It's basically become a fan ritual by now, to scour the Internet for early or leaked photos of upcoming action figures in hopes of catching a glimpse of a major superhero film's story developments. In the past, it's led to the discovery of unexpected debuts, surprise cameos and even major plot twists, often months before said movie even arrives in theaters.
Avengers 4 has certainly not been immune to this phenomenon. Despite being shrouded in one of the biggest cloaks of secrecy Marvel Studios has ever enforced, recent weeks have seen tidbits of tantalizing information make their way online. The most recent involved the packaging for a set of action figures featuring Rocket Raccoon and Thor, with artwork that revealed the pair, along with Captain America, will don new Avengers uniforms in the anticipated sequel. A later, higher resolution leak of the same artwork indicated that Thanos might not be the biggest threat the team faces when they return early next year.
Now, a photo from a presentation for a series of action figures dubbed Hero Vision not only doubles down on the new costumes, it indicates that we may actually see a new hero rise to face Thanos (and whatever that other threat may be).
In the admittedly blurry image, we're able to make out Captain America, Captain Marvel, Thor, Rocket, Iron Man -- and in the lower right corner, one more character. Though the color scheme and costume are unfamiliar, the body is unmistakably female, and the outfit appears to be armor, not unlike Iron Man's, who she is obviously paired with.
At a glance, you might suspect this is Nebula, perhaps sporting a new look for the next chapter of her and the Avengers' story. However, the fact that this character is paired with Iron Man and appears to be wearing armor of her own dovetails nicely with a previous rumor about the film regarding Pepper Potts suiting up, much like she has in the comic, as Armor.
This theory took root nearly a year ago, when Gwyneth Paltrow shared a photo on Instagram showing her wearing motion capture gear while on break between takes shooting Avengers 4. The actress quickly deleted the images from her feed, but it was too late. Not only did it make it clear she was a part of the film, fans and media quickly theorized that she would be gearing up in her own armor, a la her comic book counterpart.
Since Invincible Iron Man's "World's Most Wanted" storyline, Pepper has used the Rescue armor on several occasions to become a hero in her own right. While nobody involved in the movies has directly referenced this incarnation of the character, Paltrow herself once indicated she may very well don some form of armor in the film. In January of this year, while appearing on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, the host asked if her previous experience with superpowers in Iron Man 3 might play into what her character does in Avengers 4. “Is there any chance, at any point when you were working on the movie, did you thrust your hand toward someone wearing, like, a blue suit with ping-pong balls glued on it?” Paltrow answered yes, leading Colbert to gleefully conclude, “Then you still have powers.”
Powers... or perhaps a new suit of armor.
The sequel to Avengers: Infinity War will release on May 3, 2019. Directed by Joe and Anthony Russo, the film stars Robert Downey Jr., Josh Brolin, Mark Ruffalo, Tom Hiddleston, Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, Jeremy Renner, Chris Pratt, Elizabeth Olsen, Sebastian Stan, Benedict Cumberbatch, Paul Bettany, Samuel L. Jackson, Cobie Smulders, Benedict Wong, Zoe Saldana, Karen Gillan, Vin Diesel, Dave Bautista, Pom Klementieff, Scarlett Johansson, Paul Rudd, Evangeline Lily, Tom Holland and Anthony Mackie.
Via Toy Ark