An 'Avengers' Refresher Course Before 'Infinity War'

Avengers : Infinity War Still 29 - Publicity - H 2018
Courtesy of Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
After 18 movies, it can be hard keep track of all of Marvel's heroes and villains.

Avengers: Infinity War may not literally have a cast of thousands, but it certainly feels like it.

Bringing together characters from almost every Marvel movie to date, there are a lot of different heroes and villains to keep track of in the new project, and it’d be perfectly understandable if you’d forgotten about where some of them were before the latest Avengers film begins.

Don’t worry; that’s why Heat Vision is here.

Take a trip down memory lane and look back at where you left off with the key players of Infinity War — and where you can expect to pick up with them in director Joe and Anthony Russo's superhero film, which opens Friday.

Iron Man
Last appeared: Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017)
Current status: If anything, even more over-protective and self-righteous than usual, following what happened to the Avengers in Captain America: Civil War. He even tried to ground Spider-Man, despite being the one responsible for Peter Parker to go public as a superhero in the first place — with an invitation to join the Avengers.

Captain America
Last appeared: Captain America: Civil War (2016)
Current status: Having dropped off the Winter Soldier in Wakanda, Cap is presumably continuing to be a good guy and saving the day under the radar … even though he technically retired the Captain America persona at the end of Civil War. So where is that shield now, anyway …?

Last appeared: Thor: Ragnarok (2017)
Current status: Having just saved the few remaining Asgardians — even if Asgard itself is seemingly no more, except in our hearts — the newly one-eyed, hammerless Thor was traveling through space when he happened to be discovered by a massive, threatening spaceship. That’s probably not a good sign.

Last appeared: Thor: Ragnarok (2017)
Current status: Loki was also on board Thor’s ship, but he has a secret: He might have been the reason the massive, threatening other ship appeared, having secretly stolen the Tesseract from the first Avengers movie from Asgard before it was destroyed. Could that be one of the Infinity Stones …? (Yes.)

Last appeared: Thor: Ragnarok (2017)
Current status: Another passenger on Thor’s refugee spaceship, Bruce Banner is likely trying to deal with the realization that he’s been living as the Hulk on an alien planet for more than a year, and now he’s hanging out with gods. So much for that whole mild-mannered scientist thing he had going on.

Black Widow
Last appeared: Captain America: Civil War (2016)
Current status: Having betrayed Tony Stark’s side of the Civil War by letting Captain America and the Winter Soldier escape, Natasha Romanoff was forced to abandon her membership of the Avengers and go underground.

Last appeared: Captain America: Civil War (2016)
Current status: Postponing his retirement and family time to help out an old friend didn’t work out for Clint Barton; he was arrested and jailed for helping Captain America, only to be broken out of prison at the end of the movie. Nowadays, if he’s smart, he’ll have returned to a life of leisure and hung up his bow for good.

The Vision
Last appeared: Captain America: Civil War (2016)
Current status: All told, the Vision came out of Civil War pretty well, despite his nervousness over his potential feelings for the Scarlet Witch. Don’t expect things to continue so pleasantly, however; he’s got an Infinity Stone right there on his head, ripe for the taking.

The Scarlet Witch
Last appeared: Captain America: Civil War (2016)
Current status: Despite having sided with Captain America during the Civil War, the Vision and the Scarlet Witch’s relationship continued to grow, even after she was imprisoned for her actions. Freed by Captain America, she is currently in hiding with the Vision, according to a tie-in comic book.

War Machine
Last appeared: Captain America: Civil War (2016)
Current status: The life of Tony Stark’s best friend has never been an easy one, as any of the Iron Man movies make clear, but it was Captain America: Civil War that underscored the fact when James Rhodes got paralyzed in battle, having to launch himself into an intense recovery program that he may never complete.

Last appeared: Captain America: Civil War (2016)
Current status: As if losing a fight with Ant-Man wasn’t embarrassing enough, Captain America’s second partner was sidelined when the first — the Winter Soldier — reappeared and caused the Civil War. Jailed for his assisting Cap, he was also freed by the hero and now operates underground.

The Winter Soldier
Last appeared: Black Panther (2018)
Current status: Having discovered that he was still programmed by Russians during his Cold War assassin phase, Bucky Barnes surrendered to the scientists of Wakanda. Judging by the post-credit sequence of Black Panther, it seems to have worked out for him.

Guardians of the Galaxy
Last appeared: Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017)
Current status: Literally, the last time we saw the Guardians, Groot was undergoing a difficult adolescence, while the team continued across the spaceways with the addition of new member Mantis. Worth remembering: Gamora is Thanos’s daughter, as is Nebula, the Guardians’ favorite frenemy.

Doctor Strange
Last appeared: Thor: Ragnarok (2017)
Current status: When last seen, Doctor Strange was settling into life as Earth’s premier magician — sorry, Sorcerer Supreme — by helping Thor locate his father because, simply, it was the easiest and fastest way to get rid of him. We can only hope he treats Thanos as a similarly annoying interruption.

Last appeared: Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017)
Current status: With great power comes great charm, as Tom Holland proved to be a winning Peter Parker in last summer’s movie, managing to save New York and still somehow remain an underdog at the same time. He’s very outclassed by everything in Infinity War, which somehow only makes it better.

Black Panther
Last appeared: Black Panther (2018)
Current status: The ruler of Wakanda was last seen celebrating, having faced off a threat to his rule by changing the centuries-old status quo of his kingdom, and opening up Wakanda to the rest of the world.

Last appeared: Captain America: Civil War (2016)
Current status: Scott Lang just can’t stay out of jail, it seems; an ex-con at the start of Ant-Man, he ended Civil War behind bars once again after helping Captain America. Thankfully, Cap broke him out, but has he decided to lay low afterwards? Probably — at least until this summer’s Ant-Man and the Wasp.

Nick Fury
Last appeared: Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)
Current status: Surprisingly, we haven’t seen Marvel’s core super spy for years, since he showed up to deliver an inspirational speech in the second Avengers movie. Where was he during Captain America: Civil War? Will he show up during Infinity War? You’d like to think this is exactly the kind of shindig he’d RSVP to, but who knows …?

Last appeared: Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)
Current status: He’s stayed in the background of the action so far, but the last time we actually saw Thanos onscreen, he was grabbing the Infinity Gauntlet — sans stones — and declaring that he’d just go and get the Stones himself. Three years later, he’s finally following through on that threat …