Last night, some of the first photos started to leak out of Disney's D23 Expo, revealing a life-sized statue of Thanos, the Mad Titan -- and teasing that there was more behind him, just waiting to be unveiled.
Fans, of course, can't wait to see "what's in the box," so to speak. Will the statues be essentially a live version of the movie poster, with Avengers as well as villains?
Will it introduce Thanos's lieutenants?
Could it just show us a group of newly-costumed Avengers, or introduce new characters to the Marvel Cinematic Universe?
All possibilities, and all intriguing, to various degrees, even if the number of statues has some fans convinced they know exactly what's coming.
So what might we see today or tomorrow -- whenever they finally lift that tarp?
Motion capture actor Terry Notary has hinted that he is going to be performing in Avengers: Infinity War and that he'll be playing Thanos's chief henchman.
Based on what little Notary would say about his character, it sounds an awful lot like he'll be playing Corvus Glaive, one of Thanos's Cull Obsidian, also known as the Black Order.
Introduced during the Infinity event, the Black Order consists of five generals Thanos gathered from across the universe to lead his army.
After razing many planets, Thanos's attention again turned towards Earth, where upon arriving he sent one general each to a place of power on the planet in search of the Infinity Gems, the Marvel Comics equivalent of the Marvel Cinematic Universe's Infinity Stones.
What followed was a full-scale war against the planet Earth that took the combined might of practically every Avenger on the planet, the Inhumans, and other to stave off, and even then the Earth did not escape unscathed.
Which five beings could possibly pose such a challenge for Earth's Mightiest Heroes? Click here to check out our rundown of the individual characters in the Black Order.
When Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 hit earlier this summer, it came attached with a record five post-credits scenes.
One of those post-credits scenes left audiences clearly divided between comic book readers and non-readers. In the scene, Ayesha, the High Priestess of the Sovereign, looks haggard and speaks to another of the sovereign about a project she has undertaken. The camera shows a cocoon and Ayesha decides she will name the being inside "Adam."
For those familiar with Marvel Comics history, the name "Adam" and the cocoon signal the Marvel Cinematic Universe Debut of Warlock, or Adam Warlock depending on how the mood strikes him, a powerful character with ties to Thanos and the Infinity Gauntlet.
Adam Warlock was originally simply known as "Him" and was created by Jack Kirby and Stan Lee in the pages of Fantastic Four.
Him remained a one-off villain until Roy Thomas and Gil Kane brought him back in Strange Tales
Thomas and Kane changed Him's name to Warlock, and later gave him the first name Adam.
Within the pages of the Marvel universe, Warlock's rebirth came after encountering the mad scientist known as the High Evolutionary. The High Evolutionary took Warlock under his wing and taught him properly, civilized behavior.
The High Evolutionary also gifted Adam the Soul Gem, one of the powerful Infinity Gems that are the equivalents of the Infinity Stones of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
The Soul Gem granted Warlock the ability to sense the souls of other living beings. In addition, the Soul Gem allowed Warlock to transport the souls of other beings into Soul-World, a dimension of contentment located within the Soul Gem itself.
Warlock's tie to the Soul Gem is interesting because the Soul Stone is the one Infinity Stone still unaccounted for the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Some have speculated that one of the Asgardians, perhaps Odin or Heimdall or even Hela, possesses the Soul Stone. Others have theorized that it could be hidden in Wakanda.
We already know Thanos has a pair of adoptive daughters in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. But what about his son?
Thane was created by Jonathan Hickman and Mike Deodato in a 2013 issue of New Avengers.
Thane’s story is that one of Thanos’ early conquests brought the Mad Titan and his armies to Earth, where he ran into one of the Inhuman tribes. When he departed, he left behind an Inhuman woman pregnant with his son. He later learned that he had a son somewhere in the universe, so he and his Black Order began searching and scouring planets to find him. They finally returned to Earth, kicking off the Infinity event.
Thane was eventually found in Greenland, though he hadn’t yet undergone Terrigenesis. When Black Bolt set off the Terrigen Bomb, Thane was forced to undergoTerrigenesis. Disaster followed, as everyone around Thane was killed instantly. One of Thanos’ minions, Ebony Maw, supplied Thane with a suit to help control his considerable powers.
Those powers are housed in Thane’s hands. The right hand can project an amber material that traps everyone around Thane in a state of living death. The left hand alters reality and rewrites the laws of existence but Thane cannot control these powers and they tend to kill everyone around him if he’s not in his suit.
Back when we speculated that he might be coming to Marvel's Agents of SHIELD, we thought it was possible that the left hand powers sound like they could be rewritten for the Marvel Cinematic Universe to replicate the abilities of the Inhuman Hydra had been serving, and being the son of Thanos would certainly prop Thane up as an Inhuman meant to rule.
What's a Thanos story without Death?
In the comics, Thanos is in love with Death...and it's not just a person or a cosmic being called "Death," but the actual, physical embodiment of Death.
As in, think about this like the Grim Reaper happens to be female, and happens to be the object of Thanos's deranged, over-enthusiastic affection.
In the comics, she is generally disinterested in him; he thinks that if he kills enough people he can catch her eye but ultimately Death isn't really about just collecting power in the way Thanos is so that's not the home run he expects it to be.
At one point, Death married Deadpool, which was its own...thing...but assuming there even is a physical embodiment of Death in the movies (it feels like kind of a long shot), she obviously won't have anything to do with the Merc With a Mouth unless and until they make some kind of Fox deal, which will probably be after all the rest of us are already dead.
Of course, maybe we're overthinking this. If this is in support of Avengers: Infinity War, who's to say the other statues aren't, y'know...THE AVENGERS?
We've seen Thanos, and that's new, but maybe this is a first look at the latest incarnation of The Avengers.
Will there be new/tweaked costumes? Will the Civil War foes be side by side again? Will one of them be evil? Will we get to see Spider-Man and The Hulk sharing a space for the first time?
Any of these things could be a big enough "spoiler" for D23's Marvel folk to cover it up until a key reveal later in the festival.
That could disappoint hardcore fans online, of course, who have spent the last 12 hours or so wondering who might be under the tarp.
Of course, there could be a bit of a misdirect where it's The Avengers...but with someone new at their side, or something like that. We'll have to see -- probably soon.
Are you excited for Avengers: Infinity War? Rank your anticipation below!
Avengers: Infinity War is described by Marvel Studios as the culmination of everything in the Marvel Cinematic Universe since Iron Man in 2008. The movie is filming now under directors Anthony and Joe Russo, from a screenplay by Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely.
The expansive confirmed cast includes Robert Downey, Jr., Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, Jeremy Renner, Scarlett Johansson, Tom Holland, Elizabeth Olsen, Paul Bethany, Sebastian Stan, Benedict Cumberbatch, Benedict Wong, Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Karen Gillan, Vin Diesel, Dave Bautista, Bradley Cooper, Pom Klementieff, and Josh Brolin as the villain Thanos.Avengers: Infinity War and its as-yet-untitled sequel are filming back-to-back for a May 4, 2018 and May 3, 2019 release, respectively.
More Avengers: Infinity War News:
- Avengers Infinity War: 5 Marvel Infinity Saga Easter Eggs Fans Want
- Benedict Wong Fanboys Out About Delivering Infinity Stone Line & Joining Avengers: Infinity War
- Russo Brothers Confirm Next Two Avengers Movies Still Directly Connected