(MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD for the ending of “Avengers: Infinity War.” So if you don’t know how it ends and don’t want to know, leave now.)
The battle against Thanos in “Avengers: Infinity War” is the biggest one yet for the heroes of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but not all of them participate. Heroes like Ant-Man and Clint “Hawkeye” Barton don’t show up in the fight to stop the mad Titan.
There’s one other character we know will be in the MCU before “Avengers 4” rolls around in 2019, but who didn’t join the fight against Thanos in “Infinity War” — but that character does get a shoutout in “Avengers: Infinity War” to let us know she’s on her way. It happens just after the credits in the film’s lone post-credits scene.
The scene finds former SHIELD Director Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) and his closest agent, Maria Hill (Cobie Smulders), driving through a major city while they discuss the alien attack on New York by Thanos’ lieutenants, the Black Order, and the attack on Wakanda that makes up most of the second half of the movie. As Maria notes, the energy signatures marking the attack on Wakanda is much bigger than the one from New York.
It quickly becomes clear that this scene is taking place at the same time Thanos wins the battle in Wakanda. We see cars crashing and in the background a helicopter plummets out of control, as random people, like so many of the Avengers, start spontaneously turning to dust thanks to Thanos using the fully armed Infinity Gauntlet to wipe out half of all life in the universe.
As Fury watches, Maria disappears as well — and he takes this as his cue to dig an old suped-up pager out of his bag. Right in the nick (sorry) of time, too, because Fury himself turns to dust just as he successfully sends out a signal.
After Fury dies, the pager falls to the ground and the camera zooms in, showing a pixelated version of Captain Marvel’s logo on its ancient display. Yes, what Nick Fury did in his last moment was to call in the big guns.
We know the “Captain Marvel” film, which comes out in March of 2019, will take place in the 1990s, which explains the pager. We don’t know all that much else about the film — Marvel has understandably kept things under wraps because it will no doubt tie in very closely to the shocking events of “Infinity War.”
Below you’ll find the basics, but if you want a deeper dive into how we think the “Captain Marvel” movie will serve as a direct lead-in to the battle with Thanos, check out our closer examination right here.
In the comics, Carol Danvers (Brie Larson) is an Air Force pilot who meets Mar-Vell (Jude Law), a Kree scout and spy sent to Earth to evaluate humanity’s space travel capabilities and assess its capacity as a threat to the Kree empire. Mar-Vell becomes a legendary hero dubbed Captain Marvel, and in working with him, Carol winds up exposed to a Kree weapon that gives her a variety of superpowers.
The thing about Mar-Vell is, in the comics, he tangles with — and stops — Thanos. Repeatedly. But Mar-Vell eventually dies. It seems that Carol’s experiences with Mar-Vell, and his knowledge of Thanos, could conceivably prep her for the coming battle. What we don’t know is where Carol, as Captain Marvel, has been for the last 20 or so years, or why Nick Fury would have waited so long to contact her. Probably, though, Fury has that beeper specifically because Carol wanted him to contact her when Thanos eventually rolled into town. Presumably, all our questions will be answered when the “Captain Marvel” movie lands — unfortunately, we’ll have to wait 10 more months before that happens.
Speaking of which, we have more ideas about what’s to come — at least in regards to how “Ant-Man and the Wasp” and “Captain Marvel” will impact the story being told between “Infinity War” and “Avengers 4,” as well as how some other plot threads from “Infinity War” will play out. Click here for our look at what “Ant-Man and the Wasp” might have to do with all this. Click here for our deeper look into how “Captain Marvel” might impact this distressing plot twist. Click here for a closer examination of Doctor Strange’s actions in “Infinity War,” and how losing this fight might end up being the key to winning it later. Click here for our discussion of the whole Vision situation and whether he’s really dead. And, finally, here’s our run-down on how the comic book version of these events played out.