Thanos is coming, and The Avengers are not ready.
Infinity War is only a year away. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2, Spider-Man: Homecoming, Thor: Ragnarok, and Black Panther are all due before this third Avengers team-up film, but the fans know that May 2018 is the next true mega-event in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and it simply can’t come soon enough to sate their ravenous appetites.
News is already trickling out of the Marvel hype machine, fueling the frenzied fans into a state of hype unrivaled by anything this side of Star Wars. Stay up to date with Infinity War by checking in on this list, which will be updated periodically to reflect developments on the production. Between Infinity War and its as-yet-untitled sequel, the end of Marvel’s Phase Three is shaping up to be the cinematic event of the decade. This is Avengers: Infinity War: Every Update You Need To Know.
15. Thanos Is The Main Character
Marvel’s movies have focused on their heroes, often at the expense of the villain; MCU villains have long been criticized for being flat and generic. Even Marvel Studios producer Kevin Feige conceded, “I think that’s probably true.” However, in the same interview, Feige suggested that the status quo on Marvel villains would change with Thanos, the big bad of Infinity War.
Feige stated, “you could even go so far as to say he is the main character, and that’s a bit of a departure from what we’ve done before.” It makes sense; in prior Avengers films, the team gathered to fight the idea of a villain, be it Loki and his alien army or Ultron and his robot army. Thanos in Infinity War will invert that formula, being at the center of the ensemble, rather than just being being the catalyst for the assembly of said ensemble.
Of course, there will surely be plenty of screen time for Captain America, Iron Man, Star-Lord, and the rest of the heroes, but it’s looking likely that Thanos anchors Infinity War more directly than any Marvel villain to date.
14. Captain Marvel Will Make Her Debut Here, Before Her Solo Film
Brie Larson will be playing Carol Danvers, better known as Captain Marvel, in her own film, which is due to release in March 2019. This is after Infinity War, but before Avengers 4. The character will actually make her debut in Infinity War, similarly to how Captain America: Civil War introduced Spider-Man and Black Panther before their upcoming solo films, in Summer 2017 and February 2018, respectively.
Will Carol Danvers already be “enhanced” when she makes her grand entrance in Infinity War? Or will she be comparatively normal person who somehow finds herself endowed with powers and abilities far beyond those of her peers? It seems likely that an actor as adored as Brie Larson will be a major supporting player in Infinity War, but it’s also possible that her role may prove to be little more than a cameo, akin to Hawkeye’s debut appearance in Thor. Time will tell.
13. Avengers 3 And 4 Are Being Shot Concurrently, Like Richard Donner’s Superman
The first modern superhero film was Richard Donner’s Superman: The Movie, which was an epic of gargantuan scale. The production of that film was so large, that it and its sequel, Superman II, were shot together; not back-to-back, but concurrently. Nearly forty years later, Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers 4 are following the same path.
While the two films will feature different stories (but more on that in a bit), the unprecedented ensemble cast and mega-blockbuster budget have caused Marvel Studios to take the “Superman approach” to Infinity War and its sequel. Both Avengers sequels are being treated as one massive production. On any given day of the shoot, scenes may be shot from one movie, the other, or even both. If an actor has but a small part in each film, they can, in theory, shoot their entire role for both films in just a single day, saving some money from the budget. Even with a rumored combined budget of one billion dollars, Marvel should still be keen to cut costs whenever possible.
12. A Variety Of Filming Locations
Filming on Infinity War began on January 23, 2017, at Pinewood Atlanta Studios. Marvel celebrated the occasion with a hype-inducing mini documentary which showed Robert Downey Jr., Chris Pratt, and Tom Holland all together on the set, showing that the far out, low-fi space opera corner of the MCU is finally going to intersect with the earthbound heroes.
While Marvel is being tight-lipped regarding potential filming locations outside of Georgia, word managed to get out that parts of the film would be shot in multiple locations in Scotland, including Glasgow, Edinburgh, and the famed Scottish Highlands. Other movies shot in the country include historical dramas Braveheart and Rob Roy, and the decidedly less historical (but still very dramatic) Highlander and Harry Potter. Perhaps the Highlands will be dressed up to look like an alien planet, or maybe some of former Avengers, now fugitives from the law, will be shown hiding out in the remote location. As more filming locations are revealed, this story will be updated to reflect the new developments.
11. Composer Alan Silvestri Returns
A wide array of talented composers have lent their talents to the MCU. Brian Tyler (The Expendables, Furious Seven) has provided the music to three MCU films: Iron Man 3, Thor: The Dark World, and Avengers: Age of Ultron (which featured additional music from Danny Elfman). Michael Giaccino brought some psychedelic sounds to the sonic language of Doctor Strange, and is currently working on the score to Spider-Man: Homecoming. As of the release of Avengers 4, however, the record for the most MCU scores will belong to the great Alan Silvestri.
Silvestri is perhaps best known for his John Williams-esque scores for films such as Back to the Future, Forrest Gump, and Romancing the Stone (all directed by Robert Zemeckis), among so many others. His first Marvel score was Captain America: The First Avenger, and he then jumped straight into 2012’s The Avengers. Now, after what will have been a six-year hiatus, Silvestri is returning to score both Infinity War and Avengers 4, bringing his signature blend of nostalgic bombast and character-focused intimacy to what are sure to be epic films of unimaginable scale.
10. Benedict Cumberbatch Is Missing… For Now
When it comes to casting, Avengers: Infinity War has one of the grandest ensembles ever assembled. However, due to the mind-numbing task of working around the complex schedules of its A-list cast, the production has to rely on some Hollywood magic when it comes to working around the schedules of certain cast members.
Benedict Cumberbatch headlined the first solo film of Phase 3, Doctor Strange. His character will play a role in Infinity War, but Cumberbatch himself was not present at the start of shooting. He was obligated to another movie, The Current War, in which he plays Thomas Edison (opposite Michael Shannon as George Westinghouse and Nicholas Hoult as Nikola Tesla).
Until Cumberbatch wraps on The Current War, Stephen Strange will be played by actor Aaron Lazar (Quantico). Upon Cumberbatch’s return, scenes in which Strange’s face can be seen will be re-shot with the correct actor. When the movie finally releases in May 2018, the effect should be seamless and imperceptible to audiences.
9. The Films Are Being Shot Entirely In IMAX
Many Hollywood movies contain sections shot with ultra HD IMAX cameras. The Dark Knight, Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol, Star Trek Into Darkness… The list goes on. One of the most spectacular IMAX sequences of any Hollywood blockbuster to date is the climactic airport battle towards the end of Captain America: Civil War. This sequence was shot on a custom-built IMAX version of the latest Arri Alexa digital camera. The results were dazzling, and audiences were blown away in large-format theaters.
The endgame for IMAX technology has always been to shoot an entire film in the format, and Avengers: Infinity War and its sequel will be the first big-budget features to fulfill that dream; every bit of Infinity War footage is being captured on a custom Alexa 65 IMAX camera. This will allow for a level of clarity and detail in every single scene, from intimate conversations to the inevitable final battle between Thanos and The Avengers.
8. Actors Who Are Confirmed
As previously-mentioned, the cast of Infinity War is massive. The Marvel Cinematic Universe is just that, a series of parts which make up a complete whole; the individual films do not exist in an isolated vacuum. William Hurt made his debut as Thunderbolt Ross in 2008’s The Incredible Hulk and then reappeared eight years later in Captain America: Civil War, to name just one example of the possibilities of the interconnected nature of these films. Through all this, they even managed to somehow squeeze in new characters; Peter Dinklage will be in Infinity War, though the exact nature of his role is being kept tightly under wraps.
That being said, there are many returning champions who are 100% confirmed to be appearing in the film, and all the heavy hitters are here: Robert Downey Jr. is confirmed, as are fellow headliners Mark Ruffalo, Samuel L. Jackson, and Scarlett Johansson. The Chris quota is met by the inclusion of Chris Hemsworth, Chris Pratt, and Chris Evans. Other confirmed superhero actors include Sebastian Stan, Elizabeth Olsen, Jeremy Renner… Actually, it’s probably just easier to list the actors who are not confirmed.
7. Actors Who Are Not Confirmed
The cast list for Infinity War may be massive, but there are many MCU characters who may or may not be appearing in the film. For one thing, there’s a huge question mark over the entire television side of Marvel. Even after four seasons on ABC, the cast of Agents of SHIELD have yet to cross over with their big-screen brethren. Does Iron Man even known that Agent Coulson is alive? Then, of course, there’s the Marvel Netflix crew. As awesome as it would be to see Iron Fist and Jessica Jones fight alongside Thor and Scarlet Witch while Punisher and Hawkeye provide sniper support, that type of crossover is still up in the air. It’s not that it couldn’t happen… It’s just unlikely.
As for established big-screen figures, William Hurt has expressed interest in returning as Thunderbolt Ross, though he has yet to be officially added to the cast roster. The same is true of Stellan Skarsgard, who played Dr. Erik Selvig in four different films so far. Natalie Portman is confirmed to not be appearing in Thor: Ragnarok, so she might be done with Marvel for the time being. Similarly, Gwyneth Paltrow’s absence from Captain America: Civil War was an important plot point in that film, and she’s yet to hint at ever returning to Marvel.
Despite (or perhaps because of) being the final MCU film before Infinity War, none of the cast from the upcoming Black Panther are yet confirmed for Infinity War. It’s virtually guaranteed that Chadwick Boseman will show up in the film, though it’s not officially confirmed yet. Expect this entry to be updated once that news breaks.
6. The Behind The Scenes Team
Any film is only as good as its writers and directors. For Infinity War, Marvel Studios is going with a proven pedigree. On the writing side, they hired the team of Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely, who previously wrote Civil War, The Winter Soldier, Thor: The Dark World, and The First Avenger. Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers 4 will be their fifth and sixth MCU scripts to date.
Meanwhile, directorial team (and Cleveland’s favorite sons) Joe and Anthony Russo are also returning champions, having directed two of the MCU’s most critically-acclaimed entries, The Winter Soldier and Civil War. Those two films were notable for, among so many other reasons, having a more realistic touch than the decidedly more fanciful antics of Iron Man and Ant-Man, and the more overtly science-fiction leanings of Thor and Guardians of the Galaxy. It will be interesting to see how they apply their deliberate touch to characters like Groot, Doctor Strange, and The Incredible Hulk.
5. It’s Not Infinity War: Part 1
When Infinity War was first announced in October 2014, it was revealed as Infinity War: Part One, set to debut in May 2018, with the sequel, Part Two, to come the following year.
As time went by, however, producer Kevin Feige clarified that the two Infinity War films were not one film broken up into two halves; after all, there were still additional MCU films planned to release in between the two all-star team up events. After it became understood that Part One wouldn’t segue directly into Part Two, at least not in a traditional “cliffhanger ending” sense, the titles felt more and more like a misleading misnomer. Thus, it was eventually decided to drop the “Part One” from the name.
As of right now, the third Avengers film is officially titled Avengers: Infinity War, while the film formerly known as Infinity War: Part Two has yet to receive a proper name aside from the obvious placeholder, Avengers 4.
4. We Know Where Most Of The Infinity Stones Are
The title of the film is Infinity War. It doesn’t take Bruce Banner’s keen intellect to deduce that the film will involve the Infinity Stones. These six gemstones of unimaginable power have popped up sporadically throughout the MCU, dating all the way back to the Tesseract, or Cosmic Cube, of Captain America: The First Avenger… Even earlier, if one counts the blink-or-you’ll-miss-it cameo of the Cube in Iron Man 2.
So far, five of the six stones have appeared in the franchise (the Soul Stone is still unaccounted for), and everybody wants to get their hands on these particularly precious rocks. Just one stone can destroy entire planets or warp the fabric of reality; imagine the damage one could do if they were to collect all six of them? Thanos wants unrivaled power; there is no force in the universe mightier than the combined strength of the six Infinity Stones.
3. The Infinity Gauntlet
In 2011’s Thor, a familiar-looking fashion accessory makes a brief appearance in Odin’s treasure room. Though only visible onscreen for a second, fans immediately recognized it as the Infinity Gauntlet. When equipped with six all six Infinity Stones, the Gauntlet is the most powerful item in the universe… And Thanos has one.
Granted, the gauntlet itself (probably) doesn’t have any special powers of its own. It’s likely just a vessel for the combined power of the Infinity Stones. Still, as shown in the post-credits scene of Age of Ultron, Thanos has a gauntlet of his own, and Infinity War will surely see him collecting stones with which to adorn his golden glove.
Thanos’s gauntlet is left-handed; the one seen in Thor is right-handed. Perhaps part of the story of Infinity War and its sequel will have The Avengers, right-handed gauntlet in tow, racing Thanos to the gems before a final battle with the various Infinity Stones being wielded against each other?
2. It’s A Direct Sequel To Captain America: Civil War
As previously mentioned, The Russo Brothers are returning to direct a script by MCU veterans Christopher Markus Stephen McFeely. To a certain degree, Infinity War will be a sequel to their earlier works; specifically, Captain America: Civil War.
While Thanos will be doing his part to collect Infinity Stones and become the ultimate power in the universe, The Avengers, at the start of this film, will be a shattered family. At the end of Civil War, Captain America and his team are fugitives from the government. Cap and Bucky have found asylum in Wakanda, while the whereabouts of such figures as Falcon, Hawkeye, and Ant-Man are totally unknown.
Meanwhile, Iron Man, Spider-Man, Vision, and the rest of the Sokovia signers are holding down the fort, but they’re certainly not up to the task of taking on a threat such as Thanos by themselves. In Age of Ultron, when asked how The Avengers could possibly hope to stand a chance against an intergalactic invasion force, Captain America said that it could only be done “together.” It’s all but guaranteed that the main crux of the Earth-based story of Infinity War will be getting the band back together and mending the rift of Civil War.
1. It’s The Beginning Of The End
In the world of mega-blockbuster interconnected universes, nothing ever really ends. After all, there’s too much money at stake. Marvel Comics has a massive well of characters from which to draw, and there’s more than enough material to sustain the studio for decades to come. Spider-Man will likely get a a slew of stand-alone sequels before Tom Holland retires from the role, and new/upcoming characters like Doctor Strange, Captain Marvel, and Black Panther aren’t going away anytime soon. And there’s still no sign of a Moon Knight movie… Come on!
That being said, gathering up the Infinity Stones and the final battle against Thanos are what Marvel Studios has been building towards since 2012’s The Avengers. This journey began with Iron Man in 2008, and, to an extent, it will end with the ultimate showdown against the Mad Titan. The MCU may never truly be finished, but Infinity War and its sequel will mark the end of the new age of superhero movies. After that, who knows what the future may bring? Movies like Deadpool and Logan have proven that there are limitless possibilities to the superhero genre, and the MCU will be free to reinvent itself however it sees fit. In years to come, Marvel will strive to prove that nothing is off-limits, and anything can happen.
What are you most looking forward to in Infinity War? What do you think the fourth Avengers film will ultimately be titled? Infinity Crusade? Sound off in the comments!