THEORY: The Fourth Avengers Film Will Split Marvel Into Two Universes
The fourth installment of the Avengers franchise is still months away from release, and yet people are still reeling from excitement as to what it could be about. Unfortunately for theorists, everything about "Avengers 4" has been kept under wraps, even down to its title. However, just because fans don't exactly know what it will be about yet does not stop people, such as myself, from speculating as to what it may be about. In my case, I think that in the aftermath of the final Avengers film, the Marvel Cinematic Universe will divide into two separate, alternate, universes.
From all of the set leaks and information that we have, it sounds like Avengers 4 could be a time-travel story. In one specific photo taken on set, we see what looks to be a present-day Tony Stark, clad in a S.H.I.E.L.D uniform, standing alongside Scott Lang as he speaks to Captain America, dressed in his earlier costume seen in Joss Whedon's The Avengers. The same goes for Chris Hemsworth and Tom Hiddleston, Marvel's Thor and Loki, who were also seen on set in their respective 2012 attires. Match this with the fact that Marvel is reprinting the time-travel storyline Avengers: Forever months ahead of Avengers 4’s release, and time-travel in the cinematic universe seems very likely.
One could theorize that Tony Stark, Ant-Man, and whoever else tags along will stop Thanos by time traveling via the Quantum Realm, something that should ring a bell for those who have seen Ant-Man and the Wasp. This would then create a timeline where the lives of those that were snapped away by the fingers of Thanos were saved, and in process would sacrifice another life, a more permanent and lasting death for the franchise. This would also leave an alternate timeline where they did not save the world, or at least failed to save the world, and the other half of the population again.
Maybe in this reality, since the Avengers are no more, Captain Marvel decides to form a new team of heroes to prevent any potential cosmic cataclysms and do away with the Avengers name and form the Ultimates, members of which already exist in the MCU. The success of Black Panther might also push Marvel to bring in other diverse characters such as Blue Marvel and America Chavez, as the “Avengers” name continues through the Young Avengers or the Champions in that universe.
With this universe’s Peter Parker having died, and most likely having gained far more of a reputation since Spider-Man: Homecoming, the Ultimate comics' Miles Morales could even be introduced. The current universe that we last saw our heroes in could become an Ultimate/new universe where younger and different heroes get the spotlight.
TRUTH BEHIND THE THEORY
This theory is just that, a theory. However, the idea of two separate Marvel universes coexisting at the same time is not unheard of. In fact, in the early 2000s, Marvel did just that when it decided to continue Earth-616, the main Marvel comic book universe, alongside its newly launched “Ultimate” universe.
The Ultimate universe was a fresh take, not tied down by any continuity from the main Marvel storyline. This was done to gain interest of new readers, who might have felt intimidated by the long-running continuity presented in the main Marvel timeline. To further gain the interest of new readers, Marvel decided to have this universe be updated to fit the times. A prime example of this would be how in the early days of the new millennium, science was primarily centered around genetics. As a result, characters such as Spider-Man, the Hulk, and the X-Men went from being atomically enhanced, to being genetically enhanced.
However, another major difference was the Avengers themselves. In this universe, they were not known as the Avengers, but rather as the Ultimates, founded by Captain America, Iron Man, Thor, Hulk, Ant-Man, and the Wasp under S.H.I.E.L.D. There was another version of the Ultimates formed in the main Marvel continuity, this being the one that included members like Black Panther, Blue Marvel, Spectrum, and America, under the leadership of Captain Marvel (Carol Danvers), who assembled the team in the first place to prevent cosmic threats before they actually happened. In the case of my theory, the universe in which everything is mostly okay, and characters such as Peter Parker and T’Challa, along with the other half of the population, have been saved from death could serve as their makeshift 616 universe. Meanwhile, the other one in which Tony and others failed to save the world again creates an alternate universe, which likewise could serve as their makeshift Ultimate timeline.
As for how this all connects to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the Ultimate universe was one of its greatest influences. The Ultimates, like the MCU Avengers, had Captain America as a founding member, and also fought the evil alien race, the Chitauri. The super-soldier serum, like in the Ultimates, played a big role in the MCU. The MCU incarnation of the Abomination is a prime example of this. Not to mention, Nick Fury being played by Samuel L. Jackson started from the Ultimate universe, as in those comics, Nick Fury was even drawn to look exactly like Samuel L. Jackson.
There are more examples of the Ultimate universe influencing Marvel Studios' cinematic timeline, almost as many as its 616 counterpart doing the same. As for 616, the crazy cosmic wonders of Guardians of the Galaxy and Thor: Ragnarok almost feel like the creators took a page out of a Jack Kirby drawing. The lighter tone also feels like something straight out of the fun-filled adventures presented in those 1960s Marvel comic books.
Given how Marvel Studios likes to infuse aspects from both the main 616 and Ultimate continuity, creating two universes that coexist with one of them having a form of the Ultimates and Miles Morales in it seems right up their alley. Not to mention the fact that Marvel has been emphasizing on alternate universes more and more, whether it is through exploring the Quantum Realm in Ant-Man or the Dark Dimension in Dr. Strange.
In fact, Kevin Feige, director and head of Marvel Studios mentioned in an interview with Comicbook.com that, “… what’s so amazing is, as you well know about the comics, is there are so many areas to play with. There is so many characters to play with and every time we introduce a new one to our cinematic universe, that’s just another storytelling tool in the toolbox, and of course Doctor Stephen Strange himself, that power base, but the whole notion of sorcerers now can expand into our movies and the notion of parallel dimensions and alternate realities and the multiverse is something that we’re very excited to explore.”
Ultimately, as I said before, this theory is just that, a theory. It is pure speculation and is not meant to be taken as fact, but what do you think? Do you agree with my theory? Do you see holes in it? How do you think Marvel will tie up the loose ends in Avengers 4? Let us know, and stay tuned to our YouTube channel, Twitter, and on here, where you can also get more updates, news, reviews, and editorials about Marvel and more!