In just one month, our eyeballs will be able to witness one of the most epic crossovers in pop culture history, Avengers: Infinity War. Directed by the Russo Brothers (Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Captain America: Civil War), this is an unprecedented event, 10 years and 18 movies in the making. Nearly every single hero in the Marvel Cinematic Universe will finally be coming together in order to face the ultimate threat, the Mad Titan Thanos (Josh Brolin). "He's the biggest, baddest, most overwhelming character that they've had yet, for sure," Brolin said at the film's red carpet.
Wielding the Infinity Gauntlet, he wants to collect all six Infinity Gems and wipe out a good chunk of life in the universe. Much has come to light since the first trailer for the film dropped back in November, and with the blockbuster drawing ever nearer, we are rounding up every detail we have learned about Infinity War so far. This includes content from every trailer, poster, comic book, LEGO play set, and interview. Are you ready to take a deep dive into one of the biggest productions ever undertaken by a studio? Let's do this!
Speaking to the French publication Premiere, the Russos said that with so many pieces in play, it was virtually impossible for any of the Marvel TV characters to show up in a movie that's already stuffed to capacity.
"We have considered everything. But the trick is that we already have at least sixty characters with whom we must tell a story! And it’s hard enough to communicate with Taika Waititi, Ryan Coogler, Scott Derrickson, Peyton Reed and James Gunn at the same time, not to add all the showrunners and TV crews to this. The latter is also led by totally different people. So it’s practically impossible. Our job is to focus on the Marvel film world and offer a satisfying climax."
That being said, there is still plenty we know about the characters who will show up in Infinity War based on the three trailers released so far. Right off the bat, we know the Hulk/Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo) falls into the Sanctum Sanctorum in Greenwich Village and discovered by Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) and Wong (Benedict Wong). All three are soon joined by Tony Stark/Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), who will later break out the Hulkbuster suit. He'll also strike up a friendship with Strange, who, despite practicing magic now, is still a genius.
It will be interesting to see how Tony, a man of science, feels about Stephen, a man of the mystic arts. We just hope the bromance between Tony and Bruce that we saw in the last two Avengers movies doesn't get left out in the cold.
"I'm a little jealous," said Ruffalo at the Infinity War red carpet. "I was made aware that the 'Science Bros' are dead and that the real romance is [between Tony and Stephen]."
Elsewhere, Vision (Paul Bettany) is in a human form and exploring his romantic feelings toward Scarlet Witch (Elisabeth Olsen). Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) is back with a brand-new blonde hairdo after becoming a fugitive with Captain America (Chris Evans), who has grown a scruffy beard, although the directors have confirmed he isn't Nomad.
As confirmed by the first part of Marvel's Infinity Prelude comic, Cap, Falcon (Anthony Mackie), and Black Widow are working abroad as a sort of paramilitary Avengers group, keeping terrorists from using alien (Chitauri) technology for their nefarious goals. All three -- along with Banner and James Rhoades/War Machine/Iron Patriot (Don Cheadle) -- will arrive in Wakanda and be welcomed by King T'Challa/Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman), who will get Cap a shield. What they settle on is a pair of arm-mounted shields, which are almost certainly made out of Wakandan Vibranium.
Captain Rogers will be reunited with his old friend Bucky Barnes/The Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan). Prelude showed Shuri (Letitia Wright) working on erasing his Hydra programming, and we know she succeeded thanks to the second post-credits scene of Black Panther. Bucky's also got his robotic arm back.
As Thanos' arrival on Earth begins to take place, Peter Parker's (Tom Holland) Spidey senses begin to tingle while on a school trip. He also gets a new suit from Tony and Thor (Chris Hemsworth) meets the Guardians of the Galaxy: Star-Lord (Chris Pratt), Thanos' daughter Gamora (Zoe Saldana), Drax (Dave Bautista), Rocket Raccoon (Bradley Cooper), Groot (Vin Diesel), and Mantis (Pom Klementieff). According to Hemsworth, he worked closely with the Russos to maintain the Asgardian's sense of humor from Thor: Raganrok. Mix that with the comedy gold mine that are the Guardians and get ready to hold your sides from laughing so much.
When it comes to the man (or Titan, rather) of the hour, he will be joined by four members of the Black Order, a group of deadly aliens gathered by Thanos to conquer different worlds. Corvus Glaive, Proxima Midnight, Cull Obsidian, and Ebony Maw make up their ranks. The Order's grunts, so to speak, are the Outriders, a race of parasite-assassins also used by Thanos, which are attempting to invade Wakanda. During this fight, T'Challa's loyal head of the Dora Milaje, Okoye (Danai Gurira), will join the fray.
Thanos co-creator Jim Starlin really enjoyed Brolin's take on the character, saying, “Brolin is an incredible Thanos, moving and emoting just as I tried to portray him in the comics. Yes, I know my opinion should be considered a bit biased because of my connection to the production, but the Russos, Markus, McFeely, and everyone else involved in this film get my heartfelt thanks for bringing everyone’s favorite Titan to life in the best way possible, in a jaw-droppingly awesome fashion. Ten out of ten thumbs up.”
Noticeably absent from the trailers and posters are Hawkeye/Clint Barton (Jeremy Renner) and Scott Lang/Ant-Man (Paul Rudd). The credits at the bottom of Poster #2 do reveal that Peter Dinklage (Game of Thrones) will have some kind of role in the film, but at this point there is no hint on who (or what) he's playing. His last Marvel role was as Bolivar Trask in X-Men: Days of Future Past.
Written by Will Corona Pilgrim (a Marvel Studios Development executive) and artist Tigh Walker, Part II of Infinity War Prelude brings in Stephen Strange and Wong (Benedict Wong in the movie). Wong relays how there have been those throughout history who seek to use the Infinity Stones for megalomaniacal purposes, like Johann Shmidt, the Red Skull, during Captain America: The First Avenger, Loki during the first Avengers movie, and Malekith in Thor: The Dark World. Wong believes the Power Stone, the gem that the Guardians of the Galaxy rescued from Ronan, is safe out in space, guarded by the Nova Corps.
The comic ends shortly after Strange's cameo in Thor: Ragnarok with Wong mentioning the sixth and final stone, the Soul Stone. It hasn't been seen in the MCU yet, but according to Wong, "if what is known turns out to be true, it could prove to be the biggest threat of them all." The Soul Stone is often associated with Adam Warlock, which has some speculating about his appearance in Infinity War after a passing mention of him during a post-credits scene at the end of Guardians Vol. 2. However, the assault on Wakanda by Thanos' forces in the trailer may point toward the more possible likelihood that the final stone resides in the African nation. This would help explain their incredible technology, which is miles ahead of anything else mankind has at its disposal. Even so, the theory could be debunked by something Anthony Russo said, but again, more on that later.
Just for a quick rundown of where each stone is: Doctor Strange has the Time Stone, the Nova Corps has the Power Stone, the Collector (Benicio Del Toro) has the Reality Stone, Loki presumably swiped the Space Stone (aka Tesseract) from the Asgardian vault, Vision has the Mind Stone (previously part of Loki's scepter and used to create Ultron) on his forehead, and the location of the Soul Stone is currently unknown.
The LEGO sets that tie directly into the film actually give up a lot of useful information about Infinity War's plot. For instance, initial images of the sets dropped online in mid-February and teased a bunch of stuff like a showdown at Doctor Strange's Sanctum Sanctorum in Manhattan. This set includes a Spider-Man figure with extra "legs" coming out of his back, meaning that the Iron Spider will make his debut in the movie. Another set titled "Hulkbuster Smash-Up" has the figure of Proxima Midnight, yet another member of Thanos' Black Order.
And while he lost his hammer in Ragnarok to Hela, Thor's going on a quest with Rocket Raccoon and an adolescent Groot to find a new weapon, as evidenced by "Thor's Weapon Quest." What this weapon will be is still a mystery.
The Black Order's Corvus Glaive is featured in the "Corvus Glaive Thresher Attack" set, which deals with some sort of saw-bladed mechanism that will (probably, maybe) be used in getting at the Infinity Stone held by Wakanda. "Outrider Dropship Attack" shows the ships that will drop off the hordes of Outriders on the outskirts of Wakanda, while "Thanos: Ultimate Battle" is pretty self-explanatory.
One of the hero figures in this set is Gamora as well as the Guardians' ship, the Milano. This suggests Gamora will have the pleasure of fighting against the father who made her life hell as a kid. Hopefully, Drax (his family was murdered by the Titan) and Thanos' other, extremely bitter daughter, Nebula (Karen Gillan), will get the same chance.
Entertainment Weekly ran a massive cover story on Infinity War, which included 15 collectible covers with all the major players in the movie. One of the covers revealed new armor for Tony Stark called "Bleeding Edge armor," which, in a way, resembles the Iron Spider look. Nevertheless, the helmet-free suit comes equipped with special thrusters that allow Iron Man to fly his way through outer space. Since that early footage from D23 Expo showed Thanos literally throwing a planet at the Avengers, it's safe to assume Mr. Stark finds himself somewhere in the cosmos during the movie. If you need further proof, look at the instances in the trailer where he interacts with both Gamora (Zoe Saldana), who tells him about her father's madness, and Star-Lord/Peter Quill (Chris Pratt), who sasses Tony's plan.
As far as plot details go, EW let slip that Rocket Raccoon will try and buy Bucky's robotic arm, stemming from his fascination with prosthetic body parts. Another funny moment finds Peter mistaking Doctor Strange as Stephen's "fake hero name." But not all is funny because hero or maybe even several heroes will be meeting their demise at the hands of Thanos. "It's safe to say we say farewell to people," said co-screenwriter Stephen McFeely. Just look at Strange's body being pierced with all those needles as Ebony Maw looks on in sadistic pleasure.
We will also get some background on Thanos himself. In the comics, he was born deformed on Saturn's moon of Titan. He gained a morbid fascination with Death and even wiped out his own people in an effort to impress her. This cold, remorseless attitude toward life or lack thereof was sort of toned down for Infinity War. To make Thanos more of an understandable character, screenwriters Christopher Markus and McFeely tweaked his backstory, adding in tragedy as an explanation for his twisted aspirations.
For the film, “he’s from a planet called Titan that’s no longer inhabited because of things that he thought he could help prevent, and he was not allowed to do that,” said Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige. “What he feared most happened, and the planet and everybody on it basically went extinct. He vowed not to let that happen again. He thinks he sees the universe going down the tubes. He thinks he sees life expanding outward unchecked. That will bring ruin, he believes, to the universe and to that life.”
According to Brolin, who compared Thanos to Quasimodo, Thanos's facial deformity played a big hand in his ultimate insanity. For all his talk of "balancing the universe," he's still verifiably crazy and we know he has no trouble subduing Spider-Man and Tony. Cap poses a bit more of a problem for Thanos, who is clearly surprised that the tiny human has strength to match his own.
For the villain's "Collectathon" of all six gems, the Russos wanted a "'90s heist genre component. Thanos is on a smash-and-grab, and everybody's trying to catch up the whole movie," said Joe Russo.
Getting back to the topic of Wakanda under siege, Anthony Russo plainly stated in the EW story that Cap makes the call to bring Vision to Wakanda to protect the Mind Stone from Thanos, who may even have the Soul Stone already. Since we saw someone trying to pry the stone off Vision's head in the very first trailer, the entire Wakandan battle seems a tad less exciting since we know the outcome based on Anthony's statement. With that said, the "Wakanda-Is-Home-To-The-Soul-Stone" theory is still in play until anyone says otherwise.
When IGN visited the set, the Russos addressed the absence of Hawkeye, saying that he's on "a solo journey" and therefore, is not part of the star-studded moments of Infinity War. As for Ant-Man, they sort of hinted that he won't be in the crossover film at all, but that Ant-Man and the Wasp will most likely feel the repercussions of Infinity War.
"They all lead in in their own way, I think," said Joe Russo. "As far as plot elements that actually drive toward the story, again, I think Marvel does a great job of segmenting the movies so that you can have your own experience in each film. I think from a plot standpoint, if there’s any corollary, Ant-Man and the Wasp probably has some elements that stitch in."
In recent on-set interviews from Entertainment Tonight, Mark Ruffalo joked that there are so many heroes in the film, he's got only four lines. Meanwhile, Danai Gurira recounted how she went full fan girl when standing next to so many A-list celebs while filming and ScarJo ribbed that Chris Evans took prenatal vitamins to grow his scruffy Cap-in-exile beard.
You can be sure that some of the characters will be meeting their demises in this movie, but when it happens, just know that it will be justified. "We do whatever the story demands and nothing the story doesn't demand," said co-screenwriter Christopher Markus. "If something happens to a character you like, it will feel justified ... Nobody gets a 'Get Out of Jail Free' card, so if they get stuck in a position where they can't get out of jail, they don't get out of jail."
Thanks to the machinations of Robert Downey Jr., Avengers: Infinity War assembles in theaters a week earlier than originally planned on Friday, April 27. It will be the longest Marvel movie in history, clocking in at 2 hours and 28 minutes.
"Infinity War is still only half a movie, with loose ends dangling and a nagging sense of opportunities missed. Of course, no Marvel junkie would think of missing the film and the chance to decode its subtext. And almost everyone agrees that the ending works like gangbusters. Why? Because Thanos keeps us riveted and eager for what's next. Bring it on." -Peter Travers, Rolling Stone
"The film dances nimbly across the cosmos from one group to the next, turning the screws on each group, shattering them and pulling them back together in new combinations. With all these different strands, you might expect to see the gears move to keep this intricate plot humming, as in Age Of Ultron and Civil War. But this time the Russos achieve the impossible. Not only did they bring all these disparate characters and stories together, but they made it look effortless. We couldn’t tear ourselves away now if we wanted to." -Helen O'hara, Empire Magazine
“[Infinity War is] a movie with a cliffhanger, a body count and some pretty great one-liners where its Soul Stone should be.” -Justin Chang, The Los Angeles Times
"No question about it, barely two months after the release of Black Panther, Marvel (and Disney, of course) has returned with another of the most expensive films ever made that will pull off another of the biggest commercial hauls of all time. This franchise isn't going away anytime soon." -Todd McCarthy, The Hollywood Reporter
"Let’s be clear, Infinity War is a movie for the fans ... there is something thrilling about watching just how much fun the Russos and writers Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely are having messing with the fans here. Even if, in the end, that little subversive act of freaking them out only lasts until the next sequel." -Chris Nashawaty, Entertainment Weekly