Early last year, word got around that Marvel Studios’ Avengers: Infinity War would include nearly 70 characters. With the ever-growing Marvel Cinematic Universe expanding and introducing new characters all the time, it can be hard to keep up with which characters are actually taking part in what is being described as a culmination of the Marvel Cinematic Universe since its inception with Iron Man in 2008.
“People will not be disappointed in the amount of characters in the movie,” said Joe Russo, who directs alongside brother Anthony Russo. “The concept of Infinity War is that the Marvel Universe unites to battle the greatest threat to the world and universe that you’ve ever seen, and we’re going to honor that concept.” That threat will be the intergalactic Mad Titan Thanos (Josh Brolin), who has been after the all-powerful Infinity Stones since 2012's The Avengers.
At one point, the directors revealed they “have so many characters” they’re dealing with, that they had a board with 67 characters on it. A number, clarifies co-writer Christopher Markus, that “comes from the fact that that’s everyone who’s already been introduced. If you line up all the characters who are available to use from the prior Marvel movies, it racks up to about 60 something characters, let alone the new ones you could bring in.”
With such a large cast, keeping track of who’s included and who’s left out of Infinity War can be tricky. And what we know now is different than what we knew even just a few months ago. Here’s where we're at. (Heads up: this article discusses everything from the Marvel Cinematic Universe up to the point of Spider-Man: Homecoming, so beware of spoilers if you still need to catch up.)
Thanos won't be alone in his attempted conquering of the universe: he'll be accompanied by his children, the Black Order. As revealed at San Diego Comic Con, the group consists of Ebony Maw, Corvus Glave, Proxima Midnight, Supergiant, and Cull Obsidian (in the comics, this character is known as Black Dwarf). We know little of the twisted Brady Bunch, but the characters made their entry into the Marvel Comics universe in 2013’s New Avengers #8. It would be fair to assume at least some of the Black Order will have a run-in with Thanos' other children: his adopted daughters, Gamora and Nebula, aka members of the Guardians of the Galaxy. Talk about family issues.
If we're talking major characters, there's one big, glaring omission: Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson), former director of S.H.I.E.L.D. Fury was a crucial character in Phase One of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, stepping out of the shadows to recruit Tony Stark into a wider world of superheroes. Fury has yet to be officially confirmed, though he was reportedly spotted on the film's set in Durham, England. Said writers Stephen McFeely and Christopher Markus when asked if Fury would be included in Infinity War after being absent for much of Avengers: Age of Ultron and entirely absent in Captain America: Civil War, the writing duo said they "would think" you'd see the super spy in the film. "It's probably all hands on deck," said McFeely. "Don't you assume you'll see everybody in the Infinity Wars?" asked Markus.
Well, no. Not everybody: Captain Marvel (Brie Larson) isn't in Infinity War, director Joe Russo told Comic Book. Also sitting this one out will be another upcoming superheroine, the Wasp (Evangeline Lilly), who will make her superhero debut in next summer's Ant-Man and the Wasp. As confirmed by Lilly, the filmmakers behind the Ant-Man sequel rightfully believed Hope Pym deserved to have her origin and her suit revealed in a stand alone movie, rather than an Avengers sequel; as such, Wasp won't join the team until Avengers 4, releasing exactly one year after Infinity War.
Jeremy Renner recently went on record saying Avengers: Infinity War has "lots of storylines, lots of characters," and with the movie's basic premise being a culmination of the Marvel Cinematic Universe up to this point, the Avengers threequel probably isn't the best place to introduce new heroes like Captain Marvel and the Wasp. There are plenty of characters and stories to juggle, and Marvel Studios has included every major character (and a plethora of smaller ones) in Infinity War, a feat in and of itself. The superhero epic, along with Avengers 4, will be "in some ways... an ending to a long journey for many characters," and "will also be a beginning for other characters," said director Anthony Russo. The Marvel Cinematic Universe looks to enter the deconstruction phase post-Infinity Wars, and who knows? There could be a lot more room in the MCU by the time Thanos makes his grand debut...
Avengers: Infinity War opens May 4th, 2018.