- Avengers: Infinity War release date: Part 1 - 4 May 2018 (US)/27 April 2018 (UK). Part 2 - 3 May 2019 (US)/26 April 2019 (UK)
- Directors: Anthony Russo and Joe Russo
- Cast: Robert Downey Jr, Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, Josh Brolin
- Writers: Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely
Avengers: Infinity War movies are the culmination of the Marvel Cinematic Universe
Avengers: Infinity War is largely expected to be a finale of sorts to the Marvel Cinematic Universe's mega-popular superhero movies. As producer Jeremy Latcham put it during a Q&A last year, “It's not the end of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but I think it is the end of part of it, for sure. We're still trying to sort out which parts.”
This year, Marvel clarified that part 1 is now called Avengers: Infinity War, while part 2 is so far untitled. "There's a reason we have publicly called the first one 'Infinity War' and the second one 'Untitled', because the movies we were developing were not - certainly there's a connection, there are with all our movies - but it's not a first part and a second part," Feige clarified at a recent event. "It's a whole movie and a whole story, and then a whole movie and a whole story. That's about all I can say."
Avengers: Infinity War release date comes in twos
Avengers: Infinity War (aka Part 1) and its untitled sequel (previously known as Part 2) arrive on May 8, 2018 and May 3, 2019 respectively in the US, and a week earlier in both cases in the UK. This is what these movies have been building up to ever since Samuel L Jackson rocked up as Nick Fury in 2008’s Iron Man to pitch Tony Stark the Avengers initiative. Later, in 2012’s Avengers, we saw the cosmic mad titan Thanos make an appearance in the post-credits, suggesting Marvel had a plan for where all this was going. Infinity War could be the end of the road for some of our favourite superheroes.
Avengers: Infinity War directors are Civil War veterans
After writer and director Joss Whedon backed away from the Avengers following what sounded like an exhausting shoot on Age of Ultron, Marvel turned to the Russo brothers, directors of Captain America: The Winter Soldier, one of the MCU’s best films to date. With the duo rolling straight from that onto Civil War, a brilliant Cap film that actually has more superheroes on-screen than both Avengers movies, they appear to be the perfect choice.
In the same spirit, writers Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely, who wrote all three vastly different Captain America films, are scripting Infinity War.
Avengers: Infinity War story finally focuses on Thanos and the Infinity Stones
As shown at the end of Age of Ultron, Thanos has the Infinity Gauntlet and he’s looking for the Infinity Stones, which combined give him unprecedented power over the universe. There are six in total, and we’ve seen five of them so far. We know there’s the Mind Stone, currently residing on Vision’s forehead. The Power Stone from Guardians of the Galaxy was left with the Nova Corps. The Space Stone was taken back to Asgard at the end of The Avengers, fuelling the Tesseract in that movie. Then there’s the Aether, or Reality Stone, seen in the disappointing Thor: The Dark World, and left in The Collector’s care in the movie’s post-credits. There's the Time Stone, which appeared in 2016's Doctor Strange inside the Eye of Agamotto - we even get to see its time-shifting powers in action. That just leaves the Soul Stone, which will appear at some point during Marvel's Phase Three.
The name Infinity War comes from a Marvel comic book crossover in 1992, itself a sequel to 1991’s The Infinity Gauntlet by writer Jim Starlin and artist Ron Lim. It’s likely that the story is based on Infinity Gauntlet rather than War, as it sees Thanos gather the Infinity Gems and take control of life and death in the universe, wiping out many of the Marvel heroes we know and love in the process (though eventually the deaths are undone).
Expect the biggest roster of any superhero movie to date. "We have so many characters we’re dealing with. We’re breaking ground on Avengers: Infinity War,” co-director Joe Russo said in January. “We have a board with 67 characters on it.” They later corrected that to 68 characters in both movies. They won’t all be superheroes, of course, but clearly a lot of them will be.
The Russos also described Infinity War as everything in the MCU coming together for a conclusion of sorts in an interview with Collider. “Infinity War is meant to be the culmination of the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe up to that point. It’s very ambitious in its scope, it wants to take everything that you’ve seen before and coalesce into some kinda of climactic ending. It’s complicated, ambitious storytelling.”
Expect some Avengers to die, and for other less obvious choices to get more of a spotlight in Infinity War. Speaking at Wizard World Chicago in January, Joe Russo explained that phase four of the Marvel Cinematic Universe will more prominently feature new Avengers characters, “then maybe some Avengers might not be around anymore.” Ominous, eh? They also explained that Infinity War will see some characters who haven’t had a major storyline yet become main characters this time around. “I think you'll see that the supporting Avengers are going to become primary Avengers.” Hawkeye, could this be your time to shine?
2018’s Black Panther movie will be one to watch for build-up to Infinity War. Kevin Feige revealed in an interview with Empire that, “T'Challa's story is very important to us as it links to the next Avengers films, which is why we brought it forward." That film will now release in February 2018 rather than its original July date.
Then, of course, at the end of Captain America: Civil War, we left the Avengers in a fractured state. Iron Man, War Machine, and Vision form the meekest Avengers team to date, while Cap, Falcon and company split away as fugitives from the Sokovia Accords and Secretary Ross. In Infinity War, we will see what happens when the Avengers come together again. "The divisions that happened at the end of Civil War were so deep they’re not the kind of things you can resolve or move through off camera," Anthony Russo told The Independent. "They’re the kind of things you have to directly deal with in the storytelling."
Avengers Infinity War cast features... EVERYONE
Expect a gigantic ensemble for the two movies. Some are confirmed, others aren't. Here's everything we know.
Robert Downey Jr. will be returning for Avengers: Infinity War as Tony Stark - Marvel confirmed this in 2013. Chris Evans revealed in 2014 that he had a six-picture contract with Marvel, leaving Infinity War as his last one (that Thor: The Dark World cameo didn’t count) - though he has expressed interest in continuing to work with Marvel beyond this. Sebastian Stan, who plays the Winter Soldier, has a nine-picture contract. According to this THR story, he'll be in Infinity War, too, having been stashed in Wakanda at the end of Civil War, after having his arm shot off by Tony Stark.
Chris Hemsworth is in for Infinity War and his upcoming Thor sequel as the god of thunder. Samuel L Jackson has two of his nine contracted films left - expect Nick Fury, the man who united the Avengers to be back for Infinity War, especially after he skipped Civil War. Mark Ruffalo is contracted for six films to play The Hulk and he’s only done four so far, assuming his excellent cameo in Iron Man 3 even counts - he’ll almost certainly be back. Speaking of which, there’s no reliable information on Scarlett Johansson's contract with Marvel - but you’d hope Marvel would move heaven and earth to keep one of its only prominent female superheroes. Plus, her arc ended ambiguously in Civil War. Tom Hiddleston’s Loki is locked in for six films and could appear, in theory.
Outside of the Avengers’ original circle, Chadwick Boseman’s Black Panther is locked in for five movies - making him a safe bet for at least one part of Infinity War. Meanwhile, Guardians of the Galaxy’s Chris Pratt had this to say to GQ when asked about Star Lord’s future in the Marvel Universe: "...I’m tied to doing three more, or five more, Guardians of the Galaxy or whatever it is, you know, two more Guardians plus another couple..." Adding fuel to the fire, Anthony Russo strongly suggested that Chris Pratt will be part of the cast.
Paul Rudd’s Ant-Man is an unknown quantity for the next two Avengers movies, but given that Evangeline Lilly confirmed that The Wasp will appear in the second of the two films, we can assume they're something of a package deal.
Anthony Mackie’s Falcon and Paul Bettany’s The Vision are expected to return. Josh Brolin is playing primary antagonist Thanos once again in Infinity War, having appeared in Age of Ultron's post-credits sequence. Here's a picture of the actor rehearsing with the Russos in a mo-cap suit, via the brothers' Facebook page:
And what of Marvel’s increasingly impressive roster of Netflix characters, like Daredevil, Jessica Jones, The Punisher, Iron Fist and Luke Cage? Marvel’s TV and film production divisions are not necessarily in sync - last year a shake-up within the company granted the film division more autonomy. They’re different parts of the company. They share the same universe, in theory, but so far it’s been a one-way street from film to TV. When asked about the two mediums crossing over, Feige mentioned the more immediate production schedule of a TV show complicates things, but also commented, “but going forward and as they get to do more shows, and cast them with such great actors they have, particularly in the Daredevil show, that may occur.”
More recently, Feige was asked again by Collider, and had this to say. "I think it’s extremely impressive what Netflix has done and it will be the same answer I always give, which is, 'It all depends on timing.' It all depends on how to do it because I don’t think what anybody wants to do is have such important characters show up for one second." Right now, consider the Defenders unlikely.
As for the Marvel Cinematic Universe's more recent additions, Benedict Cumberbatch's Doctor Strange will be in Infinity War, as well his co-star Benedict Wong. Brie Larson's Captain Marvel seems very likely given the cosmic nature of the character and the film's storyline. Finally, Tom Holland's Spider-Man hasn't been confirmed for Infinity War yet. At NYCC, Holland commented it's all 'up in the air'. "I believe some sort of deal is in the mix, but I’m unclear as to what that deal is,” he explained.