- Marvel Studios
- Warning: There are spoilers here for Marvel movies leading up to “Avengers: Endgame.”
- “Avengers: Endgame” will be the 22nd movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
- The Avengers must reverse Thanos’ snap and the decimation of humanity after “Infinity War.”
- Visit INSIDER’s homepage for more stories.
Marvel’s biggest heroes are trying to save humanity in “Avengers: Endgame.”
The 22nd movie in Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) follows the events of “Avengers: Infinity War” as the surviving Avengers work to reverse Thanos’ snap, which decimated half of the universe. The groundwork for “Endgame” has been laid out since the release of “Iron Man” in 2008. Remembering some key information from earlier movies may be helpful for “Endgame.”
Here’s what you should know before going into the movie.
Why is Thanos the villain?
Thanos spent “Infinity War” collecting the Infinity Stones for his Infinity Gauntlet, a massive glove with insets for each of the six stones. With all six stones collected, Thanos had unlimited power. Thor came down from the heavens with his new weapon (an axe called Stormbreaker) and thrust it into Thanos’ chest. Unfortunately, Thanos snapped his finger and half of humanity was wiped from existence.
The Infinity Gauntlet glove appeared to be damaged after the snap, so it’s unclear if it could work for someone else or if the stones are still intact. Thanos was able to transport himself to another planet, but where that planet is located is also still unclear.
What are all of the Infinity Stones?
There are six Infinity Stones total, though some have been called a different name throughout the MCU.
- Time (green) – The time stone was introduced in “Doctor Strange” and was stored in the Eye of Agamotto. It allows for the manipulation of time and space. Doctor Strange gave Thanos the stone to spare Tony Stark’s life.
- Reality (red) – Introduced in “Thor: The Dark World” as the Aether, the stone can manipulate matter. The stone is given to the Collector for safe-keeping, that is until Thanos steals it.
- Power (purple) – The power stone was introduced in “Guardians of the Galaxy” when Peter Quill stole an orb in which it was held. The Guardians left the stone with the Nova Corps on the planet Xandar. Thanos retrieved this stone off-screen.
- Space (blue) – The blue cube known as the Tesseract held the Space Stone. First shown on-screen in “Thor,” its history is revealed in both “Captain Marvel” and “Captain America: The First Avenger.” When Captain America crashed in the Arctic, the Tesseract had burned a hole in the plane and fallen into the ocean, where it was retrieved by Howard Stark and given to S.H.I.E.L.D. Later, in “Captain Marvel,” it’s revealed that an undercover Kree alien harnessed the power to help the Skrulls. A cat named Goose (who is actually an alien called a Flerken) later swallowed the Tesseract to keep it safe from the Kree and stayed in Nick Fury’s possession. After Loki tried to use it for his own power (“The Avengers”), the Tesseract is taken to Asgard and kept safe. In “Infinity War,” Loki gave Thanos the Tesseract to save Thor.
- Mind (yellow) – Introduced in “Avengers,” the mind stone was housed in the Chitauri scepter Loki wielded. In “Age of Ultron,” the stone was removed scepter and put into Vision’s head. Vision sacrificed himself to prevent Thanos from getting the stone, but Thanos turned back time, killed Vision, and stole the stone.
- Soul (orange) – It was revealed in “Infinity War” that the soul stone was being kept on Vormir and that the Red Skull was banished there to guard it. Thanos received the stone after killing Gamora, thus sacrificing something he loved in exchange for the stone.
Who survived the snap?
First and foremost, the original “Avengers” group – Tony Stark, the Hulk, Thor, Captain America, Hawkeye, and Black Widow – all survived the snap. Everyone except for Tony is on Earth. Tony is stuck a ship in space, along with Nebula, Gamora’s sister. It’s unclear how they make it back to Earth, but trailers for “Endgame” show both Tony and Nebula with the surviving crew.
Also still alive are James Rhodes (War Machine), Rocket, Happy Hogan (Tony’s friend and bodyguard), Pepper Potts, Wong (Doctor Strange’s friend), Scott Lang (Ant-Man, who was left in the Quantum Realm), Valkyrie, Okoye, M’Baku, and Captain Marvel.
What’s up with Hawkeye?
Hawkeye has been noticeably absent since he retired to spend time with his family after “Captain America: Civil War,” but he’s back in “Endgame” with a new persona. His alter ego, Ronin, is a vigilante. Fans don’t yet know what made Hawkeye turn to his alter ego, but the loss of his family may be one explanation.
What happened to the rest of the Asgardians?
At the end of “Thor: Ragnarok,” Asgard was completely destroyed and the surviving Asgardians were on a ship in search of a new home. In “Infinity War,” Thanos boarded the ship to get the Tesseract that Loki took from Asgard. Loki gave it to Thanos to spare Thor, and Thanos then killed Loki. As for the rest of the Asgardians, escape pods were their method of survival.
According to io9, co-director Joe Russo told a group of teens at Iowa City High School, “Prior to the start of that scene, escape ships were deployed for Asgardians, including Valkyrie.”
Korg and Miek might have survived that way, too.
What’s the Quantum Realm?
At the end of “Ant-Man and the Wasp,” Ant-Man is left in the Quantum Realm when Hank Pym, Hope van Dyne, and Janet van Dyne all disappear due to Thanos’ snap. It’s clear from the “Endgame” trailers that Ant-Man does make it out of the realm, but what is it?
Ant-Man can only enter the Quantum Realm by shrinking and going subatomic. It’s a largely unknown universe where time and space are believed to be irrelevant. Energy from the Quantum Realm appears to have healing powers. As an alternate dimension, the Quantum Realm may be a key to helping the Avengers travel through time to reverse Thanos’ snap.
How can the group travel through time?
The obvious answer is by using the Time Stone, but the state of the stone and where it is following Thanos’ snap is unknown.
Another answer may lie in Project P.E.G.A.S.U.S. (Potential Energy Group/Alternate Sources/United States), which is explored in “Captain Marvel.” As part of the project, Wendy Lawson was working out a way to harness the energy of the Tesseract – the cube that held the Space Stone – to create a light-speed engine. She was killed before she could reach her goal, but that doesn’t mean the goal can’t be reached.
Tony’s father, Howard, was working on the project at one point, and in “The Avengers,” Dr. Selvig was tasked with working on it. Though the project ended when Thor took the Tesseract to Asgard, that doesn’t mean the surviving heroes can’t work on it. Between Captain Marvel and Tony, they might have the ability to harness the power and use it to travel through time.
What can Captain Marvel do?
Carol Danvers/Captain Marvel, was infused with powers from the Tesseract after an explosion and later turned into a half-human, half-Kree warrior. Danvers is a powerful warrior with super strength, incredible speed and durability, the ability to fly, and the ability to manipulate energy (for example, she can shoot photon blasts or provide heat to melt or burn objects). Captain Marvel is arguably the most powerful hero in the universe and her powers may be the key to defeating Thanos.
How did the Avengers Initiative come together?
Nick Fury, the eventual director of S.H.I.E.L.D. (Strategic Homeland Intervention, Enforcement and Logistics Division), formed the Avengers Initiative after meeting Carol Danvers and being exposed to Kree and Skull. Named after Carol’s Air Force call sign, the initiative was designed to gather people with powers or abilities that could defend the Earth against threats that regular humans couldn’t handle.
Fury didn’t contact Captain Marvel for any of the other alien attacks, but at the end of “Infinity War,” he sent a signal out for Captain Marvel before disintegrating.
What happened to S.H.I.E.L.D.?
- Disney/Marvel screencap
S.H.I.E.L.D. was formed in the wake of WWII after Hydra, a weapons division sponsored by the Nazis, was defeated. Tony’s dad, Howard, and Peggy Carter, Steve’s love, were key to starting the program in an effort to prevent the rise of Hydra and to understand advanced weapons, such as the power of the Tesseract. Nick Fury eventually becomes an agent and then the director of the program before eventually passing the directorship to Agent Coulson.
In “Winter Soldier,” it’s revealed that Hydra infiltrated S.H.I.E.L.D., though the organization has since been working in the shadows (which is explored on the TV series “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.”).
It’s unclear what happened to the organization following Thanos’ snap, but Nick told Maria Hill to “call control” before they both vanished.
Steve and Tony haven’t seen each other since “Civil War.”
In “Civil War,” the two fought against each other and divided the team over a disagreement on how the government should treat people with powers or abilities. Tony thought there should be government oversight, but Steve disagreed. Stark also learned that Bucky killed his parents and that Steve knew.
Steve recruits Falcon, Scarlet Witch, Hawkeye, and Ant-Man, while Tony gathers Black Widow, Black Panther (in his MCU debut), War Machine, Vision, and Spider-Man (also in his MCU debut), and the two groups duke it out.
That disagreement splintered the two friends, and they haven’t had a chance to reconcile yet. Bruce Banner ended up calling Steve in for help against Thanos, while Tony went to space with Doctor Strange and Spider-Man.
Co-director Anthony Russo told Fandango that Stark and Tony’s “severed” relationship played into what happened in “Infinity War.”
“The relationship between Tony Stark and Steve Rogers was severed, and that was what put them in a vulnerable place when Thanos came in ‘Infinity War,’ and I think is partially what led to their demise in that film, the fact that they were divided when the greatest threat they ever faced came to them,” he said. “So there is definitely a throughline there.”