That Spider-Man, Doctor Strange, Black Panther and all those ‘dusted’ by Thanos at the climax of Avengers: Infinity War will be returning is hardly a secret. Marvel Studios is actively producing or in pre-production for many of its seemingly dead characters to appear in their own films, so unless they’re conducting the world’s most elaborate hoax with Spider-Man: Far From Home, it’s safe to say that by the end of Avengers 4 our heroes will have found some way to turn back the clock and resurrect them.
Despite that, Marvel Studios are at least nominally going to pretend that this isn’t the case, as it’s being reported by Jeremy Conrad of MCU Cosmic that none of the dusted heroes will be featuring in the marketing materials for Avengers 4. So, when the first trailer’s released this Friday, you can expect it to be tightly focused around the surviving original team (and maybe Rocket Raccoon and Nebula, too).
If this extends to the studio’s full marketing plans, I’ll be impressed. After all, being prevented from using lucrative properties like Spider-Man will inevitably impact upon the film’s bottom line. Just take a look at the wealth of marketing materials and merchandise we saw in the run-up to Infinity War that featured the film’s gargantuan cast – with everyone from Teen Groot to Thor’s new weapon being spoiled on collectable soft drink cups and action figures.
Then again, perhaps Avengers 4 could really take audiences for a ride and confound every prediction by ensuring those heroes did actually remain dead. Maybe Far From Home is secretly set before Infinity War? And perhaps those upcoming sequels will, in fact, star legacy heroes – so Black Panther 2 would feature Shuri in the lead role. I think that’s probably extremely unlikely, but boy, can you imagine the shock it’d cause around the world?