Podculture: Theories, worries, hopes for ‘Avengers: Endgame’

Alexis White, Reporter

ALEXIS WHITE: From The Daily Northwestern, this is Alexis White. Thanks for listening.  “Avengers: Endgame,” the culmination of over 10 years and 21 movies, premieres on April 26. In this first installment of Podculture, some Daily staff members discuss popular theories, covering who may die, who may come back to life, if the heroes will time travel, and if a popular internet theory about Ant-Man is true. I sat down with —


JACOB OHARA: Jacob Ohara

ALISON ALBELDA: Alison Albelda

MELANIE DE VINCENTIIS: Melanie De Vincentiis

WHITE: We have a lot of theories to cover and there will be spoilers for every Marvel movie that’s already been released. So I think the best way to start would be to say: which hero do you think is going to die in this movie, and how emotionally wrecked will you be because of their death? Who wants to start? Chris?

VAZQUEZ: If the Hulk dies, I’d be pretty emotionally wrecked because I saw the first Hulk movie as my goldfish was dying at home, so I have a deep emotional attachment.  

OHARA: It’s going to be either Captain America or Tony Stark — Iron Man. And I think it will definitely — Captain America is the one that would emotionally wreck me the most because he’s just such a good guy.

DE VINCENTIIS: Chris Evans had multiple times been like, that’s it for his career. He’s done playing Captain America, whereas Robert Downey, Jr. seems to be a lot more involved in the universe. So I actually have some kind of hope that he’ll be carried on to the next generation as some kind of mentor for the newer superheroes.

WHITE: See, I’ve also seen interviews with Robert Downey, Jr. saying that he was thinking he was too old to play Iron Man now, so I feel like he’s gonna die. And I will definitely cry, and bawl, and it will be bad. Alison, who do you think is gonna die?

ALBELDA: I hate to say it, but I think Captain America’s out. I think Rocket’s out just in general, and maybe even Pepper Potts. I’m kind of sick of Gwyneth Paltrow.

WHITE: That’s a hot take. I haven’t heard that.

OHARA: With the baby?

ALBELDA: Well, that’s true. Marvel loves a good sob story. So maybe Tony’s a single parent or the child is orphaned and then gets adopted into the protective care of — I think that Spider-Man will come back and Peter Parker will take care of the child.

VAZQUEZ: When Bucky comes back to life, he and Cap can raise the child together.

ALBELDA: That too, that’s a great idea.

WHITE: Wow, wait, so this kind of transitions into something else. Do you think that that child could be the next Iron Man? Do you think any heroes will be replaced by someone else?

ALBELDA: I think it’s very different than in the Black Panther-ish-esque world of the plant and T’challa coming into it. I think that they could be able to use the technology that Iron Man has used, but it’s not the same Iron Man.

OHARA: I don’t think the baby will be Iron Man, just for timing reasons. I think that it’d have to grow up so much between now and whenever their movie would be. But I do really like the idea of Black Panther’s sister because I think she’s that very technologically minded skillset that Tony has, and I think she would make a really good character for that as well.

DE VINCENTIIS: I want to keep seeing Robert Downey, Jr. on screen. Maybe he’s too old to be Iron Man, but he’s not too old to be in the universe. I mean Stan Lee made appearances in the universe.

WHITE: What do you think Stan Lee’s cameo will be? Because it will be his last cameo. He filmed it before he died. So it’ll be very — I don’t know if it will be emotional but I expect to be, because it is also the last big movie of this era.

VAZQUEZ: If it’s people coming back to life after they’re disintegrated and they do show Stan Lee doing that, I feel like a lot of people would cry.

OHARA: I love that idea. Him coming back. In his office, he comes back to life. This is Stan Lee at his desk, or something like that could be cool.

WHITE: And then he’s like, drawing superheroes. Oh, that’d be good.

DE VINCENTIIS: Can you imagine if the whole solution to all of this is to go back in time when Stan Lee started writing the comics and just tell him to rewrite it?

WHITE: Who else do you think will die that you may not be as emotionally attached to?

VAZQUEZ: I don’t think Spider-Man will die. But if he does, I’ll weep profusely. But the sequel is coming out so like, we know he’s alive. However, comma, he’s currently disintegrated.

WHITE: Unless it’s back in time.

VAZQUEZ: Which would be deeply sad.

DE VINCENTIIS: Or it’s forward and back. What if the whole time vortex thing about Ant-Man — what if he time jumps, like a lot, learns how to master that and then eventually since he’s left when he gets out, he has this lab that’s shrunk down? All the technology’s in there and Tony Stark is a tech genius. So what if they learn how to use these time warps? And then they’re able to create an alternate timeline in which actually people die in the current timeline, like there is another universe, because it’s supposed to be five years after, right?  Like this whole movie. So at this point, Spider-Man would not be in school anymore, and “Far from Home” is a movie about him going on a school trip.

WHITE: I didn’t even think of that. There are other back in time theories, other than Ant-Man specifically. Like Captain Marvel, maybe she can go back in time. Maybe not. It’s not clear.  

OHARA: There have been set photos released of the New York City set from the first “Avengers,” but it’s like, kind of unclear to me why they would have to go back to that time in particular. It’d be so much easier just to go back to the fight with Thanos and tell (Thor) to aim for his head or something like that.

WHITE: This all goes in my theory that Loki has to survive somehow. They would go back to 2012 to warn Loki, “Hey, get the Tesseract.” And so that’s why he does that in “Thor: Ragnarok,” why he goes back for the Tesseract when their entire planet is kind of dying, but then it still goes wrong and then that could be like another thing they have to solve.

OHARA: So you think in some of the current MCU movies, characters have already interacted with…

WHITE: Oh, sure.

OHARA: …future ones that have gone back to the past.

WHITE: They’ve planned this since forever. In “Thor: Ragnarok,” the director said that he was already talking about and doing things to prepare for “Infinity War” and “Endgame.” I think there will be definitely time travel because I looked in the IMDb who’s billed and there was a 70s car woman. So if that doesn’t say time travel…

DE VINCENTIIS: I didn’t think of that.

WHITE: What do you think about Cap going back to the ʼ40s  and living out his life?

VAZQUEZ: I can see that as the conclusion. As a story arc, I think that would be nice.

ALBELDA: Cap deserves love.

OHARA: I could see him going back to the ʼ40s maybe at the very end of the movie, but I can’t see him leaving the group before the ending. Do you guys think they’re gonna bring back the other Avengers and then defeat Thanos or after they defeat Thanos?

WHITE: They have to, right? He still has the infinity stones, doesn’t he?

DE VINCENTIIS: I don’t think we’re going to see the stones featured as this unbeatable thing because I don’t think they can be used together anymore because of this whole thing of no one can remake that gauntlet, you know? I don’t see why Doctor Strange, who disliked Tony Stark and also clearly said, “I will not choose your life over the stone” clearly did the opposite thing.

OHARA: I feel like what you just said makes me really think that Tony is going to die at the end of this movie, because they just set it up so well for him to make this ultimate sacrifice at the very end.

WHITE: They also set it up in “Age of Ultron,” right? That vision that he had of everyone dying. Okay, what about Nebula? Since Gamora is dead, Nebula is Thanos’s last daughter. Do you think she’s going to play a big role?

ALBELDA: I would not like that.

VAZQUEZ: Expand on that.

ALBELDA: That’s such a moral predicament for her.

WHITE: Not really, he tortured her.

DE VINCENTIIS: She was willing to like, hurt her own sister. She doesn’t seem to have a problem with hurting people as a personality trait, you know?

VAZQUEZ: Um, killing your father is not a personality trait.

OHARA: I definitely think she’ll have a big moment in this movie. Some big moment with Thanos, I feel like.

WHITE: Now let’s get into everyone who is dead, since we’ve been talking about the living for so long. So will they come back?

ALBELDA: T’challa has to come back. Yeah, the industry for Black Panther has been far too large for that not to happen.

WHITE: But what if they stay in a different universe and don’t really ever come back? Because we don’t know where they are right now. They could be dead. They could be in a parallel universe. We don’t know how the Soul Stone works.

DE VINCENTIIS: It doesn’t seem at all far-fetched for there to be alternate universes that our heroes now just have to tap into rather than create. You know, so there’s one idea — maybe they’re creating them in the timeline. But the other idea is they discover other timelines in which somehow it’s related to the current timeline or maybe not, you know, nothing changes maybe in the current world.

WHITE: Okay, I think it’s time to talk about the Ant-Man theory.

DE VINCENTIIS: We all knew it was coming.

VAZQUEZ: Well, with very limited knowledge of the Marvel Comics Universe, this is the one theory that I really strongly believe can work, just because I don’t really know any other characters and their abilities all that well. But I know Ant-Man’s ability to shrink and crawl into places. And so just like, on a physical level, if he could expand back out —

WHITE: —fast enough.

VAZQUEZ: Fast enough and painfully enough for Thanos, it could work. It might not be the end result. I feel like it wouldn’t kill Thanos on its own, but it could severely weaken him so all the other Avengers could gang up on him.

WHITE: I think it could kill a person.

VAZQUEZ: You think so? Can he bleed out?

WHITE: Well, I mean, in theory, if you were inside another person and you expanded really fast that would explode that person.

VAZQUEZ: How far would you have to crawl?


ALBELDA: Would he have to crawl, or would he have to be digested?

VAZQUEZ: How long would it take him to crawl far enough?

WHITE: Oh, yeah. I think it would be easier definitely if he was digested. That’s disappointing.

ALBELDA: Does Thanos eat? Do we know? Does he consume?

OHARA: He did say on his planet there wasn’t enough food for all the people.

DE VINCENTIIS: But also, Ant-Man can like, (get) really tall? So like, it doesn’t matter how far he crawls in, you could just even be near him and expand really fast and knock him out for a second and stomp him. There’s that potential.

WHITE: True, true. Ant-Man really is going to save the MCU.

VAZQUEZ: I could see it as an after credits scene, like as an alternate ending.

ALBELDA: They should have after credits as alternate endings. That would be so good.

DE VINCENTIIS: All the endings in all the universes and what’s going on in every universe, if they have all the parallel timelines.

OHARA: I would love a call back to the shawarma at the end of the first “Avengers.”

WHITE: It could also be really sad if some people had died.

WHITE: Check back early May to hear our thoughts and reactions to “Avengers: Endgame.” Let’s see if we even survive the screening. Thanks for listening. This is Alexis White, and I’ll see you next time.


Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @alexisfwhite


Related Stories:  

Chen: Marvel has saved the movies

‘Black Panther’ breaks the barriers of superhero films of the past, providing larger commentary on black culture and colonialism

‘Black Panther’ comics writer Nnedi Okorafor speaks at Africa Business Club event

Martinez: ‘Black Panther’ signifies new era in representation