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Avengers: Endgame -- Trailers, ticket sales, cast, plot and title meaning

Think Avengers: Infinity War was intense? Stay tuned, because the sequel is almost here.

At the end of Avengers: Infinity War, the credits promised "Thanos will return." So Josh Brolin's purple-tinted, gigantic villain will be back next week in Avengers: Endgame, but who else will be? If you've seen Infinity War (and a lot of you have by now), you know it's a bit of a mystery. 

And a three-hour mystery, directors Joe and Anthony Russo have confirmed, so take your bathroom breaks before you take your seat. One thing for sure: There won't be an intermission.

Tickets went on sale April 2, smashing presale ticket records, but because the AMC Theatres site was down, not everyone was able to get the tickets they wanted. Some later showed up on eBay with sellers asking for thousands of dollars.

Naturally, footage from the movie has already leaked, and some fans are already discussing what happens. But the directors are asking fans to keep spoilers to themselves. Here's how to avoid spoilers online.

And Marvel Studios boss Kevin Feige is promising that while Avengers: Endgame will offer a definitive ending to the heroes' current woes, it's not an end to Marvel characters on big and small screens.

Trailers and footage

When tickets went on sale, Marvel also released a special look at the film. In it, the heroes are shown still mourning their lost friends, while also trying to plan how to strike back at Thanos.

Before that, on March 14, an Avengers: Endgame trailer arrived with little warning.

It's a flashback-filled trailer, showing Captain America dreaming of measuring up to World War II soldier level, and also hints at the future, featuring the surviving Avengers seemingly preparing for something in white Star Wars Stormtrooper-like suits. (Space? The Quantum Realm?)

Now playing: Watch this: Avengers: Endgame trailer takes you back to the start
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A TV spot released on April 17 actually offered a little humor amid all the mourning and sadness. We needed that.

And here's a look at all the Avengers footage we've seen so far.

Where did we leave off?

In his quest to balance the universe, Thanos acquired all the infinity stones and zapped half the universe's population, just as he threatened. Many of Marvel's major heroes were among the vanished half of the population that just kind of ... turned into piles of sand that then blew away.

Now playing: Watch this: Avengers: Endgame trailer revealed
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So Avengers: Endgame now has a major situation: No way are all those money-making Marvel heroes gone for good. But some of them probably have to bite the dust for sheer dramatic reasons (and because a few actors have talked publicly about moving on). We'll have to wait to see exactly who's taking early retirement, but for now, we can sum up what we know.

What's with that name?

There was much speculation about what the film would be called -- for a long time, it was simply known as Avengers 4, and many feared that the real title would be a giant, gut-wrenching spoiler. Endgame was mentioned early on in the rumor game, in part because Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) says it in Infinity War, ominously telling Tony Stark, "We're in the endgame now."

The term actually comes from the chess world, referring to the stage of the game where very few pieces remain, which makes nice allegorical sense. In Infinity War, Thanos and the Avengers were matched in a giant game of chess, and then Thanos pulled out what seems to be a checkmate.

But the game may not be over. Doctor Strange himself made a baffling sacrifice, handing over the time stone to Thanos, just as chess players may strategically sacrifice a piece to build toward an eventual victory. Now we wait to see how exactly the endgame plays out, and which sacrifices remain to be made.

When will Avengers: Endgame come out? 

Avengers 4 is scheduled for an April 26 release in the US, April 25 in the UK, and April 24 in Australia.

The film is the fourth in a series, so if you want to watch all three previous Avengers films, check out 2012's The Avengers, 2015's Avengers: Age of Ultron, and 2018's Avengers: Infinity War. Done with that? There are plenty of other Marvel movies to watch to soak up the various heroes' backstories. Here's our suggested order to watch them in.

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Post-credits scene

Did you remember to stay in your seats after Infinity War ended to watch the post-credits scene? We break it down here, but it looks as if Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) successfully sent a message to Captain Marvel, based on the symbol shown on what looks like Fury's pager. Brie Larson plays Captain Marvel not only in her own solo film, which has been a billion-dollar blockbuster hit of 2019, but also will play a major role in Avengers: Endgame

Larson actually filmed her Avengers: Endgame scenes before shooting her own Captain Marvel solo film, Entertainment Tonight reports, so the actor had to establish a character quickly before having a lot of experience with her biography.

Who'll be dead to stay?

Here's a list of who vanished, melty-sand style, thanks to Thanos eliminating half the population: 

  • Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan)
  • Drax (Dave Bautista)
  • Groot (Vin Diesel)
  • Mantis (Pom Klementieff)
  • Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen)
  • Spider-Man (Tom Holland)
  • Peter Quill (Chris Pratt)
  • Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch)
  • Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman)
  • Falcon (Anthony Mackie)

Remaining to fight another day (as far as we know -- we didn't see these heroes vanish) are: 

  • Captain America (Chris Evans)
  • Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.)
  • Thor (Chris Hemsworth)
  • Hulk (Mark Ruffalo)
  • M'Baku (Winston Duke)
  • Okoye (Danai Gurira)
  • Rocket (Bradley Cooper)
  • War Machine (Don Cheadle)
  • Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson)
  • Nebula (Karen Gillan)

And while we didn't see the fate of Black Panther's sister Shuri (Letitia Wright), in late March, Marvel revealed a series of posters that showed still-living characters in color, and those who'd been snapped in black and white. Shuri was shown in black and white. No real surprise, as she was also seen in a trailer for the film when Bruce Banner was looking at computer images of heroes who'd vanished.

The fate of Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson) was also made clear by the posters -- she was seen in a color image, so apparently survived.

Shuri, noooo!

Marvel Studios

Any of the vanished heroes are likely to return, at least for a while. Marvel would no sooner keep them all dead than let an intern feed hundred-dollar bills into a paper shredder -- too much money to lose.

Some we KNOW will be back -- Black Panther and the Guardians of the Galaxy have additional movies planned, so T'Challa and Star-Lord aren't going anywhere, though not all of the Wakandans and Guardians may make it through. 

The future might not be so bright for the big three -- Captain America, Iron Man and Thor. Chris Evans has said he's moving on after this film, and Downey and Hemsworth have also hinted at it. But we won't know till we know, and besides, Marvel is famous for rebooting characters who've died/been frozen/hung up the uniform.

As Infinity War watchers know, some characters died -- or seemed to be dead -- before Thanos did his thing. Heimdall (Idris Elba), Loki (Tom Hiddleston), Gamora (Zoe Saldana) and the Vision (Paul Bettany) are on a different level of death than the others, though again, dead doesn't always mean forever in Marvel land.

Rocket Raccoon will be back, but how will he get along without Groot?

Marvel

And some characters are anyone's guess. We didn't see the fates of M'Baku (Winston Duke) and Wong (Benedict Wong).

Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner), who wasn't seen in Infinity War, is returning for Avengers: Endgame. Also, for nearly a year now, there have been rumors that Hawkeye is taking on another super identity, that of masked ninja Ronin, one of Hawkeye's comic book identities. The trailer would seem to confirm this, as Hawkeye looks to be wearing Ronin's armor.

And Gamora's death could be different from those affected by the snap. One Reddit user poses an intriguing theory about Gamora's spirit being trapped in the Soul Stone, a plot that has roots in the comics. In this theory, she wouldn't be freed in Avengers: Endgame, but in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3. This theory has legs -- it'd create a huge quest for GOTG3, as Star-Lord and crew would certainly be fighting to the last breath to get their team member back.

It's yet another juicy rumor for fans to chew over as the wait for Avengers: Endgame continues.

Meet the cast (we think)

With death not likely to mean goodbye, here's who you can expect to see in the next movie. 

This piece was originally published on April 30, 2018, and is updated as news of the sequel rolls in.

How to watch every MCU property in the perfect order: From Marvel films to the shows on Netflix, here's the best order to experience the MCU.