The Marvel Cinematic Universe has been going strong since it launched in 2008 with Iron Man, and while movies like Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 and Spider-Man: Far From Home will keep the franchise going into its Phase Four and beyond, the end of an era is approaching. Avengers 4 will conclude not just Phase Three of the MCU, but also wrap up numerous plot threads. While Avengers: Infinity War was long advertised as the biggest Marvel movie yet, rest assured that its follow-up will be just as important, if not more so.

Because Avengers 4 is so closely (but not 100% directly) intertwined with Avengers: Infinity War, Marvel Studios is, understandably, keeping details for Earth's Mightiest Heroes' fourth epic tale close to the proverbial chest. However, there is a fair amount of information that's already available to the public, so read on to find out what we know about Avengers 4 so far. Be warned, though. This guide is filled with SPOILERS both mild and extreme about Infinity War and Ant-Man and The Wasp, so proceed with caution if you haven't seen either film yet!

What Is The Avengers 4 Release Date?

Unlike the previous three year gaps between Avengers movies, Avengers 4 will be released only a year after Avengers: Infinity War, on May 3, 2019. Its principal photography began in late summer of 2017, only a few weeks after Infinity War wrapped shooting. Avengers 4 was previously known as Avengers: Infinity War Part II, but, in 2016, that title was removed to make it clear that this was one singular movie as opposed to the second half of a larger story (the real title has yet to be announced). However, Marvel fans should still expect close connectivity between Avengers 4 and Infinity War, hence why they don't have to wait nearly as long for the follow-up.

What Is The Avengers 4 Rating?

It will be a long time before the MPAA officially rates Avengers 4, but like the rest of the MCU movies, you can guarantee it will walk away with a PG-13 rating so that it can be accessible to both adults and younger moviegoers (but not too young). The reasons for being PG-13 will likely include having "extended/intense sequences of violence, action and destruction," along with some "suggestive comments" and language. These are nothing out of the ordinary, although keep in mind that Avengers 4 will ratchet up the intensity to an 11, so remember that if you're bringing kids along to the theater.

The Avengers 4 Writers And Directors

Avengers 4 is keeping the same creative team that guided Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Captain America: Civil War to success. Just like with those movies and Avengers: Infinity War, Joe and Anthony Russo will be sitting in the directors chairs, while Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely (who also wrote Captain America: The First Avenger and Thor: The Dark World) penned the script. As the saying goes, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it," and by keeping these creative teams intact, fans can look forward to a degree of familiarity.

Iron Man

Robert Downey Jr. helped kick off the Marvel Cinematic Universe with Iron Man in 2008, and he's maintained a consistent presence in the franchise since then. However, with Avengers 4 ending both the MCU's Phase Three and wrapping up what the franchise has been building to for a decade, it's certainly possible that this will be the last time we see Downey's Stark. After 10 appearances, one wouldn't blame the man for wanting to retire from his Iron Man life and fully focus on other projects. For Tony Stark, this could mean anything, from dying in battle to simply leaving his superhero activities behind. All we know for certain is that at the end of Avengers: Infinity War, he was still stranded on Titan, one of the only two superheroes on the dead planet who survived the Thanos snap. Somehow he'll make it back to Earth, and if Gwenyth Paltrow is to be believed, he and Pepper will be raising a child when we pick back up with them in Avengers 4. However, I also imagine that in the time that's passed since Infinity War, Tony's been wracking his brain on how to undo the universal genocide.

Captain America

Like Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans' future after Avengers 4 remains uncertain. Evans was originally contracted for six Captain America appearances, but he extended it for one movie so he could participate in Avengers 4. But Evans has implied that after that, he's departing the MCU, though that has yet to be confirmed. In any case, rather than suiting up as Nomad as previously rumored, Steve Rogers will be reverting back to his clean shaven look and a more traditional Captain America costume for Avengers 4, where he'll have a bigger role. Beyond that, we don't know what's in store for him, though we can't discount the possibility that Steve could fall in battle during Avengers 4, giving his life to save others like a soldier would.

Thor And Loki

The ultimate fate of Asgard and most of its inhabitants was sealed once Thor: Ragnarok and Infinity War were released, but one thing we do know is that Thor will live on to fight in Avengers 4, after losing his adoptive brother, Loki, in Avengers: Infinity War. To no one's surprise, Thor will be continuing his heroic duties and fighting alongside his fellow Avengers, but we can probably bet that the weight of Loki's death (not to mention Odin's and all the deaths of Infinity War) will be heavy for the God of Thunder. And, while Loki has always been more of a wild card, it would seem that this time his death is permanent.

Hulk

Thanks to Thor: Ragnarok, we know that Hulk had been spending the last few years killing it in the gladiator ring on Sakaar, but because of events during the opening of Avengers Infinity War, he eventually found himself back on Earth to help pummel Thanos and his minions. Though, it was actually Bruce Banner in one of Tony's Hulkbuster suits who ended up doing the fighting, as Hulk refused to come back out after his beatdown from Thanos for some reason. Mark Ruffalo has said that Hulk/Bruce Banner's arc across Thor: Ragnarok, Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers 4 will feel like a standalone movie when added up, which is good news for fans of the Green Goliath who haven't been gifted with a solo movie since The Incredible Hulk in 2008. Avengers 4 will also be the culmination of the "huge change" Hulk will go through starting in Thor: Ragnarok, meaning that we will likely see a lot more cooperation between Bruce and Hulk by the time Avengers 4 is done. Could we finally see Banner and Hulk melding into one super-strong, highly intelligent individual?

Thanos

Ever since he smirked at the camera in The Avengers mid-credits scene, Thanos has been lurking in the background of the MCU, but in Avengers: Infinity War, he finally stepped into the light when he and his Black Order minions secured all six Infinity Stones so that he could obliterate half of all life in the universe. The Mad Titan's involvement in Avengers 4, on the other hand, is shrouded in mystery. Josh Brolin had said that Thanos might not get all the Infinity Stones by the time Infinity War ended, and we now know that to have been a careful misdirect. We'll go into Avengers 4 with him being a god-like entity, but, beyond that, we have no idea what the film has in store for him. Though, given how many MCU arcs this movie's wrapping up, it's hard to imagine Thanos not dying by the end of it.

Guardians Of The Galaxy

With the exception of Yondu, who gave his life to save Peter Quill in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, all the Guardians of the Galaxy returned for Avengers: Infinity War. Unfortunately, due to the events of that film, we'll go into Avengers 4 with Rocket Raccoon and Nebula as the only members to survive Infinity War... for a time, anyway. Without seeing Avengers 4, it's hard to predict what's in store for the Guardians there, although if Thanos does end up dying in that movie, we shouldn't count out either a, somehow reconstituted, Drax the Destroyer or Nebula being responsible for his demise, as they've both vowed to eliminate him. As we know, though, they may have to stand in a long line to get their shot at that now.

Doctor Strange

We watched Doctor Strange begin his superhero journey in late 2016, and by the time of Avengers: Infinity War his magical abilities were most beneficial to his new allies...until they weren't, anyway. While we can't predict what we'll see from the neurosurgeon-turned-sorcerer in Avengers 4 without knowing how the good doctor will come back into the fold, keep in mind that even with his considerable talent, Doctor Strange isn't invincible, so he may still be going through a learning curve when we see him again in the 2019 film. Still, let's not forget that before he was dusted, Doctor Strange used the Time Stone to look at the all the alternate futures concerning the coming conflict with Thanos, and in only one of them were he and his allies victorious. So Strange knew ahead of time how things needed to proceed, and Avengers 4 will see those pieces finally fall into place.

Spider-Man

From traveling to Germany to fight other superheroes to defeating a gang of thieves armed with enhanced weaponry, Peter Parker's life as Spider-Man hasn't been lacking in excitement. In Avengers: Infinity War he put his arachnid-themed abilities to good use on a cosmic scale, and in an even more teched-out suit Tony Stark designed for him. But, as we all likely know by now, young Peter's demise near the end of that film was one of the most heart-breaking ever in a superhero movie, and Tony's suit didn't really help with that. It's worth noting that Spider-Man: Far From Home will begin only minutes after Avengers 4, so moviegoers will reunite with Peter immediately in the aftermath of this event and might get to watch him continue to deal with the effects of whatever brought him back to the known world.

Black Widow

Early into the production of Avengers 4, a scene was reportedly shot involving Japanese gangsters and Japanese cafe patrons, and Scarlett Johansson's stand-in was needed for the overnight shoot. So, connecting the dots, it sounds like when we reunite with Black Widow in Avengers 4, she'll still be kicking all kinds of ass, though presumably this scene takes place before she's drawn back into the larger cosmic narrative. Johansson was also photographed on set with a short red haircut, a sharp contrast to the longer hairdos she's displayed in the previous Marvel movies. Is she still trying to hide out, or did she just need a big change after the events of Infinity War? We'll have to wait and see.

Black Panther

At the end of Black Panther, King T'Challa decided to open Wakanda up to the world, but he probably didn't expect that months later, the African nation would have to repel an alien invasion. But when Steve Rogers and his allies showed up asking for help with protecting Vision and getting the Mind Stone out of the android, T'Challa let them in and was on the battlefield with the Avengers and Wakanda's finest warriors when those Outriders crashed the party. Earth's Mightiest Heroes emerged victorious in that battle, but soon after T'Challa turned to dust as Okoye watched in horror. Since Black Panther 2 is happening, we know T'Challa will eventually return. The question, like with all the other disappeared heroes, is how.

Hawkeye

Clint Barton sat out Avengers: Infinity War due to being under house arrest, but rest assured, when Avengers 4 rolls around, he'll be back in action. It was initially rumored that when we reunite with him in Avengers 4, he'll be known as Ronin, the identity he briefly donned in the comics following his resurrection. Why the identity change? Supposedly the events of Infinity War will leave Clint in a "very dark place." The going theory is that most, if not all, of his family will be wiped out by the Thanos Snap that eliminated half of existence in that film. That would certainly put most people in the darkest of places. None of Jeremy Renner's social media photos from the Avengers 4 set clarified what identity Clint will use or if his family is indeed gone, but we'll definitely see him on the front lines.

Ant-Man And Wasp

While Ant-Man was expected to appear in both Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers 4, we actually didn't get to see him again until Ant-Man and the Wasp, the next Marvel movie after Infinity War. And, if you've seen that movie, you know that things do not end well for Scott Lang and his allies. While Scott is in the Quantum Realm, The Thanos snap occurs, erasing Hope van Dyne, Hank Pym and Janet van Dyne from existence, and leaving Scott trapped in that other reality. Somehow he'll make it back to Earth in Avengers 4, and there are already theories on how the Quantum Realm plays into this gargantuan story, but otherwise, we're in the dark on how Scott fits into the proceedings.

Captain Marvel

Captain Marvel's involvement in the MCU has been one of the franchise's biggest question marks, as Brie Larson won't debut as Carol Danvers until March 8, 2019. However, it was revealed at 2017's San Diego Comic-Con that the Captain Marvel movie will be set in the 1990s, meaning that Carol has been active as a superhero in this universe for more than two decades by now. Her whereabouts in the present day haven't been revealed yet, but Carol has been officially confirmed to appear in Avengers 4. Her existence was teased in Avengers: Infinity War's final minute when Nick Fury activated a spruced-up pager right before disappearing that displayed Carol's insignia. Whatever the reason for her absence, her planet-moving powers will be most welcome when she finally returns to Earth.

Other Superheroes

Along with the previously mentioned superheroes, War Machine, Scarlet Witch, Falcon and Winter Soldier are all confirmed to return for Avengers 4 (yes, even the ones who were dusted by the Thanos Snap at the end of Infinity War). Then there's The Vision, who was especially important to Avengers: Infinity War given that he was powered by the Mind Stone, one of the six Infinity Stones that Thanos craved. And, like many of those other heroes, we have no indication what will happen to Vision in Avengers 4, or how the destroyed android might be brought back to life.

The Supporting Characters

Avengers 4 already has a stacked lineup of superheroes, but there will still be a number of other characters filling out the cast. In the supporting character category, only Iron Man mainstays Pepper Potts and Happy Hogan, as well as Doctor Strange's most trusted magical ally Wong, have been confirmed to appear, though you can bet that plenty of other familiar faces from the heroes' personal lives will be back as well. One of those will probably be super spy Nick Fury (even though, yup, he got dusted), who's been absent in the present day MCU since Avengers: Age of Ultron. As far as new faces go, The Wolverine actor Hiroyuki Sanada has been cast in an undisclosed role, and he likely won't be the only new player thrown into the mix.

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