Warning: MASSIVE spoilers ahead for the ending of Avengers: Infinity War! Seriously, if you don't want the movie spoiled for you then make sure to turn back right now! You've been warned!
With Avengers: Infinity War now in theaters, many audiences finally know what happens in the shocking Thanos storyline. The Mad Titan snaps his fingers, and half of our favorite heroes fade away from existence. There were numerous theories about the film ambiguously ending on the finger snap in the weeks leading up to its release, but according to Infinity War's screenwriters, the film's finale was designed to leave audiences with some answers and tie off this stage of Thanos' story. In a recent interview alongside Stephen McFeely, Christopher Markus explained:
There are still questions: What are [The Avengers] going to do?, and all those sorts of things. But if you had stopped it before he snapped his fingers, or with four stones, that really is just a pause button. That really is just going, 'What's he going to do?' 'Will your hero stop dangling from the cliff?' And we wanted to put a much more definitive 'Yes, this happens. Deal with it,' tone at the end of it, rather than jerk you around.
So, while Avengers: Infinity War does leave audiences with some critical questions, it also offers up enough answers to stand as a single story, rather than ending on a cliffhanger of who died and who didn't. Per Christopher Markus' remarks about the film's ending to THR, the creative team didn't want to simply end the movie without finishing the story they were telling. Instead of simply ending the movie on the finger snap, they showed everything that resulted from the snap and closed the movie out with Thanos' bittersweet victory. Instead of hitting the "pause button" until next year, they ended this story to make room for the next one.
We've seen examples of how this type of cliffhanger can arguably go wrong in the past, particularly in the TV world. Specifically, the Season 6 finale of The Walking Dead ended with the promise that Negan had killed someone in Rick Grimes' group, only to keep the identity of that person a secret until the premiere of Season 7. The cliffhanger tease proved incredibly divisive among fans, and Infinity War handily sidesteps that type of move by ending with confirmation of who lives and dies. Now, it's more a matter of leaving us with questions about how the heroes will deal with the fallout of Thanos' victory.
Avengers: Infinity War is now in theaters. For those of you who want more information about the massive Marvel movie, make sure to take a look at our comprehensive review of the film, as well as our To 3D guide to see what we think of the film's 3D effects. As for Avengers 4, watch out for the culmination of the Phase 3 Marvel Cinematic Universe story next year when the film debuts on May 3, 2019.