Marvel Studios has been very cagey about revealing the title of the final Avengers movie and the sequel to Avengers: Infinity War. Thanks to a new trailer we’ve thoroughly broken down, we now finally know the movie is titled Avengers: Endgame, and the title itself is a pretty good indication why Marvel took so long to reveal it. It’s a pretty big hint about where the final movie is going and a key piece of story information from Avengers: Infinity War.
“Endgame” is a major hint that confirms things fans have been suspecting since Infinity War was released. It’s a direct reference to a line spoken by Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) on Titan near the end of the film, when he tells Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.), “We’re in the endgame now.” Strange’s line immediately follows the heroes’ defeat at the hands of Thanos (Josh Brolin) moments earlier, when Strange gave up the Time Stone, the last of the six Infinity Stones, in exchange for Thanos sparing Tony’s life.
It’s a major moment in Infinity War for a lot of reasons. First of all, Strange said earlier in the movie in no uncertain terms that he would not, under any circumstances, trade the Time Stone to save the lives of the other heroes. He tells Tony that if it comes down to his life, the life of Peter Parker (Tom Holland), Strange’s life, or anyone else’s, and the Time Stone, the Time Stone wins–because Thanos’ goal is to wipe out half the life in the entire universe, and no single life is worth the potential damage.
So it’s not just a major moment when Strange saves Tony’s life by giving Thanos the Time Stone; it’s the exact opposite of what Strange said he’d do under the circumstances. Something changed between when Tony and Peter saved Strange from Ebony Maw (Tom Vaughan-Lawlor) and when they finally fought Thanos.
That something is that Strange used the Time Stone to view potential futures. While Tony, Peter, and the Guardians of the Galaxy are developing a plan to stop Thanos, Strange uses the power of the stone to view more than 14 million potential outcomes to the battle. When he’s asked if the heroes are successful in any of those futures, Strange has a cryptic and troubling answer: They only win in one.
But as fans have suspected ever since, that means that Strange’s actions are part of a larger plan–the circumstances required to bring that one possible future in which Thanos is defeated into existence. So when Strange tells Tony, “We’re in the endgame,” he definitely means that the battle isn’t over, even though Tony thinks he and the others just lost. This is a step in Strange’s plan, and there’s a lot more yet to come.
The fact that the follow-up to Infinity War is called Endgame all but confirms the idea that Strange’s actions, and those of everyone else, were part of what we might call his overall “plan,” or at least the circumstances needed to stop Thanos. Obviously, Strange turning over the Time Stone to Thanos was part of that as well, and we can further extrapolate that Thanos needed to “win” in Infinity War in order for the heroes to eventually defeat him. The battle is still raging, and this is Strange’s endgame.
Of course, we still don’t know the particulars of how the Avengers will stop Thanos and undo the destruction he’s wrought. There are plenty of theories based on the Avengers: Endgame trailer, though, and the fates of some characters are still up in the air. We also know that Captain Marvel will probably play a major role, giving the post-credits stinger in Infinity War and the fact that her origin movie is the final Marvel Cinematic Universe film before Endgame releases on April 26. And the trailer suggests that Ant-Man, aka Scott Lang (Paul Rudd), will also be essential to the story. We last saw him lost in the Quantum Realm at the end of Ant-Man and the Wasp, but he shows up in the Endgame trailer with the van that contained a shrunk-down quantum tunnel–so it seems likely the quantum realm will be part of the plan to stop Thanos, too. Check out all the rest of our Avengers: Endgame coverage for everything you need to know.