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Avengers 4: what we know so far

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The fourth Avengers film, and the direct sequel to this year's devastating Infinity War, is coming in 2019. As usual, it's enveloped in mystery, but we do a few things about it. Here's our must-know roundup of Avengers 4 news...

Its title is…

Well, that we don't yet know. Marvel Studios' chieftain Kevin Feige has said before that announcing the title this far in advance would act as a gigantic spoiler for the new film. Of course, it wasn't always like that - once upon a time this movie was to have been named Infinity War Part 2, but that, Marvel reasoned, probably wasn't exciting enough, hence the air of nerve-shredding mystery around this new title. What could it be? Avengers 4: Coulson's Revenge? Avengers: Crazy Rich Superheroes? Avengers: Here We Go Again? It can't be long though until the real title is unveiled…

We know who's definitely back

It's a fairly good guess that the surviving superheroes from Infinity War will be back but it's up in the air at the moment which of the supposedly dead ones will return (come on, like they were ALL going to stay dead…). We know for sure that we're going to see some of them again (Spider-Man, for example, was one of the vanishing heroes, yet we know there's a Spidey sequel coming next year), but that might not be the case for all. Certainly, it's said that Avengers 4 is the full stop on a Marvel era, so expect to see some long-established characters biting the big one.

It'll continue on from Infinity War

The last film dealt with the Avengers battling against Thanos, who was out to collect the Infinity Stones for his Infinity Gauntlet in order to erase half the life in the universe. And what do you know? He did it, with the movie climaxing on a nail-chewing, tear-jerking cliffhanger. Avengers 4 then will follow on from that, though it's been said it will be a very different kind of film to Infinity War. "4 resolves the intrigue of Infinity War; [the movies are] clearly linked, but they almost seem to belong to two different genres," says screenwriter Stephen McFeely. "We did not want to cut a film in half and say, 'Pay now and come back in a year for the rest!' These are two very different stories, on a tonal and structural level."

It's not going to be a small, indie chamber piece movie

Infinity War was - and there really ain't no doubt about this - the most superhero-heavy movie ever made. It's going to be a tough one to top, and that can only mean MORE superheroes in Avengers 4. Certainly Ant-Man was AWOL from the last one, and the fact that the post-credits sting for Infinity War had Nick Fury attempting to make contact with Captain Marvel suggests that Carol Danvers' superheroic alter ego will be joining the fray next time round. Whatever happens, Avengers 4 isn't likely to be some small-scale Woody Allen drama. It's going to be B-I-G.

The Russo are back to direct

Anthony and Joe Russo (AKA the Russo brothers) have been a much-valued part of the Marvel family since joining on Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Since then, they've helmed its sequel, Civil War, and were entrusted to take over the Avengers franchise after Joss Whedon waved goodbye. They have a flair for crafting intelligent, spectacle-heavy blockbusters and so it's heartening to know that they're back for the movie that will close 'Phase 3' of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Add to that, that Infinity War's writers, Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely, are back, and you've got the ready-to-mix ingredients for a movie that looks set to torpedo every bit of box office competition around it.

We're definitely going to be saying goodbye to some characters

We know that various actors' contracts are up with the next film, specifically Robert Downey Jr, Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth and Scarlett Johansson. It's entirely possible all of them could renegotiate, but, hey, Robert Downey Jr has been Iron Man for 10 years now and he'll be 54 by the time Avengers 4 hits cinemas. Will he decide that the time right for him to hang up the metal suit? The next movie will certainly close a chapter in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, allowing newer characters like Captain Marvel and Black Panther to take over from Captain America, Iron Man and Thor as the new front-line heroes.

Read our latest guide to the Marvel Cinematic Universe by clicking here.