Avengers: Infinity War was undoubtedly the darkest chapter in the MCU thus far, between its genocidal climax and Thanos’ reluctant sacrifice of his own daughter to acquire the Soul Stone. Nonetheless, this new Avengers 4 theory manages to take the tragedy to a whole new level.
The Reddit-spawned idea builds on the popular prediction that the upcoming film will see Earth’s Mightiest Heroes traveling back in time to acquire the Infinity Stones. This implies that one of the characters may have to go through the same ordeal as Thanos and sacrifice the person they love the most. And for whatever reason, a lot of fans seem morbidly in love with the idea of Iron Man being the one to do the honors. But while previous theories have prophesied the deaths of everyone from Pepper Potts to Tony Stark’s future child, a new piece of speculation suggests that the price for the Soul Stone has already been paid.
According to this theory, the deaths of Howard and Maria Stark were the work of their own son, who ordered the hit on his parents as part of the deal. The Redditor then goes one further to suggest that Captain Marvel could lead into these terrible events:
“I don’t think its a coincidence, either, that Captain Marvel takes place in 1990 and Tony’s parents are killed in 1991. In fact, the actor who portrays Howard Stark in Civil War has already been reported to be returning to play Howard Stark in Avengers 4.”
While it’s unclear where this fan’s getting their 1990 figure from (the decade is confirmed, but that’s about it), they’re probably not wrong about actor John Slattery coming back, whether it’s through time travel, flashback, or B.A.R.F. technology.
That being said, it’s pretty hard to imagine the MCU going this dark. Killing off half the universe in Infinity War is one thing, especially when the sequel will almost certainly reverse this genocide, but surely forcing one of our heroes to murder his own parents is a whole other level of twisted that’s usually reserved for horror movies. In any case, we’ll see how far the Russo Brothers are willing to go in upping the stakes when Avengers 4 hits theaters on May 3rd, 2019.