We all thought that Captain America: Civil War was inconceivably huge, with its two opposing armies of superheroes, but the more we read about Avengers: Infinity War, the clearer it is that we ain't seen nothin' yet.
The Marvel Cinematic Universe has been building up to the cosmic bust up for years – and it will stretch over two films, with triple the cast of Cap's latest outing.
Winter Soldier and Civil War directors Anthony and Joe Russo are back to tackle Marvel's monster, which will reunite them with writers Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely. Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn is serving as executive producer, and Spider-Man: Homecoming's Jon Watts is involved too.
But what can we expect when the mad titan Thanos comes out swinging for the double movie? Here's everything you need to know to prepare for the all-out Avengers war:
Avengers: Infinity War trailer: it's a super smash
The first trailer for Avengers: Infinity War exploded at the end of Disney's D23 Expo to a standing ovation from the crowd. Sadly right now Disney hasn't released the footage (they may well be waiting until after San Diego Comic-Con next week).
Digital Spy was lucky enough to catch it though, and this is what we saw:
As it begins, Thor is literally floating through space when he crashes into the Milano (Star Lord's spacecraft from Guardians of the Galaxy) and is brought on board by the Guardians.
He's unconscious and suddenly pops up as they examine him, to shout: "Who the hell are you?" before Thor leads the Guardians to meet the rest of the Avengers.
Other highlights are when we see Peter Parker get the Spidey Sense on his school bus for the first time, sensing Thanos is coming. We later see Spidey in action in what appears to be the Iron Spider suit (super exciting).
There's a very brief snippet of Scarlet Witch blowing up a bunch of cars. There's no context for this – could she have gone rogue?
Tom Hiddleston is back as Loki (yey!), briefly shown holding the Tesseract in the middle of destruction.
There's a massive fight between the Avengers and the Guardians with Thanos. Thanos literally knocks the armour off Iron Man. Tony also brings back the Hulkbuster armour.
"Fun isn't something one really considers when restoring balance to the universe. But this put a smile on my face," Thanos says as he wallops EVERYONE.
Oh and Steve Rogers has a beard. A BEARD we tell you!
Avengers: Infinity War release date – One film or two?
First billed as a two-part movie, with Avengers: Infinity War – Part 1 being followed a year later by Avengers: Infinity War – Part 2, the latest seems to be that Marvel is drawing a more rigid line between them.
The first movie will be simply Avengers: Infinity War, and will follow the familiar pattern of releasing first in the UK, on April 27, 2018, then following in the US on May 4, 2018.
The second film is currently known only as 'Untitled Avengers'. That's coming to the UK on April 26, 2019, and the US on May 3, 2019.
The Russos had already said that the previous titles were "misleading" and that the two films were going to be "very, very different". The question remains as to just how related or separated they will turn out to be. The eventual announcement of the second title should shed some more light on this particular mystery, though it looks like we'll be waiting for some time for that.
We got an early peek at what appears to be Josh Brolin in a mo-cap suit sitting during rehearsals, and now shooting is officially underway on the film. Keep an eye on the Russo brothers' Facebook page for more behind-the-scenes images as filming continues.
Sean Gunn (Guardians of the Galaxy actor and brother of director James Gunn) gave us what might be a first look at Infinity War's branding.
Avengers: Infinity War cast – Thanos is sitting pretty
Marvel has kept quiet on the complete cast of Infinity War. But with an estimated 67 characters showing up over the course of the movie and its follow-up, we can assume that plenty of familiar Avengers faces will be in the mix.
As the main villain of the piece, there is no doubt that Josh Brolin's Thanos will be making an appearance – and he may be more than pure CGI this time – and will be subverting Marvel's villain problem by serving as the "main character" in the film.
Chris Hemsworth's Thor, Chris Pratt's Star-Lord and Elizabeth Olsen's Scarlet Witch/Wanda have also been confirmed by the directors, and the Guardians of the Galaxy will be joining them, including Star-Lord (Chris Pratt), Gamora (Zoe Saldana), Drax (Dave Bautista), Rocket (Bradley Cooper/Sean Gunn), Groot (Vin Diesel) and Mantis (Pom Klementieff). If they look a bit long in the tooth, it's because four years have passed since Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2.
Jeremy Renner has revealed that Hawkeye will return to shoot another day, and Robert Downey Jr is back as Iron Man. It looks like they'll be thawing Sebastian Stan's Winter Soldier out for the movie, too.
Seems pretty likely Doctor Strange will be joining the movie too. Benedict Cumberbatch hinted as much in an interview where he admitted that there is a "logistical challenge" of lining up his schedule with the other Marvel stars… but said the team are making it work.
"To get us all together will be quite something," Cumberbatch said. "That's why this character is being introduced, to open up the next chapter. So watch this space to see how that unfolds." And Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige has confirmed that some of the other Illuminati (a group of powerful and meddlesome heroes from the comics) will be joining him, and Benedict Wong has revealed that his Doctor Strange character Wong will also be back.
While there is still a dearth of official announcements, a casting call has seemingly confirmed all the other actors you would expect, including Scarlett Johansson (Black Widow), Chris Evans (Captain America), Mark Ruffalo (the Hulk) and Chadwick Boseman (Black Panther) – as well as some surprises such as Karen Gillan (Nebula) and Samuel L Jackson (Nick Fury). Paul Rudd is reprising his role as Scott Lang/Ant-Man, too.
Tom Holland kept us hanging about whether Spider-Man would show up, but it's looking like he will. Secrecy was so tight on the film that he shot a fight where he wasn't even allowed to know who he was battling.
Thor: Ragnarok's Tessa Thompson will seemingly be back as Valkyrie, although (spoiler alert!) a certain Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2 star won't be making a return. MCU newcomers Danai Gurira and Winston Duke will also reprise their Black Panther roles as T'Challa's ally Okoye and the villain M'Baku.
Brie Larson's Captain Marvel will also apparently be making her debut, with the Russos accidentally revealing that Marvel's first female hero to receive her own solo movie (in 2019) would be part of the cast – before making a feeble attempt to cover it up.
In terms of villains, there were clues that Thanos's lieutenants the Black Order would be coming to the MCU. Disney has confirmed that Corvus Glaive, Proxima Midnight, Ebony Maw and Cull Obsidian (formerly known as 'Black Dwarf') will be in the movie. They may also have been changed to be the children of the Titan – possibly in the same vein as his adopted kids Gamora and Nebula.
Children of Thanos revealed. pic.twitter.com/RWT4HS8tnR- Louis D'Esposito (@louisde2) July 15, 2017
Feige told Vulture that he was most looking forward to seeing Doctor Strange and Iron Man meeting on the big screen, before teasing the other meetups to come: "Particularly in Infinity War and the movie after that, there are... unexpected team-ups."
Our new favourite Marvel heroes (via Netflix) – Jessica Jones, Luke Cage and Daredevil – aren't looking so likely for an appearance. That said, Daredevil star Charlie Cox does have an option in his contract for film roles, so it isn't completely impossible. We'll be keeping our fingers crossed for Matt Murdock vs Thanos in a long hallway. The titan won't know what hit him.
Avengers: Infinity War budget - the most expensive movie ever made?
A report in the Daily Record suggests Avengers: Infinity War could end up being the most expensive movie made so far with a budget of $400M, topping the current front runner Pirates Of The Caribbean: On Stranger Tides which tallied in at $378.5 in 2011.
It's still just a rumour but it sounds plausible given the humungous cast and the ginormous takings of the last two Avengers film which are currently the fifth and seventh highest grossing films of all time.
Avengers: Infinity War plot – Running the gauntlet
Here's the official synopsis:
"As the Avengers and their allies have continued to protect the world from threats too large for any one hero to handle, a new danger has emerged from the cosmic shadows: Thanos."
"A despot of intergalactic infamy, his goal is to collect all six Infinity Stones, artifacts of unimaginable power, and use them to inflict his twisted will on all of reality. Everything the Avengers have fought for has led up to this moment – the fate of Earth and existence itself has never been more uncertain."
And Ruffalo may have already spoiled the end of the movie.
Infinity War is a story that has been building from very early on in the existence of the MCU as the powerful objects known as the Infinity Stones have been coming to light.
Thanos wants unite them in the Infinity Gauntlet in order to "rebalance the universe", whatever that means.
The story will likely draw from 1991's classic Infinity Gauntlet comic miniseries, rather than from its sequel – confusingly called Infinity War – which centred around the fight between Adam Warlock and his evil alter ego the Magus over the gauntlet.
Indeed a recent anonymous Marvel source implied this would be the case and suggested that the female personification of Death would play a significant part.
An Avengers romance is also on the cards, as well as a new look for the Vision, and there will be a 'devastating' reunion between Black Widow and Bruce Banner. And a picture from the set has hinted at big changes for Iron Man.
Production designer Charles Wood has said that Infinity War will take us to "many, many, many new worlds", although we don't know whether he was speaking literally or metaphorically. Some Asgardians will be showing up, and those guys definitely know how to get around on their magical Rainbow Bridge.
Doctor Strange may also play a major part in expanding the Avengers playing field. "The character list gets a little heavier [from Doctor Strange to Infinity War] and you're working with some legends of the screen let alone iconic characters," Cumberbatch told Yahoo Movies. "So that'll be a lot of fun.
"Doctor Strange is there to provide the opening of a new chapter, it's literally going to open up the dimensions, so just when that frame got a little crowded, it's got a whole lot bigger."
He also hinted that Strange could help to heal the rift between Captain America and Iron Man. If it hasn't been mended already, as teased in Spider-Man: Homecoming.
"The people in the background in one might come to the foreground in the second one," writer Markus told IGN. "There will be moments where every last damn person who's still alive will be in the same room, and they're just a nightmare to write because Marvel is very good about hiring good actors."
Whatever happens in the movie, you can bet that this won't be the end of the MCU. Not that anyone would ever take that bet. We've got a superhero future stretching ahead of us – although some big changes are on the cards.
Avengers: Infinity War will shoot on the new IMAX camera
Film geek alert! The Russos' project will be one of the first to film in its entirety on IMAX's new 2D digital camera – a customised version of Arri's Alexa 65, showcased to great effect in The Revenant.
They've already used it for about 15 minutes of Civil War.
Best start preparing yourself for the insane rush for IMAX tickets as 2018 heads ever closer...
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