Marvel Studios released a second full trailer for April’s Avengers: Endgame on Thursday. And now that Captain Marvel is out in theaters, it finally establishes Carol Danvers (Brie Larson) will be part of the roster as they take the fight back to Thanos (Josh Brolin). But as with so much of the Endgame publicity, it plays coy with the actual plot. For instance: we assume the mission takes them to that garden planet Thanos relaxes on at the end of Avengers: Infinity War. It is a solid guess based on shots in previous trailers and the later part of Marvel Comics’ The Infinity Gauntlet, but we don’t really know that it is part of “whatever it takes” to win the day. Some believe the Avengers will go elsewhere and even elsewhen to undo the Mad Titan’s brutal Snap.
Nonetheless, the trailer offers a few more clues to the film’s overall shape. Here are five of the things we gleaned from it.
Despite both long-form trailers opening with Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) recording a final account to Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow), Tony can be spotted in the group shot toward the end – which features the team in Avengers-branded uniforms reported to allow them access to the Quantum Realm. Since that slow-motion group walk, featured in some form during every Endgame trailer (more on this later), takes place at the Avengers HQ, this means Tony makes it back to Earth before the final act of the film. We’re going to assume the Benatar (the Guardians of the Galaxy’s ship) makes its way to Earth in that scene from the “Big Game Ad” in which Steve Rogers (Chris Evans), Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo), and James Rhodes (Don Cheadle) look up at something mysterious. At the time, we thought Carol might be assisting the ship in landing, but eagle-eyed fans online noticed a mysterious gap in the composition between Rhodey and Bruce which could be Carol erased from the ad to conceal her presence in the film. With that in mind, we’re guessing either Thor (Chris Hemsworth) found them or Tony really did pull off one more surprise.
Of course, there’s always the possibility the message will be delivered to Pepper after the Avengers complete their endgame. But we really don’t want to think about that yet.
The trailer opens with a very pointed reminder that Tony built the first Iron Man suit from scraps in a cave. It moves on to remind the audience of early moments from Captain America: The First Avenger and Thor. Rumors suggest time travel will help the Avengers defeat Thanos, so these shots may support that plot thread. Alternatively, the trailer could be setting up a big sacrifice as the three original Avengers with solo movies face down their endgame. It is no secret that Downey, Hemsworth, and Evans plan to walk away from the Marvel Cinematic Universe after the film makes its worldwide debut, but will their time within the studio’s overarching story really end with their characters boldly dying to save the universe? That’s kind of epic, but we want more Thor after Thor: Ragnarok reset his tone.
One thing we still don’t know about the film is just how much time has passed since the final moments of Infinity War and Endgame. According to some reports, it could be years. We’ve always subscribed to the thought that Endgame takes place a year later – more or less in real time with our world. There’s a nice extra-cinematic symmetry to that. But no matter how long the interval, it is clear Scott Lang’s (Paul Rudd) escape from the Quantum Realm will see him facing down the grim new reality without the Pym clan to explain it. Y’know, since they all turned to ash in the Snap. The one featured shot of him in the new trailer sees him reacting to missing posters in the wake of the Snap; which means he will no doubt determine his family’s survival before making his way to Avengers HQ. Some believe his ability to access the Quantum Realm will offer the Avengers a time travel portal, but in this scene, it is clear Scott has no ability to muck with time and must endure the pain of the Snap.
But considering our next topic, Scott may join the Avengers sooner rather than later.
With all all the talk about time travel and the gap between the two films, it’s time to talk about Natasha Romanoff’s hair. That might seem silly, but the new trailer features Nat with a variety of styles, lengths and colors. And if anything marks the progression of time within the film, it is the return of the classic Black Widow look.
But tracking that progression is not easy within the context of the second trailer. Going from Black Widow’s last appearance in it – when Thor meets Carol – her hair is short and blond as seen in Infinity War. In her first appearance in the trailer, in which she reconnects with Clint Barton (Jeremy Renner) it seems to be longer, but still blond. Then, when Cap invokes the “not us” phrase from the Big Game ad, it’s clear she’s letting the blond grow out. When we see her again, suited up aboard a ship we presume is the Benatar, there are only a few streaks of blond remaining in her braided hair. During the hero walk, her hair is also predominate red, but we also see her with blond hair in the firing range sequence from the earlier trailers. Although, it does appear to be the length from the Clint Barton scene. Clearly, the film covers more time than we anticipated. Perhaps it covers the entire gap year and possibly more. It may also track the changes to the timeline should time travel come into play.
Going back to Scott for a second, we noticed Nat’s hair is short in the Scott Lang stinger from the first trailer. If we assume her hair will be longer and red by the time the Avengers are ready for Thanos, Scott’s Quantum Realm exile following the Ant-Man and the Wasp stinger scene may not be that long at all. Perhaps his apparent mastery of the Quantum Realm will be a key part of the plan.
Marvel went out of its way to hide Nat’s changing hairstyles until this trailer – we even suspect her key moment with Cap toward the end of the first trailer was altered to maintain her Infinity War hairstyle — so giving it away now is rather telling.
Also, while double-checking Black Widow’s appearances in the previous trailer and the Big Game ad, we noticed the hero walk featured in the new trailer and the TV ad actually appears in the first trailer as a completely empty Avengers HQ hangar bay. The addition of people across the first trailer, the Big Game Ad, and the second trailer feels as purposeful as revealing Nat’s hair color in the new trailer.
The empty shot also occurs once more in this new preview. But in lieu of cutting to the profile shot of the group in the Big Game Ad, we see close-ups of the assembled Avengers in their coordinated uniforms. Cap leads the charge with Tony, Scott, Nebula (Karen Gillan), and Nat closely behind. Clint can also be seen alongside Rhodey; whose War Marchine armor has been painted to match the white-grey-red Avengers color scheme. In the Big Game version, the silhouettes include Cap, Scott, Nat (with the shorter hairstyle), Rocket (Bradley Cooper), Clint, Rhodey, and one completely mysterious shadow we’re going to assume is either Carol or Thor. Even though this scene keeps getting altered with each trailer, we’re going to assume this is nearly the full complement of heroes heading out into space to fight Thanos.
Of course, that leaves a few questions. For one, Bruce is notably absent from every version of the hero walk. Where is he? He could always be the mysterious shadow behind Rhodey. It is also possible Bruce’s arc needs to be obscured for reasons we will discover next month. Perhaps the heroes missing from the most recent version of the slo-mo walk are part of a frontal assault — with a heavy-hitter team like Thor, Carol, and the Hulk, this is a possibility — while the others go back in time to set up the tools necessary to undo the Snap.
We also wonder why the team lacks for Wakandan representation. That nation definitely needs to repay Thanos for his “kindness,” and at least one capable Wakandan fighter survived the Snap. There’s still the question of Shuri’s (Letita Wright) survival following the Snap. She’s seen among the missing in a blink-and-you’ll-miss it moment from the first trailer. But considering all the alterations we discovered by just examining Black Widow’s hair, it is possible her very brief inclusion in the first trailer is there to obscure her Endgame situation; whether it be ascending to the throne or replacing Tony as the team’s tech wiz. And even if she did end up turning to dust, we hope the Avengers will extend an invitation to Okoye (Danai Gurira) to join them in the final conflict. Her face is on the new poster, after all.
Avengers: Endgame opens everywhere on April 26.