It's been nearly a year since Avengers: Infinity War (opens in new tab) broke our hearts, but with Captain Marvel (opens in new tab) flying into cinemas this week, now's the time to remind yourself what happened in that Avengers: infinity War post-credits scene. If you've already seen it, then you'll know that the Avengers: Infinity War post-credits scene is a vital piece of connective tissue between Captain Marvel and Avengers 4 (opens in new tab): Endgame, so we recommend watching it (and the Avengers: Infinity War ending (opens in new tab)) before checking out Brie Larson's MCU debut.
Below, we examine everything from the small but significant scene in the breakdown, and analyse what it might mean for Captain Marvel, Avengers: Endgame, and the MCU at large. That said, consider this your second warning for major Infinity War spoilers included in the information below, so don't scroll down if you're somehow still in the dark over the events of that movie. Otherwise, read on, and see if you agree with our predictions and theories about what exactly went down in the Avengers: Infinity War post-credits scene, and the impact it has on every new Marvel movie (opens in new tab) in the works...
But to get started, what actually happens? Well, with Thanos having Resolutely Goddamn Won, half of the Avengers dead or swiftly vanishing from existence along with 50% of all life in the universe, and everyone bar the big purple conqueror in a broken state of disarray, we refocus to New York, at the same time that the Wakandan finale is occurring. Nick Fury and Maria Hill are driving through the city as humans start vanishing left, right, and centre. A van, now bereft of its driver, tumbles down the street, causing just one of many pile-ups. Things are rapidly falling apart, and the pair aren’t slow to realise that something very, very big is happening.
Quickly analysing reports of the arrival of Thanos’ forces in Wakanda, they recognise the similarity of the incursion’s signature to that of the fleet that attacked New York in the first Avengers (opens in new tab) movie, and conclude with no small amount of urgency exactly what is going on. Getting out of the vehicle, Fury grabs some kind of paging device from the back seat, and starts hammering out a message. But just as he hits ‘Send’, Thanos’ life-devouring half-apocalypse claims him too, disintegrating the SHIELD founder and leaving only an unfinished ‘Motherf’ floating on the death-laden breeze. The camera pulls down to show the pager lying on the road, and on its screen we see the communication still sending, the confirmation message overlaid upon Captain Marvel’s logo.
So, questions. The first one we need to consider is why, in this time of unprecedented global doom, does Fury call Captain Marvel rather than any of the Avengers. At this point he doesn’t know what’s happening to them, and with Captain Marvel not yet having been part of the on-screen MCU narrative, you would naturally assume that Steve, Tony and co. would be the go-to. Clearly, something big and so far unexplored has been going on. To be Fury’s first thought, Carol Danvers must have some sort of specific, pre-existing relationship with the events currently unfurling. 2019’s Captain Marvel movie is going to be a ‘90s-set prequel filling in narrative gaps a couple of decades before the start of the MCU proper, and in light of Infinity War’s post-credits scene, we can now pretty assuredly expect it to set up some serious lore leading to Thanos’ eventual conquest.
Why so certain? Even before Infinity War, we knew that Ronan, the villain from Guardians of the Galaxy (opens in new tab), would be making an appearance in Captain Marvel’s solo movie. Ronan has strong ties to Thanos, so that throws Danvers right into the long-term cosmic doom narrative long before the Avengers ever considered off-world shenanigans to be an issue.
We also need to consider some of Thanos’ actions in Infinity War. Specifically the point, just before he sacrificially hurls Gamora off that cliff, that he explains that he once gave up on his destiny and cannot do so again. When exactly did he do that? Again, we’re presented with a snippet of past MCU lore we’re entirely unaware of. With the Captain Marvel movie scheduled for release just a couple of months before Avengers 4, in March 2019, all signs increasingly point toward it giving some pivotal answers that will inform the Infinity War story.
And while we’re on the subject of time-jumps, we need to discuss Doctor Strange and Ant-Man. Strange seems to throw the fight in Infinity War, handing the Time Stone to Thanos in exchange for Iron Man’s life. After resolutely defending the stone up until that point, there’s no way his actions are as straightforward as they seem. Earlier in the film he conspicuously states that he’d let Tony die before giving up the gem. Stephen is very much Up To Something. Through meditation, he’s already seen the solitary timeline in which the Avengers beat Thanos, so surely he too is aware of the previously unknown, bigger-picture causality at play here.
Ant-Man is also very obviously missing from the Infinity War. And his next film, Ant-Man and the Wasp (opens in new tab), is also set to appear before Avengers 4. I highly doubt this is a coincidence either. Ant-Man has access to the Quantum Realm, the subatomic domain that exists outside space and time, and there’s a strong belief that it will feature prominently in his upcoming sequel. So, we have a hero from the past with a deep but hitherto unexplained relationship with the current situation. We have a current (now dead) hero who’s seen through time and is aware of the long-game. We have a (presumably still alive) hero with the potential to travel outside space-time. And we have a universe utterly broken and seemingly irreparable via normal means.
The conclusion? The same one we predicted (opens in new tab) before Infinity War. Avengers 4 will be a time-travel movie about rebooting the MCU, and the upcoming Ant-Man and Captain Marvel movies will be the route to getting there. And don’t forget, that universe will be resetting around the same time that Disney and Marvel will be getting ready to use all of those characters that were previously lost to Fox.
So while a bunch of the heroes who are dead at the end of Infinity War will be resurrected (Spider-Man and the Guardians already have confirmed sequels of their own in the future), don’t expect the new MCU to look exactly the same. The appearance of the X-Men, Fantastic Four, and Deadpool is almost certain. It’s going to be a hell of a busy time for post-credits teases, and don’t be surprised if a few established Marvel heroes stay gone to make space for the new crop.
For more MCU goodness, check out the best Marvel movies (opens in new tab) you should definitely watch.