After months of anticipation, the title of the final installment in the Avengers saga has been announced, and things don't seem to be looking up for everyone's favorite superhero team. But now that the trailer for Avengers: Endgame has been released and fans finally know the answer to one major mystery, there's one other question on everyone's mind: What does the Avengers 4 title mean?
First, let's look at the obvious: The very first Avengers film, which was released back 2012, introduced the idea of the Infinity Stones, with Loki using the Tesseract to attempt to conquer Earth. Now that Thanos (Josh Brolin) possesses all of the Infinity Stones, it seems as if that plot line — and the Avengers' quest to collect them before Thanos in order to keep them from falling into the wrong hands — is finally coming to an end.
Considering that the film was originally titled Avengers: Infinity War — Part 2, it seems as if the most literal interpretation of Endgame is simply that the heroes' fight is ending, and a new story and group of superheroes will soon rise to take their place in the fight to protect the universe. Avengers: Endgame seems to mean that this is truly the end of the Avengers as fans know them, and that after this film, nothing about the heroes or the galaxy will ever be the same.
Spoilers for Infinity War below. Of course, based on the ominous trailer — which features Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) adrift in space, Thor (Chris Hemworth) still reeling from the events of Avengers: Infinity War, and Natasha and Steve (Scarlett Johansson and Chris Evans) left to pick up the pieces in the wake of Thanos' destruction — it could be that Endgame refers less to the end of the saga, and more about the end of the Avengers themselves.
Not only has half of the team been obliterated by Thanos himself, but the remaining Avengers are left to try and find some way to bring their friends back, while also attempting to take down Thanos all on their own, which doesn't bode well for the team's survival. If the team is unable to come back together to take down their enemy, it could spell the end of the group of superheroes all together, essentially leaving the remaining members to fight on their own — or to give up completely and let Thanos succeed in his quest for domination.
But with all of the dark undertones of the trailer, Endgame could be a hint that the remaining Avengers won't make it through this next installment of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Things seem incredibly bad for Tony, who is seen leaving a final message for Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow) at the start of the clip, which seems to imply that he's bracing himself for death. And considering that back in October, Chris Evans commemorated the end of filming on Avengers 4 with what felt like a goodbye message to his iconic character, it could mean that the "end" in Endgame is, well, death.
Avengers: Infinity War ended with Thanos, having taken out "half of all living things," on Earth as Natasha explained, watching the sun rise on a different planet. With all of the Infinity Stones in his possession and the Avengers recuperating from their last battle, it also seems as if Endgame might signal the end of Earth itself. After all, the villain seems to be unstoppable without resorting to otherworldly powers and measures — one popular fan theory involves the remaining Avengers going back in time to stop Thanos — so what's stopping him from continuing to wipe out people and planets in a quest to take over the galaxy?
There's another fan theory, based on the comic books, which posits that the Avengers who were disintegrated at the end of Infinity War are not gone, but are actually in the Soul World, having been wiped out by the Soul Stone. It could be that Endgame refers to the afterlife-inspired, peaceful world that the Avengers are trapped in, but need to find their way back from in order to help their fellow heroes take down Thanos. After all, what is more of an endgame then the afterlife itself? When considered in combination with the ominous tone of the trailer, it seems as if death itself is the major Endgame hanging above the head of our favorite heroes.
Of course, there's still the chance that all of these theories are completely off, and that the true meaning of Endgame won't be revealed until Avengers: Endgame is released on April 26, 2019. Let's hope our heroes make it through the end in one piece.