The Avengers: Infinity War trailers may feature a seemingly never-ending stream of characters, but there's still a lot of major heroes missing. The latest trailer for Avengers 3 is the most dramatic yet, emphasizing the drama and scale of the battle our heroes face against the Mad Titan, and giving us our first look at some noteworthy strands of the MCU crossing over. We have Iron Man fraternizing with the Guardians of the Galaxy, Tony enjoying Gamora's company a dam-sight more than he does Peter's, while Spider-Man makes a slightly bumbling introduction to one Dr. Strange.
Despite the number of characters to be seen, there are some very notable absences. And not just from this trailer. Heroes that have headlined their own movies, were fan-favorite co-stars, and who have been instrumental in the architecture and success of the Marvel Cinematic Universe have been missing from the start.
Granted, it's definitely a good thing that Marvel isn't revealing every card in their hand in the run-up to Infinity War – surprises are a good thing – but these are some increasingly conspicuous exclusions.
An original member of the Avengers, that Jeremy Renner's Hawkeye hasn't been visibly teased for Infinity War at all is strange. Last seen coming out of retirement to assist Cap resist the Sokovia Accords in Captain America: Civil War, it's assumed Barton has since been in a similar position to Steve Rogers, The Falcon and Ant-Man, i.e. either a fugitive or under surveillance ala Scott Lang's house arrest in the Ant-Man and the Wasp trailer.
Speaking on Hawkeye's arc, Avengers 3 directors the Russo Brothers have said that he has a special spot for this film, stating he's “on his own journey” post-Civil War, and Renner himself has said the film does "wondrous things" with the character. What this means exactly is up to interpretation, but it's important to note he's one of the only characters in the MCU with an established, living family. As dedicated an Avenger as he is, Cliff has priorities as a father and husband that could possibly be at least part of the reasoning we haven't seen him yet. Still, this is a question mark thats grows bolder and bolder.
Ant-Man and the Wasp
The shrinking superhero duo is in an odd position in terms of promotion for Marvel because neither has been shown for Infinity War at all, yet we've gotten a full trailer for their film that's coming after Avengers 3. The Marvel Cinematic Universe has never made developing a consistent timeline of story-telling events easy, and here they're sending mixed signals before either movie is even out.
Marvel Studios head honcho Kevin Feige has made it very clear that Wasp wouldn't be in Avengers 3 so as to really maximize her role in Ant-Man and the Wasp. But that doesn't shed much light on why we haven't gotten a look at Scott Lang hanging with the Avengers yet. Lang isn't exactly the kind of hero anyone expects to be going toe-to-toe with Thanos, nor do we think he'll be on-screen for very long regardless. But considering this new footage has Peter Quill roasting Iron Man, it's odd there hasn't been so much as a self-referential one-liner from Scott yet.
Valkyrie and Heimdall
Valkyrie has the distinct honor of being one of the biggest fan-favorite characters in a film chock full of fan-favorite characters. The hard-drinking Asgardian warrior, as played by Tessa Thompson, dam near stole every scene she was in in Thor: Ragnarok. Likewise, Heimdall has become a recurring staple of Thor's world fans have come to recognize and cherish, at least in part thanks to him being played by Idris Elba.
In any case, the two were part of the Odinson's most trusted circle as they jetted off to parts unknown, carrying the remaining population of Asgard as the kingdom burned to ash behind them at the end of Ragnarok. We know Thanos finds their ship to retrieve the Tesseract from Loki, leaving at least some of the other passengers floating in space. Thor is found by the Guardians and finds his way to Earth that way, but Valkyrie and Heimdall and the fate of the rest of the Asgardians is still unknown, a mystery further compounded by their continued absence from trailers.
Theory: This May Be The End of Loki
Heimdall isn't entirely unexpected given his relatively minimal role, but there's a not-insignificant portion of fans hoping for Valkyrie to get some sort of prominent action scene. Although a sudden shock appearance makes for good story-telling, reassurance that some characters aren't completely lost in the mix would be good too.
Nick Fury and Maria Hill
Where's the man whose scene literally kickstarted the Marvel Cinematic Universe as we know it and his trusted number one officer? Fury's role has diminished over the years as the MCU and its characters grow beyond the notion of one single team employed to defend the Earth. Neither he nor Hill have had much going on in the universe since Captain America: The Winter Soldier and though Cobie Smulders is confirmed for Infinity War, word is consistent that Samuel L. Jackson is not.
That said, the two did participate in Vanity Fair's elaborate photo-shoot that helped kick off the media buzz around Avengers 3. Sure, they may have only been there because Marvel wanted to honor their contributions to the franchise, but that same logic fits a full appearance in the final Avengers movies. It's not like Marvel hasn't been willfully misleading before and if only one's in Infinity War, it would be a tad insulting to a tag team who were there from the get-go.
The CEO of Stark Industries and one of the few people in the MCU Tony Stark will actually listen to, Pepper's role on-screen has fluctuated over the years. She went from being a regular to being firmly part-time, Gwyneth Paltrow sitting out both Avengers: Age of Ultron and Captain America: Civil War before having a very prominent scene in last year's Spider-Man: Homecoming.
There were thoughts that maybe she was in the Hulkbuster armor as seen in the first Infinity War trailer, but a Lego set has confirmed this isn't the case (that's Bruce Banner). Her actual role may be more interesting as Paltrow has gone on record to suggest she still has and uses the Extremis powers she got back in Iron Man 3. A superpower toting Pepper is a fascinating thought, and her coming back out from behind the veneer of high-end business-woman to blow something up is exciting – or at least it would be if we could get a proper clue where she is in the film.
The tortured daughter of Thanos, nobody has a grudge against the purple world-destroyer like she does. Nebula's arc in the Guardians of the Galaxy movies is one of the most affecting, an abused child learning to come to terms with what was done to her and her family. She and Gamora's bond at the end of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is a powerful one and sets them up for a satisfying retribution when Thanos is slain.
Nebula hasn't been totally absent from footage shown as she was in the Super Bowl spot, albeit in a blink-and-you'll-miss-it shot of her ready for action. Given her relationship with the Mad Titan, you'd expect Marvel to press a little bit more on the genuine grudges some have against him. Nebula and Gamora are just two examples of many whose lives were destroyed by Thanos, an emotional angle just waiting to be exploited. What's more, Nebula and Thanos have an intense history in the comics. Gamora's presence in this trailer tells us the familial narrative hasn't been totally sidelined - Nebula's absence makes us worry her place in it may have been.
- Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019) release date: Jul 02, 2019
- Avengers: Infinity War / The Avengers 3 (2018) release date: Apr 27, 2018
- Captain Marvel (2019) release date: Mar 08, 2019
- The Avengers 4 / Avengers: Endgame (2019) release date: Apr 26, 2019
- Ant-Man & The Wasp (2018) release date: Jul 06, 2018