Avengers: Infinity War has arrived and now that we know how it ends (tragically!), it’s clear that this is very much the first half of a story that will be concluded in next year’s still untitled Avengers 4. The difficult part about trying to predict how Avengers 4 will resolve the Infinity War conflict is that the comics really don’t offer us a ton of clues. Infinity War draws from the 1991 comic crossover event Infinity Gauntlet, but about the only thing the two stories really have in common is Thanos wiping out half of the universe. The way in which this is all resolved in the comics is very convoluted and even brings in the Eternals at one point, so although screenwriters Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely will bring in bits and pieces from Infinity Gauntlet, there’s no way we can rely on it to tell us what’s going to happen in Avengers 4.

So while we endure the excruciating year-long wait between now and when Avengers 4 releases, here are the biggest questions from Infinity War we hope get answered.

12.Where Were Hawkeye and Ant-Man?

The two most prominent Avengers missing from Infinity War’s marketing blitz were Jeremy Renner’s Hawkeye and Paul Rudd’s Ant-Man. Many fans (myself included) just assumed this was a deliberate decision on Marvel’s part and that they were doing it so as to not spoil a big moment in the film for both characters. As it turns out, the reason for their absence was much more straightforward: they’re simply not in the movie. While Rhodey (Don Cheadle) does briefly explain their absence to the other Avengers at one point, it’s still surprising that both characters are completely absent.

As such, we have no idea if either character is still alive or wiped out by the Infinity Gauntlet. With Hawkeye specifically, I think there’s a great opportunity to have him adopt the Ronin identity in the next film with Clint having seen his entire family disintegrate in front of him and Ant-Man would no doubt be an asset in reversing what Thanos has done. Hopefully the upcoming Ant-Man and the Wasp will provide some more answers.

Marvel Studios

11. How Will Iron Man Get Off Titan?

Out of all the surviving Avengers, Tony Stark may have been left in the most tragic circumstances, as literally all of his companions disintegrate and vanish in front of his eyes, including his surrogate son Peter Parker (hands up if you also got misty-eyed while Tony held a disappearing Spidey in his arms). Okay, so Tony isn’t totally alone, as Nebula is still with him but I’d imagine she’s not great company so for all intents and purposes, Iron Man is now stranded on an alien planet with no way back to Earth.

We know that the ship Tony, Strange, and Spider-Man flew in on is destroyed, so that isn’t an option. Perhaps Tony will take the Milano (I can’t remember if it gets destroyed during the battle with Thanos or not)? Or maybe he and Nebula will get picked up by the Nova Corps somehow? Whatever the case, it’s hard to imagine Iron Man and Nebula staying on Titan for very long when Avengers 4 rolls around, but right now it’s unclear how they’re going to get off the planet and back into the fight.

Marvel Studios

10. Why Couldn’t Bruce Banner Transform Into The Hulk?

One of the more interesting conflicts in Infinity War is the personal one Bruce Banner has with himself or more accurately, his Hulk persona. After crash-landing back on Earth and warning the other Avengers about Thanos, Bruce is unable to transform into the Hulk to help out Iron Man and the rest of the group in New York against Ebony Maw and Black Dwarf. The problem persists when the fight later comes to Wakanda, to the point where Bruce has to get into Tony Stark’s Hulkbuster armor just to be able to contribute in some way. We see the Hulk come close to being unleashed a couple of times, but he never does make another appearance after the opening scene.

It’s never made explicitly clear why Bruce is unable to summon the Hulk, but I think it has to do with being pummeled by Thanos at the beginning of the film. Hulk is extremely prideful and considers himself the strongest being alive, so to be humiliated in such a way probably struck a blow to his confidence, which would explain why he refuses to come out again. Bruce will have to find a way to help out his big green buddy in Avengers 4 because the Hulk will be essential to stopping Thanos (plus, I’d really like to see him get some revenge on ol’ purple scrotum chin).

Marvel Studios

9. What Happened To Valkyrie?

One of the biggest plot holes in Infinity War involves the attack on Thor’s ship. We see what happens to Thor, Hulk, Loki, and Heimdall (RIP to the latter two), but the big missing piece is Tessa Thompson’s Valkyrie. After playing such a prominent role in the events of Thor: Ragnarok, we not only don’t get to see her in Infinity War, but she’s never even mentioned. There’s always a chance that she was killed off screen along with the other Asgardians, but she’s arguably too significant a character for this to be her fate.

Thor does mention to the Guardians of the Galaxy that Thanos wiped out half the population aboard the Asgardian ship, which suggests that there are still many who were left alive. I’m assuming Valkyrie is among them, but it’s still weird to not have her mentioned once, as she definitely would have been right in the thick of the off-screen fight we don’t get to see before the opening scene. And while we’re at it, Thanos better not have killed Korg and Miek!

Oh and are we ever going to see Sif (Jaimie Alexander) again? Like seriously Marvel, enough with the writing off of Thor movie characters already.

Marvel Studios

8. Can Vision Be Salvaged?

Vision effectively ceased to exist once the Mind Stone was ripped from his head, but does really mean he’s gone for good? Bruce Banner mentions earlier in the film that Vision is constantly evolving and that there’s much more to him than just an Infinity Stone, suggesting that he could live on without it. We don’t get to see if Shuri survives the end of the film but assuming she did, I’m sure her and Bruce could get Vision back up and running. Even without the Mind Stone, Vision would still be powerful and highly intelligent – two strengths that the Avengers are going to need a lot of if they’re to have any hope of reversing Thanos’ actions.

Source: Business Insider

7. Wait, So Would Going For The Head Actually Have Worked?

There’s a brief moment near the end of the film when it looks like the Avengers have snatched victory from the jaws of defeat. Thor, new Thanos-killing axe in hand, lands a critical hit against the mad titan when he skewers him with his new weapon. Unfortunately, Thanos survives the wound and tells Thor that he should have aimed for his head right before he proceeds to snap his fingers and wipe out billions of lives. Of course, we all know that you should always go for the head with these kinds of things (c’mon Thor!) but it does raise the question: if Thor had plunged his weapon into his head instead of his chest, would Thanos have gone down for good?

With all six Infinity Stones in hand, Thanos is effectively the most powerful being in the universe but judging by the hole Thor makes in his chest, he may not be immortal. Perhaps this is some foreshadowing for Avengers 4, where cutting off the head of Thanos will be the only way to stop him. While they’re at it, maybe the Avengers could also just try cutting off his left hand so he’d no longer have the Infinity Gauntlet, but the head works too!

Marvel

6. How Did Red Skull Become The “Keeper” Of The Soul Stone?

One of the biggest surprises in Infinity War is the reappearance of Red Skull. The last time we saw the Hydra leader, he was knocked into an intergalactic portal by Captain America during World War II but since we never saw him die, there was always a hope that he would come back to the MCU someday. We learn that Red Skull is now on the planet Vormir, acting as some sort of keeper of the Soul Stone who cautions Thanos that claiming it extracts a heavy price. I can only assume that Red Skull tried to claim the stone for himself and failed, which would explain why he’s turned into a floating, Dementor-like being.

There’s a good chance that this was just a one-off cameo designed to let us know that Marvel didn’t forget about the Red Skull, but assuming he survived Thanos’ purge, could he make an appearance in Avengers 4 as a potential Avengers ally? I mean, how cool would it be to see Captain America team up with his old Hydra nemesis?

Source: Marvel Studios

5. What Will Captain Marvel’s Role Be In All This?

Infinity War’s post-credits scene offers viewers a glimmer of hope when it’s shown that Nick Fury’s dying act was to make a call to Captain Marvel, a.k.a. Carol Danvers, who has not been introduced in the MCU yet, but will be played by Brie Larson next year in her own solo movie. With Captain Marvel releasing and taking place before Avengers 4, it will presumably set up her relationship with Nick Fury and explain why she’d be the one he’d call in such a situation.

With abilities such as flight, super strength, and energy manipulation, Captain Marvel is already more powerful than the majority of the Avengers we’ve been introduced to thus far, but how is she going to help fix what Thanos has done? Whatever the case may be, it’s clear that the Avengers are in desperate need of any and all help right now, so having a formidable new heroine on their side will only help their chances at this point.

Marvel Studios

4. When Will Adam Warlock Be Properly Introduced (And Is He The Key To Stopping Thanos?)

If you’re recall, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 ended with a very significant post-credits scene that introduced Adam Warlock to the MCU. Artificially created to be the perfect being, Adam Warlock doesn’t show up in Infinity War but is practically guaranteed to play a pivotal role in Avengers 4. After all, Adam is the one who leads the fight against Thanos in the Infinity Gauntlet comics and since we already know he exists in the movie universe, it’s safe to assume that the same will hold true for the Infinity War sequel.

In an interview with ET Online, Markus and McFeely explained that the only reason they didn’t put Adam Warlock in Infinity War was because they already had too many characters to work with. Well, with half those characters now out of the picture (at least for now), there’s a lot of room for Adam to come in and help in the fight against Thanos. I also wouldn’t be surprised if we see him pair up with Nova, another important character who in the comics is the last surviving member of the Nova Corps. Since we know that Thanos wiped out the Novas prior to the events of Infinity War when he acquired the Power Stone, it would make sense to bring in a character with a personal score to settle against the mad titan.

Marvel Comics

3. Who’s Going To Be In Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3?

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 is one of the only films confirmed so far for Marvel’s Phase Four, which will take place after Avengers 4. While I’m personally excited to see another Guardians movie — especially with James Gunn returning to write and direct — given what happens in Infinity War, it’s a pretty good bet that the roster is going to look quite different in Vol. 3. By the end of the film, Rocket is the only Guardian left alive. Now, it’s pretty absurd to think that this is going to remain the case, given how well the core group play off each other but it’s safe to assume that there are still going to be some changes in store.

For one, I don’t see Gamora coming back, since her death felt final and wasn’t tied to Thanos’ whole universe-clearing move. Vol. 2 may offer some clues on this front with the appearance of Sylvester Stallone’s Starhawk, who in the comics is the founder of a different Guardians lineup that includes Major Victory, Martinex, and Charlie-27. It’s sad to think that the Guardians of the Galaxy aren’t going to be the same post-Infinity War, but some new blood could also help the series stay fresh and exciting.

Photo: Marvel Studios

2. Will Nebula Get The Gauntlet?

The fact that Nebula survives to the end of Infinity War is no accident (though given that she’s mostly machine, I’m not even sure if she would be affected by Thanos’ act of genocide anyway). In the Infinity Gauntlet comics, Nebula succeeds in stealing the gauntlet from Thanos and becomes a threat to the universe herself. Now, the Nebula we know in the movies is quite different from her comics counterpart, as she’s been given something of a redemption arc in the most recent movies.

That being said, with her sister Gamora now gone and Thanos still alive, Nebula will probably stop at nothing to see her father destroyed and if she gets the gauntlet, all bets are off. While I have a hard time seeing Nebula become the main villain of Avengers 4 or Thanos teaming up with the Avengers to take her down (yes, that actually happens), she’s destined to play a major role in the second installment.

Source: hitfix.com

1. Are ALL Those Characters Really Dead?

Easily the biggest question raised by the Infinity War’s ending is whether or not we’ve seen the last of all the characters who are killed when Thanos succeeds in wiping out half of all life in the universe. For those not keeping track, Spider-Man, Doctor Strange, Star-Lord, Drax, Mantis, Groot, Bucky, Black Panther, Scarlet Witch, Nick Fury, and Maria Hill all draw the short end of the stick and are effectively dead at the end of Infinity War.

Obviously, not all of these characters are going to stay this way, as we already know that Spider-Man has a sequel coming out in 2019 after Avengers 4 and there’s no way Marvel would kill off Black Panther this early on, especially his solo movie having performed so well at the box office. We know that the remaining Avengers will find a way to reverse what Thanos has done, but I think it would be a mistake to bring every character back and just return to the status quo. Some of these characters are probably gone for good, but which ones? I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.

Marvel Studios

Follow me on Twitter at Nick_Steinberg.