The end of Avengers: Infinity War completely changes the status quo of the MCU, so we’re here to break down all the big twists of the Avengers’ final showdown with Thanos, and explain what that ending could mean for Avengers 4. Needless to say, there are major spoilers ahead.
You knew the Avengers: Infinity War ending might be tragic. You knew that some of Marvel’s greatest heroes were going to die. But you probably expected Captain America or Iron Man to bite the bullet. Instead, some of Marvel’s newly minted heroes like Black Panther and Spider-Man disappeared. It was a shocking twist, but the Marvel universe has been building up this for nearly a decade.
Throughout the Marvel films, Thanos has worked to gather all six Infinity Stones so he can destroy half of all life in the universe. In the Infinity War ending, the Avengers try to stop him, eventually killing Vision in order to destroy the Mind Stone inside his head. But Thanos simply uses the Time Stone to reverse the process and gain all six stones.
After taking all infinity stones, Thor try to put down Thanos with his new weapon. But, he failed as Thanos clicks his finger and destroys half of the universe. When he snaps his fingers, people and aliens alike begin to disintegrate. In a stunning sequence, many of Marvel’s superheroes slowly turn to dust. Okoye cries out as her king, Black Panther, dissolves. Rocket tries to grab on to Groot as he watches his friend die — again. Spider-Man, still just a teenager, begs for his life in Iron Man’s arms before deteriorating into nothing.
All told, billions of people vanish, and 12 heroes disappear: Black Panther, Spider-Man, Doctor Strange, Bucky Barnes, Falcon, Scarlet Witch, Star-Lord, Groot, Drax, Mantis, Nick Fury and Maria Hill. It’s worth noting that he still has the Infinity Gauntlet at this point, but the metal looks twisted and charred as if his final act broke it beyond repair.
After completing his master plan, we next see Thanos in an empty orange realm; it’s possible he’s actually inside the Soul Stone, which also happens to be orange and, in the comics, is known to contain a pocket dimension known as the “Soul World” – a place which stores all of the souls stolen by the gem (and wouldn’t that be handy later?). There, he’s confronted by Gamora as a child, who asks him what his crusade cost.
“Everything,” Thanos says heavily – not in reference to the countless lives he just wiped out, of course, but to Gamora herself, the soul he loved most and was forced to sacrifice in order to earn the stone. His melancholy doesn’t last too long, though, as our last glimpse of the Mad Titan sees him seemingly ready to retire on a lush green planet, watching the sun set with a look of contentment on his face.
Then again, the characters may stay dead. If that happens, then this will be the boldest creative decision in the history of cinema ever.