'Avengers: Endgame' is now in cinemas and Marvel fans all over the world are flooding in to see it.
It's the culmination of 22 Marvel Cinematic Universe movies produced across 10 years. Fans knew this would be the end for some characters. It was inevitable. But is this truly the end of the Avengers team? Heavy spoilers below.
Will we ever see Iron Man or Captain America again?
With Robert Downey Jr. and Chris Evans' Disney contracts being up, many reckoned 'Endgame' would mark the end of their characters.
In fairness, with both characters getting their own trilogy (although 'Civil War' being a Captain America film was a stretch), it made sense. Their characters' storylines came full circle. Moreover, after years of fighting on and off and fighting over who gets to be the leader of the Avengers, they finally made peace with one another in 'Endgame'.
For Captain America, he never fully could let go of the past - and we're not talking about the '40s setting in which he was first created, we mean the life with Peggy Carter he was hoping to live. Luckily, he gets that chance thanks to the time travel elements of 'Endgame'. He's happy to grow old and finish his superhero deeds, handing the torch (and shield) to good friend Sam Wilson/Falcon.
As for Tony Stark, he got everything he wanted in 'Endgame'. After fighting with his own giant ego and selfishness (as well as alcoholism at one point) across the MCU, Tony married Pepper Potts. He realised all he ever wanted and needed was Pepper and their daughter, who he spends five years with before dying. The sacrifice he makes to destroy Thanos and save the world shows how selfless he has become. Moreover, it fits that he's the first MCU superhero and thus its first to go. In giving his life for the greater good, he becomes the ultimate hero.
Is Black Widow gone for good now?
Well, we've done the two biggest spoilers so far so might as well march onward.
Yes, Black Widow is dead and it's established firmly in 'Endgame' that she isn't coming back.
No doubt fans were left confused - isn't Black Widow meant to get her own solo movie? Aren't the director, writer and cast members already confirmed for it? The short answer is yes, and it could still happen in the form of an origin story that takes place before Black Widow's death. However, given it's a prequel to 'Avengers Assemble', none of her buddies are likely to show up (aside from Hawkeye, who she already had a relationship with before the superhero team assembled).
Any chance of another Thor movie?
This is a tricky one because as is the case with Evans and Downey Jr., Chris Hemsworth's contract with Marvel is finished and he's not due to star in any more movies with the studio.
That said, with 'Thor: Ragnarok' proving such a success and the rumour mill saying that he and Taika Waititi have been talking ideas, we're remaining cautiously optimistic that another Thor movie could happen. After all, at this point, he's the funniest character in the MCU. At the end of 'Endgame', he is still alive and, having given New Asgard over to Valkyrie, is free to go on more adventures. We definitely feel like there's more story to tell with him.
In fact, don't be surprised if he turns up in 'Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.3' either, as the 'Endgame' saw Thor heading off with Star-Lord, Drax and the rest of the "Asgardians of the Galaxy" gang.
What about the Hulk after 'Endgame'?
The fate of Mark Ruffalo's Hulk is also up in the air. It is unknown whether the actor has any more movies he's contractually obliged to star in.
He won't be showing up in Black Widow's solo outing as far as we can tell. If Thor does get another standalone movie, we could easily see him turn up alongside him as the dynamic they shared in 'Thor: Ragnarok' made the movie.
There's also the fact that there are some complex licensing rules with the character that prevent a standalone movie from happening. Universal apparently still control the distribution rights to any 'Hulk' movie, yet Marvel Studios and Disney control the production rights.
However, the ending to Ruffalo's character arc was kind of perfect anyway. Having constantly struggled with the two personalities of himself and Hulk, he managed to blend them as one - both physically and psychologically - becoming all the happier for it. Does anyone really want to see a medium-sized, enlightened Hulk get his own movie? Probably not.
So this may be the end of the superhero team as we currently know, and it should be, but that doesn't mean it's the end for each individual member. And who knows what Marvel have hiding up their sleeve.