Avengers: Infinity War will pay off the Marvel Cinematic Universe's biggest narrative threads. Since the dawn of the interconnected MCU, a number of stories have been weaving throughout the lives of the superheroes and villains of Marvel Studios' shared universe. Infinity War poised to be the apex of the MCU as we know it, with Avengers 4 set to be the grand finale of the 22 film cycle.
“Every story that Marvel has told since Iron Man 1 finds a narrative thread in these next two Avengers movies. It is a culmination of all that storytelling,” promised Joe Russo, Infinity War's co-director along with his brother Anthony. This is indeed a truly epic undertaking, to have Avengers 3 and 4 pay off plot points that have spanned across nearly two dozen movies, in some cases over the course of a decade. Avengers 3 is set to be a very busy film with lots of stories to juggle. While it's hard to know exactly what 4 will do without seeing Infinity War first, we do have enough info already to determine what threads Avengers 3 will deal with.
The main thrust of Infinity War is a huge story involving the long-awaited (and dreaded) arrival of Thanos on Earth to assemble the six Infinity Stones. This will involve an estimated 76 characters fighting for or against the Mad Titan. Carnage is expected. Some characters will die. All will face their greatest challenge. As Thanos and his minions' attack our world, however, fans can definitely expect Infinity War to begin definitively resolving MCU's major plot points, with Avengers 4 perhaps using time travel to implement changes to the timeline of the MCU itself.
But before time possibly goes topsy-turvy in Avengers 4, there are the biggest narrative threads Infinity War is expected to tackle:
This Page: Will Thanos Assemble The Infinity Stones? And Can The Avengers Move Past Civil War?
Will Thanos Assemble The Infinity Stones?
The Infinity Stones have been the MCU's biggest MacGuffins, weaving throughout Captain America: The First Avenger, The Avengers, Thor: The Dark World, Avengers: Age of Ultron, the first Guardians of the Galaxy, Doctor Strange, and Thor: Ragnarok. In the AoU post-credits tease, when Thanos promised "Fine, I'll do it myself" as he donned the golden Infinity Gauntlet (which was empty of the mighty Stones), he meant it. It's taken him a few years but the Mad Titan is poised to fully carry out his threat at last and make his bid for ultimate power. Keeping Thanos from acquiring all of the Infinity Stones is the crux of the conflict of Infinity War.
As far as audiences have seen, the six Infinity Stones' whereabouts as Avengers 3 is set to commence are as follows: the Power Stone is on Xandar with the Nova Corps, the Reality Stone is in the Collector's menagerie on Knowhere, and the Space Stone is with Loki on the Asgardians' ship. Meanwhile, the remaining Stones are on Earth. The Mind Stone rests in Vision's forehead, the Time Stone is Doctor Strange's Eye of Agamotto, and the Soul Stone's location is unknown (but it is presumably in Wakanda). When Thanos comes to collect, fans can expect to see the peril that will fall upon Xandar and Knowhere for daring to safeguard Infinity Stones.
What actually happens when the Infinity Gauntlet is assembled is something Marvel Comics fans are well-aware of, but general audiences at this point can only imagine. Thanos will have a collection of god-like powers. He could potentially cause a level of calamity - not just physical but universal and across time and dimensions - the likes of which the MCU has never before encountered.
Can The Avengers Put Civil War Behind Them?
The Avengers split apart over the Sokovia Accords in Captain America: Civil War, with the members of Team Cap turned into wanted international criminals. Meanwhile, the Avengers have soldiered on under Tony Stark's supervision, though we're not exactly sure which heroes make up the team (especially after Peter Parker turned down active membership in Spider-Man: Homecoming). Nonetheless, after years of division, fans are chomping at the bit to see our heroes put aside old animosities and assemble once again. And that starts at the top of the MCU, with Tony Stark and Steve Rogers coming face-to-face at long last and resolving their differences (hopefully).
The state of the rest of the Avengers is also something fans are looking forward to. Civil War left many threads dangling: What became of Clint Barton's wife and family after Hawkeye ended his retirement and ended up a wanted fugitive? The Infinity War trailer indicates Wanda Maximoff and Vision's relationship has blossomed further, despite her own wanted status as a Team Cap collaborator. Has Peter Parker continued as a friendly neighborhood Spider-Man after Aunt May discovered his identity at the conclusion of Homecoming (which was set just 2 months after Civil War, while Infinity War takes place at least several months after Spidey's movie ended)? What about Tony Stark and Pepper Potts' engagement (and does Pepper still have her Extremis superpowers)?
Meanwhile, Nick Fury isn't expected to appear in Infinity War, but fans still want to know the state of S.H.I.E.L.D. in the movies. Could Fury or Maria Hill perform a last-minute rescue with S.H.I.E.L.D. Helicarrier guns blazing, as they did in Age of Ultron? (Or is Fury absent from Avengers 3 because he's out hunting the Red Skull, as Samuel L. Jackson may have suggested in an offhand comment?)
Tony Stark's fear of another alien invasion given to him in a vision by Scarlet Witch is what drove him to create Ultron as "a suit of armor around the world" for when the next invasion happens. Thanos is Stark's greatest fear given gigantic, purple, universe-conquering form. It will be most interesting to see how Stark, who uses his technology to grapple with his PTSD and other mental health issues, deals with the reality of his nightmare coming true.
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