Even Iron Man director Jon Favreau publicly wondered how the grounded real world of Tony Stark could possibly co-exist with the mythological realm of Asgard, but by the time Thor, Captain America, and Hulk joined the MCU with their own standalone movies, Marvel's The Avengers brought it all together and smashed box office records in the process. The mostly costume adverse MCU of Netflix has kept it real with keeping it all real, while the movies have gotten wonderfully wacky without devolving into Batman and Robin level absurdity.
Think about it: we've now had two movies with Rocket Racoon! BIG movies, at that. Uniting Cap, Thor, Hulk, Hawkeye, Black Widow, and Iron Man in the Avengers was a feat so magnificent, there have been multiple attempts at replicating Marvel's success with shared universes from DC to Ghostbusters to Universal's Monsters in Dark Universe. So how does Marvel top itself? With Avengers: Infinity War, the big payoff to the universe building we've eagerly watch develop since Nick Fury showed up to talk about the Avengers Initiative in the post-credits scene attached to the first Iron Man.
We've already seen Vision, Scarlet Witch, Quicksilver, Winter Soldier, Ant-Man, Falcon, War Machine, and Spider-Man work in various degrees of cooperation with Earth's Mightiest Heroes in Avengers Age of Ultron and Captain America Civil War. So who all will we see united together against Thanos, the biggest big bad of the Marvel Cinematic Universe thus far? Marvel Studios has kept details so tightly guarded that even the cast members reportedly haven't been allowed to see the full scripts for Infinity War and Avengers 4. Here, we'll go over every single character we know to be confirmed in Avengers: Infinity War.
Well, duh, of course we'll have ole' Shellhead in Infinity War. He's the guy who started it all and served as connective tissue in Spider-Man: Homecoming, which rebooted the friendly neighborhood webhead franchise with cinematic studio synergy. Much as Wolverine went from sideman to central player over the years thanks to the character's massive popularity and charms, Iron Man has risen to the ranks of de facto first or second in command. It seems like every iteration of the character has been some sort of a riff on Robert Downey Jr.'s performance since 2008, whether it's in cartoons or video games. Now with that being said, speculation has run wild as to just how long Downey will want to hang onto the role. If ever there were a time to kill, recast, and/or reboot Avengers senior staffers, it seems like Infinity War would be the time to do it, with the storyline's galactic stakes in play. Astute comic book readers will recall that James Rhodes once donned the Iron Man armor. War Machine will be in Infinity War, so that's a definite movie possibility.
Speaking of which, Captain America seemed to have given up the mantle to some extent when he left his shield behind, broke his Civil War faction of the Avengers out of jail, and dropped off his ole' pal Bucky Barnes in Wakanda. This could certainly be a step toward Falcon or Winter Soldier taking over the Captain America persona, or Cap peacing out of the films altogether for a bit. But Chris Evans will definitely show up for Infinity War, rocking a sweet beard for at least some portion of the movie. Evans has expressed his desire to direct and explore other roles. Only time will tell just how many more times we'll get to see Downey and Evans in these iconic roles.
Winter Solider and Falcon
When last we saw Cap's old war buddy turned brainwashed Hydra assassin, The Winter Soldier volunteered himself for cold storage in the Black Panther's kingdom of Wakanda, until such time as all of that pesky programming can be debugged. We know from the Infinity War footage unveiled at Comic-Con that Bucky Barnes will spring back into action in some fashion, but it remains to be seen exactly how. We'll definitely get to see Cap's modern day BFF, the Falcon, soaring in Infinity War, too.
Speaking of Wakanda, Black Panther will have his own standalone film in theaters in 2018 before the release of Avengers: Infinity War, on the heels of his awe-inspiring debut in Civil War. It's likely we'll see at least one or two of T'Challa's supporting players make their way into Infinity War, as well, including the awesome Man-Ape.
Thor, Loki and Valkrie
Speaking of supporting characters, enduring Thor hang-around Loki will be on hand to wrap up the story arc that began with his attempted takeover of Earth in the first Avengers. We already know Thor will reluctantly accept his adopted brother back into his circle in November's Ragnarok, just as he did in Thor: The Dark World. Newcomer Valkyrie should be along for the Infinity War ride too, along with Thor's sparring partner and space-faring road trip buddy, the Hulk. Rights issues between Universal and Marvel seem to have any future Hulk standalone movie trapped in limbo, but we should get a pretty nice dose of the Green Goliath in other movies.
Speaking of standalone movies and rights issues and whatnot, the Marvel deal with Sony, who has long held the license to Spider-Man, allows for the incredibly well received Tom Holland to make another Marvel Studios appearance in Infinity War, this time, most likely sporting the new armor teased at the end of Homecoming.
How great was it to see Spidey interacting with Ant-Man in Civil War? Paul Rudd will return as Scott Lang in Infinity War but sadly, he won't have Evangeline Lilly's Hope Pym along for the ride. Marvel is saving the Wasp's origin story for Ant-Man and the Wasp, which will arrive in theaters two months after Infinity War. The WASP is, however, expected to join the fourth Avengers movie, due in May 2019.
Vision and Scarlet Witch
Speaking of male/female superhero duos, expect to see both Scarlet Witch and Vision return, hopefully with a heavier dose of the romantic pairing beloved by longtime comic book fans and only hinted at in a few tender Civil War scenes.
Doctor Strange and Wong
We aren't saying we expect to see Stephen Strange dating Wong, but we do know that both of them will be in Infinity War. In fact, the post-credits scene attached to Doctor Strange that paired Thor with the Sorcerer Supreme is said to be actual footage from Infinity War, making the timeline a bit confusing but nevertheless whetting appetites to see just how exactly Doctor Strange fits into fighting Thanos.
Hawkeye and Black Widow
Hawkeye and Black Widow have been BFFs forever and they'll both be on-hand, with Scarlett Johnson sporting blonde locks in place of the Widow's signature red. It seems like just yesterday when Hawkeye made his debut via a short cameo in Thor and we first saw Natasha kicking ass as a SHIELD agent in Iron Man 2. Now we know all about Clint Barton's farmhouse and Black Widow's scarily dark assassin training. What became of her relationship with Banner will hopefully be explored a bit during Infinity War, though it's already hard to imagine how the movie will juggle all of these storylines. We're rooting for you, Anthony and Joe Russo! After all, you've made two of the absolute best MCU entries with both Captain America: Winter Soldier and Civil War.
Nick Fury and Maria Hill
Speaking of Captain America: The Winter Soldier, it was so badass when we finally got to see Nick Fury in serious action while under siege by Hydra agents. It was sorta like getting to see Mace Windu brandish his purple lightsaber in Attack of the Clones after he sat out the action in Episode I. We are big fans of Maria Hill, too, so we're hoping both SHIELD staples will return in Infinity War. Neither character is officially confirmed yet, but c'mon, they have to be in it, right?
Guardians of the Galaxy
We are counting the minutes till we get to see Thor smashing into the windshield of the Guardians of the Galaxy, finally bringing together the space-faring end of the Marvel Universe with their earthbound counterparts, in a way fans could only dream about back when the first Avengers gave us Chitauri instead of Skrulls. Infinity War takes places a reported four years after the events of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, which means we'll see Star-Lord, Gamora, Rocket, Drax, Groot, Mantis, and Nebula together, but sadly, no Yondu in all of his Mary Poppins style glory.
There's been some speculation that Infinity War may give us a resurrected Peggy Carter, back to her World War II era age courtesy of the Time Stone, which will be welcome news to fans of the cancelled ABC series Agent Carter. Charlie Cox has openly expressed his desire to see Scarlett Johnanson visit Daredevil in TV's Hell's Kitchen, but will we get to see any of the characters who originated on the TV side of the MCU in Infinity War, like The Defenders, the Inhumans, the Punisher, or Ghost Rider? Probably not, while each show is linked to the events of the films, particularly with the Battle of New York regularly mentioned in the Netflix series, folks from both sides of the MCU regularly cast doubt on the prospect of seeing the likes of Jessica Jones with her big screen counterparts. Only time will tell, of course, but really, it would be hard to argue that Avengers Infinity War isn't giving us enough characters, right? Avengers: Infinity War is due in theaters May 4th, 2018.