Russo bros. address Avengers 4 time travel rumours, Nomad and Captain Marvel appearance in Infinity War

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If you follow these things, you may have noticed a whole lot of rumours and speculation swirling around some set pics from the production of the still untitled fourth Avengers movie recently. You wouldn’t have noticed them here though. As fun as it to spin up theories based on some out-of-context snaps, after the whole fiasco surrounding The Last Jedi – where fans dreamt up so many elaborate theories that they were convinced were correct, only to get aggressive when the film actually went in a totally different direction – I decided to cool it on the rampant speculation until some more concrete proof emerged. And it looks like I made the right call.

The biggest theory generator were set pics (via JustJared) showing Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man/Tony Stark, a clean-shaven Chris Evans as Captain America, Paul Rudd as Ant-Man and more in scenes that appeared to be set during the Battle of New York from the first Avengers film, with Cap even wearing his old uniform. Since Ant-Man wasn’t actually around for that event, fans immediately speculated that somebody would be using the Time Stone – last seen being used in Doctor Strange to do all kinds of timey whimey wibbly wobbly stuff – to send the heroes back into the past for some reason. It wasn’t a bad theory, especially considering that if cosmic despot Thanos manages to complete his Infinity Gauntlet he’ll have full control of reality. The problem is that it’s totally incorrect.

While appearing on the Happy Sad Confused podcast, co-directors Joe and Anthony Russo addressed the rumours head-on. It seemed that folks had been obsessing over the wrong set pics, as several others from the upcoming Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers 4 showed Downey Jr. possessing a suitcase with the B.A.R.F. stencilled on it. You may recall that Binarily Augmented Retro-Framing was the augmented reality technology used by Iron Man in Captain America: Civil War (also directed by the Russos) to revisit his old memories, and it wasn’t introduced by accident.

It’s interesting, because yes, there are photos that always leak, and then there’s lots of conjecture about what those photos mean. Certainly there is a five-minute sequence in Civil War around a piece of technology that was laid in for a very specific reason. So if you go back and look at that film, you may get a hint as to a direction.

So Stark is studying the Battle of New York with his fellow heroes – and apparently Harley Keener, the resourceful young boy he befriended in Iron Man 3, if other reports are to be believed – but we still don’t know why though. What secret does that event hold that may help them defeat Thanos? We don’t know yet – just like we don’t know the potentially spoiler-ific actual title of Avengers 4. And it’s going to stay that way for a while, it seems.

Part of the concept of the title is it’s advancing the narrative. So we’re gonna sit on that until we feel the time is right and people have absorbed the first movie.

One thing they’re not sitting on is confirming that Chris Evans’ Steve Rogers will be ditching his Captain America persona for the upcoming Avengers: Infinity War. When last we saw Cap, he had abandoned his shield in the aftermath of the events of Civil War and fled with his wanted best friend Bucky Barnes aka the Winter Soldier. As the first trailers for Infinity War showed, a bearded Steve Rogers is now in Wakanda wearing a blackened costume that looks a bit unpatriotic. Comic book fans immediately equated this to Nomad, the persona Rogers adopted in the comics when he also stopped being Captain America due to disillusionment with the US Government. And while he probably won’t be called Nomad in Infinity War, the Russos confirm that this is what they were aiming for.

You’ll see in the trailers that he’s embracing the spirit of Nomad. It was always our intent the moment we got involved with that character to deconstruct him. That’s what we like, that’s what we found interesting… With a character called ‘Captain America,’ you have to address the concept of who he is, because his identity is tied to his country. We thought it would be a very compelling narrative if he got into conflict with his identity and his country. The path he’s following is the same path he followed at the end of ‘Civil War’ which is he’s a character without a country.

While Steve Rogers may not be Captain America, Infinity War may still keep up its Captain quota if some other rumours are to be believed. While not officially announced, there has been lots of buzz that Brie Larson has been on-set to film scenes as Captain Marvel ahead of her solo film. The original draft of the script for Civil War had her appearing in the post-credits scene, but then it was taken out. Could it just have been moved to Infinity War instead?

“We MAY be depicting Carol Danvers. It’s interesting when you get to play with characters in this universe, because you are dealing with actors who have been playing parts for almost a decade. It’s interesting to bring new energy into the mix, especially when you’re doing this massive mosaic of a story. There will be massive surprises in these stories, we won’t confirm or deny, but there’s certainly going to be some curveballs thrown at the audience.

With the solo Captain Marvel confirmed to be taking place in the 1990s, her showing up in Infinity War either opens up the time travel discussion before, or as I speculated last year (before my new approach to wild theories kicked in), she’s returning to Earth in modern times after being out in space for the last few decades. The time dilation of her return trip could also explain her lack of ageing as well as why nobody has mentioned her for the last 20-something years.

Luckily, we won’t have too long to wait to see how this all plays out as Avengers: Infinity War is scheduled for release in theatres on 3 May 2018. The still-untitled Avengers 4 will hit screens a year later on 4 may 2019.

Last Updated: January 25, 2018

Kervyn Cloete

A man of many passions - but very little sleep - I've been geeking out over movies, video games, comics, books, anime, TV series and lemon meringues as far back as I can remember. So show up for the geeky insight, stay for the delicious pastries.

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