The Last Avenger is the latest in a long line of would-be Avengers 4 titles to sweep the internet. It may very well be the title of next year's Infinity War sequel, thanks to one fan's dogged efforts to decipher Mark Ruffalo's spoiler-filled bleeps on Late Night Starring Jimmy Fallon.
Except it probably isn't.
Marvel is known for its red herrings. This is not the first time the studio has deliberately dropped something distracting to tear attention away from potential spoilers. Moreover, Ruffalo's appearance on Fallon was clearly dubious -- too brazen to be real and too obviously scripted to have been spontaneous. It felt more like a marketing stunt than an official announcement.
And yet, there is something endearing about ending the Marvel Cinematic Universe's introductory arc with a film entitled The Last Avenger. Thanos' much-hyped invasion truly began back in 1942, when Steve Rogers, a skinny young man who had flunked out of the Army enrollment tests, geared up to become Captain America, the world's first superhero and the "First Avenger."
Ending that arc with The Last Avenger is not only endearing, but also poetic, allowing the story of the original Avengers to come full circle. From a purely literary perspective, it's a clear indicator of when the first arc ends and when the next chapter begins. Any other title might feel less appropriate, even lacking.
Compared to titles like "Endgame" or "Annihilation," The Last Avenger is propitious and inspiring, allowing the arc to end on a hopeful note rather than a bleak one. It implies one of the original founding Avengers will survive Thanos' onslaught and live to tell the tale.
Who will it be? Probably the most consequential Avenger to leave behind. This could be anyone from Captain America to Iron Man, or even less integral Avengers like Thor, Black Widow or Bruce Banner. Regardless of who it might be, whoever manages to survive the endgame will serve as our personal guide to a future without the Earth's Mightiest Heroes, ferrying viewers from Phase Three to Four.