HEAT VISION

The Most Likely Titles for 'Avengers 4'

How does 'Avengers: Disassembled' or 'Avengers: The Thanos Imperative' sound?

[This story contains spoilers for Avengers: Infinity War.]

Avengers: Infinity War left viewers with a share of mysteries to consider in its aftermath. Fans are already poring over bits of dialogue and Easter eggs in hopes of shedding light on the fate of characters who have been with us for a decade — and one question in particular continues to plague the Marvel faithful.

Since May of 2016, when Marvel removed the Part I and Part II from Infinity War and titled Avengers 3 and 4 separately, fans have wondered what the fourth Avengers movie will be called. Many expected a title reveal at the end of Infinity War, or at least for the post-credit scene to provide a major clue. Instead of a title, the Russo brothers left us with a tease of Captain Marvel, and good-naturedly poured salt in the fandom's collective wound with “Thanos will return” replacing the traditional “The Avengers Will Return” sendoff. While the reason behind removing the Part I and Part II was to avoid the perception that this was merely one film split in half, instead of two films with two separate identities, it’s hard to imagine a stronger title than Infinity War to finish off this saga of Thanos and the Avengers. With Marvel Studios skipping out on San Diego Comic-Con this year, and studio chief Kevin Feige playing as coy as possible, it's likely an answer will not be coming soon.

So, what's the best bet for the title of Avengers 4?

One theory put forward by the genre news site Heroic Hollywood is that the fourth Avengers movie will be titled Avengers: Endgame, based off of Doctor Strange’s line to Tony Stark, “We’re in the endgame” now. "Endgame" would also harken back to Stark’s line from Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015): “That up there? That’s the endgame.” While that seems plausible, both of the sequels to The Avengers (2012) have used titles of popular comic book storylines. While the Russos could break the mold for their fourth film, Infinity War shows a consistency in established format, even going as far as to retain the font of the Avengers from Joss Whedon’s film during the opening title card reveal. Infinity Gauntlet, the 1991 Jim Starlin series that helped inspire the Infinity War movie, may have been ruled out as a title by Feige himself, but there are still plenty of other titles from the source material that would strike a chord with audiences.

The Marvel Cinematic Universe has borrowed a lot from the work of comic writer Brian Michael Bendis, the man who rejuvenated Marvel for the 21st century and who has recently swapped his Infinity Stone for a Mother Box in his signing of an exclusive deal with DC Comics. Age of Ultron, while not sharing any resemblance to the plot of Bendis’ 2013 storyline, did make great use of his title. With Captain Marvel introducing the alien Skrulls into the MCU, Avengers: Secret Invasion seemed like a safe bet for the Avengers 4 title before Infinity War. 2008’s Secret Invasion is an arc worthy of a cinematic adaptation, with the series revealing that shape-shifting Skrulls had been hiding in plain sight on Earth for years in an attempt to take over the planet. But Infinity War doesn’t reveal any Skrulls, so that title seems off the table for now.

Other significant events during Bendis’ tenure on Avengers books included Dark Reign (2008) and Siege (2010), but the most eye-catching title goes back to the very beginning of Bendis’ run: 2004’s Avengers Disassembled. This storyline saw the destruction of the original Avengers lineup and paved the way for his New Avengers series featuring a new lineup. While Captain America has yet to usher his famous battle cry, “Avengers Assemble!” within the MCU, it might have even more impact if he only gets to say it once before the original team, none of whom were turned to ash by Thanos’ power, meets its end. Avengers: Disassembled, by the nature of its association in the comics world, would ultimately point to the formation of the New Avengers, and that’s a title we can’t imagine going unused in Marvel’s future for long.

Another possibility from Marvel’s modern era would put the focus on the big purple guy himself. With the Russos saying that they consider Thanos the main character of Infinity War, and his teased return at the end of that film, it’s only logical that he will be just as central a figure in Avengers 4. Enter Avengers: The Thanos Imperative. The Thanos Imperative (2010) is the work of Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning, who conceived of the modern Guardians of the Galaxy roster that served as the basis for James Gunn's films. The storyline continued the expansion of Marvel’s cosmic side, something that Feige has long been interested in and is developing alongside Gunn. With Thanos as the current authoritative power in the universe, it would make sense to capitalize on his threat in the title, in a similar way to what was done with Ultron.

Of course, Marvel could always return to the works of Infinity War comic book creator Jim Starlin and title Avengers 4 like a companion piece to Infinity War. In the comics, The Infinity War (1992), itself a sequel to The Infinity Gauntlet, was followed by The Infinity Crusade (1993). Like The Infinity War, The Infinity Crusade lacks characters and concepts to work as a true basis for the film’s narrative, but Avengers: Infinity Crusade does have a heroic ring to it, one that positions our remaining Avengers as knights and taps into the mythological quality of these characters.

Another possibility from the works of Jim Starlin is Avengers: The End. Starlin’s Marvel: The End (2003), exists outside of mainstream continuity and imagines the end of the Marvel Universe. Marvel’s publishing line has displayed a fondness for the title over the years, giving several notable Marvel characters their own The End miniseries. While Avengers: The End may be more final a title than Marvel Studios is looking for, it certainly would turn heads and suggest the promise of a vastly different MCU in its wake.

Marvel Comics has consistently planned event series around the openings of Marvel Studios’ movies, usually using the characters central to the film as the leads in their events: Avengers Assemble in 2012, Rage of Ultron in 2015, and Civil War II in 2016. Marvel is currently publishing Infinity Countdown, by Gerry Duggan, and it wouldn’t be a reach to expect Marvel Studios to pull its title from that event or even a series that has yet to be announced. While there are a number of directions Marvel could go with for the title for Avengers 4, leading to a burst of fan excitement and a boom in similarly titled comic sales, they could name it The Untitled Fourth Avengers Film and everyone would still show up. Come May 3, 2019, the Avengers will have our attention no matter what title they’re attached to.

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