The long-awaited Avengers: Endgame is released this week, and Marvel fans everywhere are desperate to know what has happened to their favourite superheroes.
After Thanos snapped his fingers to devastating effect at the end of Infinity War, many of the team were wiped out – along with half of all living creatures in the universe. Trailers for Endgame haven’t given much away about who survives, who – if anyone – comes back, or how Thanos might be conquered. (Is that even possible, given the power those Infinity Stones bestow?)
If you’re not a fan but your kids are already excitedly planning their in-movie snacks, don’t worry – here are a few tips to help you understand what’s going on.
1What happened in Infinity War?
Arch-villain Thanos was on a mission to collect all six infinity stones which, when placed in the special gauntlet, would give the wearer infinite power. The Avengers and their allies were hell-bent on stopping him but ultimately failed. Thanos clicked his fingers and half of all life in the universe disappeared – including Nick Fury, Black Panther/T’Challa, Spider-Man/Peter Parker, Doctor Strange and most of the Guardians of the Galaxy. Other key characters, including Loki, Gamora and Vision, had already been murdered by Thanos.
2So, who’s left?
Iron Man, Thor, Captain America, Bruce Banner/The Hulk, Hawkeye, Black Widow and Rhodey/War Machine are alive, well and determined to change what happened. Rocky Raccoon has survived and Captain Marvel also shows up, as does Ant-Man – he was in the quantum realm at the time of the snap.
3What are the Infinity Stones?
The Space, Reality, Power, Mind, Time and Soul stones control different aspects of existence. They’ve featured during the other MCU movies without many of us realising it at the time. For example, the Space Stone was inside the Tesseract all along, and the Time Stone was part of Doctor Strange’s necklace. Each is powerful on its own, but united they give whoever possesses them almost limitless supremacy.
4And who is Thanos?
He’s large, purple, from Titan, and believes limiting the population of the universe is the only way to keep it stable and manageable. He’d already started work on his master plan before he got his oversized hands on the Infinity Stones, moving from planet to planet and killing half of the inhabitants. Sometimes, he’d adopt the resulting orphans. One of these was Gamora, but he subsequently sacrificed her to get his hands on the Soul Stone. Another is Nebula, fuelled by rage and hatred for her father. She survived the Infinity Snap and was seen in one Endgame trailer planning how she’d get back to earth – so who knows what role she’ll play in what happens next?
5Hawkeye and Ronin are the same person
In one trailer we saw Clint Barton, aka Hawkeye (played by Jeremy Renner), dressed as a ninja as he wiped out some Japanese yakuza with a katana sword. Where on earth were his bow and arrows? In the comics, Hawkeye has a second persona, Ronin – it seems he’s reverted to it, at least for a while. We don’t know why, yet.
6The trailers give away nothing
Producer and Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige has said all Endgame footage used in trailers or television clips is taken from the film’s first 15 minutes. So no real spoilers there, and there have been no internet leaks either. This means most of the film is a mystery to everyone – we’ll all find out what happens together.
Endgame will be the longest Marvel movie ever, with a run-time of 3hrs 2mins. MCU considered building in an interval at one stage. It’s a long time to sit still, even with little ones who are desperate to see the film. Be prepared and plan your comfort breaks!
Avengers: Endgame opens in the UK on April 25 and in the US on April 26.