If you're looking for information on what direction the still mysteriously untitled Avengers 4 will take after Avengers: Infinity War, there's a fair bit of speculation out there thanks to some set photos that carry more than a faint whiff of time travel about them.
Thanks to shots of Captain America in his original Avengers costume, it seemed that we were going to see someone travel back in time to the Battle Of New York for some reason. Perhaps to make sure the Tesseract and Sceptre could be intercepted before anyone really knew they were Infinity Stones?
But there's now a new hint from the Russos that might suggest something else is going on in that sequence, and it ties to something we all saw in Captain America: Civil War.
In an interview with MTV‘s Happy Sad Confused podcast, Joe Russo suggested that one sequence in Civil War is key to understanding the direction of Avengers 4:
"Certainly, there is a five minute sequence in Civil War around a piece of technology that was laid in for a very specific reason,” he teased. “If you go back and look at that film, you may get a hint as to the direction.”
Given the fact that it was spotted on the Avengers 4 set, you'd have to think he's referring to Tony Stark’s Binary Augmented Retro-Framing (B.A.R.F.) technology, which Stark uses to recreate the last time he saw his parents.
So that begs the question: why would BARF be so important in Avengers 4. Right now, there are two theories that could answer that: either someone uses Stark's technology to go back to the Battle Of New York to discover something key for toppling Thanos or it's used to trick someone into thinking they're back there.
That latter point might be the most pertinent, given that the technology was specifically introduced in Civil War as a means to “hijack” the hippocampus “to clear traumatic memories.” There are two possible candidates for who might need that (assuming someone isn't just using it to remember their fallen colleagues): the two most unstable Avengers.
Scarlet Witch might need resetting after going through the trauma of seeing Vision killed (she's already unhinged after all) as a means to stop her having a House Of M style catastrophic breakdown... But then she wasn't around for the Battle Of New York. So maybe it's Hulk, who we know is on an "interesting arc" according to Mark Ruffalo and who might end up turned against the Avengers by Thanos.
After all, what better way to remind him of who he really is than by showing him a time when he and his friends were happily smashing together?
Other than that, it's hard to see how a projection of the past could possibly impact the present in a really tangible way. But it could suggest that there isn't any actual time travel involved in the sequel at all.
And if you thought you'd hear the Avengers 4 title anytime soon, think again. Russo says it's not coming for a while:
“We’re gonna sit on that until we feel the time is right and when people have absorbed the first movie enough."