1:48pm PT by Graeme McMillan
'Avengers: Infinity War' — Examining the Secrets in the Announcement Video
Like Disney sibling Star Wars: The Last Jedi before it, the beginning of production for Marvel's Avengers: Infinity War earned its own announcement video, teasing fans with hints of what's to come in what's being hyped as the biggest Marvel movie to date.
The three-minute Infinity War announcement contained a fair share of Easter eggs about what the movie will (and won't) have in common with its comic book source material. Here's what you might have missed on first viewing.
"Before creation itself, there were six singularities — forged into infinity stones."
That brief synopsis is a break from the origins of the Infinity Stones — or "Soul Gems," or "Infinity Gems," as they're called in the comic book mythology. The comic book history of the stones has less to do with six singularities, instead preferring just … well, a singular one. "They were once a single unit, a lone entity," Thanos explained in 1990's The Thanos Quest No. 2. "They were a sentient being of limitless power. At the time, this being was the only living thing that existed within any and all realities." That being eventually committed suicide as a result of his loneliness, as the villain told it, and "from its ashes rose all that is currently reality, in all its many forms," he continued. "The core of this being's might was reincarnated in the form of the six infinity gems. They are the ultimate in power, the darkest secret in all the universe."
What's that book?
The book repeatedly shown in slow, black-and-white pans across a table filled with notes would appear to be a collection of 1991's The Infinity Gauntlet, a series by Jim Starlin, George Perez and Ron Lim in which Thanos used the six Infinity Gems/Stones to try and convince Death that he loved her by killing half of all life in the entire universe. (Don't worry; everyone was resurrected later.) The gauntlet itself makes a number of appearances in this video; it's seen in an out of focus in the foreground at 1:43, and again being worn by Thanos at the end of the clip. When Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige talks about Thanos being "the biggest, the best, the baddest villain" the Avengers have faced yet, it's an obvious nod to the Infinity Gauntlet storyline — after all, what can be a bigger evil that slaughtering half of all life that exists? In the comic version of the story, it should be noted, familiar superheroes were part of that slain 50 percent. Will the movie follow suit, and if so, which heroes will be sidelined?
"The Avengers are basically a name with nobody in it."
After Captain America: Civil War, the roster of active Avengers really isn't looking too strong — even assuming that Tony Stark had come back into active service, that would still only leave he and the Vision as Avengers, with the remainder of the team having gone rogue (Captain America, Black Widow and the Scarlet Witch in Civil War, Hulk in Avengers: Age of Ultron), taken a leave of absence (Thor in Age of Ultron) or going through recovery from serious injuries (War Machine/Iron Patriot in Civil War.) Sounds like it's time for the movies to follow the comic book tradition of a recruitment drive, but who's left to fill out the ranks? Perhaps the new guard of Marvel Studios characters: Doctor Strange, Black Panther, Spider-Man and Captain Marvel, if she ends up being introduced prior to her own movie the following year.
Superteam meets superteam!
While Avengers: Infinity War will be the first time two Marvel marquee teams will meet onscreen (The Avengers and the Guardians of the Galaxy), such team team-ups have been part of comic book DNA since 1963's Justice League of America No. 21, when DC Entertainment's Justice League of America met the Justice Society of America. For Marvel, the first time superteams collided came a year later, when Fantastic Four No. 26 featured a story called "The Avengers Take Over!" Arguably, a better comparison point for Avengers: Infinity War might be the 1973 Avengers/Defenders War, an eight-issue storyline that was the first extended meeting between superteams in the Marvel universe, running between two different series (Avengers and Defenders, unsurprisingly) and seeing the heroes have to deal with mystical objects of unspeakable power.
The Infinity Gauntlet itself
The final sequence of the video comes from the postcredit sting of 2015's Avengers: Age of Ultron, with Thanos putting on the Gauntlet without, notably, any of the Infinity Stones. That was two years ago — and, by the time Avengers: Infinity War is released, it will be three years old. Will Thanos have the stones in his possession by the beginning of Infinity War, or will part of the movie be his attempt to gather them? In comic book continuity, he had gathered them in The Thanos Quest series ahead of the Infinity Gauntlet storyline, allowing the latter to hit the ground running. Will the movie follow suit? There are currently postcredit sequences in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Spider-Man: Homecoming, Thor: Ragnarok and Black Panther between now and the release of Infinity War; that's plenty of time in which to gather six all-powerful stones if he needed it.
Avengers: Infinity War opens May 4, 2018.