After a decade of buildup and years of waiting, the biggest comic book movie in history finally arrives when Avengers: Infinity War hits theaters next month. The film begins the culmination of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Excitement is already at a fever pitch for this movie, which will tie into every other MCU title. Infinity War promises to bring together almost all the heroes of Marvel's universe to battle Thanos as the Mad Titan tries to acquire all of the Infinity Stones. The movie looks to be every bit as fun, epic and awe-inspiring as the most hardcore of fanboys could wish for.
With a few trailers worth of footage and lots of insight from the directors and cast, we are finally getting a pretty good idea of what this movie will be. Although we can paint a picture with broad strokes, there are still a lot of unknowns about Infinity War. Part of the mystery stems from the fact that the MCU post-Avengers 4 is a secret. We know we're getting a sequel to Spider-Man: Homecoming and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 but beyond that we are in the dark. Heck, even the title of Avengers 4 remains an enigma. The lack of an established future creates for a great deal of uncertainty in Infinity War. With everything so up in the air, few characters are safe and we are preparing for all manner of surprises, craziness and heartbreak.
So, with all of that in mind, here are the questions we're wondering about as we wait for destiny to arrive in Avengers: Infinity War.
What Is The Avengers' Plan To Fight Thanos?
The most recent trailer gives us an idea that the Avengers learn ahead of time that Thanos is on his way, which at least allows them to prepare a defensive strategy on home turf. Tony Stark can be heard talking about using what Thanos wants, so that does raise the possibility that they will use the Infinity Stones. But with the Mind Stone already in Vision's forehead and the Time Stone in Doctor Strange's Eye of Agomotto, those two are basically already weaponized. I think there is a good possibility that Vision is sent to Wakanda to hide and perhaps to lure Thanos in. The African nation is the most technologically advanced place on Earth, and thus stands the best chance of defending itself against the Mad Titan and the Black Order. There is also an instance in the trailer where Tony Stark and Peter Quill are debating the merits of a plan as a bemused Peter Parker looks on. This seems to be a different part of the movie and may involve them going to space or attacking Thanos' ship, Will Smith and Jeff Goldblum style.
What's Up With Hawkeye And Ant-Man?
Absences that initially seemed like oversights that would be remedied with subsequent trailers have become impossible to ignore with each passing trailer and poster that doesn't feature these two characters. We know that both Clint Barton and Scott Lang are in this movie, so they are clearly being held back for some reason. What's interesting is that we haven't even got a quick shot of either, so does that mean that seeing them at all would reveal some spoilerish detail? The Russo Brothers have spoken about Hawkeye being on his own journey in this film in the wake of the events of Captain America: Civil War. There has been speculation that the character will adopt the Ronin identity in this film and that's why he's being held back. As for Ant-Man, he has his own sequel movie hitting after Infinity War although it appears to take place before the cosmic clash. Maybe these two characters come in for a major save at the end or maybe they are on their own secret crucial side mission in the film, possibly looking for the Soul Stone.
What Will The Flashbacks Reveal About Thanos?
After pulling strings behind the scenes for years, Thanos finally comes to the fore in Infinity War. The villain is one of the main characters in the film and will drive the story. We haven't learned much about Thanos in his limited MCU appearances thus far but Infinity War will be employing flashbacks to give us a crash course on the fearsome villain. The film already looks to be changing Thanos' motivations from the comics, where he is trying to impress Death. Despite being compared to Darth Vader, Thanos will be channeling his inner Jedi in Infinity War by trying to bring balance to the universe... by wiping out half of it. Why he thinks it is out of balance is an interesting thing that these flashbacks will hopefully explore. They could also show us more of Nebula and Gamora's childhood, and the reasons that Thanos will not be winning any father of the year contests. It would also be cool to see how Thanos came to power. Flashbacks can build up the menace of Thanos, explore his mythology and give the audience reason to invest in his story.
Who Lives, And Who Dies?
This is one of the big ones. With contracts up, the end of an era and the seriousness of the threat, it's probably safe to say that not everyone is making it out of this movie. Certain characters are likely safe: Black Panther and Spider-Man have bright cinematic futures to live for. The trailers tease quite a few characters in serious danger, including Vision and Doctor Strange. However the real fan concern is for the fates of Tony Stark, Steve Rogers and Thor. All of them appear to take on Thanos in the trailers and we can see anyone of them sacrificing themselves to save their team or the Earth. Co-director Joe Russo said that Thor has a very important role in this film and as one of the most powerful Avengers, I can see him making a heroic final stand. Of course, people have suspected Cap will be killed off for some time now and with multiple characters that could pick up the mantle, his time may have finally come. I can make a case for each of these three to bite the dust, but I struggle to see how everyone survives.
Will We See The Soul Stone?
For those of you keeping score at home, five of the incalculably powerful Infinity Stones are accounted for, with only the orange Soul Stone still in the wind. The film may change things up, but the Soul Stone possesses the power to manipulate souls and preserve life after death. We thought it might show up in Black Panther but that didn't happen. It is possible that it is still in Wakanda and is the source of the heart-shaped herb's panacea and ancestral plane properties but maybe not. It could be hidden any number of places and there are plenty of theories as to its location. Of course we may not even see it until Avengers 4 if the Thanos story is a two-film arc. Maybe it shows up in Ant-Man and the Wasp in the Quantum Realm or maybe the MIA Hawkeye is on a mission for it. Thanos could also already have it, making things especially difficult to prevent him from completing the set. There are a lot of guesses but no firm answers, making the final Infinity Stone the most fascinating of the bunch.
How Many Infinity Stones Will Thanos Get?
Following up on the previous question, we are wondering just how colorful Thanos' Infinity Gauntlet will get in Infinity War. For the most part in the trailers, he can be seen with two of the six. He's seen sporting the purple Power Stone, which means he must have taken it from the Nova Corps with whom it resided after Guardians of the Galaxy. The blue Space Stone almost certainly comes from Loki giving Thanos the Tesseract in what may prove a fatal mistake. Thanos may not even fill his gauntlet in Infinity War, especially if Avengers 4 continues his arc. Where things get especially interesting is if we consider marketing subterfuge. Thor had two eyes in the trailers for Thor: Ragnarok and based on that bit of trickery, Thanos could have more, fewer, or different Infinity Stones than he is seen with in the trailers. I have to imagine that before Thanos is finally defeated in the MCU, we will see him with a full gauntlet and the might of six Infinity Stones, but if that happens in this movie remains to be seen.
Why Aren't All The Heroes Together?
If you take a close look at the trailers, at who shows up where, you'll notice there's a locational divide. Infinity War seems to have at least three big locations: New York City, Wakanda and Space. In NYC, we see Wong, Spider-Man, Doctor Strange, Bruce Banner and Tony Stark defending the city. Presumably later in the film, we see the Guardians of the Galaxy teaming up with Iron Man & Co for what I'm guessing is the space mission. Over in Wakanda we see basically everyone else, including Cap, Widow, Vision, Wanda, Falcon, Rhodey and T'Challa. The only person we see in both NYC and Wakanda is Banner (I don't think Tony is in the Hulkbuster armor). So why is the Hulk the only one who makes the trip? Is this a divide and conquer strategy as different teams pursue different objectives? Hurt feelings from Civil War can't matter at a time like this, so maybe there is another reason why Tony's team isn't throwing down in Wakanda. Hopefully by the end they'll all come together for that huge airport-topping splash page battle we've heard about.
Will Infinity War End On A Cliffhanger?
Avengers: Infinity War is in a unique place to really go out with a bang. We have heard that the culmination of the MCU begins with this film and ends with Avengers 4. While the director's comments make it seem that these two films are not one big film with two parts as initially conceived, it does sound like there is a narrative through line between them. So it is possible that Infinity War could end on a cliffhanger that wouldn't be resolved until a year later with prequel films in between. What would such a cliffhanger entail you ask? This could be dark like The Empire Strikes Back ending. Teasing or delivering an Avenger death before the credits roll seems like a bold way to go. Thanos could also complete his goal, collecting all six Infinity Stones for his gauntlet at which point he delivers that iconic moment from the comics, snapping his fingers before the movie cuts to black, Sopranos style. Infinity War going out on a cliffhanger would be torturous and rage inducing, but it would also be ballsy and awesome.
What Surprises And Cameos Will There Be?
Okay, wild speculation time. As chock full of characters as Infinity War is, there are still some MCU characters who may or may not make an appearance. I can't help but feel like this film is ripe for fun cameos and people have been speculating for ages about who might show up. I don't think characters from Marvel's Netflix-verse will be in the film but the battle in NYC provides ample cameo opportunity. There is still hope for Agent Coulson to reunite with the Avengers and maybe do so alongside S.H.I.E.L.D. comrades Nick Fury and Maria Hill. There are also reasons to believe that Red Skull is alive and should be brought back to spread evil once again. The Wasp and Captain Marvel are likely being saved for the next film but you never know. Then there's the really crazy stuff that almost certainly won't happen, at least not yet, like an appearance by Wolverine, Nova, the Silver Surfer, the Fantastic Four or Adam Warlock. Still, I think that in a film this big and important, there are bound to be some fun surprises and at least a few cameos.