Tony Stark has a plan, and it looks like he’s got a lot more than 12% figured out. We’ve suspected for a while that Avengers 4 would be a time-travel film, as it’s the only logical way to defeat Thanos, and save the lives taken by his universe-altering snap. Set photos seem to confirm this theory, as we see several familiar figures. These include Stark in the Black Sabbath shirt he wore in the first Avengers, as well as Thor with his hair long, and both he and brother Loki in the same Asgardian armor they wore in the 2012 film. (Their armor has had subtle changes in each movie, so these designs definitely place them at the time of the Battle of New York.)
— IG: Beckz.Jr (@aMieBeckz) November 4, 2017
loki on the set of avengers 4 is all the fuel i need to believe that he’s alive pic.twitter.com/VUldGQW0xj
— chloe (@buckbcrns) June 8, 2018
Tony Stark is in S.W.A.T. gear in this new AVENGERS 4 set photo! pic.twitter.com/uCjgTQ4R1C
— Robert Downey Jr UK (@downeysduckling) November 2, 2017
NEW AVENGERS 4 set photo of Tony Stark and Thor pic.twitter.com/7WUDKIEdfS
— Marvel Newz (@MarvelNewz) November 3, 2017
So what does all this mean? Our best guess is that Tony Stark is going to find a way to travel backwards to alter the timeline. This theory is further supported by more set photos that appear to show an alternate past, which would in turn lead to a different future. The pictures show Stark in SHIELD tactical armor identical to that worn by Loki’s guards in Avengers. This suggests that he has a much different role in the secretive agency than what we’ve seen up until now. Did he choose a divergent path, or is he undercover? The mask part of the armor would allow him to anonymously infiltrate the crew, giving him direct access to the imprisoned Loki.
But, to what end? Pretty much everyone’s first thought is that he wants to prevent Loki from taking the Tesseract – which contained the Space Stone – back to Asgard. Odin required the gem to repair the Bifrost, allowing travel between Asgard and the rest of the nine realms. Also, Loki’s scepter contained the Mind Stone, which was necessary for the creation of both Ultron and Vision.
However, altering these events would cause massive changes not just to many lives, but entire worlds. That would be in direct conflict with Stark’s clandestine efforts to sneak into the SHIELD guard. It’s more likely that contact with Loki is what he’s after. But why?
For now, we can only speculate. Does he need some sort of information or tool that only the god of mischief has? Or is he warning him about what will happen in the future, in an attempt to prevent it? It would be interesting to see how that would pan out, since Loki’s better angels seemed to be largely absent at that time.
What do you think Stark’s plan is? And what will be its ultimate outcome? Tell us your thoughts in the comments!