Infinity War is a week away and the excitement refuses to abate. With good reason, fans have set records buying advance tickets for the first of two Avenger films that will bring to a close to the Infinity Gauntlet storyline that Marvel laid out in their cinematic universe. Who will survive the onslaught of Thanos and his Black Order minions? What will our heroes be doing throughout the course of the film? What is the film setting up that will be tied together with Captain Marvel — set in the 1990’s — and Ant-Man and the Wasp, likely diving deep into the quantum zone?
I’ve been thinking a lot about this, and I am sure a growing number of you have as well. One of the things that we do in sports columns is flesh out a series of previews and predictions that we can later look back on in disgust or glory. Similar to what I do with those sports columns, I am going to pen my theories about Infinity War here in this article and we will find out exactly how in tune I am with the Marvel Cinematic Universe once Infinity War hits screens next week. Now I realize that some of you may think of these as spoilers, that will be the case if you have avoided the previews. If you’ve seen the previews and the other films, then nothing I type here is going to be revelatory beyond the theories I pen based on what I think is going to happen.
This article isn’t as much about spoilers as it is a guess at what will happen. Now some of it is based on what I know from the comics and how the films have positioned the characters, but I do not have any inside knowledge on Infinity War and this article does not contain any out and out spoilers. I wouldn’t do that to you guys. So, as long as you’re all caught up on the MCU, nothing here is new. With that said, let’s get to a few predictions.
The Soul Stone seems to be the subject of the biggest debate. Given what we’ve seen in the trailers, it appears as though there will be a giant battle in Wakanda. This has people thinking that the Soul Stone must be in Wakanda, essentially powering the Great Mound and giving the T’Challa his powers. A fair guess, but doing so would mean that there was never anything special about Wakanda and it was only powered by a gem. That’s a heavy departure from the way Wakanda was portrayed in the Black Panther. Wakanda was special and it wasn’t because of a stone. It was because of the people and it would really seem a crime to wipe that away with a simple explanation.
The real reason Thanos looks to be going to Wakanda is to take the Mind Stone from Vision, who appears to be hiding out in Wakanda. The trailers show a welcome party meeting some of the Avengers as they land in Wakanda, Vision is among them. This would give Thanos a significant reason to invade the country and seek out the gem. That and the fact that the country is the most battle-ready nation on the planet mean it’s a great place for Thanos to start to cripple the Earth and add to his Infinity Stone collection.
We’re getting ahead of ourselves, though. When Thor: Ragnarok ended, Thanos’ ship appeared above their vessel just as Thor was telling Loki everything would be okay. As everyone knows, Thanos gave Loki the Mind Stone so he could bring him back the Tesseract, which turned out to be the Space Stone. Prior to being given the Mind Stone sceptre, The Other told Loki that he had better not fail. If he did fail, there would be nowhere for him to run or hide. No barren moon or crevice that would allow Loki to disappear. You may be able to see where I am going with this. If not, I think Loki is the first victim of Thanos’ fury.
Aside from what I just said about Loki being told he had better succeed, the goal of any film like Infinity War is to give fans a villain that they actually believe poses a threat. What good is that if the villain can’t actually take out a fan favorite to show that they mean business. Loki was supposed to deliver and he didn’t. We know Thor doesn’t have his hammer and we also know Thor makes a crash landing next to the Guardians. Who would be powerful enough to put Thor on his backside? Thanos! This also helps to explain a couple of other things.
Assuming Loki is killed and Thor is tossed aside like garbage, he’s going to need a weapon. We know that Thor has a hammer at some point in the film because we see him use it several times. How can that be? Enter Peter Dinklage and a road trip with Rocket and teenage Groot. In the comics, Thor visits a Dwarf King by the name of Eitri. Dinklage’s role has been kept under wraps. It’s my theory that he plays the Dwarf King. With the help of Eitri, Thor is able to use a forge to create a secondary hammer. This hammer is called Stormbreaker and it looks a little different than Mjölnir. It seems most likely that Thor’s mission will be tied to future success more than instant gratification.
We see an image of someone stepping over plenty of dead bodies in the trailer. This image appears to be similar to Thor’s ship. It truly looks like Thanos and his minions will board Thor’s ship, hold Loki at spear-point until he hands over the Tesseract, which Thanos then crushes and puts in the Infinity Gauntlet. At this point, Thanos will force Thor to watch his brother’s death as we see Thor scream in agony. Thanos has two stones in the Gauntlet when he travels to Wakanda, one of them is the Space Stone, the other is the Power Stone. The only way he could get that is to take it from the Asgardians and the Nova Corps.
Footage shows the Guardians of the Galaxy landing on Knowhere and finding Thanos already present with the Collector, trying to retrieve the Aether, or the Reality Stone. The Collector is providing his own resistance as the Guardians are sneaking around. It’s my assumption that this scene will happen later in the movie, since Rocket and Groot are not present. Because Thanos has the Space Stone already and can literally portal anywhere, it is hard to determine at one point after his interactions with Loki and Thor this takes place.
Aside from Knowhere and Earth, it looks like the Mad Titan will travel to one other pivotal location, his home planet. A beaten and somewhat broken Tony Stark looks to be there with him, perhaps having passed through a portal created by the Space Stone with Thanos. Why would Thanos go to Titian now when the plant is supposed to be dead? Easy. The elusive Soul Stone. There are a lot of internet theories about where the Soul Stone has been hiding. Some say in Wakanda. Some say Heimdal has it. I say neither of these are true. I say the Soul Stone can’t be found because it is out of time.
I think it is a safe bet that by the end of this movie, Thanos should have least four, if not all six, Infinity Stones. My bet is along with the Power and Space Stones, he’ll also get the Mind and Time Stones from Earth. Once he has the Time Stone, he’ll have the ability to also retrieve the Soul Stone. My theory here is that the Soul Stone was once located on Titan a millenia ago. Since that time, everyone has lost track of its whereabouts. The reason for that is it has no whereabouts. With the Time Stone in hand, Thanos can now travel back in time on Titan to when the stone was last known, take it, and bring it back to the present, giving him a fifth, or possibility sixth Infinity Stone if he’s already visited the Collector at this point.
So what does this mean for Avengers 4? Set photos have already confirmed the use of uniforms from previous films and wardrobes from different eras. It was very recently announced that a 16 year-old version of Cassie Lang, Scott Lang’s daughter, was cast. Sounds to me that the next installment will be all about time travel. I know you’re thinking, “but Josh, if Thanos has the Time Stone, how can the Avengers possibly do this?” The quantum realm. The quantum realm can not only allow for time travel, but it can also be access by both Ant-Man and Captain Marvel. How coincidental that is with our next two movie releases, Ant-Man and the Wasp and Captain Marvel. My final theory of this article, in true Marvel fashion, the time travel component of Avengers 4 will reset the MCU and end Phase Three, opening the door for all new possibilities in Phase Four.