With the debut of the latest Avengers: Endgame trailer, fans have gotten a deeper look at how Earth's Mightiest Heroes and their cosmic allies are faring in the wake of Thanos' snap. Perhaps even more interestingly, we have seen that Captain America, Iron Man, Black Widow, the other original Avengers, as well as new ones like Ant-Man, aren't moving on, but are as resolute as ever in the face of defeat and ready to do "whatever it takes" to undo the Mad Titan's actions.
Undoubtedly, fans are still combing through this new trailer looking for clues, Easter eggs and secrets, but one particular voiceover may hint at what's to come via some very familiar but subtle words. It's Peggy Carter reciting her lines from Captain America: Civil War, possibly teasing a reset of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Before the trailer gets to the present day and a revamped Avengers initiative, it starts off in the past. We see Tony Stark's beginnings as a prisoner of war in Afghanistan and Thor's fractured relationship with Odin on Asgard as their defining moments. Steve Rogers' life and career are also on display -- his ambition to be a hero in World War II and later on when he wields the shield, the pain of losing his first true love, Peggy Carter. At 0:29, when the trailer's glossing over Steve and Peggy in their heyday and building to her eventual death in Civil War, that's when her heartbreaking speech kicks in rather ominously.
"The world has changed. None of us can go back. All we can do is our best, and sometimes the best we can do is start over," she says. Except now, her sentiments have a different tone and a new context when we factor in the possibilities of Endgame. When these trips down memory lane end in the trailer, the flashbacks switch to Thanos' decimation, where Avengers are being dusted, and then move forward to the present where plans are being formulated by Cap and crew. However, could it be that this footage isn't just for nostalgia's sake, or a nod to the first decade of the MCU, but to indicate to us that all of this -- everything we know so far -- is going to be altered, or even rebooted?
With Peggy's words in mind, speculation has it this new heroic coalition is going to start over by going back in time and making different decisions, ones which won't only change the course of their own lives, but the entire direction of the MCU. Messing with the tapestry Marvel Studios has woven since 2008's Iron Man like this is the perfect way to truly usher in a new era of heroes and villains across the universe, and it may well be why studio president Kevin Feige hasn't revealed anything for Phase Four, apart from Spider-Man: Far From Home. He even said it's not officially dubbed Phase Four, which means that rather than continuing what was laid down before, the MCU is truly restarting anew.
Steve's enlistment and the montage of the past seem to be a tribute; a way of saying goodbye forever to these memories we hold dear, which is coincidentally a thread with Cap in all these movies -- moving on and letting go. He and his fellow soldiers don't seem intent on doing so, but starting over like this means they can have their cake and eat it too. Tony marrying Pepper and having a kid; Steve getting that dance with Peggy and a potential life filled with love; Thor ascending to the throne like Odin always wanted, saving his Asgardians and bringing peace to the Nine Realms, etc. -- these are all enticing aspirations for these heroes, and given the losses they suffered up to this moment, we can see them doing whatever it takes to achieve them, and most importantly, bring back those who perished in the snap.
What if the price of these resurrections was the sacrifice of the Avengers Initiative -- whether via time travel, the Quantum Realm or the Reality Stone? We know the Soul Stone requires a life but what if this sacrifice was a movement, a philosophy or a universe itself? The universe doesn't necessarily have to mean lives, but the way life actually ran in the universe -- with Avengers and Guardians patrolling a chunk of time. After all, as Steve said to Vision, heroes don't trade lives, and this could bring about the vision Tony had in Avengers: Age of Ultron: "Peace in our time."
Restarting all of this would shape a new chapter from scratch and allow The Avengers to leave the MCU in the hands of trusted individuals, doing what they did in the old days in their first iteration. Nick Fury had a dream, and so did all of these heroes, but from Peggy's words, these dreams may be the price that the Avengers might be willing to pay to restore order. And in the process, who knows, maybe they'll each find a bit of happiness in their new pockets of existence, while knowing the MCU is in safe hands.
Directed by Anthony and Joe Russo, Avengers: Endgame stars Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner, Don Cheadle, Paul Rudd, Brie Larson, Karen Gillan, Danai Gurira, Benedict Wong, Jon Favreau and Bradley Cooper, with Gwyneth Paltrow and Josh Brolin. The film arrives April 26.