Photo Credit: Disney/Marvel
The biggest film of the year, Avengers: Infinity War, is almost here. Marvel has been building towards this for a decade now, and the mega superhero get-together becomes a mind-boggling nineteenth entry in its sprawling film universe, which kicked off with Tony Stark stuck in Afghanistan, and now spans planets, galaxies, and realms. Directed by Anthony and Joe Russo – who previously helmed Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Captain America: Civil War – Infinity War centres on everyone trying to stop Thanos, who was introduced to the Marvel Cinematic Universe in the mid-credits scene of The Avengers.
Thanks to a couple of trailers and TV spots, and a constant drip of news for the last year or so, we do know a fair bit about the new Avengers movie. If you're as excited as we are, you probably have a lot of questions. Which characters are in it? What the hell are the Infinity Stones? And when do I get to see it where I live? That's why we've compiled the most necessary facts in one place. Here's everything you need to know about Avengers: Infinity War.
Infinity War is out Wednesday, April 25 in Australia, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Italy, Malaysia, Netherlands, Norway, New Zealand, the Philippines, Portugal, Sweden, Singapore, and Thailand. It'll open a day later on Thursday, April 26 in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Croatia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Israel, Poland, Qatar, UAE, and the UK.
Infinity War will release Friday, April 27 in India, the US, Bangladesh, Canada, Japan, Mexico, Spain, Sri Lanka, and Turkey. It has a slightly delayed release in two big film territories: Russia on May 3, and China on May 11.
Given it brings together (mostly) everyone from all previous eighteen Marvel movies, Infinity War has one of the largest casts you'll ever see. Chris Hemsworth (Thor) did say at one point there are about 76 characters in Infinity War, though no one knows where he got that number. Everyone from the Avengers, Guardians, Revengers (Thor and friends from Ragnarok), and everyone else you can think of/ have forgotten about. Strap in, this is going to take a while.
Let's start with Josh Brolin as Thanos, since the Russo brothers have said he has the most screen time of everyone in the film. After appearing in numerous post-credits scenes, he's now getting the chance to be the main villain.
On the Avengers side, there's Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark/ Iron Man, Chris Evans as Steve Rogers/ Captain America, Chris Hemsworth as Thor, Scarlett Johansson as Natasha Romanoff/ Black Widow, Mark Ruffalo as Bruce Banner/ the Hulk, Elizabeth Olsen as Wanda Maximoff/ Scarlet Witch, Paul Bettany as Vision, Anthony Mackie as Sam Wilson/ Falcon, and Don Cheadle as James Rhodes/ War Machine.
Other characters from Avengers films include Jeremy Renner as Hawkeye, Linda Cardellini as Laura Barton, Gwyneth Paltrow as Pepper Potts, Jon Favreau as Happy Hogan, William Hurt as Thaddeus Ross, and Cobie Smulders as Maria Hill. Sebastian Stan reprises his role as Bucky Barnes/ Winter Soldier from the Captain America trilogy, though he's now called White Wolf by the people of Wakanda. Ant-Man's Paul Rudd is involved as well.
As for the Guardians of the Galaxy, Chris Pratt as Peter Quill/ Star-Lord, Zoe Saldana as Gamora, Dave Bautista as Drax, Karen Gillan as Nebula, Pom Klementieff as Mantis, Benicio del Toro as The Collector, Bradley Cooper as Rocket, and Vin Diesel as Groot all return. From Asgard, you'll get to see Tom Hiddleston as Loki, Idris Elba as Heimdall, and Tessa Thompson as Valkyrie, from Thor: Ragnarok.
We're not done. Black Panther and Doctor Strange's lead stars, Chadwick Boseman and Benedict Cumberbatch, return as the respective eponymous heroes, alongside supporting cast in Danai Gurira as Okoye, Leticia Wright as Shuri, Florence Kasumba as Ayo, Winston Duke as M'Baku, Angela Bassett as Ramonda, and Benedict Wong as Wong. That leaves Tom Holland as Spider-Man, alongside his Homecoming stars Jacob Batalon as Ned, and Isabelle Amara as Sally.
Phew. Now that we've covered everyone (we hope) who's returning, let's get to the new stars. Peter Dinklage (Game of Thrones) has an unspecified role, Tom Vaughan-Lawlor plays Ebony Maw, Thanos' child and a Black Order member, and Terry Notary plays Thanos' right-hand man. Black Order has three other members: Proxima Midnight, Corvus Glaive, and Cull Obsidian, but we don't know the actors.
And of course, as always, Stan Lee has a cameo in Infinity War.
Neither Marvel nor Disney have provided an official figure. In February last year, Dan T. Cathy, co-owner of Pinewood Atlanta Studios, claimed Infinity War and Avengers 4 was the largest production ever with a $1 billion budget, but Marvel head honcho Kevin Feige shot down that figure in June. And then last week, an interview with Marvel exec Victoria Alonso said the budget was "upwards of $300 million" for Infinity War, though it's worth noting it was part of a question and not something Alonso said.
What's the run time for Avengers: Infinity War?
Infinity War is the longest Marvel movie yet, at two hours and 36 minutes (or 156 minutes, if you prefer). That makes it 11 minutes longer than the previous record holder, Captain America: Civil War, followed by The Avengers at 143 minutes, and its sequel Avengers: Age of Ultron close behind at 141 minutes. Given that Civil War was nearly an Avengers film – it featured everyone except Thor and the Hulk – there's an obvious pattern here: the longest Marvel films tend to be Avengers get-togethers, for obvious reasons.
What is Avengers: Infinity War about?
Set two years after the events of Captain America: Civil War, and four years after Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Infinity War has been partly inspired by two comic runs: Jim Starlin's 1991 "The Infinity Gauntlet", and Jonathan Hickman's 2013 "Infinity". The directing duo, the Russo brothers, have described it as a heist film, with the big bad Thanos setting out to collect all six Infinity Stones – hence the title – in a bid to use them in a mystical gauntlet to bend reality to his will.
The six Infinity Stones were created at the dawn of the universe, and five have been shown previously: the blue Space Stone, first seen as the Tesseract and last with Loki; the yellow Mind Stone that's currently in Vision's forehead; the red Reality Stone, which appears as the liquid Aether in Thor: The Dark World, given to The Collector for safekeeping; the purple Power Stone, which Star-Lord picked up in Guardians of the Galaxy, and is now with Nova Corps on Xandar; and the green Time Stone, present in the Eye of Agamotto used by Doctor Strange. That leaves the orange Soul Stone, which has yet to be introduced.
Infinity War will be told from Thanos' point of view, as he goes about finding the Infinity Stones with the help of his adoptive children that form the Black Order, and the Outriders, the four-armed genetically engineered alien creatures that can be glimpsed in the trailers. The film will likely pick up where Thor: Ragnarok left off with its post-credits scene, as Thanos encounters the ship that Thor, Loki, and the remaining Asgardians are on.
[Potential spoilers ahead] It explains how the blue Space Stone ends up with Thanos and how Thor ends up on the windshield of the Guardians' ship, who will probably head off to Xandar once they hear what Thanos is after. They will presumably fail to stop Thanos retrieving the purple Power Stone, since it can be seen in his gauntlet in the trailer. Captain America takes Vision to Wakanda, Anthony Russo said in an interview, and that's where the entire third act of Infinity War is set, as humanity makes its last stand.
What comes next in the Marvel Cinematic Universe?
Avengers: Infinity War is the beginning of the end for the current generation of the Avengers, Feige has said previously. It'll be followed by the untitled Avengers 4 in May 2019 – Marvel hasn't revealed the name because it's a spoiler for Infinity War – which has already finished filming, and is currently in post-production.
There's more between the two Avengers films: the sequel Ant-Man and the Wasp in July, followed by Captain Marvel – the first female-led superhero film for Marvel, starring Brie Larson in the lead – in March next year.
It's after Avengers 4 that Marvel's plans are unclear, not because it doesn't know what to do, but because it'd potentially spoil both various events in both upcoming Avengers films. In short, many of the current lot of heroes will either die fighting Thanos, or simply walk off into the sunset once the dust settles. Evans and Hemsworth have already said they're done after Avengers 4, and contracts for many others are also ending.
Some are guaranteed to survive and return, though. There's an untitled Spider-Man: Homecoming sequel set for July 2019, and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 in 2020, so at least some of our favourites are still safe.