The Marvel Cinematic Universe has been building towards next year’s Avengers: Infinity War since 2008’s Iron Man. During the writing process of said film, which has been described as the culmination of everything that has taken place in the first three phases of the MCU, the Russo Brothers have said that the film is set to have 67 characters. This has lead people to believe that there would (finally) be some much-needed overlap between the movies and the TV/Netflix realms as well as bring the Avengers together with the Guardians of the Galaxy. The Russo’s have since backtracked that number and the likes of Netflix’s the Defenders or ABC’s Agents of SHIELD aren’t expected to show up in the film (As the film and television studios are two separate entities), but the Avengers and Guardians of the Galaxy will indeed team up together. So, while there won’t be nearly 70 characters to choose from, there will be much more than we’ve ever seen before. Which is something that the Russos already showed they can handle in last year’s Captain America: Civil War. So, let’s go through the list of confirmed characters (so far) and touch on some of the rumors behind their roles in the film as well! Spoiler Alert (especially for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2)!
It couldn’t be Infinity War without Thanos. In a time that audiences are responding positively to more character-driven, personal super-hero stories, comes a film that has been described by the powers involved as the biggest spectacle film of all time. Not to say that’s a bad thing, especially because Marvel has put in the work over the course of the last decade to earn this gigantic film. Most exciting is the fact that Thanos has been described by Marvel Studios’ leader, Kevin Feige, as pretty much the main character in Avengers 3. In a separate interview, Feige addressed the so-called “Villain Problem” that the MCU has by saying that they’ve made a conscious choice to focus more on developing their heroes than their villains (when it comes to screen time in the films), so by focusing mostly on Thanos or making him the main character of the film, they seem to be moving away from that.
14. Iron Man
Despite the popularity of Captain America’s last couple films and his role as the leader of the Avengers in the films, the Avengers are still very much Tony Stark’s when it comes to the film going audience. With the large rift that was torn between the Avengers during and especially at the end of Civil War, the team is now more Stark’s than ever in the movies as well. You’d think that Stark will take up the offer given by Captain Steve Rogers at the end of Civil War, which boiled down to, if you ever need me call, at the beginning of Infinity War. But, considering that Stark has shown that he’s essentially the most stubborn person in the Avengers, perhaps he’d rather build his own assistance than ask for it. Especially given the fact that his character arc in Avengers: Age of Ultron and Captain America: Civil War amounted to essentially showing how much pressure he puts on himself because he knows something bad is coming. After what he witnessed in the first Avengers, you’d have to think that Stark has been in overdrive since the end of Civil War (building suits and weapons to take on the still mostly invisible threat from the cosmos). With Spider-Man: Homecoming reportedly taking place after the battle at the airport (and thus during the events of the third act of Civil War, hence the black eye), we may get to see some more of this before Infinity War.
13. Captain America
At the end of Civil War, Steve Rogers dropped his famous shield after Tony Stark essentially said that he no longer deserved it. Deciding that his friendship with childhood friend Bucky Barnes was more important than his relationship with Stark and even the Avengers, the conclusion of his third film showed him essentially hiding away in Black Panther’s Wakanda, as he’s now an international fugitive from the law. It was very interesting to see the worldviews of Rogers and Stark essentially flip during Civil War. With Rogers, the former government man essentially going against the government of the world because he didn’t agree with the Sokovia Accords and because Barnes needed his help and Stark, the guy who openly mocked Senators who wanted access to his suit essentially giving politicians control over when/where he could use it (with obvious exceptions). He will obviously be reunited with his shield at some point, especially if the famous scene where he stands tall against Thanos ends up happening (and it has to) in Infinity War. But, this could be the end of the road for Rogers and Stark as contracts are up for each actor and there’s really not much more that the characters can go through, from a story arc and being alive perspective.
Many people never thought that they’d be able to see Spider-Man alongside Captain America or Iron Man on film. After his stellar debut in Civil War (as probably the best Spider-Man AND Peter Parker), expectations are through the roof for this year’s Homecoming and his role in next year’s Infinity War. While Spidey didn’t have a huge role in the comic version of Infinity War, you know that he’s going to be front and center when it comes to his first Avengers film. The trailers for Homecoming have shown that Spider-Man is still essentially trying out for the Avengers. So, you’d think that Infinity War would be his first full movie as an Avenger; one where he will finally get to show what he’s capable of in front of his heroes. Many have speculated about who the next big villain will be after Thanos in the MCU, considering that the majority of the most powerful villains that exist are tied to the Fantastic Four and are thus the property of Fox Studios. Spider-Man’s rogues gallery is arguably just as formidable, if not more so, despite being mostly earth based. Given that, I wouldn’t be surprised if we got some indication as to which route the MCU will be taking after Thanos in Infinity War, including what their future will be with Sony/Spider-Man considering he was originally signed up for two solo and two Avenger films.
Thor has been the red-headed stepchild of the MCU, perhaps even more so than the Hulk, despite having the best villain of any MCU film present in every iteration thus far (In Loki). That looks like it’s going to change in November of this year with the much hyped and amazing looking Thor: Ragnarok. Despite this status, there’s no denying that Thor is perhaps the heaviest hitter in the Avengers (because he’s able to control himself much better than the Hulk can, and he uses magic) and you know that if the Avengers are going to stand any chance against Thanos they’ll need the future king of Asgard. Despite that, though, the MCU has nerfed Thor like crazy. In the comics he’s essentially Superman with magic, so the fact that he gets beat up a lot needs to change especially if he’s going to help take down the purple Titan. In the books and Norse mythology, he has a belt that essentially doubles his strength and power. There has to be something like that happening in either Ragnarok or Infinity War, especially as the trailer for Ragnarok shows Hela breaking his trusty hammer, Mjolnir. With word being that Peter Dinklage is going to play either Pip the Troll or one of the people that built Mjolnir in the first place in Infinity War, perhaps there’s no better time for this belt to make an appearance.
The last time we saw the Hulk he had jettisoned himself from earth via a quinjet at the end of Avengers: Age of Ultron. The Trailer for Ragnarok showed the Hulk as the champion on the gladiatorial planet of Sakaar, decked out in full World War Hulk garb. In the comic books, the ship that brought him to Sakaar ended up exploding, killing his pregnant wife and setting off a next level of anger that made him powerful enough to punch through a planet. Something similar needs to happen in Ragnarok or early in Infinity War for Hulk to gain enough strength to take on Thanos, who by himself is typically pretty strong (not Hulk level). If you add in the Power Stone by itself he’ll definitely be strong enough to solo Hulk. So, when you add the other five stones, you’ll see why Hulk really needs something bad to happen, in order for something good to happen for the rest of the Avengers and the Universe itself.
The leader of the Guardians of the Galaxy had quite the devastating emotional ride in the recent Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 2. First, his dad shows up and basically lets him know that he is the son of a celestial, then he finds out that his dad actually killed his mom by giving her brain cancer. On top of that, the person that actually raised him (“He may be your father, but he ain’t your Daddy”), Yondu, sacrificed himself so his son could live. For most of the movie, it seemed like Star-Lord may actually be one of, if not the, most powerful characters in the MCU because of the control over matter/the light he showed on his father’s planet. However, he essentially destroyed that light while killing his father so it remains to be seen what that means. We’ll get that chance when the Guardians team up with the Avengers, something that should make this movie break all records and then some. It will be weird, though, to see him without his trademark Walk-Man and music.
The relationship between Gamora and her father-by-kidnapping, Thanos, wasn’t explored that much in Volume 2, after the first movie established that Thanos killed her real parents and raised her as his “favorite” and own. While the relationship between her and her sister Nebula (who was also adopted and kidnapped but much more abused), was a large part of her arc, one has to think that a large part of Infinity War will end up being about the betrayal Thanos feels when both of his “daughters” turn on him. Gamora was essentially considered the most feared assassin in the Galaxy at the beginning of Guardians of the Galaxy, after a lifetime of doing Thanos’ bidding essentially against her will. It’ll be great to see her turn those finely tuned skills against Thanos with her “sister” by her side. It wouldn’t be too awful if she used this opportunity to follow through one way or the other on the “will they/won’t they”, “Sam and Diane” relationship she has with Star-Lord as well. It’d be quite refreshing if they ended up deciding on the “Won’t they”, as well.
In the comics, Drax was brought back to life specifically to kill Thanos (hence the nickname “The Destroyer”). While his goal is to kill Thanos (after Ronan) in the movies, the reasoning behind it is completely different and much sadder. The first movie finds Drax at the Kiln, the worst prison in the Galaxy, after essentially killing anyone and everyone he blames for the death of his wife and daughter at the hands of Ronan the Accuser. After the Guardians combine to kill Ronan in the first film, Drax essentially states that because Ronan was working on behalf of Thanos, it is Thanos “That he really needs to kill”. Considering the trouble he had while fighting Ronan even before the Power Stone powered him up and the fact that Ronan’s number two warned him that Thanos was the “Most powerful being in the universe” (and outside of some sort of third party intervention (See next)) I can’t imagine that Drax will have that large of a role in killing Thanos, unless Thanos is allergic to people who take things literally.
6. Rocket Raccoon
Guardians of the Galaxy writer/director James Gunn has stated that Rocket Raccoon is his favorite character in the movies. While that’s ironic as he’s perhaps been the least explored character of the bunch, he’s probably the most important character in the Guardians. He’s the Tony Stark of the group, as he is the tech-guru who upgrades all of their tech and is seemingly able to make extremely dangerous weapons out of nothing. Some of the upgrades in the most recent Guardians film are flight suits that, while rough on one’s nipples, show how talented Rocket is at upgrading the rest of the Guardians. On top of that, the scene where Rocket single-handedly takes down nearly every Ravager shows how powerful he is as a fighter as well. You have to think that he’s been working on something special for Thanos since the end of the first film and that that something will come in handy when he meets the Avengers in Infinity War. Stark is preparing for something he doesn’t know, Rocket is preparing for something he does. That’s the difference.
Nebula aligned herself with Ronan in the first Guardians movie as she saw him as the only way to escape the clutches of Thanos, essentially telling Ronan that she would help him destroy a thousand planets if he killed Thanos. That hatred was further explored in Volume 2 after she explained that she was trying to kill her adopted sister Gamora because she was responsible for the torture she endured on a daily basis (By beating her in sparring matches, after which Nebula had different body parts replaced by machinery). While that’s awful it may actually end up aiding Nebula in her fight against her “Father”. Let’s hope that at the very least she isn’t treated the way she is in the comics, where she’s left in a state somewhere between life and death for most of it. However, that does give her the chance to steal the Gauntlet when Thanos lets his guard down, so she may end up having the largest role of anyone in the movie after all.
One of the five post credit scenes after Volume 2 shows that Baby Groot had grown to be sarcastic, teenage Groot. That’s because the events of Volume 2 actually take place in 2014, shortly after the events of the first movie. So, the Guardians that we see in Infinity War will have had a lot of time after the events of Volume 2, which may allow for relationships to grow and change and for Groot to perhaps return to his original size. He’s one of the more powerful characters in the movies so he’s definitely going to need to be back to full-strength if the heroes stand a chance. However, you’d think that writer/director James Gunn would love to mine a teenage Groot for as much comedy as possible, so you never know. There’s also been some speculation as of late that Groot is actually Yggdrasil, the tree of life from Norse mythology that has been mentioned in the Thor films as well. While that seems really strange, even for cosmic Marvel, you have to think that the chance for a joke is too strong that Thor won’t at least mention it, once he finally meets Groot.
Vision is the most powerful hero that the movies have introduced thus far. That’s right, stronger than Thor and stronger than the Hulk. We see this in the scene in Civil War where Hawkeye hits him in the face with a telescoping baton while he doesn’t move a single inch. Actually nearly everything he does shows his strength, except making dinner or using doors correctly. That’s because he’s made from Vibranium that allows him to change his density from next to nothing to the weight of a planet and also because he’s powered by an Infinity Stone. That means that for Thanos to complete the Gauntlet, he’ll have to rip it out of Vision’s forehead, something that could mean the end for the character. Since Thanos is powerful enough to do that, it means that he is definitely as formidable as he is in the comics, which could make him the most interesting villain to date in the MCU.
2. Dr. Strange
The Infinity Gauntlet storyline in the comics start at Dr. Strange’s Sanctum Sanctorum and he ends up being one of the main characters in the story (Teleporting characters around until the surviving members get together to discuss the threat and how to attack it). Considering the Sling Ring’s from his 2016 film have the ability to teleport people between dimensions, you’d have to think that that’ll be the way that the heroes end up getting from earth to Thanos’ home (assuming they fight in space, as opposed to away from Earth). Realistically though, it’d make more sense for Thanos to attack earth, which would bring Star-Lord back to earth, his “Terra”. Considering Strange is one of the few characters that can wield magic in the MCU combined with the fact that he’s protecting one of the Infinity Stones in the Time Stone, you have to expect that he will be an integral part of the film (and the future of the MCU, considering his character has so much in common with Tony Stark, personality wise).
1. The Rest…
While that seems like a lot of characters it’s only the beginning. On top of the above, the following have been confirmed as well: Mantis, Loki, Black Panther, Black Widow, Hawkeye, Scarlet Witch, Falcon, Winter Soldier, Nick Fury, Maria Hill, Wong, M’Baku/Man-Ape and Okoye. And that’s just the heroes! A few villains have been shown but not confirmed yet, so this movie could end up reaching close to the 67 characters after all.