From Ant-Man to War Machine: all the Marvel heroes you need to know for Avengers: Infinity War
It’s the ultimate superhero crossover film. Avengers: Infinity War, the long-awaited culmination of all the Marvel adventures to date, brings together all of our favourite heroes to fight the ultimate Big Bad.
Thanos (Josh Brolin), a Titan with immense power and strength, is seeking the six Infinity Gems with an intent to destroy half the universe. Naturally, every superhero on earth will answer the call to defeat him if needed. Avengers: Infinity War has got to be by far the biggest cast of superheroes ever assembled, with eighteen (!!) previous Marvel movies available to draw characters from.
If you haven’t recently seen all of the films, you might not recall exactly where the various Avengers and their allies stand or even where in the universe they are. To refresh your memory and get you fully prepped for the most epic Marvel film ever, we’re running down who we expect will join the battle against Thanos, and where they’re at heading into Avengers: Infinity War. (Alphabetically, because even though we have faves we don’t play favourites.)
Captured after the events of Captain America: Civil War and detained at the Raft super-prison, Scott Lang aka Ant-Man (Paul Rudd) was presumably sprung out by Steve Rogers, formerly Captain America (Chris Evans). We know family - specifically, his young daughter - is extremely important to Scott Lang, and the last time he came to the aid of his hero it landed him in jail, jeopardizing his access to her. If Cap calls on him again, will he be the bigger man and help out? Or, will he be too busy stopping mega-villains with The Wasp? If we don't find out Ant-Man's business in Infinity War, we'll just have to wait until this summer's Ant-Man and The Wasp.
King T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman) has regained his throne and the moniker of Black Panther, defender of Wakanda, after defeating the challenger Erik Killmonger (Michael B. Jordan). He’s declared his readiness to end centuries of isolation by bringing Wakanda’s advanced knowledge and tech to the world, by opening the first Wakandan outreach centre in Oakland, California, to be headed by his genius sister Shuri (Letitia Wright). We know from the Avengers: Infinity War trailers that he also has Okoye (Danai Gurira), head of his royal guard, by his side, and we can guess that the mysterious element vibranium and the Wakandan technology built with it will play a part in the fight against Thanos.
Natasha Romanoff (Scarlett Johansson) has had a tough ride lately. Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) left the planet just as they were beginning to bond, in part (we think) because Hulk's alter ego Bruce Banner has a deep fear of intimacy. Then the events of Civil War ripped the Avengers apart and forced her to choose sides between her closest allies. Will she be embittered by these events, or take them in stride and start fresh? We can’t wait to see what happens when she’s reunited with old friends and old flames in the fight of their lives!
Steve Rogers put it all on the line to fight for what he felt was right in Captain America: Civil War. At the end of the movie, he gave up his title and his shield as a consequence of siding against ceding control of the Avengers to the U.N. But he hasn’t given up the heroics – after all, he did return to the Raft prison to break out his allies. He’s probably feeling a bit conflicted about his identity and where he stands in the pantheon of heroes, but we’re willing to bet that if anything threatens the planet he will be the first to sign up to defend it. He’s just that kind of stand-up guy.
With the help of the Time Stone, Doctor Steven Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) saved earth from Dormammu and the Dark Dimension, and is now the guardian of the New York Sanctum. His mission, and the main task of the other sorcerers trained by the Ancient One, is to protect earth from inter-dimensional threats using the mystic arts. We know from his cameo in Thor: Ragnarok that Strange keeps a "watch list" of entities that might pose a threat to Earth; if Thanos isn't Threat One on that list, he will be soon, and we predict that Strange will do whatever it takes to keep the Time Stone from falling into Thanos’ hands.
Captured after the events of Civil War and detained at the Raft super-prison, then presumably helped to escape by Steve Rogers, we have absolutely no doubt that Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackie) won't hesitate to suit up and answer the call to defend Earth. He'd consider it no less than his sworn duty.
The Guardians of the Galaxy
If there’s one thing all of these heroes have in common, it’s their daddy issues. The de facto leader of the Guardians, Star-Lord (Chris Pratt), just lost his birth father and his adoptive father at virtually the same time (at the climax of Guardians of the Galaxy vol. 2). Granted, one had to be destroyed lest he destroy the universe, and the other was sacrificing himself to save Star-Lord from certain doom – but still, it’s a lot to process. While Star-Lord has his friends – Drax (Dave Bautista), Gamora (Zoe Saldana), Rocket (voiced by Bradley Cooper), Groot (voiced by Vin Diesel), and now Mantis (Pom Klementieff) – by his side, he may be feeling a little raw.
But he's not the only one with family squabbles: Thanos is Gamora’s adoptive father, and while they definitely have strong differences of opinion regarding torture, massacre, and the destruction of galaxies, he may try to sway her to his side.
Clint Barton (Jeremy Renner) was imprisoned in the Raft along with the others who sided with Cap in Civil War; presumably he escaped with Steve Rogers’ help and is finally retired and living the quiet life on his farm with his wife and kids. Will he come out of retirement again to fight Thanos?
At the end of Thor: Ragnarok, the big green guy seems to be in a relatively good place – he’s back to being Bruce Banner again, he's reunited with his Avengers teammate Thor (Chris Hemsworth), he met some new friends, and he's headed back to Earth after spending some alone time on Sakaar. What we’re most curious about is how he’s going to greet Black Widow after his prolonged absence; just as an inkling of romance started to bloom between them, he took off. You should never ghost on a trained assassin, that's just rude!
The original Avengers may have split up after the events of Captain America: Civil War, but Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) seems to be holding true to his vision of uniting a team of heroes to protect the planet, as he invited young Peter Parker aka Spider-Man (Tom Holland) to join the Avengers at the end of Spider-Man: Homecoming. Does this mean he’s ready to forgive Steve Rogers and Bucky Barnes for the sake of uniting against Thanos? We’ll find out!
Captured after the events of Civil War and detained at the Raft superprison, Wanda Maximoff (Elizabeth Olsen) was presumably sprung out of prison by Steve Rogers, as she's seen in the Avengers: Infinity War trailer to be currently canoodling with Vision (Paul Bettany). Don't call us 'shippers just yet, but it looks like the friendship between Wanda and Vision might be deepening into something more. Hopefully they get some alone time before Thanos comes after them.
Although he pestered Tony Stark all throughout Spider-Man: Homecoming to make him an official part of The Avengers, once he got the offer Peter turned Stark down, preferring to remain a friendly neighbourhood hero. Given what we’ve seen of the action in the Avengers: Infinity War trailer, it looks like he’s going to get the chance to saddle up with the rest of the team whether he’s ready or not.
The Asgardian god of thunder is in a bad way heading into Avengers: Infinity War: he’s just lost his father, Hela destroyed his magic hammer AND slashed out his eye, and the entire realm of Asgard was obliterated during Ragnarok. Granted, he did manage to save the people of Asgard, and he’s headed to Earth surrounded by new friends and allies -- and one frenemy, his adopted brother Loki (Tom Hiddleston). Still, he's got to be feeling a bit vulnerable at the moment; being officially homeless will do that to you. But judging by the end credits sequence after Thor: Ragnarok, he and his friends might be the first to encounter Thanos. Will they even reach Earth?
The sentient android sided with Iron Man in Civil War, and is presumably still with The Avengers. We'll have to wait and see if being on opposite sides in Civil War derailed his close relationship with Scarlet Witch. He’ll certainly play a major role in Infinity War, considering Vision is rocking some pretty powerful forehead bling that will attract some attention from Thanos.
James “Rhodey” Rhodes (Don Cheadle) paid the heaviest price of all for entering into battle in Civil War – an errant light beam from Vision’s forehead disabled the War Machine armour while Rhodey was mid-flight, and the subsequent crash left him partially paralyzed. Luckily his pal Tony Stark was on hand to help with his rehabilitation, and we have no doubt Stark will invent the coolest exoskeletal leg braces ever to help his loyal friend walk again.
The Winter Soldier
Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan) found sanctuary in Wakanda after Captain America: Civil War, entering cryogenic sleep until a cure for the Hydra brainwashing that turned him into an unwilling supersoldier can be found. Will Wakandan tech give Bucky the new lease on life he so desperately desires? The post- credits scene at the end of Black Panther certainly seems to point in that direction. Welcome to the party, White Wolf.
As for the ultimate villain, Thanos... We know that he seeks the infinity stones and has been coveting them since he first appeared in The Avengers and in The Guardians of the Galaxy. But where are the stones?
- The Time Stone – Rests inside the Eye of Agamotto pendant around Doctor Strange’s neck. Given his penchant for expensive watches, we’re certain Doctor Strange won’t part with his prized jewelry easily.
- The Reality Stone or Aether – Recovered from the Dark Elves, it was last seen in the hands of The Collector at the end of Thor: The Dark World. Given that the The Collector’s collection kind of... blew up in Guardians of the Galaxy, it could be anywhere.
- The Mind Stone – After recovering the stone from Loki’s sceptre after the events of The Avengers, Tony Stark and Bruce Banner used it to give life to Ultron (which turned out to be a BIG mistake). Ultron implanted it in the android Vision, where it remains. For now, anyway.
- The Space Stone or Tesseract – we last saw it in safekeeping in Asgard. We know Loki was the last one to visit Odin’s treasure room, at the end of Thor: Ragnarok. Did he pocket the Tesseract? We wouldn’t put it past the trickster to pull something like that!
- The Power Stone or Orb – After Star-Lord recovered it from Ronin, it was last seen locked up at Nova Corps on Xandar at the end of The Guardians of the Galaxy.
- The Soul Stone – Unknown. Speculations abound, but the fact is we won't know for sure until the Infinity War unfolds.
Will Thanos succeed in his quest to obtain all six gems? We’re on the edge of our seats with anticipation waiting to see how all of these characters will come together in Avengers: Infinity War when it reaches theatres on April 27th!