The Avengers: Infinity War movies are only a couple years away, and by all accounts, they’re going to be the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s biggest entries yet. Maybe even the biggest superhero movies ever. With something so gigantic in scope, we’d of course expect a lot of important characters from this franchise to appear, and at one point, it was said by directors Joe and Anthony Russo that as many as 67 people would appear in the two-part superhero epic. Where does this number come from? Well, basically it’s the number of individuals from the years of MCU history who are still kicking and available to return.

During the recent Captain America: Civil War junket in Los Angeles, our own Eric Eisenberg spoke with screenwriters Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely, who are also penning the Avengers: Infinity War movies, and they set the record straight about where that "67" number came from. Asked to explain the impressive figure, the duo went back and forth saying,
Stephen McFeely: There was a moment where Chris and I, on the set [of Captain America: Civil War], so we signed the deal in April or May or something and then immediately went to Atlanta. And we had every character.

Christopher Markus: We had an office with a bulletin board. Wrote down every last person who could conceivably be alive and, you know, more or less in the same dimension.

Stephen McFeely: So, that’s a very big number, when the brothers say 75, that’s about right… I think we took them in the office and they went [makes muttering sound].

When asked if this number included characters seen on Marvel television shows – such as Daredevil, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. or Jessica Jones - Stephen McFeely’ response was a straight-up "No comment." What they could confirm is that the movie will also introduce particular characters to the Marvel Cinematic Universe who haven’t been previously adapted, basically because they are needed in order to execute the Infinity War story properly. Said Christopher Markus,
There are characters integral to telling that story, most of them have at least been touched on, but you need to bring a few in. The evolution of the MCU is going to be bringing people in that we need to bring in.

We already have a pretty clear idea of who the main players of The Avengers: Infinity War will be, as Robert Downey Jr. (Iron Man), Chris Hemsworth (Thor), Chris Evans (Captain America), Mark Ruffalo (Hulk), Jeremy Renner (Hawkeye), Elizabeth Olsen (Scarlet Witch) and Josh Brolin (Thanos) have all been confirmed to appear in at least one of the Avengers: Infinity War movies – though there has also been some talk about Chris Pratt bringing in his Star-Lord character. Tom Hiddleston and Samuel L. Jackson are also reportedly reprising Loki and Nick Fury, respectively. So already we have an impressive collection of performers who have left their mark on the MCU, but we can expect a lot more integral players to be announced in the future. Just think about all of the key side characters we’ve seen in the last eight years of Marvel Studios films – from Gwenyth Paltrow’s Pepper Potts to Tim Blake Nelson’s Dr. Samuel Sterns to Kat Dennings’ Darcy. All of those people could potentially find their moment in Infinity War.

The Avengers: Infinity War movies are being seen as the culmination of everything that’s happened in the MCU since it began in 2008, and even though Phase Four is a given at this point, this fictional world is going to look a lot different following its aftermath. Given the number of characters we can expect to see from the history of the cinematic universe in the movie, it will be fascinating to see where those various threads lead.

With production on both movies beginning at the end of the year in Atlanta, Georgia, Avengers: Infinity War Part 1 hits theaters on May 4, 2018, and Avengers: Infinity War Part 2 will follow on May 3, 2019.

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