Back when it was first announced the third and fourth Avengers movies would be called Infinity War parts one and two, all was calm, and we understood that Marvel had a plan. But as they say, if you want to make God laugh, plan to see two Infinity War films.
A couple of years later, Marvel changed its mind, and said there would only be one film called Infinity War, and the fourth film’s title had been changed to the placeholder of Untitled Avengers Movie. The internet calmly took this news in by immediately casting about for wild rumors regarding what this might mean for the second film—specifically, the idea that once it was made clear the Captain Marvel movie (coming out in between the two Avengers films) would feature the Skrulls (a race of green-skinned shape changers, for all you non-comic nerds), the fourth Avengers movie would turn its attention to a “secret invasion” storyline, starring said aliens.
But Marvel, like most major studios with hundreds of millions of dollars on the line, is not known for calling an audible just prior to production of arguably the most massive tentpole film in their roster, any more than it’s going to green-light a Black Widow film until well after Jennifer Lawrence has made one of her own. It may not be called Infinity War, but the second film is still clearly going to be the conclusion of the fight against Thanos, who has, after all, been set up as the biggest of Big Bads ever since the stinger at the end of the first Avengers. As ScreenRant points out, it was pretty obvious back in November when Josh Brolin posted this image to Instagram:
The clear implication, given the production timeline of the second film, was that Brolin had been a part of it the whole time, and his character was nowhere near defeated at the end of the first one. When the trailer came out and implied the film would be in part covering Thanos’ collection of the Infinity Stones, not just the fight against him already possessing them, it was even more logical that the two films would be one massive struggle against the mad titan. But now, filming has wrapped on Untitled Avengers Movie Don’t Get Mad But It’s Obviously Still Part 2 Just With A Different Name, and directors the Russo brothers have posted a picture of the wrap cake on Twitter, and it gives an ever so slight hint that Thanos may still be the primary nemesis of the second movie.
So yes, this seems like as good a confirmation as we’ll get about Thanos’ role in both films. Namely, that he will be killing people left and right throughout the two-part story, not wrapped up in the first film and then relegated to a dead-body cameo in the second, à la Zod in Batman V Superman. Besides, now we have something much more significant to speculate wildly about: That looks for all the world like Black Widow’s hand reaching up out of the bottom of the cake. Will Natasha Romanoff be the one to save the universe? Does the recently announced news about her solo movie have something to do with the end of Avengers 4? Will Marvel Phase 3 end with Ant-Man shrinking Thanos down to comically small size and then handing him over to Black Widow, thereby making this cake more of an accurate screen shot of the final frame than a tasty dessert? Let the baseless theorizing begin.