Phase 3 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe is coming to a head, which can mean only one thing: another Avengers movie is on the horizon. On May 4, 2018, the cosmos will collide when the Mad Titan Thanos decides to pick a fight with Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, and audiences can expect one hell of a cataclysmic roughhouse.

Marvel Studios has been laying the groundwork ever since Iron Man in 2008, and the first two Avengers films (as well as all the other interconnecting MCU films) have sprinkled in all the ingredients for the battle royale to end all battle royales— a fight that essentially gives anyone who isn’t Thanos a run for their money.

Though he’s only been seen in glimpses on screen (part of post-credit stingers, a brief scene in the first Guardians of the Galaxy), Thanos is a major player in the Avengers universe. He is the dark shadow looming over every individual entry within the series. And in Avengers: Infinity War, audiences will finally get a chance to see precisely what kind of punch this purple punk can pack.

The fight against Thanos will require even stronger resources than the Avengers are used to supplying, but who exactly will be showing up, and what sort of role will they ultimately play once the fight goes down?

Keep reading to discover Every Infinity War Character’s Role Explained.

21. Valkyrie

Tessa Thompson as Valkyrie in Thor Ragnarok 1 Avengers: Every Infinity War Character’s Role, Explained

Valkyrie made her cinematic debut in Thor: Ragnarok. She’s been called the “Han Solo of the MCU” on account of her devil-may-care demeanor, and not unlike Harrison Ford’s beloved character in the Star Wars universe, Valkyrie was received warmly by audiences and critics alike.

By the end of Ragnarok, she’s flying shotgun with Thor and co., only to come face-to-face with what is presumably Thanos’ personal vessel.

In Infinity War, Valkyrie will undoubtedly be swept into Thanos’ space drama simply by way of happenstance (she’s in the wrong place at the wrong time). In the comics, Valkyrie and Thanos never do battle against each other, but her role in upcoming films might be quite substantial.

Various theories suggest that Valkyrie may very well replace Thor as the MCU’s main Asgardian hero post-Infinity War, though it’s impossible to confirm at this point in time.

20. Captain America

Captain America in Avengers Infinity War Avengers: Every Infinity War Character’s Role, Explained

Steve Rogers never backs down from a fight, so it’s hardly shocking that he’d be suiting up once again in the third Avengers film. That said, given his rogue status at the end of Captain America: Civil War, it’s safe to say that his role will be significantly removed from what audiences are used to with Marvel’s First Avenger.

When Rogers returns in Infinity War, he’ll have pretty much officially discarded his former nom de plume as Captain America. He’s obviously still very much in the business of fighting against evil, but his approach will have been modified.

In the comics, he follows a similar journey after losing faith in the Establishment, thus donning the new alias Nomad. If the name isn’t ever used in the movies, the loss of his shield might be a more physical representation of this change. That said, to keep things simple, he might also just strip “America” from his name and simply go with The Captain, which is another move he makes in the comics.

Also, he has a beard now.

19. Black Panther (and friends)

Black Panther Okoye and Mbaku Avengers: Every Infinity War Character’s Role, Explained

Black Panther hasn’t hit theaters yet, but be prepared to see some of its most pivotal characters show up in Infinity War. Audiences first saw the Wakandan prince (now king) in Captain America: Civil War, but they only saw the tip of the iceberg. In his standalone film, King T’Challa is forced to do battle with local foes threatening to bring about global destruction.

It’s impossible to tell how the movie will end, but there are some solid indicators pointing to how T’Challa will at least effortlessly segue into the third Avengers flick. Thanos’ journey has been a relentless hunt for the Infinity Stones. That much is obvious. What isn’t obvious, however, is where exactly all of these Infinity Stones are located. Some have been discovered already, but the one stone that still remains a mystery is the Soul Stone.

The puzzle is just about complete, but the final piece is missing. Assuming the movies want to make the discovery prior to Infinity War, then chances are likely that the final stone will be revealed in Black Panther. There’s no way to prove this, but it’s definitely worth considering.

18. Iron Man

Iron Man in Avengers Infinity War Avengers: Every Infinity War Character’s Role, Explained

What would an Avengers movie be without the man who ushered in the MCU himself? Tony Stark has been an indomitable force in the series (either in or out of the Iron Man suit), but his journey into Infinity War will ultimately be a dark one.

In Age of Ultron, Stark has a troubling vision of things to come. In short, it revolved around death (specifically the death of the Avengers), and ever since, Stark has been a bit edgy. His formerly sarcastic self has taken a sort of backseat to his anxiety, which ended up reaching a boiling point in Captain America: Civil War. By Infinity War, Stark won’t be pulling any punches (physically or figuratively).

He may have found at least some catharsis by the end of the Civil War, and then later in Spider-Man: Homecoming, but that remains to be seen. Chances are likely that Stark will be more willing than any of the other Avengers to sacrifice himself for the greater good.

In the comics, Tony has actually wielded the Infinity Gauntlet – only time will tell if he reaches such heights in Infinity War.

17. Thor

Thor and Groot in Avengers Infinity War copy Avengers: Every Infinity War Character’s Role, Explained

Not counting the mid or post-credit stingers, the last line in Thor: Ragnarok is, “Earth it is,” referring to where the ship on which Thor, his team, and every remaining Asgardian is headed. So, regardless of any plot complications that follow (and the complication that follows is a whopper), Thor had his eyes set on Earth from the get-go, ultimately returning him to the company of his avenging counterparts.

Unfortunately, Thor ends up running into a problem (a problem that may as well be a prequel to Infinity War). So, assuming Thanos is successful, Thor may very well share some screen time with the Mad Titan by the time the third Avengers flick is set into motion. How he’ll free himself is anyone’s guess, but seeing as he’s got a solid crew by his side, the God of Thunder has a solid shot of standing his ground (until the rest of the Avengers come to his aid at the very least).

The Thor involved in the Infinity Gauntlet storyline in the comics is a different person entirely – Eric Masterson.

16. Ant-Man

Ant Man Paul Rudd Scott Lang Avengers: Every Infinity War Character’s Role, Explained

You can argue that Scott Lang (a.k.a. Ant-Man) stands the smallest chance against Thanos, but don’t be deceived. Though he may not be quite as practiced in the art of alien-fighting as the other Avengers are, Lang has proven his ability to stand his own ground. (Hell, if the guy wants to shrink down small enough to fit inside Thanos’ ear so that he can stab the guy in the brain, it’s totally an option.)

That arguable unlikeliness aside, it’s unclear what sort of role Lang will play in Infinity War, but whatever it is, it won’t be a fatal one. The sequel Ant-Man and the Wasp will be released two months after the release of Infinity War, meaning that Ant-Man enthusiasts needn’t fear. Whether the events between the two films are connected is anyone’s guess at this point.

15. Loki

Loki and Thanos in Avengers Infinity War copy Avengers: Every Infinity War Character’s Role, Explained

Loki’s a good guy at the end of Thor: Ragnarok, right? Well, assuming that the guy has only ever aspired to take whatever side benefits him directly. Given the fact that he stole the Tesseract from Odin’s Vault either prior to or following the lighting of Surtur’s crown with the Eternal Flame, Thanos and his Black Order are inevitably on his tail (which is basically confirmed in the mid-credit sting). So, yet again, due to Loki’s selfish appetite for power, he runs the risk of getting those closest to him killed.

This will set the stage for things to come in Infinity War, giving Thanos the penultimate piece to his puzzle. And with Loki already not in the best position with Thanos following the events of The Avengers to begin with, the odds are hardly in his favor. Thanos may have no choice but to pry the stone from Loki’s cold, dead fingers (assuming Loki doesn’t willfully give it up and simply change alliances yet again).

14. Bucky Barnes

Sebastian Stan Captain America Winter Soldier Avengers: Every Infinity War Character’s Role, Explained

Bucky Barnes (a.k.a. The Winter Soldier) won’t appear in Black Panther, despite the fact that Barnes was last seen in Wakanda undergoing indefinite stasis. It’s safe to say that he’ll remain in this state for the entire length of the film, but considering the fact that he does show up in Infinity War, it stands to reason that Barnes might earn himself his very own post-credit sting (though not his first).

Will he be woken up voluntarily? By accident? It’s impossible to know for sure this far along, but his connection to Black Panther is undeniable.

That said, wherever he ends up after Black Panther and prior to Infinity War, Tony Stark’s anger towards him is most likely going to be still very palpable— given what he  (involuntarily) did to Stark’s parents.

13. Black Widow

Black Widow in Avengers Infinity War Avengers: Every Infinity War Character’s Role, Explained

Not unlike Steve Rogers and the rest of his rule-breaking cohorts, Natasha Romanoff’s Black Widow is wanted by authorities. She broke the law in Captain America: Civil War, and as a result must pay the consequences. Thankfully, though, seeing as she’s one of the greatest spies on the planet, evading capture is her speciality. And according to her new look in Infinity War, she appears to have undergone some physical alterations in order to keep her identity hidden.

In the official Avengers: Infinity War poster, Romanoff is rocking blonde locks. So, whether or not she’s joined some sort of underground faction alongside Cap ‘n Crew, Black Widow may not be in the safest of situations come the first chapter of Infinity War. There’s no doubt that this movie will be a product consequences, and Black Widow’s hair (oddly enough) represents some physical proof of that.

12. Falcon

MCU Falcon 1 Avengers: Every Infinity War Character’s Role, Explained

At the end of Captain America: Civil War, Sam Wilson (a.k.a. Falcon) is rescued by his pal Steve Rogers, but it’s unclear where the two of them—as well as Clint, Wanda, and Scott—are headed. Judging by Cap’s letter to the Stark, they’re going to continue fighting the good fight (whatever exactly that might imply).

As far as what he’ll actually bring to the table, it appears to be more physical than anything else. On The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, actor Anthony Mackie, who plays Falcon, explained that he’ll “kick a lot of ass” in Infinity War. Whose asses said kicking will include remains to be seen, but it’s fair to assume that some might belong to the Black Order.

11. Scarlet Witch and Vision

Avengers Infinity War poster Vision Scarlet Witch Marvel Avengers: Every Infinity War Character’s Role, Explained

The relationship between Wanda Maximoff (a.k.a. Scarlet Witch) and Vision has been growing and dissolving ever since they first appeared on screen together in Avengers: Age of Ultron.

In the comics, they’re lovers, and in the films, their romance is, at the very least, budding (only to be drastically divided by the end of Civil War). Two two characters will show up in Infinity War, and judging by the poster, their paths appear to reconnect. However, how long they’ll be reconnected is the big mystery.

Thanos is searching for the Infinity Stones. Vision is powered by an Infinity Stone (the Mind Stone). So, when Thanos finally gets the stone into his possession (and that is almost guaranteed to happen), Vision may ultimately die in the process, not only tearing him away from Wanda, but fueling her passion for revenge.

That is, unless Vision can figure out a way to survive without the stone, which has been hinted at.

10. War Machine and Pepper Potts

War Machine and Pepper Potts Avengers: Every Infinity War Character’s Role, Explained

Tony Stark’s right-hand pals are James Rhodes (a.ka. War Machine) and Pepper Potts, and their presence in Infinity War might unfortunately hint at potential tragedy. Rhodes nearly met his fate in the Avenger vs. Avenger battle in Civil War, but he ultimately survived. On account of that, it’s worth assuming that he ought to stand a fair chance at survival once Infinity War comes around. Stark’s other pal, however, may not stand as solid of a chance.

In Spider-Man: Homecoming, the two get engaged. So, right off the bat, the emotional tie is stronger than ever. Stark’s arc has been a tricky one, and the third phase of the MCU has offered him nothing but trouble.

Robert Downey Jr. has a movie-to-movie contract with Marvel Studios, meaning that he can disappear whenever he damn well pleases. And seeing as Downey Jr. isn’t too keen on sticking around once he’s past his prime, Gwyneth Paltrow may very well follow.

9. Hawkeye

Jeremy Renner Interview Captain America 3 Avengers Infinity War Hawkeye Avengers: Every Infinity War Character’s Role, Explained

Clint Barton (a.k.a. Hawkeye) is part of the ragtag rebels that break out of The Raft at the end of Captain America: Civil War. An old friend of Black Widow’s, a behind-the-scenes photo suggests that Barton will will be taking a similar journey in terms of his hair (bet on someone referring to him as “Mohawkeye” in the next Avengers movie).

Though he’s proven time and time again that he can easily hold his own under dangerous situations, the threat of Thanos will undoubtedly give Barton something to fear.

At the end of Age of Ultron, Barton indicates that he’ll be retiring from the Avengers in order to spend time with his family. However, he makes a comeback in Civil War, which ultimately makes any shot at a return to retirement all the more impossible. To make matters worse, coming out of retirement may have very well doomed the family he was trying to keep safe in the first place.

In the comics, his family is murdered, and during his downward spiral into revenge, he—wait for it—cuts his hair. Is his new do hinting at this dark plot development, or is he just following in Black Widow’s footsteps?

8. Nick Fury and Maria Hill

Samuel L Jackson as Nick Fury and Cobie Smulders as Maria Hill Avengers: Every Infinity War Character’s Role, Explained

S.H.I.E.L.D.’s most loyal duo—Nick Fury and Maria Hill—has been in an out of the MCU since its inception, so it’d make sense that they would return for the cosmic showdown that is Avengers: Infinity War. As it turns out, though, only one of them was confirmed to make a return. Samuel L. Jackson explained during a promotional interview for The Hitman’s Bodyguard that he would not be returning for Infinity War—despite the fact that he was scheduled to appear on set in the UK.

Information regarding Infinity War is tight, so for all anyone knows, Jackson isn’t being entirely honest about his involvement with the film. That said, his character’s partner in crime, Maria Hill, will definitely make an appearance. The last she was seen was in the New Avengers Facility, so it’s fair to assume that she’ll tag along on the fight against Thanos once the ball gets rolling.

7. Doctor Strange and Wong

Benedict Cumberbatch as Doctor Strange and Benedict Wong as Wong Avengers: Every Infinity War Character’s Role, Explained

Avengers: Infinity War will be as mystical as it is epic. During the battle to protect Earth (as well as the entire galaxy, for that matter), a call to arms among all powerful beings is put into effect, meaning that Dr. Stephen Strange will unsurprisingly join the fight. He’s so far stood by his promise to protect Earth from powerful outsiders, as seen in Thor: Ragnarok, and (also seen in Ragnarok) Strange is hardly skimping out on powerful abilities.

Adding to the fact that he is in possession of one of the Infinity Stones (the Time Stone), Strange and Thanos are bound to get personal once Thanos (or his wily crew of henchmen) motions to cross him off his checklist and steal the stone for himself.

Tagging along for the ride will be none other than fellow Doctor Strange character/sorcerer Wong. He’s been hanging out with Strange at the New York Sanctum, and he’ll inevitably get dragged into the fight once the Thanos threat makes itself known.

In the comics, Doctor Strange took on a leadership role in the Infinity conflicts, but with heavy-hitters like Captain America and Iron Man involved, this may not come to pass on film.

6. Spider-Man and Happy Hogan

Spider Man and Happy Hogan Avengers: Every Infinity War Character’s Role, Explained

Despite the fact that he hasn’t even finished high school yet, Peter Parker (a.k.a Spider-Man) will make his first official step into an Avengers movie with Infinity War. Though he’s still got plenty to learn (which he openly admits at the end of Spider-Man: Homecoming), Parker will be a valuable asset in the battle against Thanos. He’s fast, he’s strong, and perhaps most importantly, he’s inconspicuous (why would an extraterrestrial being assume that a teenager could possibly be a threat?).

Audiences got a look at what will assumedly be Spider-Man’s new costume during Infinity War, and the general assumption is that the suit is meant to be the Iron Spider suit. Parker can be seen wearing it in the poster.

Also appearing in the film (though maybe not quite as tied down to Parker as he was in Homecoming) is Tony Stark’s BFF Happy Hogan.

5. The Guardians of the Galaxy, Mantis, and Nebula

Guardians of the Galaxy Avengers: Every Infinity War Character’s Role, Explained

The fight against Thanos isn’t just a fight for the Avengers. This battle is going to require heroes from all parts of the universe, including the unorthodox Guardians of the Galaxy. Infinity War will depict the first true uniting of central characters in the MCU, while also threading a personal connection between Thanos and the Avengers. Thanos is the adoptive father of Gamora and Nebula, both of whom will appear in the film. In the comics, Nebula actually wields the Infinity Gauntlet for a while.

The last time any of the Guardians had been on Earth was when Peter Quill was just a kid. That said, it hasn’t been confirmed yet as to whether or not any of them will actually land on Earth, or if their journey in Infinity War will take place elsewhere.

It’s also worth mentioning that at the end of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Adam Warlock is introduced. In the comics, he gains his power from the Soul Gem, so a betting man would likely bet on this having direct ties to Infinity War (despite the fact that Adam will not appear in the movie).

4. Bruce Banner/Hulk

Hulk in Avengers Infinity War Avengers: Every Infinity War Character’s Role, Explained

Given that The Incredible Hulk is considered canon within the MCU, the Hulk did technically get his own standalone film— it just didn’t include the Bruce Banner that audiences have come to associate with the Avengers.

That said, Thor: Ragnarok is as close to a standalone Hulk film for the latest iteration of Banner, played by Mark Ruffalo, that audiences are likely going to see. Given all of the character development that his character is given within the context of Ragnarok, chances are likely that he’ll carry that significance over to Infinity War. The problem, however, is whether or not Banner himself will share that screen time.

Banner explains that the time the Hulk spends as Hulk in Ragnarok hits a record max. So, it’s fair to say that the big guy wants sole custody of Banner’s existence. Now, the question is whether or not Banner even survived Ragnarok, which opens up one dark, yet fascinating, doorway into the third Avengers movie.

3. The Collector

Infinity Gauntlet Collector Seeking Stones Avengers: Every Infinity War Character’s Role, Explained

The Collector (a.k.a. Taneleer Tivan) may not have been given much screen time in the context of the MCU, but that’s not to say his inclusion isn’t important. The Collector is an Elder of the Universe who, per his nickname, has a penchant for collecting unique artifacts. As it were, this turns out to be a benefit to the existence of the universe (but also a threat to himself) when he takes into his collection one of the Infinity Stones at the end of Thor: The Dark World. Sif and (the late) Volstagg deliver him the Aether (a.k.a. the Reality Stone) for safekeeping, but chances are slim that “safe” will at all tie into the Collector’s ultimate fate.

Thanos and his crew are sweeping through the galaxy on a hunt for the Infinity Stones, so unless the Collector manages to amp up his vault’s defenses in such a way that they would deflect Thanos and the Black Order (they won’t), maybe he’ll stand a chance (he won’t).

2. Pip the Troll (Allegedly)

Pip Gofern the Troll Avengers: Every Infinity War Character’s Role, Explained

When Peter Dinklage was announced as a cast member in Avenger: Infinity War, Marvel Studios didn’t bother attaching a character to his casting. And probably because his inclusion was meant to be a secret on purpose. That said, given the release of some photos that show Dinklage having his hair dyed red, it’s safe to assume that he’ll be playing none other than Pip the Troll, a former prince turned degenerate mutant.

Eventually, Pip crosses paths with Thanos, and becomes the Mad Titan’s lackey. Seeing as this character hasn’t shown up yet in the MCU, it’s anyone’s guess as to how his introduction will be portrayed, though it’s likely it’ll have some ties to the Guardians of the Galaxy.

In the comics, Pip works alongside Gamora at one point, so he could very well be the glue that connects the Guardians with Thanos’ ultimate arrival in Infinity War.

1. Thanos and The Black Order

Thanos and the Black Order from Avengers Infinity War Avengers: Every Infinity War Character’s Role, Explained

The trail of Thanos breadcrumbs have been laying the groundwork for Avengers: Infinity War for so long that his eventual portrayal in the film will not be taken lightly. However, though Marvel Studios is the running the risk of inevitable disappointment (this movie will pretty much rest on the shoulders of Thanos’ performance), even the villain’s original co-creator Jim Starlin has nothing but high praises in regard to how directors Anthony and Joe Russo have tackled the character. So, for what it’s worth, audiences should sleep soundly until the May 2018 premiere.

As far as the role that Thanos will be playing in Infinity War, his goal is hardly a secret (made obvious by his “I’ll do it myself” line during Age of Ultron’s mid-credit sting). Thanos is on the hunt for Infinity Stones so that he can complete the gem collection on his Infinity Gauntlet. Once that’s achieved, he’ll become the ruler of the multiverse (a.k.a. everything).

In the comics, Thanos seeks the Infinity Gauntlet in order to impress his love, Death. Once he wields it, he wills have of the universe out of existence – including several of our favorite heroes.

Tagging along for the ride is the Black Order, who will be officially referred to as the Children of Thanos in Infinity War. They will include Cull Obsidian, Proxima Midnight, Corvus Glaive, and Ebony Maw.

What characters are you most looking forward to seeing in Avengers: Infinity War? Let us know in the comments!

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