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The Possible Title of Avengers 4: Annihilation Brings Up Some Tragic Possibilities

Annihilation sure does have a heavy connotation to it.

Thanos Avengers Infinity War

There are plenty of theories about the upcoming Avengers 4 movie, but with its much-rumored title of Annihilation, it seems obvious to me what they plan on doing. Since almost all the original members of the Avengers coming to the end of the contracts, it is going to be a clean wipe. This I do believe.

Avengers 4 is set to fix what Thanos essentially broke and then see the end to our favorite heroes, who will bow out to fully usher in Marvel’s next stage. As we’ve talked about here on the Mary Sue, the title Annihilation could also be linked back to Annihilus, a villain that we’re not sure Marvel Studios has the rights to (he might still be under Fox’s control). He could be an even bigger bad than Thanos, and he could also usher in the next stage of villainy.

My personal fan theory is that remaining post-snap Avengers will eventually use the Soul stone and each Avenger with a completed contract will trade their lives for one who still has movies left to make. For example, Captain America himself, Steve Rogers, could trade his life for Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan signed a 9 picture deal with Marvel and, currently, has only completed four movies).

If every hero left (there are roughly the same amount of Avengers still alive as those that would still be important to the success of the MCU) traded places with someone claimed by Thanos’s snap, we could have the beginning of the new Avengers.

Here’s who’s currently alive of our key players: Tony Stark, Steve Rogers, Thor, Natasha Romanoff, James Rhodes, Bruce Banner, Scott Lang

Still alive but not technically an Avenger: M’Baku, Rocket, Nebula, Okoye, Pepper Potts, Shuri, Wong

And currently “dead” via the Snap, but very likely not finished with the MCU: T’Challa, Peter Quill, Peter Parker, Stephen Strange, Bucky Barnes, Wanda Maximoff, Sam Wilson, Hope Van Dyne

Important folks Snapped away but not potential franchise stars: Mantis, Groot, Drax, Nick Fury, Maria Hill, Janet Van Dyne, Hank Pym

“Natural” deaths unlikely to return except in flashback/time travel: Gamora, Loki, Heimdall, Vision

As you can see, there’s practically an equal number of central “Avenger” figures as those who have been lost in the Snap, yet are still essential for the future of the MCU. Normally such a one-to-one trade wouldn’t exactly make sense when you’re talking about losing your biggest stars, but we know that the actors behind Tony, Steve, and Thor are pretty much done with their contracts; Don Cheadle’s War Machine and Gwyneth Paltrow’s Pepper Potts could be tied to the fate of Iron Man.

Mark Ruffalo might have a movie more, and Scarlett Johansson is doing the Black Widow movie, but that could take place in a much earlier time period; theoretically, Ruffalo could appear in the Black Widow movie to fulfill the rest of his contract since the MCU is so enamored of Bruce/Natasha. That doesn’t mean they both wouldn’t be annihilated here. The success of Ant-Man and the Wasp means there could be another movie in that ‘verse, but what if Scott Lang sacrificed himself to bring back Hope and hand the franchise over to her?

I still think that Steve Rogers is going to sacrifice for his best friend. He constantly is putting James Buchanan Barnes before everything else and so watching Steve give his life for his best friend and Bucky having to stand by and watch it happen? It’d be just as heartbreaking as watching when Bucky called out to Steve as he turns to dust.

If Tony switches places in order to restore Peter Parker, we won’t have to have lived through this. We’d just have to live through Peter Parker crying over Tony’s lifeless body.

It’s also not beyond the bounds of reason in a movie where we’ve been told that things will be unreasonable and reality-bending that some of those “naturally murdered” people could return as well. Thor could find a way to restore his brother Loki at his own expense, which might be a way into that proposed Loki TV series that Marvel is reportedly developing.

To me, this eventual solution makes the most sense given who remained at the end of the movie. It’d be easy to reverse time and bring everyone back, but there was a strategy to who was left on Earth to fight against Thanos in the aftermath of Avengers: Infinity War.

Gaining control of the Soul stone and using it to bring back those lost during the snap would mean a sacrifice would have to be made, and the Avengers are the kind of group to sacrifice themselves for the greater good. Since the time is up for most of the original group, trading places would be both poignant and also indicate the “annihilation” of the original Avengers.

Do you think our heroes would make this trade-off?

(image: Marvel Entertainment)

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Resident Spider-Man expert, official Leslie Knope, actually Yelena Belova. Wanda Maximoff has never done anything wrong in her life. New York writer with a passion for all things nerdy. Yes, she has a Pedro Pascal podcast.