Marvel’s expansive cinematic franchise is always building toward one, giant event. First, it was the first Avengers movie in 2012. Next up was the 2015 sequel, Age of Ultron. Last year, we saw our heroes at odds with each other in Captain America: Civil War. The next major movie, Avengers: Infinity War Part I, is set to premiere in May of 2018. It follows the “Avengers movie every 3 years” timeline established with Ultron, and leaves a whole lot time in between. In that time, we’re left to speculate about what’s to come.
Infinity War may be years away, but we still know a surprisingly large amount of the details. All this is largely a product of Marvel setting the two-part Avengers saga up for the better part of the last decade. We’ve seen end-credit teases in every MCU movie, many of which provided us with small puzzle pieces that make up the full visage of Infinity War. Combine that with various rumors, interviews, and leaked photos, and we have a pretty good idea of what to expect.
1. Joe and Anthony Russo will be directing
Joss Whedon officially made his exit from the MCU following Avengers: Age of Ultron, carving out a larger role for the minds behind The Winter Soldier and Civil War: Joe and Anthony Russo. The Russo brothers have a resume that includes comedies like Community and Arrested Development, having proved their superhero mettle with the last Captain America movie. They’ll assume Whedon’s throne for Infinity War, leaving the franchise in capable creative hands.
And while Infinity War consists of two parts, don’t expect the second film to be a simple continuation of the first movie. “The movies are very very different from one another,” said Anthony Russo, according to io9. “It’s not a part one and part two scenario, necessarily. They’re just two different expressions. I think it creates a misconception that we’re shooting them at the same time.”
Apparently, the Russos weren’t joking when they stressed that the two movies would be markedly different. Per comments made to UPROXX, the two films will eventually be retitled. The “Part I” and “Part II” delineation especially is what Marvel wants to ax, in order to make it clear that we’re working with two separate stories between the movies.
Marvel has officially confirmed that Infinity War will be a one-part story, with the second Avengers movie releasing a year later without an official title yet.
2. Infinity War will feature an estimated 67 characters
The Avengers team gets more crowded by the movie, and Infinity War will be amplifying that in a massive way. The stakes have quite literally never been higher in the MCU, with the fate of the entire universe in play. These stakes will bring all of Earth’s heroes together to fight one, common enemy in Josh Brolin’s Thanos. According to statements from the Russos at a New Orleans convention, “all of Earth’s heroes” will make up a grand total of 67 separate characters, giving us a cast list a mile long for Infinity War.
Rumors teased at by Infinity War writer Christopher Markus tell us the film might also prominently feature Star Lord and Rocket Racoon, although whether or not other Guardians cast members will be included is unclear.
We now have confirmation that Benedict Cumberbatch will be appearing as Doctor Strange.
While Evangeline Lilly won’t make an appearance as the Wasp in Infinity War, the Russo brothers did recently promise she’d be in the second part of the Avengers saga releasing the following year.
3. The Infinity Stones
For those not familiar with the source material, the two-part Infinity War saga is based off of the six-part comic series titled “The Infinity Gauntlet.” In it, Thanos (Brolin) embarks on a quest to gather and wield all six of the Infinity Gems (called stones in the MCU), giving him ultimate power over the universe in his never-ending quest to earn the love and approval of the physical embodiment of Death. Some of that will likely be pared down to make more sense in a cinematic context, but that’s the basic story we’re working with. The Infinity Stones we’ve seen so far in the MCU:
- The Space Stone: As seen in Captain America and The Avengers as the Tesseract, it was used to open a portal for the Chitauri into New York, and its energy was harnessed to teleport Thor and Loki back to Asgard at the conclusion of The Avengers. It currently resides in Odin’s vault.
- The Mind Stone: This particular gem made appearances in both Avengers movies, first in Loki’s mind-control scepter from the first installment, and most recently embedded in the forehead of The Vision after helping create Ultron.
- The Reality Stone: You may know this one as The Aether, as seen in Thor: The Dark World. The Reality Stone deals in dark matter, and came damn close to unmaking the universe thanks to the efforts of the Dark Elves. It currently is in the possession of The Collector, played by Benicio Del Toro in Guardians of the Galaxy.
- The Power Stone: This one was the MacGuffin of Guardians of the Galaxy, used by Ronan (played by Lee Pace) and eventually recovered by Starlord and the rest of the Guardians. Currently, the Nova Corps are keeping it safe in their vaults on Xandar.
- The Time Stone: Making its first appearance as the Eye of Agamotto in Doctor Strange, we see the time stone utilized by our titular hero for reasons we won’t reveal to you yet (seriously, see the movie, it’s awesome). For now, it’s housed within the halls of Kamar-Taj in Nepal, guarded by Strange and his order of sorcerers.
This just leaves the Soul as the last to appear. The Soul Stone is typically seen in the possession of Adam Warlock, a character whose regenerative cocoon we see in the background of the Collector’s vault in Guardians of the Galaxy (perhaps a Guardians 2 appearance is in the cards?). As for the Time Stone, its owners have varied throughout the comics, making your guess as good as ours as to where it’ll show up.
4. Will the Guardians of the Galaxy make an Infinity War appearance?
Here’s where things begin to get a little hazy. It makes sense for the Guardians to find their way into Infinity War on a thematic level. They’re technically the only heroes whose movie was centered primarily around Thanos, and with one of the Infinity Stones residing on Xandar, they’d certainly be in the right area code to appear.
For what it’s worth, when asked by ComicBook.com about a potential Guardians tie-in, Joe Russo cryptically dubbed that as “another one that we would have to reserve as a surprise.” This seems to hint at at least the possibility of an Avengers and Guardians team-up, offering up just enough hope to keep us guessing until more concrete evidence surfaces.
Update 1/9/17: In an interview with MTV News, Zoe Saldana confirmed that her ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ character, Gamora, will appear in Infinity War.
5. Thanos and “The Infinity Gauntlet” comic book series
Throughout all the Marvel movies, Thanos has been the common thread tying everything together. Whether our heroes realize it or not, he’s been searching for each of the Infinity Stones for the better part of six to seven movies. In the comics, he’s known as the Mad Titan, born on one of the moons of Saturn. As he grows up, he develops nihilistic tendencies, as well as a grim fascination with death itself. He channels that into a love for Mistress Death, an “abstract entity” for whom Thanos murders his entire family as a show of faith and devotion.
Eventually, he gathers together all of the Infinity Gems in a bid to impress Death. With the power of each Infinity Gem, he erases half of the universe’s sentient beings with the snap his fingers, eventually defeating every hero that opposes him. His reign of terror ends when he abandons his corporeal form to become the “living embodiment of the universe,” leaving the Infinity Gauntlet (and Gems) in the hands of Nebula (as played by Karen Gillan in Guardians). Nebula reverses all the chaos and damage wrought by Thanos, and so the universe is saved. Odds are a lot of this will have to be tweaked to make more sense for a blockbuster movie audience, but this is the original story Marvel is working with right now.
6. Where are the Defenders, and will Marvel recast Daredevil?
We have yet to see a direct tie-in between Marvel’s Netflix shows and the greater MCU. That being said, this has largely been by design, in an effort to keep the Netflix universe as a separate entity both in tone and characters. When the fate of the universe is on the line though, it would make sense for every hero to lend their assistance, and the Defenders (composed of Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, and Iron Fist) surely have a lot to offer.
Apparently, even that doesn’t guarantee any of the actors from the Defenders lineup a place in Infinity War. Charlie Cox (Daredevil) recently spoke up in an interview with Entertainment Tonight, saying that “even if (Daredevil) was to appear in that film [Infinity War], that doesn’t necessarily mean that I would appear in that film.” It would make for an odd change from the established Marvel strategy, having previously kept everything consistent across the various TV shows and movies.
Krysten Ritter (Jessica Jones) also recently talked about the possibility of reprising her character in a Marvel movie. “That’s an interesting question because I love Jessica and I love any opportunity to play her,” Ritter said during a recent interview according to CinemaBlend. “Obviously, it’d be really exciting to be a part of those giant, huge movies with those great characters who are already established, so it’d be awesome. … It’d be awesome if I got to pop up somewhere else. There’s always the chance that could happen. I don’t really know, they don’t tell me anything, so I’m totally stoked about the playground on Netflix.”
Director Anthony Russo recently told the Toronto Sun that “we do consider everyone,” when asked about the possibility of Marvel’s Netflix heroes appearing in Infinity War.
7. Avengers: Infinity War will be filmed in Scotland
Per The Telegraph, scenes for Marvel’s Avengers: Infinity War will be filmed at several locations in Scotland, including “Edinburgh, Glasgow and the Highlands.” Filming is expected to start on February 28 and last about six months.
8. Spider-Man will show up
In a recent interview with Italian magazine L’Uomo Vogue, Spider-Man actor Tom Holland confirmed that his character would appear Avengers: Infinity War. Here’s what he said, according to a rough translation provided by ComicBook:
The approval for the role in Spider-Man arrives personally also by Robert Downey Jr. and Chris Evans ‘They who convinced the Marvel: the producers wanted to be sure that I was the right person before entrusting three films over the next four years, including Avengers: Infinity War. ‘
9. Filming has officially kicked off in Atlanta
In an interview with Collider, actor Dave Bautista (better known to Marvel fans as Guardians of the Galaxy’s Drax the Destroyer) revealed that filming for Avengers: Infinity War began in late January 2017. The actor also revealed that the Russo brothers are filming everything with IMAX cameras, and that the logistics of having so many characters appear onscreen at the same time means that there will likely be a lot of behind-the-scenes CGI work in order to make that happen.
Avengers: Infinity War is scheduled to hit theaters on May 4, 2018.
Stay tuned for more updates as they arrive!
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