This article is extremely spoiler heavy. We discuss the ending of Avengers: Age of Ultron at length. For spoiler-free analysis, check out this review.

There is no franchise quite like the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and Avengers: Age of Ultron is its biggest, densest film. The MCU has been defined by constantly upending the status quo, keeping the heroes (and audiences!) on their feet, unsure of what’s coming next. Ultron makes a number of changes to the MCU, redefining the heroes, the villains, and the lore of what came before. Thirteen of the biggest changes are…

1. Hydra is defeated. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. strongly hinted it, but Avengers: Age of Ultron makes it unambiguous: Hydra has fallen. The threat they posed after Captain America: The Winter Soldier has diminished. However, Daniel Brühl has been confirmed to play Hydra head Baron Zemo in Captain America: Civil War, so Hydra is down, but they might not yet be out.

And for his inevitable confrontation with Zemo, Cap will only have his friends, his wits, and his shield, because…

2. Steve Rogers is not worthy to lift Thor’s hammer, and probably never will be. In the comics, Captain America is one of the few in the universe worthy enough to lift Mjolnir. Ever since Thanos’ first appearance in The Avengers, people have been dreaming of Captain America wielding the thunder god’s hammer in a last-ditch rush on Thanos, like in the comics. However, now that Vision is the second Avenger worthy of wielding Mjolnir, letting Cap lift the Hammer will feel redundant. Been there, done that.

It’s a big change, but ultimately a small moment in Captain America’s bigger comic book legacy. But there was a far more radical reinvention of a hero in Age of Ultron

3. Hawkeye is not a lothario, but a peaceful family man. In the comics, Hawkeye might be the world’s best archer, but he’s no Cupid. Hawkeye has a long list of superhero exes, including Mockingbird, Black Widow and Spider-Woman. But in Age of Ultron, he’s a happily married man with three children and a farm. Technically, a similar family was depicted as part of Hawkeye’s backstory in the Ultimate universe, but they were killed to add to his tragic backstory. Hopefully Laura and the Barton kids avoid the same grisly fate.

Even though Hawkeye leaves the Avengers at the end of the film, Fury will probably pull him back in, especially since…

4. The Avengers are the new S.H.I.E.L.D. Now that S.H.I.E.L.D. is gone from the world stage, the Avengers are filling in. The facility at the end of the film has the same glossy sheen as S.H.I.E.L.D. facilities like the Triskelion and the Hub. Under Nick Fury’s watchful eye, the Avengers will likely become a larger, more sprawling organization.

Hell, maybe the S.H.I.E.L.D. spinoff is actually Avengers Academy, used to recruit “registered gifted” for future service as Avengers. That new facility is basically Fury’s School for Gifted Youngsters.

5. Natasha is stuck with the Avengers. At the end of Ultron, most of the founding Avengers have left the team, leaving Captain America to ~~assemble~~ unite a brand new team. Well, a mostly new team: Natasha was ready to hang up the catsuit and run away with Bruce, but the guilt-ridden Hulk was incapable of trusting himself to give her happiness. Clint leaves the Avengers to be with his family, but without Bruce, Natasha doesn’t have a family to leave for. So she teams up with Captain America, works for Nick Fury, and hopes to find her big green lug somewhere out there.

Speaking of Captain America and the end of the film…

6. Steve Rogers and Tony Stark are friendlier than ever. I think the announcement of Civil War changed expectations for Age of Ultron. By the end of the film, I was expecting Tony and Steve to be at each other’s throats, ready to go to war with each other. Instead, they’re closer than they’ve ever been (which could be because Tony’s leaving the Avengers). I don’t really expect this to change for Civil War: the conflict will likely be ideological, not personal. In some ways, that’s even more tragic; instead of hunting former allies, Stark will be hunting dear friends.

Having said that…

7. Ultron will likely lead directly into Civil War. Even though Age of Ultron has a happy ending, there will probably still be enormous fallout. At the end of the film, Tony might be driving his car straight to Washington DC to tell Congress where the hell Ultron came from. Once the public becomes aware that Tony created a machine that came close to destroying all life on the planet, Tony may be forced to turn against the Avengers in exchange for not being tried as a war criminal.

Even though Ultron will have a future impact on plot sequels, there is one facet of the MCU that will probably remain unchanged…

8. The films will remain standalone. My biggest fear going into Phase 3 is that the films would be too heavily interconnected, with Civil War leading to Black Panther leading to Infinity War. It reminded me of Phase One, and how S.H.I.E.L.D. was shoehorned into Iron Man 2 and Thor, ruining the pace of those films.

Age of Ultron is Marvel’s middle child, halfway from Iron Man, halfway to the fourth Avengers film. It should’ve been the most future-oriented Marvel movie yet, but it’s surprisingly standalone. You don’t have to watch the previous films to understand the drama (though you’ll be more attached to the characters if you have). The film plants seeds for future storylines, but never feels like it’s leaving any unfinished business.

The least standalone element of Age of Ultron is Thor’s quest for the Infinity Stones. And speaking of…

9. Thanos’ master plan is now public knowledge. In Age of Ultron, Thor left the team to go play mythological detective. Thor realized that this is his third encounter with an Infinity Stone in the last few years, which can’t be a coincidence. Age of Ultron ends with Thor flying to the cosmos, investigating what is bringing these ancient artifacts out of dormancy. This will definitely lead him to Thanos’ doorstep, as Thor discovers the master cosmic manipulator.

Since the next time we see Thor will be in Thor: Ragnarok, this almost certainly means…

10. Thanos will wreck shit up in Thor: Ragnarok. When Marvel announced Thor: Ragnarok, Kevin Feige revealed that the film will pick up “right after we leave [Thor] in Avengers 2, and will impact everything to come afterwards.” Since Thor is investigating the Stones, he’ll absolutely come across Thanos, and do his damnedest to stop him.

But Thor won’t be able to stop him. It will take an entire pantheon of heroes, current and future, to stop Thanos. But after Age of Ultron, there’s one hero we can probably stop hoping for…

11. Adam Warlock will not be in the MCU. Warlock is Thanos’ arch-enemy, a Guardian of the Galaxy, and one of Marvel’s most popular cosmic heroes. Ever since Guardians of the Galaxy, fans have been clamoring for Warlock’s inclusion in the MCU.

He’s also the creation of an evolution-obsessed super villain, birthed from a cocoon, and has an Infinity Gem embedded in his forehead. Vision has stolen all of Warlock’s thunder. If Adam appears, he’ll either be a carbon-copy of Vision, or require more reinvention than Hank Pym, the original Ant-Man (who is aged into his 70s for Marvel’s upcoming Ant-Man film).

Hell, in the end, it wouldn’t surprise me if Vision became Thanos’ nemesis, especially since…

12. Vision is destined for a horrible fate. Thanos needs to assemble the Infinity Stones. One of them is embedded in Vision’s head, containing his higher thoughts. You do the math.

But when Thanos takes the Mind Stone, he might get more than he bargained for…

13. Ultron is definitely still alive. Vision point-blank says that he doesn’t want to kill Ultron, but Ultron “is unique and he’s in pain, but that pain will roll over the entire earth. So he must be destroyed.” Yet when the time comes to annihilate Ultron’s final body, we don’t see Vision actually destroy it. We only see the glowing of the Mind Stone. Vision likely downloaded Ultron’s mind directly into the Stone itself.

When Thanos loads that Stone into the Infinity Gauntlet, will he find a very pissed off Ultron waiting for him? Perhaps Avengers: Infinity War part I is Thanos’ quest to assemble the Infinity Gauntlet, and Infinity War part II is Thanos teaming up with the Avengers to stop an Ultron-possessed Infinity Gauntlet.

The Age of Ultron is over, but Ultron will return.