'Avengers: Infinity War': All the Essentials in One Place

'Avengers 3' hits theaters May 4, 2018.
Courtesy of Zade Rosenthal/Marvel

When Avengers: Infinity War hits the theaters in 2018, it will be the culmination of a decade of storytelling in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Eighteen films, dozens of hours of TV episodes and years of buildup will lead to a showdown between The Avengers and Thanos (Josh Brolin), the baddest of bad guys in the MCU.

THE MAIN DETAILS

The film is set for a May 4, 2018 release date (almost 10 years to the day when the MCU was born with Iron Man). It's being directed by Joe and Anthony Russo (Captain America: Winter Solder; Captain America: Civil War) and written by Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely, who have written all three Captain America movies. All in all, that's a great pedigree right there, with most MCU fans agreeing the previous two Captain America films are among the universe's finest. On Aug. 14, the Russo Brothers teased that they were headed to Atlanta. The film will be shooting there in November, and the pair have begun sharing photos from rehearsal on Facebook, with the first debuting Sept. 8 and showing Brolin donning a mocap suit.

Rehearsal.

Posted by The Russo Brothers on Thursday, September 8, 2016

WHO'S IN IT?

The cast hasn't been announced for the new film, but it has been billed as the ultimate culmination of MCU storytelling, so it's safe to assume there will be even more characters than in the costume-packed Civil War. The Russo brothers said in January there were 67 named characters in the MCU that they were playing with who could potentially make it into the film. They've also hinted that a new character will be introduced, with speculation swirling that this mystery character will be Brie Larson's Captain Marvel. Meanwhile, Guardians of the Galaxy's own Groot (Vin Diesel) let it slip during a Facebook Live chat that the the Guardians will indeed be in the film. The big question is if characters from Marvel's Netflix shows or ABC's Agents of SHIELD will be there. Daredevil (Charlie Cox) in space? That could work for us. 

WHAT'S THE STORY?

The Russo brothers have not dropped a plot synopsis, but have said it (and the fourth Avengers movie following a year later) will be the culmination of the MCU so far — the end of some things and the beginning of othersInfinity War takes its name from a six-issue 1992 Marvel Comic series, which is actually a sequel to the 1991 limited Marvel Comics series The Infinity Gauntlet. First, a little about the Infinity Gauntlet. It tells the story of Thanos, a mad Titan bent on claiming each of the Infinity Stones in order to achieve godlike powers and wipe out half of the sentient life in the universe to impress his love, Death. The heroes of Earth band together to fight him after he succeeds in his quest (yes, he kills half of the universe's sentient life). The Infinity War follow-up series gets even wilder, with Marvel heroes fighting evil doppelgangers of themselves.

In the MCU, Thanos has quietly been trying to gather the stones as the brains behind the Battle of New York (The Avengers) and the villain who sent Ronan (Lee Pace) on a quest for an Infinity Stone (Guardians of the Galaxy). At the end of Age of Ultron, he finally stood up from his seat, grabbing the empty Infinity Gauntlet (a glove that can house all of the stones) and declaring, "Fine, I'll do it myself." Though he currently has no stones, presumably he will finally gather them between now and the movie — or perhaps Infinity War will be about him gathering the stones. The Russos are also directing a fourth Avengers film — which was previously titled Avengers: Infinity War — Part II. The directors have said the films will be very different, so the Part II name was not a fair representation

WHAT'S AT STAKE FOR MARVEL

The studio hasn't had so much riding on a film since the first Avengers, which was the culmination of their grand Phase 1 experiment of seeing if an interconnected cinematic universe could work. Thanos will have been teased for six years by the time Infinity War hits theaters — and fans will not be happy if he doesn't deliver the goods. 

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