We’re only several days away from Avengers Endgame, and the hype is bubbling at the surface for many fans who’ve been waiting for the sequel to last year’s shocking finale in Avengers Infinity War. There have been many fan theories floating around online, but most of them don’t make a lick of sense anyway.
Let’s go back to the source material and find out how Thanos was defeated in the comics. The Avengers (and other heroes in the Marvel Universe) have won against Thanos time and time again, but there were only a few occasions which can be applied to Avengers Endgame.
Besides three possible endings from the comics, I’ve chosen the most popular online fan theory as well as my own theory of what will most likely happen in Avengers Endgame.
1. Infinity Gauntlet (1991)
Jim Starlin’s Infinity Gauntlet crossover in the comics remain one of the most iconic in history, hence why it’s the main inspiration for both Avengers Infinity War and Avengers Endgame. However, the MCU version of events differs greatly from the source material, but things could still end up pretty similar in the end.
In the Infinity Gauntlet comic, Thanos collects all six Infinity Gems (read: Infinity Stones) and used them together with the Infinity Gauntlet to decimate half of the universe’s population. However, instead of the reason that the universe is overpopulated and unsustainable, it was done to satisfy Mistress Death (the living embodiment of death in the Marvel universe) because Thanos was in love in her.
Thanos was only defeated when Nebula manipulated him into separating his consciousness from his physical body, thereby becoming one with the universe (in order to become a ‘true’ god in the process). What Thanos failed to realize is that the Infinity Gauntlet was still physically attached to his body. Nebula took advantage of this by grabbing the Infinity Gauntlet while Thanos wasn’t in control and banished him to space.
Adam Warlock saved Thanos and told the Mad Titan of his weakness: that Thanos will eventually lose each and every time because, deep inside his inner subconscious, he ultimately believes himself to be unworthy. An inferiority complex, if you will. Then they both work together to reclaim the Infinity Gauntlet from Nebula, in the process convincing her to restore the universe back to the state it was (one day) before Thanos’ snap.
In the end, Adam Warlock gained possession of the Infinity Gauntlet, and all was well. The biggest problem with this ending working in Avengers Endgame is that Adam Warlock hasn’t appeared in the MCU (we only saw his cocoon at the end of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2), though that could be rectified by simply introducing him in the upcoming movie.
Nebula could still play a pivotal part in stopping Thanos in Avengers Endgame, doing the same thing that her comic book counterpart did, manipulating Thanos into becoming a bodiless consciousness and snatching the Infinity Gauntlet while the Mad Titan’s not in control of his body.
It would be interesting to see if the MCU version of Thanos does turn out to have the same psychological weakness as his comic book counterpart. However, the chances of Adam Warlock actually appearing in Avengers Endgame is pretty low at this point, though someone manipulating Thanos and somehow snatching the Infinity Gauntlet away from him remains a credible plan.
2. Infinity (2013)
Thanos was only one of two main antagonists in Jonathan Hickman’s sweeping crossover Infinity.
In fact, Thanos didn’t even have the Infinity Gauntlet or any of the Infinity Stones this time around. He attacked Earth just to take advantage of the fact that most of the Avengers were away fighting an intergalactic war with an enemy called the Builders and find his secret half-Inhuman son named Thane.
Thanos was then ultimately defeated by his own son, Thane, who imprisoned the Mad Titan in a seemingly permanent state of limbo in stasis (or a state of living death as it was described in the comic).
Imagine Han Solo trapped in carbonite in Star Wars Episode V The Empire Strikes Back; that’s what it was like for Thanos.
This ending seems unlikely for Avengers Endgame because one, the Inhumans aren’t clearly established in the MCU (Agents of SHIELD isn’t as ‘connected’ as we were made to believe), and two, the MCU’s version of Thanos has never been to Earth (that we know of). Introducing Thane now will just seem like a strange and jarring twist.
Still, it wouldn’t be much of a stretch of the imagination for Avengers Endgame to suddenly introduce us to the MCU version of Thane. If that happens, it would be quite anti-climactic for viewers, with Thane functioning as essentially a (Deus Ex Machina) plot device to defeat Thanos. Where’s the emotional payoff in that?
3. Captain Marvel Issues 25-33 (1973)
Thanos’ first ever defeat in the comics came at the hands of the original Captain Marvel. Sorry, it’s not him, and oh, not her, either. I’m talking about the Kree warrior Mar-Vell (who appeared in the MCU as a female Kree scientist in the pretty bland Captain Marvel movie but you can learn more about the original Mar-Vell here).
Of course, at this point in time, the Infinity Gauntlet didn’t exist, but Thanos did have the Cosmic Cube (known as the Tesseract or the Space Stone in the MCU) at his disposal. Captain Marvel (with the help of the Avengers) defeated Thanos by destroying the Cosmic Cube while the Mad Titan was once again in the form of a disembodied god. It seems that he didn’t learn his lesson, later doomed to repeat the same mistake in 1991’s Infinity Gauntlet (see above).
Since there’s no Mar-Vell in the MCU, Carol Danvers could theoretically play the same role by somehow destroying the Infinity Gauntlet or one of the Infinity Stones. A few facts support an ending like that for Avengers Endgame. Captain Marvel is not only purported to be the strongest hero yet in the MCU, but even Scarlet Witch proved herself capable of destroying an Infinity Stone (as seen in Avengers Infinity War when she destroyed Vision’s mind stone on his forehead).
4. The Time Travel Theory
One of the most prominent fan theories running wild for Avengers Endgame involves time travel. This fan theory started gaining traction when leaked images of the Avengers Endgame set showed scenes from earlier movies, particularly the Battle of New York in 2012’s The Avengers.
Fans also started noticing weird details in the trailers for Avengers Endgame, including inconsistencies involving the character’s costumes and hairstyles, which seems to change from scene to scene.
For example, some scenes in the trailers featured Black Widow with blond hair like she had in Avengers Infinity War while other scenes featured her with her old red locks again.
Another notable example of this is Captain America’s costume in one of the Avengers Endgame trailers, where he can clearly be seen wearing his old stealth suit from 2014’s Captain America The Winter Soldier. All of these point to one logical conclusion: that the Avengers will resort to time travel in Avengers Endgame by summoning past Avengers from different timelines to help defeat Thanos.
Then there are the new matching white suits worn by the living Avengers. Some speculate that these suits are for traversing the Quantum Realm, though the question remains that why do the Avengers need to go to the Quantum Realm in the first place. If they’re for space travel, then why didn’t the Avengers wear it in any of the scenes set in space seen in the trailers?
5. The ComicsLord© Theory
I don’t usually like formulating wild theories, but here we are. While I do read the comics, I’ll never claim to know the definitive ending to Avengers Endgame in any way.
So here goes: even before Avengers Endgame received its official title, I was already predicting it to be either Avengers Annihilation or Avengers Forever. I was wrong on both accounts, but the latter might turn out to be true just yet. What most fans might not know is that the popular time travel theory (see above) already sort of happened in the comics, in the pages of Avengers Forever (1998-1999).
In the Avengers Forever comic, Rick Jones (a character who’s not in the MCU) possesses a godly power called the Destiny Force. When a villain named Immortus sends his forces to kill him, unlikely allies in the form of Kang the Conqueror and the Kree Supreme Intelligence convinced him to get help.
Rick Jones then uses his power to summon various Avengers the past, present, and future to help him defeat Immortus. The most fascinating part of this story is that the Avengers summoned by the Destiny Force were less than ideal, including the likes of when Captain America was going by his Nomad persona and a mentally-unstable Hank Pym/Yellowjacket.
While nothing remotely similar to all that could possibly happen in Avengers Endgame due to the unavailability of most of those characters, the time travel mechanic of summoning Avengers from different points in history is definitely a very likely theory for Avengers Endgame.
I also think that Captain America will die (for good) in Avengers: Endgame, sacrificing himself in the process of fighting against Thanos. Being the heart of the MCU, his death would hit the hardest, with Iron Man probably a close second.
There are also fan theories of there being another Infinity Gauntlet (or Tony Stark building one), which the Avengers will use to restore their fallen Avengers. While this never happened in the comics, it sounds plausible enough, though how they’d find another Infinity Gauntlet (or build one) is beyond me.
Perhaps we might finally see this iconic page come to life as well. Fingers crossed. It’s high time that scene from Avengers Age of Ultron paid off, and the phrase “Avengers Assemble” uttered aloud in the MCU.
In the end, the possibilities are endless, so we have no way of knowing for sure what Marvel Studios and the Russo Brothers have in store for us. Last year I dubbed Avengers Infinity War the “Crisis On Infinite Earths” of comic book adaptations.
All I’m really sure of right now is that I’ll soon be eating my words by this time next week because that was one of the highest praises I could give a comic book movie.
If Avengers Endgame does live up to its enormous hype, what the heck can I compare it to? The “Final Crisis” of comic book adaptations? Nah.
Avengers Endgame is slated to release on 24 April 2019 in Malaysia, two days earlier than in the US. In the meantime, check out the latest Entertainment Weekly covers for Avenger Endgame here.