Ever since it was announced back in 2014 – then as the first of a more official two-parter – fans, writers, and everyone else with a vested interest in the Marvel Cinematic Universe have been wondering what will happen in Avengers: Infinity War.
Predictions, theories, and rumours have run the full gamut from the highly-possible to the completely preposterous, but now the movie is finally within touching (or rather, seeing) distance.
Thanks to the trailers, we have a fairly good idea of the movie’s broad strokes, from the various team-ups to the locations where the heroes will be battling Thanos and his Black Order. There are still some unknowns, too, like the location of the Soul Stone, whether the Gauntlet will be completed, and what the hell Hawkeye is up to.
The movie is taking its cues from both the 1991 Infinity Gauntlet comic and 2013’s Infinity storyline, while being its own unique thing as well. All of this means that, while there’s things we know will happen and a lot still up in the air, there are also moments that we can already say aren’t going to be taking place in Infinity War.
11. Thanos Courts Death
In order to become a villain worthy of the hype, Thanos needs a powerful motivation for collecting all the Infinity Stones and destroying half the universe.
In Infinity Gauntlet, the reason he does this is to court Death herself. A cosmic entity and the physical embodiment of death, Lady Death at first doesn’t see Thanos as an equal and, even after he’s assembled all the Gems on the Gauntlet she continues to reject him, leading him to wipe out half of the universe.
This was hinted at in Thanos’ first appearance, during the post-credits scene of The Avengers, when he turns and smirks at the words “court death”. Somewhere along the way, however, Marvel decided to would be a bit much to have literal Death involved in the movie, and even the notion of having Hela fill that role (as once rumoured) won’t be happeing.
Thanos is instead motivated by the destruction of his home planet Titan, and now he sees the same thing happening elsewhere – what he views as the universe being ruined and imbalanced – so he’s destroying half of it to save the rest.
10. Dancing With The Devil
It’s not just Death that Thanos is hanging out with during Infinity Gauntlet, but also the devil himself, Mephisto.
On the surface he appears as a sycophantic follower of Thanos, helping him learn about using and controlling the Infinity Gauntlet and offering advice on why his efforts to woo Death have failed. Underneath all that, though, he’s really manipulating Thanos into a position where he can be defeated. Turns out you can’t even trust the literal devil.
Like with Death, it appears Marvel aren’t keen on having the devil appear, and there’s not much room for the character anyway. Loki has understandably been mooted as a character who could fill in this role during the movie, and it’s a part he’d no doubt do well, but there appear to be other plans for him. His relationship with Thanos hasn’t been established enough, and although he’ll hand over the Space Stone it’ll be unwillingly, with Loki looking certain to be one of the movie’s biggest casualties.
9. Nebula Is Turned Into ‘Living Death’
While Thanos causes a lot of death in the comics, there’s a fate worse than it for his least-favourite daughter, Nebula.
After collecting all the Infinity Gems and still being rejected by Lady Death, Thanos takes out his anger and frustration on Nebula, freezing her in an agonising limbo between life and death. It looks horrific, although the Mad Titan himself considers it a work of art.
While Nebula should have a key role in the movie, especially given the secrecy surrounding it (she’s hardly been in any of the trailers), there’s not much point in this sequence without Death. And even if Death were in the movie, it’s hard to imagine Marvel going to this level of grotesque in what is still a family movie.
8. Marvel’s Netflix Characters Appear
Ever since Marvel announced they were making The Defenders, and the shows leading up to it, talk has swirled about where and when the characters might show up on the big screen. After all, they are in the MCU, and inhabit the same New York that we’ve seen in the movies.
Infinity War, then, has been pointed towards as the most logical point, given it’s bringing together every other strand of the MCU too, so why not the TV side? Even now there are rumours of appearances from the likes of Daredevil or Luke Cage, even just in cameos.
However, from Kevin Feige down it’s repeatedly been stated that it can’t and won’t happen, and not just in a teasing/tricking sort of way. The co-director of Infinity War, Joe Russo, even said himself it was “impossible”.
It’s not just the amount of characters, but the fact that Marvel TV is quite separate from the film side of things, despite the shared universe. Marvel Television still comes under the Marvel Entertainment banner, which is headed up by Ike Perlmutter. Marvel Studios boss Kevin Feige, however, reports straight to Disney, a change that was reportedly made because of Feige’s frustrations with Perlmutter, so it’s difficult to imagine there being too much synergy between them. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. won’t be there either, but there is at least a slim chance of Agent Coulson having a cameo, given his previous, but even that’s a stretch.
7. Fox’s Characters Being Introduced
An even bigger group of characters everyone is waiting to see in the MCU are those owned by 20th Century Fox, or in short the X-Men and Fantastic Four, along with their supporting players and villains.
While it’s true that a deal between Disney and Fox is in the works, which would give Marvel the rights to those characters back, that isn’t going to be completed anytime soon, so someone like Mister Fantastic or Wolverine popping up is impossible.
The most recent rumour is that Silver Surfer will be making an appearance, with claims that Curt Clendenin has been cast. Since Silver Surfer plays a big role against Thanos in the comic, it’d be nice and to see and all, but given the rights issues (not to mention this isn’t a cameo you could quickly shoe-horn in) there’s no chance of it actually happening.
6. Adam Warlock’s Role
Adam Warlock has been a long-time coming to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. An Easter egg at the end of the first Guardians movie hinted at his presence, and he was in the early drafts of Guardians Vol. 2, before Gunn realised it was one character too many and decided to save him for later (but not without a major nod).
So Warlock is definitely going to appear eventually, and will almost certainly be in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3. But what about Infinity War?
Well, Gunn himself has said he won’t be, although that hasn’t stopped the rumours and theories. Again, this comes from the comics, where Warlock plays an instrumental role in stopping Thanos and takes the Gauntlet for himself, unleashing his evil counterpart the Magus in sequel Infinity War.
5. Thanos Brutally Kills All Of These Characters
With such immense power at his fingertips – or more specifically his knuckles – Thanos is an almost unstoppable force, and the heroes of Marvel Comics are no match for him.
He, along with his own created companion Terraxia, kill off most of the well-known characters going: Captain America is vanquished with a backhand, Iron Man is decapitated, Spider-Man is beaten to death, Vision’s insides are ripped out, Thor is turned to glass and shattered, and Scarlet Witch has her powers turned against her.
It’s reasonable to expect that we might see a couple of heroes die in this movie, but hard to believe all of them will, and certainly not in such brutal fashion. The Cap one is the only death that seems possible (to a degree), but the others aren’t ones you’d expect Marvel to put on screen.
It goes further when you consider the characters who can’t even be in the movie that Thanos kills: Nova, She-Hulk, Wolverine, Cyclops – none of them will be appearing here, and it’s hard to imagine Thanos rocking up a body count high enough that there could even be replacements for their deaths.
4. The Search For Thane
The other comic event that Marvel Studios are pulling from here is 2013’s Infinity, written by Jonathan Hickman and drawn by various artists.
The book is notable, especially in Infinity War terms, for introducing us to the Black Order, aka the Children of Thanos: Corvus Glaive, Proxima Midnight, Ebony Maw, Black Dwarf/Cull Obsidian, and Supergiant – the latter of whom won’t be in this movie.
The plot then sees Thanos and his children invading Earth, with a particular focus on Wakanda, and includes Maw torturing Doctor Strange. However, the catalyst for Thanos’ invasion of Earth is to find his half-Inhuman son, Thane.
Marvel are seemingly doing everything possible to put the Inhumans behind them, and even if they weren’t there’s no room for what would be such a massive rug-pull in terms of revealing the character. Thanos IS coming to Earth, but it’s for the Infinity Stones, not his son.
3. The Soul Stone On Wakanda
Where is the Soul Stone? Or, alternatively, what is the Soul Stone?
We’ve still no idea of what those answers will be, although for a long time now the most widely believed theory has been that it’s on Wakanda and powering the country.
The fact it wasn’t revealed in Black Panther was a blow to that theory, but hasn’t wiped it out completely, and many are still expecting it to be there. But, well, it can’t be.
For starters, Vision is going to be spending a good chunk of the movie there, and just so happens to have the Mind Stone lodged in his head. As the post-credits scene of Thor: The Dark World taught us, it’s incredibly dangerous to have two Stones close together, and surely someone on Wakanda would know about the Soul Stone being there.
2. Time Travel
With the Infinity Stones very much in play and at the disposal of Thanos, then the Avengers could use their own power boost. Luckily they have not only the Mind Stone, but also the Time Stone at their disposal, with the gem contained in Doctor Strange’s Eye of Agamotto.
Because of that, then there have been rumours of time travel being involved in this movie. It sure would be a handy way of dealing with the threats they’re facing, but despite the talk we probably shouldn’t be expecting timey-wimey shenanigans in this movie.
1. Thanos Dies
Thanos is facing the collective strength of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes and the Guardians of the Galaxy. Among those he’s facing are a super soldier, a sorcerer, and an actual God, plus about 30 other beings with insane power levels. All of them are teaming up with the goal of stopping the Mad Titan.
And yet, he’s the safest character in this movie.
You can’t build-up to a villain for six years, only to kill him off in two hours. But even more so, this is just the first act. The two films may no longer be Part 1 and Part 2, but Avengers 4 is still closely linked to this, and Josh Brolin will indeed be back. Pretty much any character could die in this movie, except for Thanos.