Avengers: Infinity War: Black Panther star joins cast, the end for Captain America, and everything you need to know

Fast Facts:

  • Avengers: Infinity War release date: May 4, 2018 (US)/April 27, 2018 (UK)
  • Directors: Anthony Russo, Joe Russo
  • Cast: Robert Downey Jr, Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, Josh Brolin
  • Writers: Christopher Markus, Stephen McFeely

Update: June 14, 2017 - Black Panther's Danai Gurira confirmed for Infinity War

Deadline is reporting that Black Panther's Danai Gurira (who you may also recognise as Michonne from The Walking Dead) will star in Avengers: Infinity War, presumably (AKA obviously) reprising her upcoming role as Okoye. We got our first look at the character in the recently released Black Panther teaser trailer and she kicked ass as one of the female warriors who watch over the royal family of Wakanda. What her purpose might be in Infinity War is anyone's guess but as Chadwick Boseman's Black Panther has long been confirmed for the sequel, wherever he'll be, Okoye will surely follow. 

Update: June 12, 2017 - Is Infinity War the end for Captain America?

(Image: © Marvel)

Chris Evans has revealed why he chose to extend his contract with Marvel Studios to include Avengers: Infinity War (and its sequel), and he may have inadvertently let slip that this could be the end of the line for Captain American. 

We know what that there's a good chance Avengers 4 will see some of the original superhero line-up bow out - Marvel has big plans for Phase 4 and the continuing success of the franchise hangs on them killing off some characters -  and now Chris Evans has hinted that Cap might be the one to go. 

Talking to The Telegraph he explained: "I had six films in my Marvel contract, so I could have said after the third Avengers I was done, but they wanted to make the third and fourth Avengers films as a two-parter..." So, why did he say yes? "because it made sense. It’s going to wrap everything up." 

It all sounds pretty final to me but he could just be talking about how Avengers: Infinity War and its sequel wraps things up for everyone. One thing is for sure, the end of the two-parter will see the MCU change drastically for good. 

Update: May 30, 2017 - Karen Gillan hasn't even seen her Infinity War script yet

Karen Gillan, better known as Nebula from the Guardians of the Galaxy movies, recently revealed that she hasn't even seen her Avengers: Infinity War script yet, despite the fact the movie has been filming for the better part of 2017. It doesn't appear to be a clerical error though - Marvel Studios is just desperate to keep things under wraps, which I can understand. Plus, it's unlikely that her role in the movie is huge as we know that the Guardians won't be overused. Time is running out though so I hope Gillan gets something in the post soon. 

Update: May 10, 2017 - check out all these amazing set photos!

Avengers: Infinity War is giving away all its secrets on Twitter. Well, technically, it's not Marvel Studios or the Russo brothers who are doing it, but if you're going to film scenes from one of the biggest movies of next year in public places, people are going to take pictures and post them to social media. Not that we're complaining because it gives us a sneak peek at what's going on, including the apparent blossoming romance between a very human-looking Vision and the Scarlet Witch (see above). If you want to check out all the Avengers: infinity War set photos we've found so far, here you go. You're welcome. 

Update: February 17, 2017 - Stranger Things' Millie Bobby Brown on Avengers set 

It's not a casting announcement or anything, but Stranger Things' Millie Bobby Brown was pictured on the set of Avengers: Infinity War recently, as posted on The Russo Brothers' Facebook page. A small role, perhaps? Or just dropping in to get a first look at the film? You decide. 

Update: February 14, 2017 - Avengers: Infinity War first look confirms Guardians and Spider-Man

The above video shows our first look at Avengers: Infinity War, as Robert Downey Jr, Chris Pratt, and Tom Holland share a scene as filming kicks off in Atlanta. Look carefully, and you'll also get a first glance of Thanos looking like some kind of purple Stone Cold Steve Austin, Thor teaming up with Rocket Raccoon, plus concept art of Tony Stark assembling more Iron Man suits for the war ahead. 

Update: February 7, 2017 - Avengers: Infinity War's main character is... Thanos?

As discussed in an interview with Marvel producer Kevin Feige on Screenrant, the studio has been listening to the criticism of focusing too much on its heroes rather than its villains - and Thanos, in some ways, is a response to that. "Thanos in Infinity War is, you know, in a movie that has a lot of characters, you could almost go so far as to say he is the main character, and that’s a bit of a departure from what we’ve done before, but that was appropriate for a movie called Infinity War."

That's not to say the numerous Marvel heroes in Infinity War won't get the spotlight too, of course. But it certainly sends a statement about how crucial the Mad Titan - and his Infinity Gauntlet - will be to this intergalactic Avengers movie. 

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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."

Infinity War began filming on January 23rd.

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

An Atlanta casting call is the most reliable source on who's returning for Avengers: Infinity War. This will be the biggest Marvel movie of all-time, no question. The casting call lists Chris Hemsworth as Thor, Josh Brolin as Thanos, Chris Pratt as Star Lord, Sebastian Stan as Bucky, Scarlett Johansson as Black Widow, Benedict Cumberbatch as Dr Strange, Brie Larson as Carol Danvers aka Captain Marvel, Zoe Saldana as Gamora, Dave Bautista as Drax, Karen Gillan as Nebula, Jeremy Renner as Hawkeye, Chris Evans as Cap, Elizabeth Olsen as Wanda Maximoff, Bradley Cooper as Rocket Raccoon, Vin Diesel as Groot, a returning Samuel L Jackson as Nick Fury, Paul Rudd as Ant-Man, Benedict Wong as Wong, Paul Bettany as Vision, Chadwick Boseman as Black Panther, Mark Ruffalo as The Hulk, Robert Downey Jr as Tony Stark, and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2's Pom Klementieff as Mantis. Phew! Is that enough MCU for you?

There aren't many huge surprises, there, except maybe Bucky - the end of Civil War certainly suggested we wouldn't see him for a while, as he was put into a freezing pod in Wakanda. Perhaps the Black Panther solo flick will see him thawed out. 

Who does that leave out, then? Well, Anthony Mackie's Falcon isn't on that list, nor is Tom Holland's Spider-Man or Don Cheadle's War Machine. The casting call is very likely incomplete, then, as we know Spidey's in Infinity War based on the videos released by Disney from the set. 

Given that Falcon survived Civil War intact, it's a near dead cert he'll turn up too. Benicio del Toro's Collector will also be in the film, according to the actor. Evangeline Lilly says her Wasp character will appear in the fourth Avengers film, and not Infinity War. Finally, Peter Dinklage has apparently been in talks for a role in the film.

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 - in 2015 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 very unlikely.

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Doctor Strange's Avengers: Infinity War appearance *might* involve another Marvel superteam

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