We've been studying Avengers: Endgame footage as though the fate of the universe itself depends on us deciphering its secrets. The latest mystery we're trying to crack: The Case of the (Possibly) Missing Avenger in the most recent teaser, which seems to have edited out a character. Maybe. Let's dive right in.
Since we all know Marvel trailers are about as trustworthy as Alexander Pierce, it's hard not to wonder if two conspicuous pieces of empty space in the Super Bowl trailer have been airbrushed to avoid spoiling a surprise appearance or plot point. The first comes when Steve Rogers, Natasha Romanoff, Bruce Banner, and James Rhodes look up into the night sky outside the Avengers compound.
The second notable piece of blank space shows up at the end, when Captain America, Thor, Black Widow, Rocket (or an ugly baby with a tail), Ant-Man, and War Machine—now all suited up—march through the compound's hangar.
So who could be missing and why?
First, here's who we know it isn't: anyone who was dusted. All of the released footage seems to be primarily from the beginning of the movie, and it's unlikely the Snapture will have been reversed that quickly.
So who could it be? Iron Man is clearly on the list. As is Nebula, seen working on the Guardians ship with him in this same teaser. Those gaps could also be hiding the presence of Captain Marvel, whom Nick Fury paged back to Earth (and possibly this timeline) at the end of Infinity War.
However, Tony, Nebula, and Carol Danvers are also our best candidates for what the Avengers are looking at in the night sky, since all three characters should be coming to Earth via space.
Since the last shot seems to be prelude to an epic battle, Marvel might be hiding another skilled warrior we don't expect to see. One possibility is Valkyrie, who escaped off-screen from Thanos' attack on the Asgradian ship at the start of Infinity War. (So did Korg, but there's almost no chance he's with the Avengers here, even though he's the best.) There's also a chance it's Hawkeye a.k.a. Ronin, whom we saw meeting up with Natasha in the first trailer, and who makes a brief appearance in the commercial.
And if you're really looking for a long shot, those empty spaces could belong to Pepper Potts, who just might become her comic book character Rescue in Endgame.
But our best working theory boils down to one obvious question: where is Bruce Banner in the hangar? We know from the earlier shot that he's at the compound, so it's strange that he's not there with the rest of the troops now that the Avengers are suited up an ostensibly heading out on a mission.
Unless he is there with them. While it wouldn't make much sense to edit out a shot of Bruce, perhaps that gap in the line could belong to Hulk, who has finally returned to large form (a fact that Marvel wants to keep secret until its reveal in-film). Even better, Marvel might be hiding the big screen debut of Professor Hulk, the merger of the giant green rage machine and Bruce Banner (and who might have already been seen).
However, Hulk can't be the missing character in the first shot, so that mystery is still afoot. Unless, of course, nobody is edited out of the shot from outside at night, and it's just a normal empty space.
That very well may be. Or it could be Tony, Nebula, Captain Marvel, or any number of other options. But when it comes to the hangar shot, the most logical answer: Hulk missing!