Doctor Strange knows many things the rest of the Marvel Universe doesn’t. But does he also know the title of Avengers 4? One line of Strange’s dialogue in Avengers: Infinity War may (or, hopefully, may not) have revealed the title for next year’s Avengers film, set for release on May 3, 2019.
Minor spoilers for Avengers: Infinity War are ahead.
Towards the end of Infinity War, Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) trades with Thanos the Time Stone in exchange for Tony Stark’s life. Stark, of course, thinks this is an extremely dumb idea, but Strange tells him with some purpose in his voice, “We’re in the endgame now.” Then Strange fades away like an asshole before revealing what he actually meant.
Does Strange literally mean the Avengers are in Avengers: Endgame now? Hopefully not. Because there are better — and real — titles from the comics that the MCU can model the fourth Avengers movie after instead of something generic like “Endgame,” which was never an Avengers story title at all. (For die-hards, “Endgame” was a minor X-Men storyline by Chris Claremont in 1991’s X-Factor. In no way does this hint at the X-Men showing up in the MCU.)
Marvel fans have been speculating the title of 2019’s Avengers 4 for nearly two years. In 2014, Marvel announced “Phase Three,” with Avengers: Infinity War split into two parts: Part One in 2018 and Part Two in 2019. But in 2016, Marvel changed its plans. Avengers: Infinity War became just one movie, while Part Two would get its own unique title. Ever since, Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige and directors Joe and Anthony Russo have kept the title a secret, reasoning that it is a “spoiler” and that it should “scare” Marvel fans.
James Gunn, the director of Guardians of the Galaxy, has also shut down rumors that the title would be Avengers: Infinity Gauntlet, reflecting the comic books the films are primarily based on.
Now, Marvel fans suspect “Endgame” is the title of Avengers 4. But “Endgame” is neither a spoiler nor very scary at all. Of course, fighting Thanos would be an “endgame,” and the end isn’t scary because Marvel fans are used to keeping up with 800 reboots a year. Now, if the title was Avengers 4: Oh God, Everyone’s Dead, that would be both a spoiler and scary as hell.
Given how Marvel used Age of Ultron (2013) for 2015’s Avengers: Age of Ultron, the MCU can appropriate a comic crossover title without adapting it outright. Infinity Abyss, a 2002 storyline involving Thanos clones, is a better title that also reflects the darkness of the MCU.
There’s also Age of Apocalypse (1995), Avengers Disassembled (2004), Annihilation (2006), and even Secret Wars (1984/2015), the last of which signaled a huge shift in the status quo than any other Marvel title could. Jaws will drop if the title is House of M (2005), though the MCU will need the X-Men for that. And 2008’s Secret Invasion, in which the Marvel Universe was invaded by Skrulls, is an extremely suitable follow-up for Marvel to adapt in Phase Four.
But all of this is speculation. We could find out the title of Avengers 4 right now, but unfortunately we don’t have the Time Stone.
Avengers: Infinity War is in theaters now.