The Super Bowl spot for Avengers: Endgame may have been shorter than a full trailer, but the spot gave us far more insight into the anticipated sequel than you might have expected. Eagle-eyed fans have already spotted hints about how the plot may unfold and shout-outs to the fallen heroes, but there may have been even more clues towards the events of the biggest entry Marvel Cinematic Universe than anyone actually realized.
A new fan theory that's been building steam on Reddit suggests that one of the most unlikely Avengers might actually be in the middle of claiming one of the Infinity Stones in the released footage.
Hawkeye To The Rescue
Clint Barton, aka Hawkeye, spent Avengers: Infinity War on the sidelines. He, along with Scott Lang, took plea bargains after the events of Captain America: Civil War and traded a regular life for their involvement in the adventures of their fellow superheroes. But the advertisements for Endgame have revealed that even if he missed the big fight, Clint was among the survivors of Thanos eliminating half of the universe. What's more, he appears to haves rebranded himself as Ronin, a decidedly more aggressive identity than the snarky hero we've gotten to know in previous films.
Many fans have suggested that the loss of his family could be the reason why he's apparently become a darker hero. He had a wife and three children, after all, and it would be surprising if none of his family was eradicated when Thanos used the Infinity Gauntlet in the previous film. Losing the family unit that was so special to him that he went as far as to recruit Nick Fury to keep them safe would definitely make him a more confrontational agent. But how far will it push him, especially if stealing the Infinity Stones might allow the heroes the chance to reverse the effects of the snap?
Time travel has been repeatedly brought up as the most likely tactic the remaining heroes will utilize to reverse the effects of Avengers: Infinity War. In other popular fan theories, characters like Doctor Strange or Captain Marvel use their abilities to transcend time and bring the dearly departed heroes and civilians back to life. But to achieve that kind of power, it might require the few remaining heroes to do some difficult things and make harsh sacrifices -- which might explain where Hawkeye is in the most recent preview for the film.
In the Super Bowl teaser, there's a brief shot of Hawkeye standing in a strange setting. There are rocks and roots around him, suggesting that he's not in an urban environment. Redditor u/ak2sup theorizes Hawkeye's presence there might be a huge clue regarding the arc of the film. The shot features Clint looking up, a serious expression on his face. As the theory notes, Clint isn't dressed in his Ronin outfit for this scene. Instead, he's wearing the quiver and no-sleeve shirt he utilized in previous MCU films.
This suggests that the sequence may take place after Black Widow has come to him during his missions in Japan when he was wearing the Ronin gear. Either Clint returns to his former position as Hawkeye, or it may be a version of the character from an altered past. Why is that important? Because the background of the scene (and the heavy red light across his face) suggests that he's in the location where Jane Foster stumbled across the Aether in Thor: The Dark World.
Jane's discovery of the Aether, later revealed to be the Reality Stone, was Dark World's inciting event. By finding a weak point in reality, she was transported to the hiding place for the Stone. The reality altering power of the artifact inadvertently led to the Dark Elves resuming their conflict with Asgard, the death of Queen Frigga, and the eventual dethroning of Odin. With Asgard's Allfather out of the picture, Thanos was emboldened to make his move on the other stones, setting the stage for Infinity War. If the Reality Stone was never claimed by Jane, it may change the future in major ways (such as restoring Asgard or giving Thanos pause before attacking the Nova Corp.) As the Aether, the Reality Stone was introduced in an otherwise unassuming Phase 2 MCU film, but it may be the most crucial Stone in the final fight against the mad Titan. If there's a prime location and point in time for the Avengers to target in order to claim the Stone before Thanos could grab it, this would be it. All they need to do is access to time travel technology. Luckily, Ant-Man's arrival may give the heroes exactly that.
Many fan theories (including this one) have pointed to the potential of the Avengers using the Quantum Realm to travel back in time. The otherworldly realm at the heart of Ant-Man and the Wasp's adventures seems to be impervious to the effects of the Infinity Gauntlet, so it may yet prove to be the perfect means to interact with the past and even try to change it. Set photos have suggested that part of this focus will be on the climatic events of the first Avengers, but having access to that power might allow someone like Hawkeye to slip into the fray and do something crucial to the fight against Thanos, avenging his family while saving them at the same time. The shot of the character from the trailer may hint that the Reality Stone is the target Hawkeye is sent after, and the Quantum Realm could easily be his means to reach the past.
Avengers: Endgame will arrive on Apr. 26. 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, Chadwick Boseman, 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, Tom Holland and Anthony Mackie.