The events of Avengers: Infinity War are poised to have a significant impact on the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). Thing is, we don't exactly know what the impact is yet, and it's made all the more mysterious by the withholding of the Avengers 4 title. It's been reported that said title will result in spoilers for Infinity War, so it's anybody's guess when the reveal will come. (The film hits us on 26th April 2019.)
With Ant-Man and the Wasp rearing to go on 3rd August, and Captain Marvel on 8th March 2019, it's all a matter of careful timing on Marvel's part. Any descriptive phrasing may give the game away too early, and the pressure to avoid spoilers is only mounting as the studio approaches its long-awaited Phase Four stage. With nine confirmed movies on the cards between 2019 and 2022, this is almost certainly the most critical stage so far in the evolution of the franchise. (Of those nine, the only ones currently confirmed are 2019's Spider-Man: Homecoming 2 and 2020's Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3.)
All that aside, Avengers 4 is sure to be some sort of culmination in the battle between our beleaguered heroes and the universe-levelling Thanos (Josh Brolin). A short synopsis has now been revealed in Licence Global magazine, the same publication that broke the Infinity War synopsis, and it teases another heavy duty Marvel epic:
"A culmination of 22 interconnected films, the fourth instalment of the Avengers saga will draw audiences to witness the turning point of this epic journey. Our beloved heroes will truly understand how fragile this reality is, and the sacrifices that must be made to uphold it."
There's nothing particularly surprising in there, but the word 'sacrifice' is, inevitably, flagged up. With several Marvel veterans' contracts expiring next year, Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans and Chris Hemsworth among them, the events of the fourth Avengers movie will likely be even more upsetting than Infinity War. And that's a lot of upset.
At the same time, the phrase 'turning point' is no doubt a reference to the incoming Captain Marvel, set to star in her own self-titled movie debut next year. Air Force pilot turned superhero Carol Danvers (Brie Larson) is one of the most powerful heroes from Marvel comic books mythology, and she may well turn out to be the saviour the long-suffering Avengers have been waiting for. It's set to be a debut that both honours the cumulative weight of this 22-film series, while also pushing it in bold new directions.
How do you think events will go down in Avengers 4? Let us know @Cineworld and check out our essential guide to the Marvel Cinematic Universe.