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. In 2016, we saw our heroes at odds with each other in Captain America: Civil War. The next major movie, Avengers: Infinity War, is set to premiere this month. It follows the “Avengers movie every 3 years” timeline established with Age of Ultron, and leaves a whole lot time in between. In that time, we’re left to speculate about what’s to come.
We’ve learned a lot about the film in the time leading up to its release. 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 directed
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 assumed Whedon’s throne for Infinity War, leaving the franchise in capable creative hands.
Though the plan was initially to have the third and fourth Avengers films share a title, Marvel later confirmed that Infinity War is 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.
3. The Infinity Stones
For those not familiar with the source material, the two-part Infinity War saga is based on 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 then took up residence in Odin’s vault, and was taken by Loki in Thor: Ragnarok.
- 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 Star-Lord 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 intriguing reasons in the awesome film). 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 who may appear in the third Guardians film. However, the location of this stone is still unclear, though Black Panther may have given us a major hint.
4. The Guardians will finally meet the Avengers
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.
When initially 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.” After the release of the leaked footage, it became very clear that the Guardians will have a significant role in the film, and the trailers only confirmed this.
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. But it seems pretty clear from what we’ve seen that they won’t be in the film.
7. Avengers: Infinity War was filmed in Scotland
Per The Telegraph, scenes for Marvel’s Avengers: Infinity War were shot at several locations in Scotland, including “Edinburgh, Glasgow and the Highlands.” Filming wrapped in 2017, though production on the untitled Avengers 4 film continued into 2018, with reshoots likely taking place in the fall.
8. Spider-Man will show up
In an interview with Italian magazine L’Uomo Vogue, Spider-Man actor Tom Holland first 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 also took place 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 filmed 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 April 27, 2018.
Stay tuned for more updates as they arrive!
Additional reporting by Becca Bleznak.
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