This article originally appeared on VICE US.
On Friday, Marvel dropped its highly anticipated trailer for Avengers: Endgame, which promises to be the climax of more than a decade of insanely profitable films. By noon Eastern, the YouTube video had gotten 10 million views, virality that's usually only achieved when a video game livestreamer says something racist. But what is really going on in the trailer? What hints can we glean from its 145 seconds? What secrets lie in the brief glimpses of minor characters and bits of Marvel universe ephemera? Let's investigate this together, as we wring another precious piece of content out of the drippings from a Disney media empire that is consuming us all like an invisible world-spanning squid. Enjoy!
And we open with.... a mask? Very mysterious, evocative, shades of how The Force Awakens used the Darth Vader helmet to allude to Star Wars's legacy. Only in that case, the reference was so obvious everyone got it. I'm already excited to see where this trailer goes.
There is a lot of machinery and junk in the background, indicating that we are probably in Robert Downey Jr.'s workshop where he built the Iron Man suit way back in the first Marvel Cinematic Universe movie.
Except... NOT! Wow, in the first few seconds we get a major plot twist, where it turns out that Iron Man is in space. How did he get there??? Classic Marvel.
Actually, hold on—maybe he's not really in space and this is merely an establishing shot taking us to another location. Let me hit resume on this trailer.
Nope, turns out Iron Man is really in space! Wow, I'm already SO excited for this movie. If you look closely, you'll see there's something glowing on his chest. That could be one of any number of things, according to the comics.
Just as the mask was used to tease a presumably important character, this armor seems extremely significant. It could even be a "McGuffin"—that's screenwriter slang for an object that multiple characters are trying to get their hands on and that thus drives the plot.
Also, we're not in space anymore.
This could be part of a dream sequence? But who's dreaming? And WHOSE HAND IS THAT? I'm gonna say it is probably a human hand, but it could be an alien hand too—remember, Iron Man was in space, so aliens could be involved here.
Chris Evans is crying as Scarlett Johansson tells him that Thanos "wiped out 50 percent of all living creatures." This is, again, classic Marvel, reminding you what happened in the past film. Also, presumably everyone we see in this trailer was NOT wiped out—meaning we'll be seeing them in the upcoming movie!!
Here we're gifted a glimpse of Scott Lang, a.k.a. Ant-Man, played by Paul Rudd, who was last seen in the after-credits sequence of Ant-Man and the Wasp going to the subatomic realm with the assistance of the Pym family—who were all killed by Thanos's universe-altering finger snap. Lang appeared stranded in the subatomic realm, but he wasn't killed by Thanos. This scene indicates that maybe the Avengers think that he is dead. If so, they're in for a shock!
No idea who the old guy in this shot is.
Here's Chris Hemsworth—and damn, looks like his eye is kinda fucked up?
This character is a badass. You can tell because:
- He (or she) has got a knife with like, weird holes in it.
- He (or she) is cutting themselves with the knife? Or wiping blood off of it? Either way.
- Their back is to the camera, which is universal cinema language for "you are not going to fucking BELIEVE who it turns out this character is!!" Example: Remember in Star Wars when you never knew who Darth Vader was beneath his mask the whole time and it turned out he was some old guy at the end? Legendary.
BOOM, identity revealed: It's a minor Marvel Universe character played by Jeremy Renner!
No crossover MCU event would be complete without a reference to Agent Carter, the second-most popular Marvel show to ever air on ABC. Will Captain America finally avenge—get it? He's an Avenger—Peggy Carter's death?
Fans were wondering what the title of the fourth Avengers movie would be, because Marvel either kept that under wraps or hadn't decided yet. Well: They decided! Endgame! Does this mean this is the last MCU movie EVER?
And in an amusing post-title sequence, we get Lang again, this time knocking on the door of the Avengers complex. Could Ant-Man provide the Avengers with the key to defeating Thanos, maybe by using the subatomic realm to travel back in time (or inside the Soul Stone, where it's possible those killed by Thanos's snap are imprisoned)? Or is this just a bit of comic relief? I guess we'll find out! :)
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