infinity war thanos

Avengers: Infinity War left fans wondering where the Marvel Cinematic Universe could go next, especially given the high body count. But the survivors at the end of the film could give you a hint. Marvel Studios chief Kevin Feige revealed what the Infinity War survivors could mean for Avengers 4.

Major spoilers for Avengers: Infinity War follow.

After Thanos’ snap heard around the world, half the universe vanished. That included many new members of the MCU, including Spider-Man and the Guardians of the Galaxy, who all seemingly disintegrated into dust. But a few Avengers were still left standing.

Many fans noticed that the original core team of the Avengers survived the ending of Infinity War. This includes Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr), Captain America (Chris Evans), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), and Hulk (Mark Ruffalo). Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner), another founding member, never appeared in Infinity War and is ostensibly still alive offscreen.

In an interview with io9, Feige explained why it was this core team that survived the slaughter, and gave a little insight into the Marvel process that goes into crafting Infinity War and its follow-up Avengers 4:

“I think for a film series that is going on 10 years and is gearing towards a conclusion with Avengers 4, which you don’t usually have in these kind of movies, you can sort of do the math. And realize it’s the original Avengers that are left.”

So it’s not just a narrative reason, but a metatextual reason: we’ve watched these heroes save the day for 10 years now, and we’ll watch them see it through until the end. It’s the kind of profound send-off that could make you cry if you weren’t already crying over Spider-Man’s last lines.

Of course, there are a few other survivors who didn’t make up the core crew of the Avengers. War Machine (Don Cheadle), Rocket (Bradley Cooper) and Nebula (Karen Gillan) all survived the Dusting. And Wong (Benedict Wong) was last seen alive still guarding the Sanctum Sanctorum, while Okoye (Danai Gurira), Shuri (Letitia Wright), M’Baku (Winston Duke) hold down the fort in Wakanda. But they’ll likely play second fiddle to the original Avengers as they gear up for one last big battle in Avengers 4.

But this still leaves one question open: Where is Hawkeye? We can probably assume he’s still alive since Feige placed so much emphasis on keeping the core team together. But will we see the rest of the Avengers reunite with him in Avengers 4? Or will he still be off playing tag somewhere? We’ll have to wait until Avengers 4 hits theaters on May 3, 2019 to find out.

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