With hype levels now set to maximum, we are fast approaching the thrilling conclusion to phase three of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) in Avengers: Endgame.
With the Avengers torn apart and 50% of all life in the universe wiped out, the odds don't appear to be in favour of our heroes – but don't lose hope just yet. We take a look at some of the key Avengers who just might be able to defeat the evil Thanos…
1. Captain America
Perhaps the MCU character with the most interesting arc, Steve Rogers (aka Captain America, played by Chris Evans) stands proud as the 'First Avenger'. He also has firsthand experience of the Infinity Stones – aka the artefacts used by Thanos (Josh Brolin) to wield devastating destruction.
Steve has seen the damage that the Infinity Stones can do, since the Tesseract – which housed the Space Stone – was used by his nefarious enemy Johann Schmidt/Red Skull (Hugo Weaving) in World War II-based origin story Captain America: The First Avenger. With Red Skull making a surprise appearance in Infinity War, we can expect Steve's story to come full circle, and that he will have a major part to play in leading the heroes to defeat Thanos.
Whether he will be the one to deal the final blow remains to be seen, but his leadership is what has kept the Avengers going through some truly testing times. And given Chris Evans's MCU contract is now officially up, we're preparing ourselves to see him bow out for good...
Arguably, no-one has more personal stakes in the Endgame battle than Nebula (Karen Gillan). Sister of Gamora (Zoe Saldana), Nebula is the adopted daughter of the Mad Titan known as Thanos – however she is damaged by the fact she spent her whole life living in her sister's shadow, at least in Thanos' eyes.
After Thanos did the unthinkable and sacrificed Gamora to get his hands on the Soul Stone in Infinity War, it is likely that Nebula is going to be out for revenge. Nebula may also be the only person left who truly knows Thanos, and as well as knowing what monstrosities he is capable of, she may also hold the key to defeating him once and for all.
Seeing Nebula exact her revenge on the person she loathes the most would certainly be a satisfying conclusion to her story, as she seeks to avenge her sister.
In Infinity War, it was perhaps the God of Thunder, aka Thor (Chris Hemsworth), who came the closest to defeating Thanos. After forging his new weapon Stormbreaker – also known as the "God-Killer" – Thor narrowly missed his chance to defeat the Mad Titan before he snapped his fingers.
With the most powerful weapon in the world at his disposable, it is almost certain that Thor will have a huge part to play in defeating his nemesis. While Stormbreaker is no use as long as Thanos has the Infinity Gauntlet (which harnesses the Infinity Stones), if the heroes are somehow able to take back even one stone from his possession, thereby weakening him, Thor may be able to land the killer blow.
4. Captain Marvel
There's one hero that Thanos has yet to face, and she may just be the one who defeats him once and for all. In the final moments of Infinity War, we see Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) fire off a distress signal, later picked up by the most powerful superhero in the universe: Carol Danvers aka Captain Marvel (Brie Larson).
With her super-human strength, endurance and resilience, plus her ability to fly and project and absorb energy, Captain Marvel is truly a force to be reckoned with. Her abilities alone mean she is the most likely candidate to defeat Thanos, and she is certainly a powerful ally for the Avengers to have on their side. They're currently unaware of the power she possesses, but that is all about to change…
5. Iron Man
Ever since the Battle of New York in Avengers Assemble, Tony Stark aka Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr) has been emotionally scarred by the pressures of being an Avenger. At the very moment he launched a nuclear bomb through a wormhole into space, Tony suddenly realized the scale of the threats, both Earthbound and intergalactic, facing our motley crew of superheroes. And by the time we get to Infinity War, this extends to the tyrannical Thanos.
With leaked set photos from Endgame revealing the characters in their Battle of New York costumes, it's possible that through some kind of time manipulation, they will venture back through the wider MCU timeline and alter past history to change the course of the future. If that is the case, then Stark is likely to have a huge part to play and his personal journey may just be about to come to an end as well…
Despite finding himself trapped in the Quantum Realm at the end of Ant-Man and The Wasp, Scott Lang, aka Ant-Man (Paul Rudd), was somehow able to pull off the impossible and escape back into the real world. After all, this is revealed in the Endgame trailer when he makes a surprise appearance on a CCTV camera.
The Quantum Realm is an alternate reality that exists outside of our concept of time and space, and with time travel possibly playing a huge part in Endgame, it is likely that we will be revisiting this mysterious realm. It may well be utilised by the Avengers in order to jump through time and space – their new colour-coded suits glimpsed in the trailer may be the clearest indication as to where they must venture in order to defeat Thanos.
As someone with an inside knowledge of the Quantum Realm, Marvel's smallest hero may yet have the biggest part to play in this chapter of the franchise…
Click here to book your tickets for Avengers: Endgame, opening on 25th April, and let us know @Cineworld who you think will be the saviour of the movie.
Sarah Buddery is a writer who blogs for Cineworld as part of our news team.