The theatrical release of Marvel's Captain America: Civil War is still nearly a month out but the film screened for critics over the weekend for the beginning of its press tour. The early critical reactions were strongly positive, commending directors Anthony and Joe Russo for handling the largest cast of Marvel heroes yet to appear together onscreen.
Despite featuring two teams of Avengers fighting one another, and even introducing a few key additional heroes in Black Panther and Spider-Man, there were a few Avengers and other MCU stars not present for Civil War. We're of course talking about Thor, Hulk, and the Guardians of the Galaxy.
These characters will all be getting their time to shine on the silver screen throughout 2017, and a year later, we might see some (or all) of them meet up for Avengers: Infinity War - Part 1 in 2018. Speaking with comicbook.com during the Captain America: Civil War press junket this weekend, the Russos vaguely spoke about the two-part Avengers: Infinity War (their next Marvel project). While they cannot speak to specific plot details at this point, they've gone on record numerous times teasing the mind-blowing amount of characters who will feature in the event films (they specifically dropped the number 67 before clarifying). They also say entirely new characters will be introduced during Infinity War too.
And since Avengers: Infinity War - Part 1 & 2 will round out Phase 3 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the Russos (and writers Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely) get to conclude some major story arcs while bringing together much of what's been setup in all of the Marvel Studio films produced since 2008. Said Anthony Russo:
"The movies are intended to be a culmination of everything that's happened before in the MCU so you don't want to get into spoilers but I'm a big fan of what James Gunn has done. [Joe Russo and I] are both big fans of what James Gunn has done. Star-Lord is a fantastic character and Chris Pratt is an awesome performer so you'd be very excited."
Joe Russo adds his personal excitement in getting to work with the Asgardian Avenger after the events of Thor 3/Thor: Ragnarok:
"I'm excited to work with Thor. They're doing some really interesting stuff with Ragnarok and where he's gonna be at the beginning of Infinity War is gonna be a very interesting place and I think very profound. I think he's gonna have a real emotional motivation after that."
Far more than Phase 2, and certainly Phase 1, Phase 3 was entirely planned out well before it started. In fact, Marvel Studios held a fan and media event in October 2014 to announce the entire Phase 3 slate before production even began on Civil War. That means the larger story arcs and events, down to what needs to happen to each major character, was plotted out well beforehand so the movies fit together well.
At that very event it was teased that Thor: Ragnarok was a very important film to the MCU and that it would have a major impact on the status quo. Adding in the little tease from Joe Russo, and it seems Thor (Chris Hemsworth) may be a different man (with a deep emotional motivation) when his cosmic buddy adventure with Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) comes to a conclusion. Does Thor suffer a major loss? Is Asgard ruined after the events of Ragnarok as its title may imply (it means the end of the Universe in Norse mythology)? Or could Marvel be taking another cue from the more modern comics and making Thor "unworthy," meaning he can no longer wield Mjolnir (paving the way for Jane Foster (Natalie Portman) to become the new, female Thor)?
The namedrops of these two characters should excite fans for the bigger implications of what Avengers: Infinity War will be doing, in that it'll represent the story that melds together what we've seen on Earth, what's going to happen to the Nine Realms, and the cosmic universe we're just beginning to explore with the Guardians movies. All will come together to battle the greatest threat to the universe when the six Infinity Stones come together in the Infinity Gauntlet, giving big bad villain Thanos (Josh Brolin) ultimate power. And more importantly, Chris Pratt will finally share the screen with the other guys named Chris in the MCU.
Who are you most excited to see in Avengers: Infinity War? Share your thoughts, desires, and theories in the comments!
Captain America: Civil War opens in theaters May 6, 2016, followed by Doctor Strange – November 4, 2016; Guardians of the Galaxy 2 – May 5, 2017; Spider-Man – July 7, 2017; Thor: Ragnarok – November 3, 2017; Black Panther – February 16, 2018; Avengers: Infinity War Part 1 – May 4, 2018;Ant-Man and the Wasp– July 6, 2018; Captain Marvel – March 8, 2019; Avengers: Infinity War Part 2 – May 3, 2019; Inhumans– July 12, 2019; and as-yet untitled Marvel movies on May 1, July 10 and November 6, 2020.