- This article has been updated to include a handful of unofficially confirmed characters -
It feels strange to think that, just ten years ago, people were still anxiously anticipating the release of Jon Favreau's first Iron Man movie, unaware of how the blockbuster film would go on to affect not only future comic book movies, but the filmmaking industry as a whole. It was Marvel Studios' first foray into movie production on their own, barring help from any major Hollywood studio (aside from their distribution partners) -- and it turned out to be a huge success.
It wasn't long after that The Incredible Hulk released, thereby establishing the shared universe that Marvel Studios has promised in Iron Man's post-credits scene. Thor and Captain America both joined the fold within the following few years, and then they all came together to defend the planet from an alien invasion in Joss Whedon's groundbreaking superhero mashup film, The Avengers in 2012.
Thanks to that movie's mid-credits scene introducing Thanos, comic book fans have known the overarching narrative of the Marvel Cinematic Universe has been building up to an ultimate showdown between Earth's Mightiest Heroes and the Mad Titan Thanos, who seeks to secure all six Infinity Stones and unite them with the Infinity Gauntlet to become all-powerful. His journey finally commences in Anthony and Joe Russo's Avengers: Infinity War next year.
To fight Thanos, Earth needs more than your average Avengers squad, and so the movie is going to feature the biggest mashup of superheroes on screen in history. Based on everything we know so far, here's Every Character You'll See In Avengers: Infinity War.
15 Iron Man
As previously mentioned, the Marvel Cinematic Universe began almost ten years ago with Jon Favreau's Iron Man movie, starring Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark, aka Iron Man. Samuel L. Jackson famously showed up in the movie's post-credits scene as then-S.H.I.E.L.D. director Nick Fury, thereby teasing the beginnings of the shared universe the studio was trying to build. Ever since, Downey Jr. has been the studio's most bankable star, having headlined each of the studio's four billion-dollar-grossing movies: The Avengers, Iron Man 3, Avengers: Age of Ultron, and Captain America: Civil War. At this time, it's unclear what War Machine's status is regarding his condition post-Civil War. While we don't know if he'll appear in the upcoming film, he's someone that people should expect to see in some fashion, whether Rhodey is suited up or not.
Things with Steve Rogers may not have ended the way that he wanted them to in Civil War, though that doesn't mean they won't be ready to fight alongside each other in the upcoming Infinity War. Interestingly, Thanos originally made his comic book debut in Iron Man #55, thereby kicking off his streak of villainy in the Marvel Universe.
14 Captain America, Winter Soldier, Falcon
Steve Rogers' (Chris Evans) story is perhaps the most complex of all the current Avengers. He not only fought in World War II, but also battled HYDRA and came into contact with the Tesseract, the shared universe's first Infinity Stone. Then, he crashed into the Arctic and awakened decades later in the present day, thereby becoming the first Avenger. Ever since then, he's battled numerous enemies alongside his fellow Avengers, as well as fought against (and then alongside) his thought-to-be-dead friend, Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan), aka the Winter Soldier.
As a result of the events of Civil War, Captain America, Winter Soldier, and Falcon (Anthony Mackie) are all fugitives of the law, thanks to their opposition to -- and refusal to abide by -- the Sokovia Accords. Despite Cap breaking them out from their maximum security prison, they are each willing to return to the fold to fight beside their fellow superheroes if necessary, and that's something we'll see happen in Avengers: Infinity War. All three actors have been confirmed, though it remains to be seen who else from Cap's friends (including former S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Sharon Carter) joins the team.
13 Thor, Loki, Valkyrie
Kenneth Branagh's Thor became the first movie in the shared universe to introduce audiences to the cosmic side of the MCU. Moviegoers not only became acquainted with the thunder god's family, including his often villainous brother, Loki (Tom Hiddleston), but also Asgard and Jotunheim, one of the other realms in the universe. Although the series' second installment, Thor: The Dark World, didn't quite live up to expectations, moviegoers are certainly excited for Taika Waititi's upcoming third outing, Thor: Ragnarok, which also includes Hulk and Doctor Strange.
Ragnarok also introduces several new characters into the shared universe, such as Brunnhilde, aka Valkyrie, played by Tessa Thompson. Although she currently shares a business arrangement with the Grandmaster (Jeff Goldblum), it's unclear how she'll factor into the larger scheme of things when it comes to next year's Infinity War. In addition to Thor and his brother, Loki, who's also appearing in this year's Ragnarok film, it looks like Valkyrie will also aid the Asgardians in fighting the Mad Titan.
In addition to the rest of the core Avengers team, Bruce Banner, aka Hulk, will also be appearing in next year's Infinity War, though under what conditions has yet to be revealed, taking into account the events of this year's Thor: Ragnarok. Although the character has a prominent supporting cast in the comics, at the moment, it appears that he'll be the only person from his comics that will definitely appear in the upcoming film.
Thus far, the character has only appeared in the two previous Avengers movies, aside from Louis Leterrier's The Incredible Hulk nine years ago, which Marvel Studios likes to think doesn't exist. Interestingly, it wasn't until William Hurt's inclusion as Thunderbolt Ross in last year's Captain America: Civil War that the studio acknowledged any character from The Incredible Hulk (other than the Hulk himself, who had been recast from Edward Norton to Mark Ruffalo) in the shared universe.
Up until two years ago, it was nothing but a pipe dream to think that Spider-Man would join the rest of Earth's Mightiest Heroes on the big screen, considering that the character's theatrical rights had been under the control of Sony Pictures for well over a decade. Then, Sony struck a landmark deal with Marvel Studios to share the superhero (and his catalog of supporting characters), thereby allowing the Mouse House to incorporate the web-slinger in Captain America: Civil War.
Instead of Tobey Maguire or Andrew Garfield, though, Tom Holland is playing Peter Parker in the MCU, and his first standalone film (co-starring Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man), Spider-Man: Homecoming, hits theaters next month. It's clear that the studio isn't taking Spider-Man's inclusion into the shared universe lightly, for they already have plans to produce two Homecoming sequels as well as include the character in Infinity War -- meaning that Spidey likely attains his goal of becoming an Avenger.
10 Scarlet Witch
Elizabeth Olsen and Aaron Taylor-Johnson first appeared as Maximoff twins Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver, respectively, in Avengers: Age of Ultron, initially fighting against the Avengers (specifically, Tony Stark) before eventually turning on Ultron and fighting alongside Earth's Mightiest. Unfortunately, only Scarlet Witch remains part of the MCU, seeing as her brother had sacrificed himself to save Hawkeye at the end of the movie. She appeared in last year's Civil War movie and she'll be reappearing in next year's Infinity War. Since she's one of the most powerful beings in the shared universe, the Avengers will definitely need her by their side when they take on Thanos.
Interestingly, her and her brother's inclusion in the shared universe was something of a controversy at first, since the comic book publishing arm of Marvel Entertainment retconned the characters' origins (making them miracles instead of mutants, and disregarding the fact that they were Magneto's children) so that they could use them in Avengers: Age of Ultron.
It's worth noting that Paul Bettany has been part of the shared universe since the very beginning, though it wasn't until two years ago that audiences finally got to see his face on the big screen. After spending years working off-screen, doing voice-over work as Tony Stark's nifty A.I., J.A.R.V.I.S., Bettany finally got his chance to suit up as a superhero in Avengers: Age of Ultron, playing the character known as Vision. He reprised his role in last year's Civil War, siding with Team Iron Man, and he'll be reappearing in Infinity War in 2018.
Among the many questions on fans' minds, however, is what will become of Vision when Thanos comes knocking. After all, the Mad Titan is on a quest to obtain all six Infinity Stones (as well as the Infinity Gauntlet), and Vision had been brought to life by using the Mind Stone. Without it, he may very well die, and since it's hard to imagine that Thanos won't eventually assemble the Gauntlet in full at some point, many have assumed that Vision is not long for this world.
8 Doctor Strange, Wong
Stephen Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch), aka Doctor Strange, is one of the latest additions to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, having made his debut alongside Wong (Benedict Wong) in Scott Derrickson's Doctor Strange movie last year, the shared universe's final movie to tell a traditional origin story. His inclusion into the universe also means the introduction of magic, something that differs fundamentally from other characters' superpowers.
Cumberbatch is expected to appear in this year's Thor: Ragnarok before presumably becoming an Avenger in next year's mashup film, though we don't know if Wong will also become an Avenger or merely fight alongside them. Regardless, it'll certainly be interesting to see magic collide with science in the upcoming film. A recent behind-the-scenes photo has emerged online teasing Strange and Wong's addition to Tony Stark and Bruce Banner's colloquially-named Science Bros club -- and perhaps the beginnings of Marvel's Illuminati?
7 Hawkeye, Black Widow
Clint Barton (Jeremy Renner), aka Hawkeye, and Natasha Romanoff (Scarlett Johansson), aka Black Widow, are not only former S.H.I.E.L.D. agents, but are also core members of the Avengers. They both fought alongside their slightly more powerful colleagues during the Battle of New York in The Avengers and again during the Battle of Sokovia in Avengers: Age of Ultron. However, they were pitted against each other in last year's Captain America: Civil War, with Hawkeye taking Cap's side and Black Widow taking Tony's -- at first, anyway.
Despite having different ideals, they clearly didn't want to fight one another, and we'll see that unbreakable bond come into play again in Avengers: Infinity War. While Black Widow remains an official member of the superhero team, the question of how Hawkeye returns to the frontlines -- especially now that he's a fugitive thanks to his actions in Civil War -- is an interesting one. Plus, there's the fact that he has a family he presumably wants to go back to at some point. He'll just have to survive WWIII first. No biggie.
6 Black Panther, Okoye, Man-Ape
In addition to introducing Spider-Man into the shared universe, Captain America: Civil War also laid the foundation for Black Panther's role in the MCU, brought to life on the big screen by Chadwick Boseman. Although he first appeared in last year's movie, he won't be reprising his role in his own standalone film, directed by Ryan Coogler, until next spring, just a few months before he joins the Avengers for Infinity War.
Along with T'Challa, Black Panther also includes several a handful of characters from previous MCU installments, as well as new faces like Danai Gurira's Okoye. It was recently confirmed that the Walking Dead alumni would be reprising her role in Infinity War next year, though it's currently unknown how she'll factor into the story. That's something audiences can expect to learn more about when Black Panther hits theaters early next year.
And for what it's worth, IMDB announced that Winston Duke's M'Baku (aka Man-Ape) will also be joining the cast, though this hasn't yet been officially confirmed by Marvel.
5 Guardians of the Galaxy
James Gunn took the shared universe to new heights with Guardians of the Galaxy three years ago, by taking audiences to new corners of the cosmos. He expanded the series even more with Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 earlier this year, and it's something that he'll continue to do going forward, beyond the MCU's Phase 3. Ever since the first movie hit theaters, though, people have wondered if (or rather, when) the Guardians would team up with the Avengers.
We finally have our answer: Infinity War. Not only are the core Guardians -- Star-Lord (Chris Pratt), Gamora (Zoe Saldana), Drax (Dave Bautista), Rocket (Bradley Cooper), and Groot (Vin Diesel) -- joining the Avengers in their battle against Thanos, but so is Gamora's recently-reconciled sister, Nebula (Karen Gillian), as well as Mantis (Pom Klementieff), who has a long history with both the Avengers and Guardians in the comics. Unfortunately, previous rumors regarding Michael Rooker appearing in Infinity War as Yondu have been denied. For now.
4 Nick Fury, Maria Hill (probably)
As longtime fans will certainly remember, Samuel L. Jackson made his debut as Nick Fury in Iron Man's post-credits scene, teasing the future formation of the Avengers. It laid the foundation for what eventually became the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and Fury has remained an integral part of it ever since, even though he's no longer S.H.I.E.L.D.'s director.
His role in the shared universe has been minimized ever since the spy organization collapsed in Captain America: The Winter Soldier. In fact, he didn't even appear in last year's Captain America: Civil War, and neither did Cobie Smulders' Maria Hill, a former top agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. who had begun working with the Avengers following the spy agency's aforementioned shutdown.
Both characters have remained absent from the MCU since the events of Joss Whedon's Avengers: Age of Ultron, though they'll be on-hand to help the superhero team out in Infinity War -- or, at least, Jackson is; Smulders hasn't officially been confirmed yet (despite that bean-spilling tease on Jimmy Kimmel Live). Hopefully, audiences find out what those two have been doing these past few years when they show up in next year's movie.
3 Thanos, Black Order
As previously mentioned, ever since the studio teased Thanos in The Avengers' mid-credits scene, the overarching narrative of the MCU has been leading to an ultimate clash between Earth's Mightiest Heroes and the Mad Titan. Josh Brolin made his brief debut as the character in James Gunn's Guardians of the Galaxy, and he'll be reprising his role in full-form in next year's highly-anticipated film -- but he won't be alone.
It was recently revealed (via set photos) that Thanos' supervillain team, the Black Order (aka Cull Obsidian), would be making their debut in Infinity War next year, presumably to help the Mad Titan obtain the six Infinity Stones needed to power the Infinity Gauntlet. Comic book fans may recall that Thanos had tasked the Black Order with obtaining the Gems (as they're known in the comics) from the Illuminati a few years ago.
2 The Collector
Introducing audiences to the cosmic side of the universe meant taking the training wheels off; there are entities more dangerous and far more powerful than Asgardians, such as Taneleer Tivan (Benicio del Toro), aka the Collector. He first appeared in Guardians of the Galaxy as Gamora's buyer, who attempted to gain control over the Power Stone while already having "collected" the Reality Stone (the Infinity Stone from Thor: The Dark World). Unlike virtually every other character, Tivan all about the Infinity Stones, for he's one of the Elders of the Universe, just like his brother, En Dwi Gast (Jeff Goldblum), aka the Grandmaster.
In Guardians of the Galaxy, the Collector served as a surrogate for audience members who weren't fully aware of the Infinity Stones' history -- as well as their purpose in the overarching narrative -- by explaining their primordial power. Although he wasn't in this year's Guardians installment, del Toro will (supposedly) be reprising his role in Infinity War next year, where he'll likely have a run-in with Thanos. After all, he does still have the Reality Stone.
1 Rumored/potential additions
Thus far, there are 28 major characters (including Thanos, but excluding the Black Order) that will appear in Avengers: Infinity War. The sheer amount of comic book characters in a single film -- and likely to appear on screen together at the same time -- is unprecedented in the filmmaking industry. But still, there are hopes that other characters will appear briefly, or at least cameo, in the upcoming film, such as Captain Marvel (Brie Larson).
At the moment, there's no plan to have Carol Danvers appear in Infinity War, though it wouldn't be the first time that a character has debuted in another movie before eventually headlining their own standalone film. However, the studio may be holding off on including the character until 2019's currently untitled Avengers 4, which releases almost a few months after Captain Marvel hits theaters.
Other than from Danvers, there are rumors that Liv Tyler will reprise her role as Betty Ross from The Incredible Hulk in a small role, though that hasn't been confirmed. Unfortunately, comic book fans who were hoping to see Adam Warlock make his debut in next year's film alongside the likes of Doctor Strange will be sorely disappointed, seeing as James Gunn has refuted the character's involvement in Infinity War. Still, fans can hope.
Aside from the aforementioned characters, it would seem obvious that characters like Ant-Man (Paul Rudd) and Wasp (Evangeline Lilly) would be appearing in the upcoming film, though they have yet to be officially confirmed. Considering that the upcoming Ant-Man & The Wasp film is scheduled to begin filming next month, perhaps the duo are already on-set in Atlanta filming their Infinity War scenes. Then again, Marvel may want to wait to officially introduce the superhero Wasp in the Ant-Man sequel, which released just a few months after Infinity War hits theaters.
Did we miss any major cast members that are set to appear in Infinity War? Let us know in the comments.