7 Ways Avengers: Age of Ultron Ending Sets Up Marvel Phase 3

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After a full month in theaters, Marvel's Avengers: Age of Ultron is still going strong, taking in over $1.3 billion worldwide, including $430 million domestically. While the sequel wasn't received quite as well as its predecessor, 2012's Marvel's The Avengers, it's still an undeniable hit, one which helps set the table for Marvel Phase Three. Before Ant-Man closes out Phase Two next month, we thought it would be a good time to dissect everything revealed at the end of Avengers: Age of Ultron, and how it will affect the future of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

[1] New Avengers Assemble

New Avengers Assemble

At the very end of Avengers: Age of Ultron, we get our first look at the brand new Avengers lineup. Captain America (Chris Evans) and Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) are the leaders, with Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen), Vision (Paul Bettany), The Falcon (Anthony Mackie) and War Machine (Don Cheadle) joining the team. While this is certainly a much different team than the original Avengers, each member falls into place quite perfectly. Vision's supernatural powers make a fine substitute for Thor and his Asgardian gifts, while The Falcon is a more high-tech version of Hawkeye, War Machine slides right into Iron Man's place and, ironically, the smallest member of the team, physically, Scarlett Witch, steps in for The Hulk, since her abilities easily make her the most powerful, albeit in much different ways. We still have a long way to go before we see them all team up in Avengers: Infinity War Part 1 (May 4, 2018) and Avengers: Infinity War Part 2 (May 3, 2019), but where did the rest of our favorite heroes go?

[2] Old Avengers Scatter

Old Avengers

The end of the movie shows Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) and Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) going there separate ways, but of course we'll see them all again, some much sooner than others. It's never fully said where Iron Man takes off to in his exotic sports car, but we'll see him on the big screen tangling with Cap in Captain America: Civil War. Thor, after having his crazy vision thanks to Scarlet Witch, heads back to his homeland of Asgard, setting up his return in 2017's Thor: Ragnarok. Hawkeye goes back to his loving wife (Linda Cardellini) and kids (although he will be back in Captain America: Civil War), but Hulk's self-exile has fans asking the most questions. We last see him taking the Quinjet and leaving for parts unknown, with many speculating that it could set up the Planet Hulk movie fans have been waiting years for. While that won't happen anytime soon, Mark Ruffalo recently hinted that he will be returning in Captain America: Civil War as well, which, if confirmed, means that all of the old and new Avengers will be present, with the lone exception of Thor.

[3] The Avengers Get a New HQ

Avengers Tower

The scene where all of the new Avengers get together for the first time takes place at a brand new Avengers facility, nestled away somewhere in upstate New York. Sadly, we only get a brief glimpse of the headquarters from the outside, but it certainly seems like a sprawling campus that could also serve as S.H.I.E.L.D.'s new HQ, since we see a number of Helicarriers and Quinjets, while a number of soldiers are seen training on the grounds.

[4] Captain America: Civil War Setup{@IMG:DBOlMqEuY57q7tLTRWZ8qgzoFuSZWP|Capatain America Civil War@}

While the first Avengers movie was set in the U.S., Avengers: Age of Ultron was an international affair, as fans learned that, while Earth's Mightiest Heroes are certainly beloved in the states, they don't have the biggest fans in other parts of the world, as the sequel showed a few brief scenes of several Avengers protests. One can only imagine that the destruction of Sokovia will add more fuel to this international flame of Avengers hate, not to mention the complete chaos that happened in South Africa, when Hulk engaged in a destructive battle with Tony Stark and his Hulkbuster armor. It's possible that all of this destruction, and the impending international backlash that will surely follow, could be the impetus for the creation of the Superhero Registration Act, which is what divides Captain America and Iron Man in Captain America: Civil War.

[5] Black Panther Connection

Black Panther Connection

While we won't see T'challa (Chadwick Boseman) himself until next year's Captain America: Civil War, Avengers: Age of Ultron offers a number of references to his homeland of Wakanda, including the introduction of a key character that will surely return to the MCU at some point, Andy Serkis' Ulysses Klaue. He only appears in one scene, where he meets with Ultron (James Spader) as the android tries to procure the chief Wakandan resource Vibranium for his new armor, but the character is a regular nemesis of T'challa in the comics, and we'll surely see him again in Black Panther, if not sooner.

[6] Infinity Stones Finally Revealed

INfinity Stones

Longtime comic fans have known about the Infinity Stones in the MCU for years, but Avengers: Age of Ultron marked the first time that the superhero characters themselves were aware that they are all part of something much bigger than they imagined. This revelation came when Scarlet Witch tried to use her mind-bending powers on Thor. Since Thor is not of this Earth, he doesn't experience bizarre visions like the rest of his cohorts, but he instead gets clarity on what the Infinity Stones really are, and that four of them have been in play all along. The Mind Stone is the gem from Loki's scepter that is given to Vision, the Tesseract from Marvel's The Avengers is the Space Stone, The Orb from Guardians of the Galaxy is the Power Stone and the Aether from Thor: The Dark World is the Reality Stone. That leaves just two stones yet to be revealed, the Time Stone and the Soul Stone. Naturally, we don't know when exactly they will come into play, but that will surely happen before Avengers: Infinity War Part 1 and Avengers: Infinity War Part 2.

[7] Who Will Be There for Infinity War?

Avengers Infinity War

With every Avenger except Thor coming back for Captain America: Civil War, it has many wondering whether the original Avengers will all be returning for Avengers: Infinity War Part 1 and Avengers: Infinity War Part 2. Several of the actors only have a few movies remaining on their extensive Marvel contracts, leaving many fans to play guessing games regarding what movies their favorite heroes will be back for. It's certainly possible that one of the original Avengers could get killed off before the two-part Infinity War saga, especially given the enormous scope of Captain America: Civil War, but it's also possible that several others will be joining the Avengers in the two-part Infinity War movie.

There was a rumor that none of the original Avengers will be present for Avengers: Infinity War Part 1, paving the way for their grand return in Avengers: Infinity War Part 2, but that was never confirmed. Also, since one of the Infinity Stones was revealed in last year's cosmic adventure Guardians of the Galaxy, that could be a way to bring these outer space heroes into the fold and join Earth's Mightiest heroes. We also recently learned that Ant-Man's Paul Rudd will reprise his role as Scott Lang in Captain America: Civil War, which, if nothing else, will establish a connection with him and the Avengers, which could hint that he may be called upon to help fight Thanos in Infinity War. And, with new characters like Doctor Strange, Captain Marvel and Black Panther being introduced in Phase Three, it's certainly possible that they could join the fight as well. Still, with three years and change until Avengers: Infinity War Part 1 hits theaters, a lot could happen between now and then.