When Marvel Studios revealed the Phase 3 plans for their growing cinematic universe, it took the world by surprise. Fans had long expected more fantastical (Doctor Strange) and diverse (Black Panther, Captain Marvel) movies to be on the docket - but few saw something as big as a two-part MCU crossover event coming. However, that's just what we're getting with Avengers: Infinity War in summers 2018 and 2019, respectively.
As always, these Marvel Studios movies carry a lot of comic book backstory with them. In order to help those unfamiliar with Marvel Comics lore better understand what the Infinity War movies will entail, we've put together a rundown of Marvel's "Infinity" crossover events from the comics, with explanations of the major players (like that Thanos guy), and how events from the comics MAY be incorporated into the movies.
Thanos & The Infinity Stones
Our own Rob Keyes wrote an excellent piece detailing what the Infinity Stones are, so if you want the in-depth breakdown, be sure to read that article. For the purpose of brevity, our breakdown of things will be a lot more brief.
Basically, the Infinity Stones (aka "Infinity Gems" or "Soul Gems") are six objects of power whose origins (in the cinematic universe) date back to the Celestial beings who first ruled the universe. In the comics, each of the stones relates to a different aspect of existence (space, time, reality, power, mind, and soul), and embedding them in the The Infinity Gauntlet (a golden gauntlet meant to house the stones) gives the wielder god-like power over the universe. Thanos (the big bad seen at the end of Avengers, and again in Guardians of the Galaxy) wants the Infinity Gauntlet, and all the power that comes with it.
As far as the Infinity Stones go, the Marvel movies seem to be following a loosely similar path as the comics - as far as depiction of the stones themselves:
[gallery columns="1" ids="478876,478877,478875,423812"]
The two stones not yet seen in the films are the Time Stone and Soul Stone; but with films like Doctor Strange, Captain Marvel, Guardians of the Galaxy 2 and Inhumans all on deck, there is still plenty of opportunity to work those last two Infinity Stones into the mix.
The other piece of the puzzle is the Infinity Gauntlet used to wield the stones. Last we saw, the Gauntlet is locked in Odin's vault in Asgard, but with Thor: Ragnarok possibly bringing an end to that fabled realm, the Gauntlet may soon be back in play.