Avengers: Infinity War opens in theaters worldwide in a matter of weeks and features the largest ensemble of live-action superheroes ever assembled. Making this movie, let alone scheduling production on it, was a challenge for Marvel Studios and its creative teams.
*Warning: This post contains minor spoilers for Avengers: Infinity War*
In June 2017 we visited the Infinity War set in Atlanta to see how that magic was happening and we came on a day that couldn't have been better timed given the current record-breaking success of Black Panther. Below is some background and a detailed explanation of what we saw on set. Keep in mind, that when we visited they were on day 59 of shooting and the plan (at that time and was changed) was for them to shoot until July 14th, and take a three-week break for pickups before coming back to shoot Avengers 4. Throughout principal photography production had been taking frequent shooting breaks it seems due to scheduling, hence why it’s only day 59 when they began shooting in February 2017 (when that infamous Tom Holland-Chris Pratt-Robert Downey Jr. video was released). Thor: Ragnarok and Black Panther hadn't opened in theaters yet.
The day starts early and we shuttle to an outdoor shooting area on the backlot of Pinewood Atlanta Studio (where the Captain America: Civil War airport sequence and Spider-Man: Homecoming ferry scenes were shot on previous productions) and walk up to large green screen setup surrounding a practical setup. There's a Quinjet that just landed in Wakanda on a launchpad within some protected future-prison-like fenced area (think more tech-y Jurassic Park fence). The Avengers are there to meet and warn T’Challa of potential danger and are seeking aid for Vision who took severe damage in their previous battle, perhaps even losing the Mind Stone.
T’Challa, the Dora Milaje, and several male Wakandan guards approach the Quinjet in perfect formation alongside T’Challa who’s wearing long blue royal garb. The Dora Milaje are wearing the familiar red outfit as seen in Black Panther and all are armed with Vibranium spears. Okoye (Danai Gurira), their General, is there too. They’re very formal and walk in perfect formation, even standing in lines to the side during T'Challa's conversation with the Avengers. The male guards are more in purple with bulkier armor gold plate on center chest, possibly representing the River Tribe. The Dora Milaje noticably always stay closest to T’Challa. In lines, they are the front line.
Steve Rogers (Chris Evans), in a darker look, torn up Cap costume (a nod to the Nomad getup from Marvel Comics) leads the Avengers out of the Quinjet ramp toward T’Challa’s envoy. Right beside him walks Black Widow sporting an all-new look with short white-blonde hair, armor, and a dark green tunic of sorts. Both look like badass freedom fighters and Rogers now has slicked back, longer, darker golden hair, and a full-on beard and you'd be forgiven for mistaking him for Chris Hemsworth at a glance.
Behind them are Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo) and Rhodey (Don Cheadle), Banner wearing his nicer casual clothes, purple button-down shirt included, and awkwardly tossing on a suit jacket as Rhodey pats him on shoulder (it’s Cheadle’s first day on set). Falcon is with them as well with the same costume/gear he had in in Civil War. Cap’s costume is also his Civil War outfit as well, just dirtied up, missing the silver chest star which appears to have been torn off. Somehow, Cap's team got all their stuff back in the two years since Civil War).
Cheadle’s wearing mostly black with a performance shirt and dark jacket, but has an exoskeleton leg rig of sorts so he can walk. It’s something Stark made and has the Stark Industries logo on it.
Several male guards with spears walk past Rogers’ team as they’re exiting the ramp to assist Wanda Maximoff a.k.a. Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen) and Vision (Paul Bettany) and it's very evident they're in a relationship. Vision is holding the side of his stomach and there are orange mocap dots there and on his lower back for visual effect in post. He’s been skewered straight through in whatever battle with the forces of Thanos that they’re fleeing from. Wanda walks with him, her arm on his shoulder and they continue on, skipping the meet and greet, Wanda noticing Bucky as he approaches from the corner.
Note: The scene takes place two-thirds through film as we learn later in day so the characters are very aware of the current threat and have been in battles already. The Avengers are there to warn Wakanda and the final battle of movie may take place here.
Later in the day when watching more shooting from other angles, we see that Bucky is also there waiting with T'Challa and walks up and hugs Steve. He’s got even longer hair, is wearing a dark blue Cap-esque jacket and his new metal arm is a darker metal, clearly made of Wakandan tech. He’s been frozen most of the time since Civil War we're told but since waking up has been learning and undergoing therapy.
Here's the gist of what’s said as characters meet here:
“How big an assault?” asks T’Challa. “Quite an assault, sir,” Cap replies.” “Well I have my King’s Guard, the Dora Milaje…” “And a semi-stable 100 year old man,” says a voice off screen. It's Bucky, hair longer than ever. He looks reformed, healthy and calm.
“How you doing, Buck?” Cap asks. “Not bad,” Bucky says. “So…little green men?” Bucky asks “Not little. Not green,” says Widow. Wilson (Anthony Mackie) then expresses some doubts about Bucky’s mental state: “I just want to make sure you aren’t going to snap when someone says baloney sandwich,” he says. “Not baloney,” says Bucky. “Eggplant? Rancho Cucamonga?” Falcon retorts, though these were improvised and different each take and will likely change. He then tells Bucky, “I still hate you.”
If you loved the Bucky-Wilson banter from Captain America: Civil War, that continues here.
After this point in the film it's clear Thanos begins invading Wakanda (here's a behind-the-scenes look at this Wakandan battle) as we see from the first Avengers: Infinity War trailer and marketing materials with the alien Outriders (six-legged alien dogs) leading the charge against the united forces of Earth, backed by the advanced tech and armies of Wakanda.
The Outriders are straight from Marvel Comics, a bio-engineered force that's used as the first wave of invasion on less-advanced planets. In this case, Earth is the primitive target of Thanos and his Black Order. As for Spider-Man, Doctor Strange, Iron Man, and the Guardians of the Galaxy - they're not part of this sequence.