or re-writing the timeline, it sets up more of a “which came first, the chicken or the egg” type scenario, because I don’t think Marvel Studios would spend 22 movies setting up all of these intricate stories to just then go back and erase them or re-write the timeline in Avengers 4. And this time loop could ultimately be a big part of Dr. Strange’s endgame plan to ultimately defeat Thanos and undo the snap, just like he did against Dormammu.

I have to admit, this fan theory is extraordinary, and I kind of wish the events of the movie play out like that. Let’s also remember that Doctor Strange seems to be apologetic to Tony when he tells him this is the only way. It’s like Strange is telling Iron Man that he’s sorry for the kind of sacrifice Tony will have to make to fix things.

And here’s one final tidbit from the theory, which would further cement the idea that Tony will really be taking a bunch of hits for the team:

Oh and I think it would also be cool if when Tony and Ant Man travel back in time to the battle of NY from Avengers 1 as the leaked set photos have shown, if Tony told Captain America not to sign the Sokovia accords no matter what, further setting up and adding deeper meaning to everything that happens in Civil War.

Avengers 4 launches in early May, a couple of months after Captain Marvel, which means we’ve got plenty of time left for speculation, fan theories, and spoilers.

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