The Marvel Cinematic Universe has arguably never been more exciting, with the stakes of the narrative at an all-time high. The Russo Brothers did the impossible with Avengers: Infinity War, servings its large ensemble of characters, while telling an emotional and thrilling story through the eyes of Josh Brolin’s villainous Thanos. And as such, the wait for the still untitled Avengers 4 movie has been agonizing.
While a year and change between the two Avengers movies is challenging enough, the fandom hasn’t been privy to any of the happenings of The Russo Brothers’ Phase-ending blockbuster. The lack of an official title has spawned countless fan theories, with one of the most popular being Avengers: Annihilation. This fan theory got more traction when one moviegoer realized that Stanley Tucci’s character from Captain America: The First Avenger mentions that word in a foreboding scene, as the dialogue goes:
Ladies and gentleman, today we take not another step towards annihilation, but the first step on the path to peace. We begin with a series of micro injections into the subject’s major muscle groups.
Although obviously a bit of a stretch, this new discovery is another reason for fans to remain excited for the release of Avengers: Infinity War. The Marvel Cinematic Universe basically invented serialized storytelling, and therefore served as the catalyst for the other shared universes that followed. And with Avengers 4 (and its title) a mystery, the fandom is combing through the MCU catalogue for any semblance of what’s to come.
The scene in question comes fairly early in 2011’s Captain America: The First Avenger. Chris Evans’ Steve Rogers is accepted into the Super Soldier initiative Project Rebirth, which is the process in which he becomes the Captain America we know and love. As he begins the experiments, Stanley Tucci’s character Abraham Erskine gives a stirring monologue, where he name drops the word Annihilation– aka one of the most popular fan theories for Avengers 4‘s title.
As a reminder, you can check out the scene from The First Avenger below, and be reminded how Captain America was born in the now behemoth Marvel Cinematic Universe.
This scene and its quote, which came into the fandom’s hive mind thanks to redditor 12Blane17, is probably getting more attention than it has in years. While no doubt an iconic part of MCU history, the focus of this sequence is usually not on Stanley Tucci’s character– despite his performance being of regular Tucci heights of glory. But the utterance of one word changes everything for the fans– at least until Avengers 4‘s title is finally revealed, and the rumors are put to bed.
Plenty of potential titles for Avengers 4 have been tossed around since Infinity War arrived in theaters this past April, with Annihilation being one of the most popular choices– given how the last movie ended. Thanos truly brought annihilation down upon the heroes of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, as he assembled the Infinity Stones, and was therefore able to wipe out half the galaxy with the snap of his finger.
Aside from working in a literal way, the world annihilation has also come up quite a few times throughout the course of the MCU’s decade of filmmaking. Another eagle eyed Marvel fan recently caught another major utterance of the potential subtitle in Avengers: Age of Ultron. Shortly after Vision comes to life for the first time, Scarlet Witch says that she looked into his mind, and saw only annihilation.
This comment was certainly contextualized with Avengers: Infinity War, when Vision’s mind (or more specifically, the Mind Stone) was the final key to Thanos’ massive extinction event. Thanos killed whoever he wanted to acquire each stone, and was basically unstoppable by the time he arrived in Wakanda for the Mind Stone.
But after Shuri did her best to save him, Wanda was forced to destroy the Mind Stone herself, in a final ditch effort to stop Thanos’ quest. And after tears by both, she ultimately succeeded. Unfortunately, Doctor Strange had only just given Thanos the Time Stone, and he was able to turn back time, incapacitate Scarlet Witch, and rip the Mind Stone from Vision’s forehead.
If the word annihilation doesn’t describe Thanos’ terrifying victory over The Avengers and Guardians of the Galaxy, then I’m not sure what does. And his wrath was more terrifying than audiences could have imagined, as they were forced to watch in horror as countless heroes faded away to dust before their eyes. And that doesn’t include the other characters who Thanos murdered like Gamora, Loki, Heimdall, and the Asgardians.
Avengers 4‘s title has become an event of its own, and the mystery has surrounded the upcoming blockbuster since Infinity War started its theatrical run. But The Russo Brothers have been steadfast about not revealing the film’s title, instead wanting to allow Infinity War to stand on its own two feet. And with the release of both Ant-Man and The Wasp and Captain Marvel between the two Avengers flicks, Marvel Studios needed to pivot to its other projects, and ensure that every single release in Phase Three is a success.
The Russo Brothers have also seen the downside to Avengers 4‘s mysterious title. Mainly, that it will probably end up disappointing some of the fandom. No matter what title the directors land on, there’s no way it’ll live up to months of hype, fan theories, and countless questions in interviews. But no pressure.
As we get close to Avengers 4‘s May release, more information should slowly begin trickling out about the upcoming blockbuster. The first trailer is reportedly set to arrive before the New Year, although Marvel still has Captain Marvel to worry about. But with only a few month between those two projects, the studio will have to promotion for both.
Avengers 4 will arrive in theaters on May 3rd, 2019. In the meantime, check out our 2019 release list to plan your next trip to the movies.