It's been barely a week since Avengers: Infinity War hit theaters, and fans learned just how big a monster was waiting for them at the end of this movie. While the film has been breaking records right and left, fans have been running home and breaking fanfic sites right and left, trying to write an ending to this cliffhanger that will fix everything. From these hundreds of ideas come some of the best fan theories, all of which might turn out to be the real answer. Parsing through the Avengers 4 theories, I've found five that seem the most plausible answers. Obviously, spoilers for Avengers: Infinity War follow.
Before diving in, readers should note the following: The writers of Avengers: Infinity War currently insist all the deaths at the end of the film are real. Fans should not spend the next year assuming that Spider-Man and Dr. Strange aren't really dead, that the Guardians are all fine and will pop back to life. These characters are dead, they will be dead when the next film begins, and Marvel fans should go through their stages of grief now so they aren't shocked by this next May when Avengers 4 arrives.
With that in mind, here are the most plausible theories of how Avengers 4 will solve this crisis.
Dr. Strange Had A Plan
For a lot of fans, the bad news started when Dr. Strange looked into the future and saw 14,000,605 outcomes, in which only one scenario they would win. The problem was, Dr. Strange didn't tell anyone which scenario it was where they won. Viewers assumed Star-Lord's plan must have been it, after all, wouldn't have Strange said something if it wasn't?
But what if it wasn't? What if there was no way the Avengers on Titan and on Earth won at this stage? What if they had to lose the battle today to win the war?
"It was the only way," Strange told Tony before he dissipated. Maybe losing here was the only way to win in the end.
Captain Marvel Will Change The Timeline
For months leading up to Avengers: Infinity War, endless rumors circulated Avengers 4 featured time travel. This was due to leaked footage from the set that showed Captain America in his original outfit (and haircut) from 2012's The Avengers. Some thought maybe Steve Rogers died in this film and Tony would go back in time and change the past so none of this happened.
But the ending of Infinity War seems to preclude such an answer (Steve is still alive, for one thing.) But perhaps there still is time travel, in the form of Captain Marvel. Her backstory is a 1990s set period piece, and others think she may be in the Quantum Realm where time and space are relative. Captain Marvel is the most powerful superhero in the MCU pantheon, time traveling is not out of her abilities. Avengers 4 could have scenes set in the past, via her point of view.
Gamora Is In The Soul Stone
At the end of Infinity War, right after Thanos snapped his fingers, he was transported to a place outside the universe, where a vision of Gamora as a child was waiting for him. Fans believe this place Thanos went to is a pocket dimension inside the Soul Stone known as "The Soul World," where the victims sacrificed to gain the stone reside.
If so, that means Gamora is alive, at least in her pure child-like form. Thanos loves Gamora more than anything. Would breaking her out of the Soul Stone give the Avengers an advantage over Thanos?
Or will the child Gamora reject Thanos, as Mistress Death does in the comics, making him wish to undo all he had done, just to please her?
The Quantum Realm Will Undo What Was Done
There are two films between now and when Avengers 4 comes out, and both feature the Quantum Realm, first in Ant-Man & The Wasp and then in Captain Marvel. And that's not counting that Wong also can access it via his sorcerer's training.
This is a dimension where Time and Space don't work the same way they do on Earth. Our heroes could use it for time travel, for changing the past, for fixing what has happened. The question is, will they?
Shuri Will Save The Day
With T'Challa done and dusted at the end of Infinity War, that makes Shuri the new Black Panther, at least for the time being. She just spent hours studying the heck out of the Mind Stone in trying to remove it from Vision's forehead. That makes her Earth's most pre-eminent scientific expert on Infinity Stones.
How does that help? If Shuri knows how Infinity Stones are made and their composition she can either make one herself or make a way to take them down. Put her in a room with Tony and Bruce as assistants, and she'll have this whole thing solved with time to spare before Netflix drops the next season of Luke Cage for binge-watching.