The official title of Avengers 4 has finally been revealed, in the movie’s first trailer, to be Avengers: Endgame. This same title was rumored earlier this year — and it ties together an Avengers theme that started three years and eight movies ago.
The title is likely most familiar to Marvel fans thanks to its use in Infinity War last year. When Doctor Strange hands the Time Stone over to Thanos in exchange for Tony Stark’s life, he tells Tony, “We’re in the endgame now.”
In that moment, the line is a direct reference to the possible futures that Doctor Strange has seen. It’s his assurance that this course of events is the only one that could possibly lead to Thanos’ defeat. But it isn’t the first time the line is used in an Avengers movie.
In Avengers: Age of Ultron, which was released in 2015, Tony Stark himself had a remarkably similar line. In reference to Ultron and the threat that he posed to the world, Stark says, “That up there, that’s the endgame.” The similarity between the two statements probably isn’t an accident. It could be a nice nod to the previous films by the Russo brothers — but there might be a little more going on.
The scene surrounding this line in Age of Ultron is one of the most important ones in the movie. Things look dark, and the group of heroes face an enemy they don’t think they can defeat. Steve Rogers stresses that team unity will allow them to win, but Stark says that even then, they’ll lose. In response, Rogers outlines one of the group’s most important philosophies: “Then we’ll do that together, too.”
Endgame’s first trailer mirrors this perfectly. The first thing we see is Stark alone and stranded in space, utterly hopeless. For him, there appears to be no way out. Meanwhile, on Earth, in a slightly more hopeful light, we have Rogers and Natasha Romanoff, Black Widow, gathering up a few remaining heroes, or, in the case of Ant-Man, having the heroes come to them.
Sure, Ultron seems a little less threatening now that we’ve seen Thanos make half the universe disappear. But even in the face of the Decimation, Endgame’s trailer shows us that the Avengers’ two most prominent characters are who they’ve always been: Iron Man, a pessimist who keeps fighting no matter how hopeless things look, and Captain America, an optimist who believes that nothing is hopeless when the world’s heroes fight together.