Here are our most colorful theories.
The new Avengers: Endgame trailer has left us in a tizzy, but we’ve collected ourselves and are now hard at work obsessively analyzing every last frame. One element that stands out — aside from the team re-assembled and marching forward in brand new costumes — is the deliberate use of the color red during its black and white flashback scenes. We also saw this used in the opening of the Super Bowl TV spot. But what does it all mean? Let’s run through some theories!
If you need, you can check out the trailer below:
And flip through this slideshow gallery to get a better look at the scenes in question.
It’s All About the Marvel
Marvel’s logo is red and it’s the company’s signature color. It makes sense to lean into that. To celebrate 10 years of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, they changed the Marvel Studios logo by cleverly adding in a red “10.” Perhaps they’re just continuing to emphasize the Marvel brand and using that pop of red in the flashbacks to remind us we’ve been on a long journey through the Marvel Universe.
Or… fat chance! There’s gotta be more to it than that. This is Marvel, after all!
Red = Death
Now this one seems a bit more plausible.
Red is the color of blood, and though there wasn’t much in the way of actual human blood spilling in Infinity War — this is a PG-13 franchise, after all — Infinity War was essentially Marvel’s Red Wedding.
In the Super Bowl trailer, we got a quick black-and-white flashback of every character who died when Thanos snapped them into dust. This was the first time we saw these red highlights. And while the new trailer also uses this coloring to similar effect when showing the deaths of Falcon, Black Panther, and Scarlet Witch, it’s also used on three very important characters who are still alive: Iron Man, Captain America, and Thor.
Uh oh. You don’t think… Would Marvel so blatantly tease the deaths of the Big Three in a trailer? Surely not!
And yet, through various reports we know that Chris Evans will probably end his time playing Cap when his contract expires with Endgame. The same has been rumored for Robert Downey Jr. And while Chris Hemsworth has said the new spin on Thor in Ragnarok rejuvenated his interest in continuing to play the character, for all we know he could be exiting the MCU, as well. In a very real way, Endgame could be the last hurrah for all three characters. This trailer could be telling us that these three characters will give their blood, their very lives to restore the universe and beat Thanos.
It’s also worth noting that in addition to those three, Okoye was shown in red. Although, given she didn’t get a dedicated flashback like they did, we’re figuring she was just shown simply because she happened to be there when Black Panther was dusted. But who knows, maybe she’s going down, too!
The Reality Stone
The reality-altering Reality Stone aka the Aether is red, so perhaps the trailer is hinting that the Snappening wasn’t real, and all the deaths aren’t permanent. What if they’re all just an illusion held in place by the Reality Stone, which was given a mega-boost by the other Infinity Stones? Heck, what if nothing we saw in this trailer as real?! As we see in Infinity War, once Thanos stops using the Reality Stone, reality goes back to the way it was, so maybe Endgame will come down to breaking the Reality Stone’s effect on the universe.
Want to re-watch the Super Bowl spot?
They’re All Dead
Now that we’ve gotten the obvious stuff out of the way, let’s get a little crazy.
Maybe what we saw in Infinity War wasn’t what it looked like. Maybe the survivors of the Decimation were actually the victims, and we’re following their adventures in the afterlife. Maybe Marvel is pulling a Sixth Sense and at the end of Endgame we find out they were dead the whole time!
Using Red Worked Before
In addition to Marvel, Disney also owns a little franchise called Star Wars, and not only was The Last Jedi logo red but in the lead-up to movie a series of posters were released highlighting key elements in that same color. That movie made $1.3 billion, so maybe Disney figured, hey, if it worked once, then may as well do it again!
Check out those posters below.
The Red Hulk Cometh
Everyone knows about the green Hulk, but comic fans are hip to the Red Hulk. He made his debut in the comics by smashing his way through Marvel’s most powerful characters — he even smacked the Watcher in the face just because he could — so what better time for him to make his entrance than in Avengers: Endgame?
In the comics, General Ross is the Red Hulk, but that’s not what they’re going to do in the movie.
Get this: the reason all of the dead characters are highlighted in red is because their energy was dispersed into the universe. So now the three living characters highlighted in red will harness that energy. That’s right: Captain America, Thor, and Iron Man are going to summon the power of everyone Thanos killed to save the day.
But it doesn’t stop there. The energy has the unexpected side effect of merging the trio together, combining Cap’s bravery, Thor’s godlike constitution, and Tony’s mind into one unbearably handsome superior being that still knows how to break the tension with a well-timed joke, fused together by their raging hatred for Thanos! Two personas in one superhero worked for Venom so we’ve got THREE in this MCU Red Hulk. Thanos won’t stand a chance.
Or yeah, maybe the red means nothing. We’ll have to wait until April 26 to find out.
Joshua is Senior Editor of IGN Comics. If Pokemon, Green Lantern, or Game of Thrones are frequently used words in your vocabulary, you’ll want to follow him on Twitter @JoshuaYehl and IGN.