Warning: The following contains spoilers for Avengers: Infinity War
Avengers: Infinity War's final act has a lot in common with the Battle of Naboo in Star Wars: The Phantom Menace. In the battle, the Wakandan army and a portion of the Avengers are protected by a giant blue dome shield as they prepare for a pitched battle against the Black Order and the forces of Thanos. The Black Order's fierce horde of outriders eventually breaches the shield barrier and the Wakandans fire up their smaller vertical blue energy shields as they prepare for close quarters combat. The whole time, though, the battle is just a diversion to buy time for Shuri back in the city where she's furiously attempting to separate the Mind Stone from Vision's forehead.
As many people have since pointed out, as may be apparent by this description, the scene bears a significant resemblance to the Gungan battle against the Trade Federation battle droids on the Great Grass Plains of Naboo during the final act of Star Wars: The Phantom Menace.
The first and most obvious comparison is the shield generator. Both movies feature two armies separated by a blue forcefield, and the attackers must pass through the shield to engage in battle. Considering Industrial Light & Magic did VFX work on both movies, the Kevin Feige and the Russo's are big Star Wars fans, and the MCU has a penchant for Star Wars references, it's not a stretch to assume this is a major homage, especially when, at multiple points during the battle, when the shield is attacked, a sound akin to bottles clinking underwater is eerily reminiscent of The Phantom Menace's Ben Burtt designed shield ping of blaster fire hitting the nigh-invulnerable Gungan shield, can be heard.
As noted earlier, the big battle in the field is just a distraction to keep the enemy army away from the city, where the true objective lies. In Avengers: Infinity War, Captain America, Black Panther, Falcon, War Machine, White Wolf, Black Widow, and a battalion of Wakanda's finest are buying time so that Shuri can remove the Mind Stone from Vision's head.
Meanwhile, The Phantom Menace's big battle is a distraction to keep the majority of the army away from the city so that a strike team can fight a smaller battle in the royal palace so they can stop the viceroy Nute Gunray of the Trade Federation. Meanwhile, an outer space dogfight is being waged against the Federation's droid control ship.
There are other differences: In The Phantom Menace, the droids start firing at the shield, hoping to wipe out the Gungan army from afar. The shield holds, so the droids have to close the distance before the battle can properly begin. In Infinity War, Thanos' Outrider horde aren't precise mechanical automatons, but savage beasts more akin to rabid wolves than soldiers. They initially try to penetrate the shield through brute force, but they fail to breach the perimeter. As the Outriders search for a way around, the heroes open part of the shield to keep the enemy busy and away from the city.
Obviously, Infinity War didn't rip off The Phantom Menace. Maybe a spark inspiration blossomed into a deliberate homage. Regardless of inspirations, Infinity War never feels like it's outright stealing from Star Wars. It also never feels like it's copying the Infinity Gauntlet comic book. Rather, for both the Wakanda battle and the film as a whole, Infinity War uses a familiar setup and embraces its influences while forging its own path forward.
- Ant-Man & The Wasp (2018) release date: Jul 06, 2018
- Captain Marvel (2019) release date: Mar 08, 2019
- The Avengers 4 / Avengers: Endgame (2019) release date: Apr 26, 2019
- Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019) release date: Jul 02, 2019