If you’ve been following the set photos that have leaked from production, you’ll know that all the evidence is pointing towards Avengers 4 featuring flashbacks to various points in the MCU’s past. That includes Nebula and Gamora’s childhood, a return for Peggy Carter, the events of 2015’s Ant-Man and a callback to 2012’s The Avengers.
Now, we have another clue that suggests some more time travel goodness is coming our way. Sebastian Stan – who, of course, plays Bucky Barnes AKA the Winter Soldier – shared the below image on his Instagram account. While not hugely revealing, it shows him pulling a face while sitting in Tony Stark’s hall of armor. Which doesn’t seem too out of sorts, until you remember that it was blown up back in Iron Man 3.
What’s more, Stan’s caption – “December 16th, 1991” – is also of note. Eagle-eyed fans may know that the date in question is when the brainwashed Bucky murdered Tony’s parents, Howard and Maria Stark, as revealed in Captain America: Civil War (the date appears on the security camera footage of the event). Presumably, the joke that Stan is making here is that he’s feeling guilty on the anniversary of Tony’s parents’ death, hence his look of shame when surrounded by the Iron Man suits.
But just why are the suits back in business? It’s possible that this rebuilt set isn’t part of a flashback and Tony just refurbished the place. After all, he rebuilt the Iron Legion in Avengers: Age of Ultron. However, going by the other scenes we’ve already heard about, it’s likely that this is evidence of another flashback – probably one that dives back into the events of one of the Iron Man movies.
While we don’t know the reason within the film for why the narrative will apparently hop back through the characters’ lives, it makes a lot of sense from a thematic perspective. After all, a trip through the MCU’s greatest hits is a fitting way of marking out Avengers 4 as the finale of everything that’s come so far, which it’s been heavily touted as.