What is ‘The Snap’ and How Could it Apply to the MCU?

In the Avengers: Infinity War theatrical trailer, Gamora references a famous snap. Last night a new TV spot aired, and Thanos himself says, “I could snap my fingers and you all cease to exist.” But those unfamiliar with the source material may be unfamiliar with the reference, so this article will try to explain how the “Snap” is crucial to the story of the Infinity Gauntlet and how it could be applied to the MCU in the two Avengers movies.

Released in 1991 the Infinity Gauntlet main story line wasn’t really the whole story. Thanos obtaining the six Infinity Gems (as they were called back then) was actually told in four issues of Silver Sufer and a two-part mini-series called Thanos’ Quest. In that two-issue story, he goes through challenges (and even fights Gladiator) in order to gain control of the Gems. So by the time issue #1 of Infinity Gauntlet arrives, he basically had a fully powered Gauntlet and the issue ended with Thanos snapping his fingers and wiping out half the life in the universe. Major heroes such as Hawkeye vanished right in front of the eyes of Captain America.

The remaining issues are about how the heroes who were still alive deal with Thanos and reverse what he did.

There are people who don’t believe that Thanos will get all six stones in Infinity War:

But that’s kind of the whole point of the story. It’s not the Infinity Gauntlet story if Thanos doesn’t get all six stones and snaps his fingers. That would leave a pretty uneventful Avengers 4 and the wait between them won’t mean anything if there is no loss and the heroes don’t lose.

At this point, with the secrecy they’re putting Infinity War through, it seems like this first movie is an adaptation of Thanos’ Quest (him retrieving the Stones) and then the first issue of Infinity Gauntlet. There’s really no other reason for them to push up the release date to one day around the world to protect the secrecy of what happens if they aren’t ending on “the snap”. That’s actually the perfect way to set up not just Avengers 4, but also Captain Marvel. Half of the universe wiped out, heroes on Earth decimated, they will need a cosmic-powered super hero to help stop Thanos and reverse what he did with the Infinity Gauntlet.

As someone who first read Infinity Gauntlet that summer of 1991 and thought we’d never see something like that on the big screen, the idea of Feige pulling that off in the Marvel Cinematic Universe is almost mind blowing. And that’s why I’m very exited about Infinity War.