Those genius blockbuster architects behind the Marvel Cinematic Universe have spent a decade and 18 films building to one, singular event: the Infinity War. As far back as 2010’s Iron Man 2, teases from slight to overt have appeared in nearly every MCU film. Now, it’s all coming together for the biggest superhero showdown ever in next year’s Avengers: Infinity War.
Due out May 4th, 2018, the third Avengers film is more a sequel to everything than just 2015’s Avengers: Age of Ultron or even last year’s Captain America: Civil War. The Big Bad behind most of the chaos in the MCU, Thanos (Josh Brolin), has watched from afar as the universe’s heroes have thwarted his plans to obtain the Infinity Stones time and time again. Now, with his Black Order at his side, Thanos is on a quest for the Stones himself, and it will take every good guy from Ant-Man to Thor to stop him.
Infinity War brings together a massive cast featuring all the stars from the past MCU films, including (deep breath) Robert Downey Jr. (Iron Man), Chris Evans (Captain America), Scarlett Johansson (Black Widow), Chris Hemsworth (Thor), Mark Ruffalo (Hulk), Elizabeth Olsen (Scarlet Witch), Jeremy Renner (Hawkeye), Don Cheadle (War Machine), Anthony Mackie (Falcon), Paul Bettany (Vision), Sebastian Stan (Winter Soldier), Tom Hiddleston (Loki), Gwyneth Paltrow (Pepper Pots), Jon Favreau (Happy Hogan), Tom Holland (Spider-Man), Benedict Cumberbatch (Dr. Strange), Benedict Wong (Wong), Paul Rudd (Ant-Man), Chadwich Boseman (Black Panther), Letitia Wright (Shuri), Danai Gurira (Okoye), Chris Pratt (Star-Lord), Zoe Saldana (Gamora), Dave Bautista (Drax), Vin Diesel (Groot), Bradley Cooper (Rocket Racoon), Pom Klementieff (Mantis), Karen Gillan (Nebula), and Benicio Del Toro (The Collector).
Newcomers — yep, they’re adding folks — include Tom Vaughan-Lawlor as Ebony Maw and Terry Notary as Cull Obsidian (at least the motion capture work), both members of Thanos’ Black Order with Corvus Glaive and Proxima Midnight. (It’s currently unknown who portrays the latter two, though that’s clearly Proxima tossing her spear at a shadowy Captain America in the trailer.) Cobie Smolders, Tessa Thompson, and Jacob Batalon are rumored to be reprising their respective roles as Maria Hill, Valkyrie, and Ned, while Peter Dinklage was reportedly in talks for a key role, though his casting has yet to be confirmed.
Wrangling all those stars together is the directing duo of Joe and Anthony Russo. As they did with the past two Captain America films, they worked from a script by Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely.
To recap, the Infinity Stones are the source of much power in the MCU. Audiences were first introduced to the Space Stone in the form of the Tesseract from Captain America: The First Avenger. After it helped open the Chitauri portal in Avengers, it was locked on Asgard, which was (spoiler) recently destroyed in Thor: Ragnarok. The theory goes that Loki stashed it when he went to Odin’s treasure chamber at the end of the film. Perhaps he was trying to replace the Mind Stone, which was originally in his scepter and now serves as the power source to Vision. The Reality Stone took on the form of the Aether in Thor: The Dark World before being added to the Collector’s collection in the post-credits scene. Since that room was destroying in GotG, the Reality Stone’s current location is up in the air. The Power Stone is under the protection of the Nova Corps. on Xander following the events of GotG, while the Time Stone is being worn by Doctor Strange as the Eye of Agamotto. The final stone, the Soul Stone, has yet to make an appearance, but fans are speculating it has something to do with that ominous cocoon at the end of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2.