Avengers: Infinity War is creeping closer every day, especially with the recent news that its release date was moved up to April 27th, 2018. Much has been anticipated about the third film in the Avengers line, as the MCU is promising this movie will raise the stakes again, like never before. Of course, Marvel says that about every one of their movies. This time, however, after last month’s success of Black Panther, ratcheting the MCU up another notch on top of that, will propel Marvel’s characters to even higher heights and above all other household names.
But this film isn’t just another gold brick off the factory floor; executive producer Kevin Feige has repeatedly stated that this will symbolize a tonal shift in the entire universe, as the company shifts into its next phase. Phase 4 has remained vague, but cryptic comments from studio producers have signaled that this film and its sequel will wrap up a lot of old plot lines and begin new ones, presumably pivoting the franchise into the future.
Sometimes referred to as the “culmination” of The Avengers story up to this point, it’s guaranteed that the cast list will be long. A lot of characters will be returning from past movies to remind audiences of their role in this saga. Some heroes and villains are obvious, confirmed in the cast listings or making an appearance in the trailer, but this is going to be an epic tale, full of twists and reveals, so nothing is certain. Dreaming about the next Avengers battle and the surprising supers we might see: here are 8 Characters Rumored to Return And 8 Who Absolutely Should Not.
16 Heimdall - Should
The trailer for Infinity War showed Thor making his introductions to the Guardians of the Galaxy; presumably, this means Heimdall won’t be too far behind. At the end of Thor: Ragnarok, he, Thor, and the rest of the surviving Asgardians fled their burning homeland on a luxury space yacht.
Idris Elba’s shining performance in Ragnarok elevated Heimdall to notable background character status in the franchise.
This is strange, considering he’s not essential to Thor’s inner circle. One reason for his increased role could be Elba’s super stardom, as the classically trained actor gives a distinct Asgardian performance. However, one fan theory suggests that Heimdall might actually be in possession of the Soul Stone, the last of the unaccounted for Infinity Stones.
Heimdall could be a key player in the rebuild of Asgard, he could take on the mantle of Thor, die fighting Thanos, or secretly possess the Soul Stone. True believers will track this minor arc and welcome his return to Avengers: Infinity War.
15 Adam Warlock - Should Not
At the end of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2, Ayesha, high priestess of the Sovereigns, revealed her creation: Adam, a being engineered to manifest her revenge on the Guardians of the Galaxy. She probably has a right to be angry, as the Guardians weren’t always heroic in their last venture and, on the surface, this does set-up a softball sequel where Adam Warlock, the comics character this being is based on, antagonizes Star-Lord, Gamora and the gang in Vol 3.
Comic book readers are raising their eyebrows because the same Adam Warlock, mentioned in those closing scenes, is the character who played a pivotal role in the Infinity War comic books and the entire Thanos saga. Of course, he’s cosmically powerful, but he’s also a shrewd strategist, as many Sovereign are. He also has a dangerous, even villainous, dark side to his personality; it names itself Magus.
Adam Warlock is a wild card who always ups the stakes of any battle he’s in, but he probably shouldn’t show up just yet in Infinity War. His arc is going to be universe changing, so it's better to save it for Avengers 4.
14 Hawkeye - Should
Clint Barton, played by Jeremy Renner, also known as Hawkeye, has had a rough time of it so far in the MCU. Any Avenger who doesn’t instantly conjure up happy smiles upon proposals for stand-alone movies,= needs a little help. A Hawkeye movie just doesn’t sound very exciting and it’s only because the hero has been sidelined, crowded out by all the blockbuster, heavily powered, superheroes. It’s a shame for sure, but definitely one the genre can learn from.
The first step to Hawkeye’s redemption can be a meaningful end in the coming Infinity War.
Fans have been preparing for several characters to die for a while, as Kevin Feige has indicated that this will initiate a shift from Phase 3 to 4. Hawkeye is just one of heroes who may serve as collateral damage of this transition. Character death and reinvention is a natural part of the superhero lifecycle. One that has yet to be explored too closely within the MCU. If the worst comes to worst for Hawkeye, he’ll still serve as an invaluable step in the universe’s evolution.
13 The Defenders - Should Not
The not-yet-ready-for-primetime Defenders, superheroes of the streets, are flourishing over on Netflix. Along with the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. show, these are both, confirmed as “officially” as can be, part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. There are slight references and easter eggs crossover between the movies and the Netflix shows, so they are operating within the same events, but it’s a little too soon for them to make their Avengers team debut.
Most simply put, they aren’t ready for the big screen.
Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, Daredevil and the Immortal Iron Fist are coming along decently in their seasons on their quasi-network, but none of them are at a point in their hero’s journey where they can make the leap alongside the Avengers. Not yet at least.
Of course the Avengers are no strangers to rookies and beginners. Tony Stark mentored Peter Parker into Spider-Man before fans’ eyes. Audiences have watched those Netflix shows, those shows are great, none of the Defenders are on Spider-Man’s level yet. Except maybe Punisher.
12 The Collector - Should
The Collector first appeared at the end of Thor: The Dark World, making his first move to collect the Infinity Stones. Taneleer Tivan, played by Benicio del Toro, collected the Aether and then the Orb in Guardians of the Galaxy before everything blew up in his face and the Guardians foiled his plan.
He’s stayed in the background since then, as the focus has shifted toward his brother, the Grand Master, played by Jeff Goldblum. But his motives for collecting the stones in the first place were never laid out, beyond his own avarice. Infinity War would be a great time to bring the character back.
If Thanos could leverage the Collector’s powers, or if they worked together in some other way, Taneleer Tivan would be a great addition to Thano’s evil cabinet.
Even if he doesn’t come back for this next movie, the Collector is a cosmic being who’s nearly invincible and likes to accumulate magical, mystical, powerful objects; he’s sure to return to the story soon.
11 Baron Zemo - Should Not
Daniel Bruhl plays Helmut Zemo in Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Though that film eventually ended with his capture, Zemo looked like he was going to get away with it for about 80% of that movie. The best part is that his villainy is fueled by the Avengers own aggression. When his family members were killed in the Battle of Sokovia from Avengers: Age of Ultron, he was radicalized into reactivating the Winter Soldier protocol.
Zemo lies in wait, under custody until further notice, but maybe Infinity War isn’t the time to bring him back into the narrative.
The villain is most at home in a HYDRA based story, something more about the evils of humanity or fascism. The next Avengers movie, positioning Thanos as the main antagonist, aims a little bit more towards the cosmic.
If an evil alliance were proposed with the Mad Titan, maybe the Masters of Evil villain team, which Zemo has been a member of in the past, that would be a storytelling feat. Unless those foes are brought together, the MCU should save Baron Zemo for future movies.
10 Agent Phil Coulson - Should
Above, this list argued that some members of the TV division of the MCU aren’t ready for the silver screen. That position stands and, further, it casts the inclusion of Agent Coulson on the “should’ side all the more impressive. Phil Coulson, played by Clark Gregg, debuted in the early days of the MCU in Iron Man. In fact, many argue that his eventual (temporary) death was the galvanizing event that brought the Avengers together as team to defeat Loki in that first movie.
So why now? Big twists are coming to Infinity War, that much has been made clear. A showdown with Thanos may play a key role in the movie, but something big will shake up the foundation of the Marvel superhero spectrum.
For events to take such a big turn, Agent Coulson is a great connecting thread.
Especially if there are any subplots that involve time travel.
9 Nick Fury - Should Not
Samuel L. Jackson’s Nick Fury has faked his own death in this franchise so often that he’s another logical option for a classic character comeback. Jackson’s Fury may come back at some point down the line, but not in this movie. The last time audiences saw him was at the end of Age of Ultron, when he was picking up the pieces after the Battle of Sokovia.
Any SHIELD involvement with Infinity War would seem to invite Nick Fury’s presence, but it might be the smarter play to have him hang back a little bit.
For example, what if, after Thanos tramples over the Avengers, Nick Fury comes in at the end, saying he’s recruited the next round of Avengers, a new generation of heroes? If it’s this movie or the next, Nick Fury, the Gandalf of Marvel Earth will use his continuity magic, as always, to tie the universe together and shift through movies, and phases, into the future of the MCU.
8 Valkyrie - Should
Tessa Thompson’s Valkyrie turned out to be a fun balance for team Thor in Ragnarok, the latest film chronicling the superheros of Norse mythology. Valkyrie, in both Norse and Marvel lore, belonged to a force of female warriors who cleared the dead heroes from the battlefield. Last time audiences saw her, she was escaping on the Grand Master’s pleasure cruiser, along with Thor and the population of Asgard, searching for a new home.
She’s not much of a politician, so she’ll probably continue with Hulk and Thor on their next adventure.
In the post credits scene from Ragnarok, it looks like they’ve traveled right into a trap, set by an evil looking ship. In the Infinity War trailer, Thor somehow connects with the Guardians of the Galaxy, it would be a great bait and switch for Valkyrie to take some time with the Guardians team.
7 Hela - Should Not
Hela, the main villain of Thor: Ragnarok, the older half-sister of Thor, is one character from that movie who should probably stay there. Aside from an, admittedly, remarkable helmet, the character wasn’t held together by a whole lot and honestly recalled a lot of memories from her Galadriel character from Lord of the Rings.
Maybe in the future, Hela can come back, assuming she just barely survived that encounter with Surtur.
She’s on Asgard, full of rage for Thor, she would make a lot of sense on a super villain team or as part of a grander scheme. With the destruction of Asgard, the death of Odin and the true evil of Loki, it’s getting more and more difficult to inject more Norse mythology into the story. Even the Thor character, now faced with a kingdom but no planet, is taking a very strange turn. Hopefully in the future, the realm of Thor will settle down and he and his rogues gallery will shuffle themselves into a sustainable story. Just without Hela.
6 Ant-Man - Should
Paul Rudd’s Scott Lang is listed on the cast list for Infinity War, so it’s a given that Ant-Man will make an appearance. The rumors are swirling more toward which role he’ll play in the action. It would be an easy cameo, and a flashy addition, to throw in Ant-Man as a novelty hero, swelling the ranks of the Avengers squaring off in a final battle. Fans got something like that in Civil War and Age of Ultron before it. Plus, Ant-Man’s powers aren’t exactly suited for one on one combat.
One fan theory extrapolates Ant-Man’s access to the Quantum Realm to his ability to access other planes of existence, and realms at large.
All that’s known about the Soul Stone, the last remaining Infinity Stone, for sure is that it contains a pocket universe of some kind, so maybe Ant-Man can locate the stone that way? That’s the level of theory swirling about this movie. It’s adamantly set on turning the MCU inside out.
5 Cosmic Entities - Should Not
The test balloon the MCU floated with Doctor Strange, their first foray into the deep cosmic arts, rang a little hollow with audiences, coming off as flashy and esoteric.
The concern is that adding some extra Cosmic Entities into the mix would muddle an already ambitious Infinity War.
Infinity and Eternity took corporeal form in the comic book run of this story. Those two, Death, Chaos, Metron, Mephisto, and the Silver Surfer all stood alongside the Watchers, Galactus, and every other member of the cosmic parliament of superbeings to take part in the canonical Infinity Saga. Unfortunately, in regard to storytelling, the MCU has not yet reached that level of rich legend and history. Which isn’t to say fans won’t see a dozen odd easter eggs, indicating the existence of those characters.
4 Shuri - Should
The trailer already showed large sequences of battles all taking place on Wakanda, so the entire royal family is sure to appear, Shuri is the one to watch in Infinity War though.
Letitia Wright was terrific as Shuri in her performance in Black Panther, so the MCU would be wise to not let that character go unused.
It seems like she’s a lock to be the next Black Panther, if she so chose, but her quick jokes and heckling outbursts are reminiscent of a Tony Stark like attitude. Her super genius definitely compares, and her charisma definitely fills up a screen as much as Robert Downey Jr’s. Shuri could be at the front of the next wave of Marvel heroes.
3 Sharon Carter - Should Not
The current Agent 13, aka Sharon Carter, played by Emily VanCamp, last entered the story in Captain America: Civil War, acting as Cap’s ally in his refusal to submit to the authority of the United Nations. Their relationship was growing nicely, but this movie won’t have time for a deeper Captain America story unfortunately. Too much evidence is pointing to Captain America’s passing in these next movies, at least in some form.
To introduce a romance, already founded on such thin connection, feels a bit too cheap.
The Agent Carter story needs to be told in far greater detail. Depending on how much time travel they do in the coming plot, things could change and they could tell that story, but it doesn’t seem that they will. Agent 13, both present and former, could stand to expand their roles in the MCU greatly, but this saga is already on the tracks in the opposite direction.
2 Red Skull - Should
Red Skull, the nefarious leader of HYDRA, is the bridge that could open a greater history and growth of S.H.I.E.L.D. story.
This iconic villain, played by Hugo Weaving in The First Avenger, will always be terrifying and he’s likely to be at the center of any "full circle" kind of storylines the MCU might try and pull off.
The battle against this kind of evil, most specifically for Steve Rogers, but also, indirectly for Tony Stark, and the rest of the Avengers, is the conflict from which many superheroes get their motivation, and even, one of the places the genre was born. What more incredible juxtaposition would Marvel want, than to create some kind of marriage between Thanos: the Mad Titan, conqueror of the universe, and Red Skull: the most evil, oppressive, human creation ever devised? A huge leap of time would necessitate this back flipa nd tying up the first phases of the Avengers with the historical beginning would set a the stage perfectly for the coming phases.
1 Quicksilver - Should Not
Quicksilver’s death was emotional, it was incredibly recent, and it was especially impactful to one of the most active, powerful Avengers in the lineup right now, Scarlet Witch. Even with all that, Pietro Maximoff, played by Aaron Taylor-Johnson, should not be any part of a resurrection scheme. Even though it so willingly presents itself with these Infinity Stones. Actually, three stones, the Time Stone, Reality Stone, and the as yet undiscovered Soul Stone could be used to bring Quicksilver back into the story, but the Avengers should, ultimately stay away from this move.
Quicksilver is simply better as an X-Man than an Avenger.
The character is far more interesting as Magneto’s son. Pietro Maximoff should return alongside the rest of the mutants, when they make their debut in the MCU. What that means for Wanda Maximoff, the Scarlet Witch, only Infinity War will tell.