(Be warned: this article contains spoilers for Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2!)
Avengers: Infinity War is all set to be the biggest Marvel movie yet. This time around, Robert Downey Jr.’s Iron Man, Chris Evans’ Captain America, Chris Hemsmorth’s Thor, Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow, Mark Ruffalo’s Hulk, Elizabeth Olsen’s Scarlet Witch, Anthony Mackie’s Falcon, Paul Bettany’s Vision, and Jeremy Renner’s Hawkeye will be joined by Paul Rudd’s Ant-Man, Tom Holland’s Spider-Man, Benedict Cumberbatch’s Doctor Strange, Brie Larson’s Captain Marvel and the entire Guardians Of The Galaxy team (Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautisa, Sean Gunn, Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper, Pom Klementieff and Karen Gillan).
With that much star power on the screen, not to mention Josh Brolin as the purple space jerk, Thanos, there won’t be much time to deal with dangling plot points from the individual Avengers’ solo flicks. It will take all hands on deck to stop Thanos from decimating Earth with his glove of doom and the colour-coded Infinity Stones. Addressing plotlines that aren’t connected to the Infinity Gauntlet surely won’t be on the agenda.
Fans will have to wait a little while longer, then, if they want answers regarding these 15 Plotlines That Avengers: Infinity War Will NOT Resolve...
15 The Birth Of Adam Warlock
Despite that tantalizing tease at the end of Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2 - in which Elizabeth Debicki’s Ayesha revealed her plans to create a powerful being named Adam to fight the Guardians – the spacefaring superhero Adam Warlock will not be showing up in Avengers: Infinity War.
This might come as a surprise to fans of the comics, who know the cosmically-charged Adam Warlock to be the nemesis of Thanos. But Marvel Cinematic Universe overlord Kevin Feige was very clear when he spoke to /Film about the Adam-based credits scene.
“Adam is not in Infinity War. That is not a tag for Infinity War”, Feige insisted. He later added this: “In that case in particular, James [Gunn, writer and director of the Guardians franchise] has ideas. And had played with incarnations of Adam Warlock in earlier drafts of other Guardians films. So he’s always been top of mind for the Guardians franchise. And if he appears anywhere in the future, it’ll be with Guardians.”
14 The Purpose Of Sly Stallone And His Space Friends
Likewise, the Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2 credits scene that set up Sylvester Stallone’s Starhawk with his own bunch of a-holes will surely have nothing to do with Avengers: Infinity War.
As much as it would be cool to see Earth’s mightiest heroes crossing paths with Sly’s Stakar Ogord, Michael Rosenbaum’s Martinex, Ving Rhames’ Charlie-27, Michelle Yeoh’s Aleta Ogord, and Miley Cyrus’ Krugarr, Avengers: Infinity War has enough new characters/relationships on its plate already. There’s simply no space for them.
Again, James Gunn seems to have called dibs on Stallone and his character. “My plan is to see more of him,” the Guardians helmsman told The Toronto Sun.“I’m not sure about him appearing in Vol 3, we’ll have to see about that, but it’s our plan to see more of Stallone. Kevin [Feige] and I are working on what is going to become the Marvel Cosmic Universe and where it’s going to go. We plan to see the rest of them in the future.”
Gunn also said this, further teasing that fans may have to wait until after Infinity War and Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 3 to see Stallone given a substantial role: “I think that there could be a Guardians Vol. 4, but it would not be the same. It would not be the same group...”
13 Tony And Pepper’s Relationship Troubles
“My deal is over”, Gwenyth Paltrow told Empire Online, way back in 2013, which explains why she hasn’t shown up in a Marvel movie since Iron Man 3. When you add to that Paltrow’s recent comments to Entertainment Tonight – she said "I don't think I like it anymore", with regards to acting – it’s beginning to look a lot like we’ll never see Pepper Potts in the MCU again.
Fans that were hoping for Paltrow to show up as Pepper in Avengers: Infinity War probably shouldn’t hold their breath, then. When you consider that Paltrow’s contract is up and she's not really into acting anymore, it becomes clear that the scene in Captain America: Civil War, where Tony told Cap about their breakup, was pretty much the end of the road for Pepper and Tony.
As much as it’s a shame that we’ll probably never see those two on screen together again, it isn’t the end of the world. After all, Infinity War will be so stuffed with action that there wouldn’t be much room for a decent romantic arc anyway.
12 The Giant Ant And The Thor 2 Beast That Are Still Roaming Around On Earth
Fans of out-of-place beasties will remember that a giant monster from another realm was seen running around London in a post-credits scene to Thor: The Dark World, and that Scott Lang left an overgrown ant at his ex's house at the end of Ant-Man. Whatever became of these creatures is a funny thing to ponder, but it’s incredibly doubtful that a massive movie like Infinity War will have interest in tying up loose ends this tiny.
It’s probably safe to assume that the beast from Thor 2 will never be seen or mentioned again (hunting it down could have made for a great Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. episode, but that ship has long since sailed). The ant from Ant-Man could feasibly show up in Ant-Man And The Wasp, which will come out a few months after Infinity War.
Scott Lang’s daughter may well have kept that giant ant as a pet, a reminder of her father’s heroism and a way to wind up her stepdad. That could be fun.
11 What Happened To The Abomination/Samuel Sterns/Doc Samson/Betty Ross?
The Incredible Hulk left no shortage of loose ends dangling, with Emil Blonsky still being alive, Samuel Sterns having some Hulk goo in his head, and Doc Samson continuing to exist. Presumably, in an alternate reality to this one, the film would have got a direct sequel or two, and these characters might’ve reached their full potential.
However, the chances of that happening now - in our reality - seem very slim indeed. Sterns and Samson, surely, will never be seen again in the MCU. And the same goes for Liv Tyler’s Betty Ross, presumably. It would be too weird, after all this time, to bring them back and try to strike up some chemistry between them and Mark Ruffalo, who has long since supplanted the MCU’s original Hulk actor, Edward Norton. Infinity War certainly wouldn’t be the place to try and do that.
It also seems unlikely that Tim Roth will ever reprise the role of Blonsky/The Abomination. That being said, William Hurt’s General Ross is still knocking about in a position of authority. Maybe, someday, he’ll put Blonsky back in the field. But, again, Infinity War is surely packed enough without chucking that into the mix as well.
10 The Negative Effects Of Pym Particles/Messing With Time
In both Doctor Strange and Ant-Man, it was heavily hinted that the lead character's powers came with consequences. Messing with the rules of time can come back and bite you in the butt, and using Pym Particles to shrink yourself too many times can cause vague health problems. Both characters did a fair bit of their respective dangerous thing in their initial big screen outings.
Cumberbatch’s Stephen Strange and Rudd’s Scott Lang will both return for Infinity War, but this really won’t be the film in which to incapacitate them and put them through a crisis of superpower-based confidence. That’s classic superhero standalone sequel stuff, and it will presumably be saved for Ant-Man And The Wasp and the yet-to-be-scheduled Doctor Strange 2.
Infinity War will need the master of mysticism and the former Baskin Robbins employee to be on top form, not least because there won’t be enough screen-time to give them any truly juicy character arcs.
9 Trevor Vs The Real Mandarin
As above, see here. Although it would make a certain degree of narrative sense for dangling plot threads to be tied up by a big crossover movie, this unfinished arc isn’t one that Infinity War will have the time – nor a narrative reason - to address.
All Hail The King, the Marvel One Shot that followed on from Iron Man 3, showed Ben Kingsley’s Trevor Slattery being busted out of prison by the real Mandarin. The implication was that some kind of sequel would eventually follow, where the fake terrorist would cross paths with the genuine super-villain whose name he stole.
Years have passed, though, and there’s been no official announcement for an Iron Man 4, or any other movie where the Mandarins could slot in. Fans might just have to accept this One Shot for what it appears to be: a piece of fun, harking back to one of the most divisive villains from the MCU’s history.
8 The Fate Of The Original Wasp
In Ant-Man, Michael Douglas’ Hank Pym explained that he lost his wife when she shrunk to subatomic size and disappeared into the quantum realm. But when Scott Lang emerged from said realm unscathed, it relit Hank’s hope that his wife – Janet van Dyne, aka the original Wasp – may have survived somehow as well. This theory was only heightened by eagle-eyed fans, who claimed to see another human shape floating around during that trippy climactic sequence.
Once again, it’s obvious that Infinity War will not have enough screen-time to properly serve this storyline alongside its galactic crossover showdown. Therefore, Peyton Reed and co will surely save it for their standalone sequel, Ant-Man And The Wasp. Perhaps that final word of the title has a double meaning. Maybe it doesn’t just refer to Evangeline Lilly’s Hope, but to her mom as well.
It seems likely that Ant-Man’s role in Infinity War will be similar to his one in Civil War: to bring the funny, and keep the film anchored in humour even when it’s getting really dark.
7 Why Was Stephen Strange A 'Person Of Interest' In The Winter Soldier?
Hardcore Marvel fans will remember this moment from Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Maximilliano Hernandez’s S.H.I.E.L.D./HYDRA agent, Sitwell, listed Stephen Strange as a person of interest that HYDRA saw as a threat. He was planning to eliminate the talented neurosurgeon, using the weaponised Helicarriers of Project Insight.
With hindsight, and having seen Doctor Strange, it now seems a bit weird that HYDRA thought Strange was a threat at that point, before he went to Kamar-Taj and became a sorcerer. What threat is an an arrogant brain doctor to an evil underground organisation? It seems doubtful that Project Insight was so good at predicting things that it knew Strange’s fate before he did.
In all honesty, it's unlikely that we’ll ever get an explanation for this. The Winter Soldier line was probably just intended as an Easter egg, teasing things to come, more than anything of plot importance. Infinity War, certainly, won’t have the time to clarify an unexplained reference from a film that came four years before it.
6 Bucky Taking Up The Captain America Mantle
It’s been teased multiple times that Sebastian Stan’s Bucky Barnes will eventually take up the mantle of Captain America. The rumour mill has suggested on numerous occasions that Chris Evans wants to step away from the role of Steve Rogers, and the fact that Stan is on a ridiculously long contract seems to support the idea that Buck could pick up the shield. There’s a precedent for this in the comics, as well.
However, it seems like Marvel Studios isn’t actually that keen on killing its important characters. Don Cheadle’s War Machine was walking again by the end of Civil War, and Coulson was brought back shortly after The Avengers, leaving Quicksilver as the only Avenger that’s actually died thus far. It would be a major change of tact to kill off Cap, especially in the middle of a big fun crossover film.
This one’s a matter of opinion rather than fact, but it doesn’t seem plausible - to this writer, at least - that Infinity War will contain a dramatic death scene for Chris Evans. Surely, there would be too much else going on to give such a scene the necessary heft. If they ever are gonna do it, they could build a whole solo film around Cap's death.
5 Quicksilver’s Revival
During production of Avengers: Age Of Ultron, alternate scenes were shot where Aaron Taylor Johnson’s Quicksilver survived being riddled with bullets. “We did actually shoot him in the last scene, in an outfit with his sister,” Joss Whedon told the Empire Podcast. “And we did shoot him waking up from his, ‘Ahh! I didn’t really die from these 47 bullet wounds!’ but the intent was always that we were going to earn this and then you have to stand by it.”
If they wanted to, then, the creative minds at Disney and Marvel could dig out this footage and edit it into a flashback to show that Quicksilver didn’t actually die after all. They could make it look like all the other Avengers were absent when Quicksilver woke up, and use some lame excuse about speedy healing to explain his return.
However, this type of back-pedalling would surely incur a backlash, and this version of Quicksilver was hardly a fan favourite anyway, so they probably won’t bother. Nobody’s going to be complaining that there aren’t enough heroes in Infinity War, are they? So what would be the point?
4 What Happened To The Red Skull
At the end of Captain America: The First Avenger, Hugo Weaving’s Red Skull was zapped into the blue energy cube known as The Tesseract. The crimson cranium was never seen or heard from again, even though HYDRA returned multiple times across the movies and TV shows.
A popular fan theory posits that the Red Skull survived somehow. Maybe the Tesseract preserved him in some way, or teleported him to somewhere else in the universe. The idea of the Tesseract bringing the Red Skull to Thanos is one that even the most sceptical fan must find scintillating. Who wouldn't love to see The Mad Titan bringing together a team of villains to fight the Avengers?
However, Weaving has shown very little interest in returning to the role. And if he was in Infinity War, surely word would have gotten out by now. It would be nice to be proven wrong on this, but still, it seems highly unlikely that ol’ red head will ever show his face again.
3 The Avengers Not Knowing Coulson Is Alive
It seems much too late to go back on this now. Coulson died in the summer of 2012, during the Chitarui invasion of Earth at the centre of The Avengers, and was brought back the following fall for Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D.’s series premiere. A decision was made that the Avengers wouldn’t know about Coulson’s new lease of life, and thus far Marvel have stuck to that.
Admittedly, it is easier to keep the continuity straight if Coulson stays out of the Avengers’ ways, especially now that he’s got his own supporting cast to connect up with as well. So you can see why this decision made sense at an executive level, even if it does sting a little that Coulson never got his Captain America trading cards back.
Roughly five years will have passed, since Coulson was revived, by the time that Infinity War rolls around. With all the other plates the film is spinning, it doesn’t seem feasible that an effective Coulson/Cap reunion could take place here. And, after all this time, would bringing Phil back into the fold have any emotional impact? Possibly not.
2 Why Do The Avengers Never Mention Or Meet The Defenders?
Wouldn’t it be great, during the inevitable New York-set third act battle of Infinity War, if the camera swooped away from the Avengers, flew over to Hell’s Kitchen, and zoomed in on Charlie Cox’s Daredevil, Krysten Ritter’s Jessica Jones, Mike Colter’s Luke Cage and Finn Jones’ Iron Fist fighting the good fight against Thanos’ minions? And wouldn’t it be even better to see the Avengers and the Defenders interacting?
Sadly, the chances of either thing happening seem slim. So far, the Netflix shows have paid coy lip service to the movies numerous times, and the films haven’t returned the favour once. No major actor has crossed over from one to the other. Scheduling issues are the common reason given for this; that lining up the multiple continuities and the actors’ availabilities is just too difficult a task.
With Infinity War, this will be doubly true. It must’ve been a nightmare just to get the Avengers and the Guardians on set at the same time. Adding the Defenders – one or more of whom seem to be shooting in New York at any given time – would be night on impossible. Not least because the film’s production moves around a lot.
1 Thanos’ Reign Of Tyranny
The threat of Thanos and the Infinity Stones has been lurking and growing in the background of the MCU for years. Captain America: The First Avenger showed the first stone, and The Avengers offered the first footage of Thanos (albeit without Josh Brolin in the role). Marvel has been engineering this showdown for years, and it’s doubtful that they’ll wrap it up in one movie.
Indeed, Marvel did have Avengers: Infinity War – Part 2 on its slate for a while, but they’ve since retitled it Avengers 4 and held back on revealing any details of what it will entail. It still seems likely that this fourth Avengers film will be some sort of continuation/follow-up to Infinity War, with Thanos and/or the stones hanging around to cause more trouble.
Although it’s impossible to predict how this will all shake out, there’s a sense in the air that it will take two movies at least to topple The Mad Titan, which would cement his position as the biggest big bad in MCU history. Perhaps, he’ll unveil some new villainous collaborators in the final moments of Infinity War, teeing up an even bigger sequel pitting multiple evils against Earth’s mightiest heroes.
Of course, the only way to find out what will happen is to keep on watching. Feel free to leave your own predictions for what will and won’t play out in the comments...