Avengers: Infinity War is the 19th movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It unites a whole host of heroes and ties together plot threads that have been a decade in the making. Thanos is coming to Earth, and his insane goal is to unite the Infinity Stones and wield the unlimited power of the Infinity Gauntlet. Only Earth’s Mightiest Heroes stand as the planet’s defense.
But the Avengers are scattered, divided and defeated. Some of Earth’s greatest defenders have died; Odin the All-Father and the Ancient One have both passed away. Here, we’ll take a look at Earth’s remaining heroes, and establish where they are when the action kicks off in Infinity War.
Thor and the Forces of Asgard
It’s true that Odin the All-Father once led Asgard in pursuit of brutal imperial policies. The last few millennia, however, saw Odin take a different approach. Asgard became largely benevolent, striving to protect the Nine Realms. In 1,000AD, Odin led the armies of Asgard to defend Earth from the Frost Giants. More recently, he almost killed himself sending Thor to Earth to help against the Chitauri. But Odin is gone now, and Asgard itself is fallen. Only a small number of Asgardian refugees are left, fleeing their ravaged home in a single spaceship.
The post-credits scene of Thor: Ragnarok is set mere moments before Infinity War begins. It sees the Asgardian ship intercepted by another massive vessel. Marvel has confirmed that this is the Sanctuary II, Thanos’s ship. The Mad Titan has come for the survivors of Asgard’s destruction.
Thanos has one goal. Thor doesn’t know it, but before Asgard was destroyed, Loki quietly stole the Tesseract – the Space Stone. Thanos covets the power of the Infinity Stones, and he will go to any lengths to get the Space Stone – even if it means slaughtering Asgard’s refugees. Thor, the Hulk, Valkyrie, Heimdall, Korg and Miek are Asgard’s last defenders, and they’re about to come face-to-face with Thanos and the Black Order.
The line of the Sorcerers Supreme came to an end in 2016 when the Ancient One died. Fortunately for Earth, one of her students, Stephen Strange, was able to wield the power of the Time Stone in the planet’s defense. Since then, the Avengers: Infinity War Prelude has revealed that Strange has continued to experiment with the power of the Time Stone.
The Masters of the Mystic Arts are aware that the Infinity Stones have been brought into play across the galaxy. In fact, the extent of their knowledge is pretty remarkable; they even knew that the Power Stone had previously been hidden on the planet Morag. The Masters’ knowledge makes them a powerful asset in the coming battle against Thanos; but possession of the Time Stone also makes Doctor Strange one of Thanos’s top targets.
Vision and Scarlet Witch
Another on Thanos’s most wanted list, the android superhero Vision has retired in the aftermath of Captain America: Civil War. He’s now living in the UK, disguised as a human, with his beloved Scarlet Witch at his side.
Vision is the ultimate wild card. He’s actually bonded to an Infinity Stone: the Mind Stone contained in his forehead. Working alongside Scarlet Witch, Vision has been striving to master the Stone’s powers. Depending on the extent of his success, Vision may well be one of Earth’s most powerful defenders.
Steve Rogers’s Team
The passing of the Sokovia Accords left the Avengers divided. Steve Rogers may have abandoned the identity of Captain America, but he refuses to ignore the world’s crises. He’s been traveling the globe as an unsanctioned troubleshooter, intervening in situations that he feels are about to go south. Rogers’s closest friends and allies, Black Widow and Falcon, have been accompanying him.
The superhero civil war saw Rogers assisted by Ant-Man and Hawkeye. Both heroes have retired in order to spend time with their families, and trailers for Ant-Man & the Wasp suggest Scott Lang is under house arrest. It’s unclear how large a part those last two heroes will play in Infinity War. The reason is likely geographical; Thanos appears to launch precision strikes in order to acquire the Infinity Stones. If Hawkeye and Ant-Man aren’t in the right place at the right time, they won’t be on hand to oppose Thanos.
As the one Avenger who truly understands the cosmic forces arraigned against the Earth, Iron Man feels that he has failed. Everything he’s done over the years, from creating Ultron to pushing for the Sokovia Accords, was in order to get Earth ready for the alien threats he believes are coming. But S.H.I.E.L.D. has fallen, Ultron has failed, and the Avengers have been torn apart.
The Avengers: Infinity War Prelude confirmed that Tony Stark hasn’t given up, though. He’s working on an innovative new “Bleeding Edge” armor, and concept art has even teased an army of Iron Man suits. Tony Stark is the only hero really focusing on being ready for the impending invasion.
A lot has changed for King T’Challa since the events of Black Panther. That movie, set just a week after the events of Captain America: Civil War, saw T’Challa embrace his role as King of Wakanda. He’s dedicated his nation to a new path, one that abandons their isolationist history, and instead attempts to bring peace and harmony to the rest of the world.
Infinity War is set two years after T’Challa’s ascension to the throne, and Wakanda is clearly becoming one of the most important and influential nations in the world. No doubt Wakandan tech is now available to the rest of the world too; will Tony Stark’s “Bleeding Edge” armor incorporate Vibranium?
It hardly seems a coincidence that so many scenes in Infinity War are apparently set inside Wakanda’s borders. The once-reclusive nation is now a global powerhouse, with the best defenses on Earth.
Finally, school student Peter Parker is continuing his career as your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man. An encounter with the Vulture taught Spider-Man that he’s not ready to be an Avenger, and he’s spent the last two years working at street level, taking on common hoods and thugs. Unfortunately for Peter Parker, no superhero gets to choose their opponents. Thanos is coming to New York, and his arrival will force Spider-Man to step on to a cosmic stage.
See what’s next for all these heroes and more when Avengers: Infinity War opens on April 27.