In an epic sweep, Marvel Studios announced the breadth of their Phase 3 plans - plans that include, and conclude with "Marvel's Avengers: Infinity War - Part 2" on May 3, 2019. But will that date also mark the end of "The Avengers" franchise?
We're entering the realm of pure speculation here, as Marvel's announcement came with scant details... But there is some evidence here to show that Marvel might say goodbye to their mightiest team in 2019.
1. Part 2 Is The End
It's a simple matter of nomenclature, and the biggest, least speculative evidence on this list. Though Marvel has broken the Hollywood mold many times, the simple fact is the split "Part 1/Part 2" has previously been reserved for the last part of a series. "Harry Potter" and "Twilight," as well as "The Hunger Games" and "Divergent" are all using the split finale as a way of calling a wrap on their cast.
The exception? DC/Warner Bros. "Justice League," which announced a split film just a few weeks ago on October 15. Though we haven't gotten confirmation that "Justice League - Part 2," also hitting in 2019, isn't the conclusion of the saga began with "Man Of Steel," given there's at least two movies slated afterwards that would be, how you say, pretty weird.
So it's possible that "Infinity War - Part 2" might just be the launchpad to bigger and better things... But history shows that it's the conclusion, not the beginning.
2. It's The End Of The Road
"Iron Man" began something back in 2008. It teased the Avengers Initiative in its post-credits tag, which led to "The Avengers," where we first met the Marvel Cinematic Universe's big bad: Thanos.
And we don't think it's speculation to say that everything since has been leading up to "Infinity War." Each movie has teased out either Thanos' (Josh Brolin) direct involvement, or developed the idea of Infinity Stones, powerful artifacts that once combined become the unstoppable Infinity Gauntlet. If the images shown off by Marvel are accurate (and you know, they are), "Infinity War" finds Thanos getting control of the Gauntlet and finally facing the Avengers.
That's the end of a story that's 11 years long, way longer and more in depth than most movie series even think of attempting. It's possible that something might come after that, but in terms of the initial "Avengers" story - or even loose trilogy (loose because there's four movies in the trilogy) - that wraps things up rather neatly.
3. It's The End Of The Contractual Road
Look, we don't know the ins and outs of every actor in the MCU's contracts. But we do know the gang have been pretty public about how most of their contracts with Marvel run out the same time as "Infinity War."
Clearly Robert Downey Jr. has made some alternate deal, because he was pretty public about being in for "Avengers 3" and then done - and now he's also in for "Captain America: Civil War."
Same with Chris Evans, and presumably most of "The Avengers" cast: if they're not done with "Infinity War," they're certainly wrapping up. So there are three choices: continue the "Avengers" franchise without the original cast; do massive renegotiations for presumably a massive amount of money; or wrap things up and start fresh with a new franchise.
Considering Marvel will already have "Guardians of the Galaxy" going strong by then, and will be kicking up their answer to "X-Men" in "Inhumans" between "Infinity War" parts, chances are the last choice is the most likely possibility, at least in our humble opinion.
So in summary, both plot-wise, financially and in the eyes of the public, if Marvel does want to close out "Avengers" in a big way, "Infinity War" is probably the biggest way they can go. But if not? That door is open, too. Either way, let's not end with The Avengers saying goodbye to their kids on a train while wearing not-so-great old age makeup:
What do you think? Do you want to see Marvel wrap up "The Avengers" franchise with "Infinity War?"