Spoilers for the great film Avengers: Infinity War within.
Avengers: Infinity War was the true culmination of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Original heroes like Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, Hulk and Black Widow, next gen heroes Spiderman, Doctor Strange and Black Panther, their supporting players Bucky, Falcon, War Machine, Pepper Potts, Wong, Okoye, Shuri and M’Baku, as well as Ultron additions Vision and Scarlett Witch and all of the Guardians of the Galaxy united to stop the biggest threat to date.
Thanos’ quest for the six Infinity gems resulted in a mega-movie with a sprawling cast with multiple agendas and side-missions. Three mega-deaths (likely permanent) and that chilling cliffhangers leaves the table in a dramatically different and thankfully more minimal place heading into Avengers 4.
Who lives after Thanos clicks his fingers?
On Titan the only players left are Tony Stark and Nebula, resulting in a determined duo hurtling back towards Earth in the first moments of the sequel. Spiderman, Doctor Strange, Star Lord, Drax and Mantis all will likely not feature til the final moments of A4.
In Wakanda the original players of Captain America, Thor, Black Widow and Hulk are all alive, bringing the final chapter of the Thanos saga back to its roots. Okoye and M’Baku are on the field but will likely stay in Wakanda to mourn the death of their King. Scarlet Witch, Groot, Bucky, Falcon, War Machine are all gone. The only Guardian remaining is Rocket (James Gunn’s favourite) to aid the original Avengers in their battle.
In New York, Nick Fury and Maria Hill mention working with Hawkeye before being vaporised. The title characters of the Marvel films before Avengers 4 – Captain Marvel and Ant-Man – are confirmed for Avengers 4 in a big way. No word on the Wasp.
It’s unlikely characters like Wong, Ned, Valkyrie or anybody else will rear their head. While Avengers: Infinity War was the biggest and best, it’s looking as though Avengers 4 will be an intimate farewell to some long-standing staples.
What will happen?
Iron Man and Nebula return to Earth and reunite with Captain America, Thor, Hulk, Black Widow and Rocket. Hawkeye, Ant-Man and Captain Marvel join the fray. The mission: get that glove back. At this stage that is impossible but rumours are swirling that Ant-Man’s journey to the microverse might hold the key.
The point is that Avengers 4 will still feel cumulative with Guardians and new heroes added without feeling Lord of the Rings level crowded. How many of these ten heroes will continue beyond the still un-subtitled Avengers 4? Place your bets.