Directing brothers Joe and Anthony Russo haven’t yet released the latest instalment of the Marvel Cinematic Universe – April’s Captain America: Civil War – but talk has already turned to their next pair of films for the studio, Avengers: Infinity War parts I and II, due May 4, 2018 and May 3, 2019.
Where Civil War will see the world of the Avengers torn in two as teams backing Iron Man and Captain America go head to head, the Infinity War two-parter, respectively the MCU’s 19th and 22nd films (Ant-Man And The Wasp and the female-fronted Captain Marvel come in between), will see whole universe uniting against a common foe.
As a result, when the Russo brothers spoke at the Wizard World New Orleans convention at the weekend, they revealed they have a story outline featuring 67 characters (a fact Joe revealed after his brother mixed up Agent Peggy Carter and her daughter Sharon. How could he do such a thing?).
But who will they be? And what is an Infinity War anyway? Let’s have a look at all we know and speculate some more on the what will either be Marvel’s masterwork, the culmination of the entire endeavour so far, or a complete mess.
WHO THE HELL ARE THE 67 CHARACTERS GOING TO BE?
Even by the standards of the jam-packed Avengers: Age Of Ultron, 67 is a lot of costumed people to get behind. At the end of that film, Earth’s Mightiest Heroes were led by Captain America and Black Widow, and featured Scarlet Witch, Vision, Falcon and Hawkeye. Add in former members Iron Man and Thor, associate War Machine and the AWOL Hulk, plus former S.H.I.E.L.D heads Nick Fury and Maria Hill, and that’s 12.
Infinity War’s plot will see supervillain Thanos, hellbent on obtaining six infinity stones for himself, wield them as the ultimate weapon. So there’s your 13th character. And with him come the five Guardians Of The Galaxy, Rocket, Groot, Drax The Destroyer, Gamora and Starlord. 18 so far. Ant-Man and Evangeline Lily’s The Wasp, who may show up in Civil War, and Bucky the Winter Soldier, who definitely does, make it 21.
Spider-Man will appear in Civil War too, making his MCU debut, as will Black Panther (his standalone is out in February 2018 just before Infinity War Part I), while Doctor Strange will land this November and Captain Marvel will have her own own film by the time the second Infinity War is released. That’s 25.
The MCU could use Infinity War as a chance to incorporate Marvel’s TV heroes, Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage and Iron Fist, taking the tally to 29, although if they were to include all of the hangers on from Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D, we may have more than our quota. Let’s say Phil Coulson, Daisy and a handful of other Inhumans come over from that show and we’re still only on 35 or 36.
Of course, it could be that the Russos are merely talking about the entire cast with this number, and when you consider each of the Avengers could bring three or four characters from their own films to the mix, Thor even more, not to mention Nova Corps officers and one or two more minor villains on Thanos’ side, and 67 doesn’t seem so insurmountable after all.
WHO SHOULD APPEAR?
There’s no Infinity War without Adam Warlock (read the comic) so Marvel will have to work out how to bring him in before then. James Gunn confirmed it was indeed his cocoon seen in the background in The Collector’s museum in Guardians Of The Galaxy, so Warlock technically has appeared already, just not in his more recognisable form.
If it were to mimic the comics, the Fantastic Four, along with the Silver Surfer, Galactus and members of X-Men would feature too, but rights issues mean that can’t happen. Given what a mess has been made of some of those characters on screen, that’s a crying shame.
WHAT ARE THE INFINITY STONES?
There are six infinity stones in the MCU, and so far we’ve seen the space stone (the Tesseract from Captain America: The First Avenger, Thor and Avengers Assemble), the reality stone (the aether from Thor: The Dark World), the power stone, (contained in the orb in Guardians Of The Galaxy) and the mind stone (originally held in Loki’s sceptre, later implanted into Vision’s forehead for safe-keeping in Avengers: Age Of Ultron). The remaining two, the soul and time stones, will possibly be revealed in Doctor Strange in November, and the third Thor film, Ragnarok, due in 2017. Each are powerful on their own, but together, provide limitless, terrifying power. Thanos wants all six to fill up his gauntlet, and will stop at nothing to get them.
And if it all sounds incredibly confusing, the clip below might shed some light on it all.