Months ago, thousands of people got to see the first Avengers: Infinity War trailer at Disney’s D23 convention. Though the footage eventually leaked online, it remained the type of thing spoken of in hushed, reverent tones or simply a source of fan cred for anyone who could legitimately claim, “I’ve seen the trailer, and you haven’t.”

That all changes today. Because today marks the worldwide debut of…actually, a largely new version of that Infinity War trailer. So, yeah, the D23 people still have some bragging rights as they saw certain shots which aren’t in this new trailer, but can’t we all just get along and geek out over the first footage of Thanos finally getting up off his ass and doing something for a change in this damn little cinematic universe! Mo-capped Josh Brolin is going to powerglove his way through our heroes and this trailer already spoils the apparent death of one of them:

As you’d expect from a globe-hopping adventure pitting the Avengers against an intergalactic madman, the story looks as if it will pair everyone in teams as they fight on different fronts of the battle: Iron Man, the Doctor Strange crew and Spider-Man in New York, Black Panther, Black Widow, Cap, Winter Soldier, War Machine and Falcon in Wakanda, and Thor and the Guardians up in space and on their way to Earth like some kind of calvary. The two at most risk, though, might just be Scarlet Witch and Vision.

I’d already guessed Vision, who is clearly experimenting with ways to look more human in the trailer, wasn’t going to last long. He’s been on borrowed time from the moment his creation was powered by an infinity stone, i.e., that shiny thing on his forehead. Still, I didn’t expect to see that stone ripped from his head in this trailer, although their use of quick cutting more suggests his death than outright confirms it. In fact, upon closer examination – and by that I mean after watching the trailer 4 times in a row because how could I not – of the two stones Thanos is sporting in the trailer Vision’s doesn’t appear to be one of them:

Still, Thanos has two of the stones, one coming from Loki volunteering the tesseract to him, remembering, of course, that despite the moral change of heart the Trickster God exhibits by the end of Ragnarok he knows enough about Thanos to be terrified of him. In order to complete the collection, Thanos is going to have to kill Vision at some point. Scarlet Witch, Cap and Black Panther can’t swoop in to save him every time. Death is coming to the Avengers, and it won’t just be Vision.

That this trailer arrives on the heels of Vanity Fair’s exhaustively detailed celebration of Marvel Studio’s past and future is no accident. Infinity War is the beginning of the end for this journey which began when an eye-patched Samuel L. Jackson spouted something about an Avengers initiative to a nonplussed Robert Downey, Jr. in a scene tacked on to the end of a movie as a mere easter egg and possible pie-in-the-sky dream of things to come. 17 films and literally billions of dollars later, I’d say it worked out pretty well. But now The Avengers are about to face their biggest foe yet, and it’s not Thanos. No, it’s the fulfilment of contractual obligations.

It’s become a game among Marvel fans at this point to keep track of how many films each actor has left on their contract because then we can use that to make educated guesses about which characters are about to die. According to Vanity Fair, Captain America, Hulk, Iron Man, Black Widow, Thor and Hawkeye are all prime candidates because Infinity War’s still-untitled sequel, for now just being called Avengers 4, will close out the contractual obligations for Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo, Robert Downey, Jr., Scarlett Johansson, Chris Hemsworth and Jeremy Renner.

They can, of course, re-negotiate, as Downey, Jr. has already done at least once. Ike Perlmutter is gone. Penny-pinching is no longer the law of the land at Marvel Studios. Evans isn’t making nearly as much noise as he used to be about wanting to retire from acting and pursue directing. Thanks to Ragnarok, Hemsworth and Ruffalo are coming off their best work in the Universe yet. Johansson might want to stick around to be a part of a Black Widow solo film or that female team-up movie Tessa Thompson pitched to Kevin Feige. Renner…um…um…well….okay, Hawkeye’s probably a goner. You don’t put Linda Cardellini in your 10th-anniversary photo shoot unless you’re trying to remind people that Hawkeye has a wife (and kids) who sure will be sad when he bites it in one of these next two movies.

But make no mistake about it: the Marvel Cinematic Universe is on the cusp of a monumental change that will either leave a trail of dead bodies behind it or finally send certain characters off into happy ending retirements or both. I could be wrong, after all. Maybe Hawkeye just goes back to that farm with his family, takes up darts in his spare time to scratch that sharp shooting itch. Maybe Tony Stark and Pepper Potts elope and move to Bali, assuming it’s still there what with the volcano and everything. Maybe Thor, Hulk and even Loki somehow survive the fight with Thanos and go adventuring together with Valkyrie and whatever remains of the Asgardians.

Yeah, maybe. But not everyone’s going to get that ending because you don’t build to this for over half a decade and not have Thanos bring some permanent death to the MCU. His long-delayed arrival and various ineffectual cameos are already so unintentionally comical he dude’s got to bring the pain to justify the wait and earn the audience’s fear. And in all likelihood even though they keep claiming Avengers 4 will be a distinct film and not a mere Part 2 to Infinity War it’s hard to imagine Thanos being contained to just the one film.

Either way, as Kevin Feige put it, Avengers 4 “bring things you’ve never seen in superhero films: a finale […] There will be two distinct periods. Everything before Avengers 4 and everything after. I know it will not be in ways people are expecting […] We’re 22 movies in, and we’ve got another 20 movies on the docket that are completely different from anything that’s come before—intentionally.”

But, as if hearing and responding to a certain persistent criticism of the studio’s usually aggressive release date announcements, Marvel is telling us next to nothing concrete about its post-Avengers 4 world. Avengers 4 drops 5/2/19, Spider-Man: Homecoming 2 (or maybe Spider-Man: Prom, to stick with the school dance theme) drops 7/5/19 and at some point there will be a Guardians of the Galaxy 3 and possibly several Guardians spin-offs spearheaded by James Gunn. Beyond that, we don’t know anything for sure.

So, for a change, we can genuinely debate about how who’s going to survive and who won’t and have few certainties about what might actually happen. Would it be better for Iron Man or Captain America to die? Killing Iron Man would certainly bring things full circle since he started all of this, and killing Captain America would force the MCU to search for a new moral center and/or allow the Winter Soldier or Falcon to take up the Cap identity ala the comics. However, Iron Man’s resources and Downey, Jr.’s quips make him such a perfect mentor figure and financial patron for new heroes, and Cap has anchored the MCU’s most reliable and consistent franchise.

These are questions we’ve been able to debate for years, but Infinity War is going to start making it real. The old guard is about to be replaced by the new, either partially or across the board. Tom Holland, Chadwick Boseman, Brie Larson are the future, Downey, Jr., Evans, and Johansson the past. “I feel a lot of joy for the next generation,” Johansson said told Vanity Fair. “It’s a bittersweet feeling, but a positive one.”

Not that change has been foreign to the studio or new characters particularly infrequent, but the OG Avengers have always been available to help usher in the new or aid in the transition. What happens when the baton is passed on completely and some of these characters go the way of Logan and Professor Xavier before them?

Disney’s CEO, Bob Iger, says, “ “We’re looking for worlds that are completely separate—geographically or in time—from the worlds that we’ve already visited.”

Death, to repeat, is coming to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and with it comes change, the kind of change that has Evangeline Lilly comparing it to the mid-era of Lost when no one, not the audience nor the actors or writers, knew for sure what was going to happen. Unlike Lost, Feige has a definite plan, and you bet against him at your own peril. I will miss whoever doesn’t make it through Infinity War, but when we’re talking about a studio that is capable of throwing curveballs like Guardians of the Galaxy and Ragnarok at us out of nowhere I can’t wait to see what they’ll do next.

Heck, we still have so much to get through before that even becomes an issue. Black Panther, Infinity War, and Ant-Man and the Wasp are all next year followed by Captain Marvel, Avengers 4 and Spider-Man: Homecoming 2 after that. And Infinity War? Yeah….it looks so good.

Avengers: Infinity War is due 5/4/18.

Advertisements

Posted by Kelly Konda

Grew up obsessing over movies and TV shows. Worked in a video store. Minored in film at college because my college didn't offer a film major. Worked in academia for a while. Have been freelance writing and running this blog since 2013.

24 Comments

  1. Reblogged this on Geeking Out about It and commented:
    I plan to see this movie, and I’m looking forward to the next stage of the MCU.

    Reply

  2. I don’t want Cap to die! But I kind of expect Ironman to die….it would be great if they switch the iconic panel from The Death of Captain America around.

    Anyway, I am not too worried about the aftermath, mostly because Feige seems to be very aware that going even bigger isn’t an option. After this it is time to go back to some smaller movies, perhaps with three to four heroes team-ups in them. (honestly, if just every franchise which is currently ongoing becomes a trilogy, that would already cover 10 movies for phase 4 and 5). You do a movie like Avengers 4 only every 10 years or so.

    Next up: The two hour Agents of shield premiere! Can’t wait!

    Reply

    1. I don’t want Cap to go either, but since the MCU has now been bent around Cap and Tony as the leaders of the two different factions in Civil War it really does seem like one or the other if not, perish the thought, both need to die during Infinity War. One of the generals has to go down. But Feige did say things won’t happen quite in the way everyone’s expecting, meaning perhaps there’ll be more retirement than death or perhaps the bloodbath will happen but spare the two biggies and/or extend to include some of the newbies (other than Tom Holland, of course) we all assume are safe for contract reasons.

      There’s a lot they can still do with Cap now that he’s reached his Nomad stage of development, particularly as that might relate to the ongoing deterioration of our faith in institutions and trust in the USA post-Trump. Iron Man, on the other hand, is nice to have because he can bankroll so many things and be a funny mentor, but, honestly, he, more than anyone else other than the Vision, feels like someone who needs to die in Infinity War. If you want to truly draw the dividing line between everything that came before and everything after, killing Iron Man, the first cinematic (if not in-universe chronological) Avenger is the most obvious way to do it.

      I agree that after Infinity War/Avengers 4 they need to pull back on scale. They might explore different universes and time periods, as per Bog Iger’s quote, but whatever they do at least give us time to exhale and escape back into some smaller-stakes, character-driven stories.

      “(honestly, if just every franchise which is currently ongoing becomes a trilogy, that would already cover 10 movies for phase 4 and 5).”

      I hadn’t thought of that, but you’re right. Ant-Man, Black Panther, Captain Marvel, Spider-Man and even Doctor Strange are all trilogy candidates.

      Reply

      1. Yeah, exactly my feeling…I mean, Marvel planned ahead by locking Sebastian Stan into a really long contract, but Chris Evans has already said that he is ready to do more movies, and as long as he is around, they should use him.

        Ironman on the other hand makes sense both on a business point of view (RDJ is very expensive), as well as a practical point of view (RDJ is getting a little bit old to fly around in his suit) and a narrative point of view (I really don’t see where else they should allow the character to develop). Plus Tony would kind of come full circle if after he nearly sacrificed himself in the first Avenger, he does it for real this time and. There is also a particular tragic element to the notion that the man who more than anything else wanted to world to be save so that he would be able to go home manages to protect the world (let’s assume that it will take some time before the Avengers are needed again) but then doesn’t get to experience the peace he wanted.

        Vision might actually survive somehow…we need to wait and see. But Nebula might be a goner in Avengers 4.

        I actually did the math….at least one other GotG and Ant-man movie, Two for the other four. And we both know that even if the current team of GotG retires, Marvel is certainly not done with the concept itself. And Sony will certainly want to squeeze more movies out of Spider-man too if they stay successful.

        Then there is Namor…there is a good chance that Marvel has freed him from legal limbo. Maybe finally a Black Widow movie or at least a female team-up movie. Maybe I get the Bucky and Falcon Road trip movie I really want (hey, a girl can dream, right?).

        And all this is not taking in account the by now very real possibility of the Fox rights reverting back. Hello, Silver Surfer Origin movie. Hello Doctor Doom movie. Hello another take on the Fantastic four.

      2. “Plus Tony would kind of come full circle if after he nearly sacrificed himself in the first Avenger, he does it for real this time and”

        Oh, excellent point. I hadn’t made that connection yet.

        “I really don’t see where else they should allow the character to develop”

        Same here.

        “There is also a particular tragic element to the notion that the man who more than anything else wanted to world to be save so that he would be able to go home manages to protect the world (let’s assume that it will take some time before the Avengers are needed again) but then doesn’t get to experience the peace he wanted.”

        And the fact that this particular aspect of Tony’s journey was so emphasized in Civil War, a film made by the same people who are making Infinity War, certainly adds to the likelihood of them building to this tragic conclusion for him.

        “Vision might actually survive somehow…we need to wait and see. But Nebula might be a goner in Avengers 4.”

        I just don’t understand how Vision can actually survive without the Infinity Stone that gives him life. That being said, it’s not a guarantee that Thanos will get that Infinity Stone from him. As for Nebula, I agree, yet hesitate because the Guardians seem set to be the future face of the MCU, taking the place of the Avengers. So, I don’t know how much Marvel will want to mess with that. However, Nebula and Gamora and Drax are so connected to Thanos it does seem like there will have to be a casualty, and Nebula makes the most sense. After Guardians 2, there might not be much left for her other than to perish while seeking her revenge, dying knowing that she at least made peace with her sister before going out.

        “Maybe I get the Bucky and Falcon Road trip movie I really want (hey, a girl can dream, right?)”

        That would certainly be the type of smaller movie you said you wanted. The two do have a fun dynamic in Civil War. Maybe if Cap dies they need a small, indie-esque road movie to mourn together, various other people interrupting them to come after Bucky since he, ala Tony Stark, also killed one of their relatives in his brainwashed Winter Soldier days.

        “Maybe finally a Black Widow movie or at least a female team-up movie.”

        The Black Widow solo movie might have missed its window at this point, but thanks to the proactive efforts of Tessa Thompson and the various actresses she rallied behind her a female team-up movie seems like a real possibility.

        “And all this is not taking in account the by now very real possibility of the Fox rights reverting back. Hello, Silver Surfer Origin movie. Hello Doctor Doom movie. Hello another take on the Fantastic four.”

        The latest I’ve heard on that is pretty much all of Hollywood is bidding on Fox right now, with Disney obviously having the most money to make it happen. The only thing that might stop it now is if the Justice Department kills the AT&T/WB merger. If that happens Fox might not sell for fear of getting locked into a year-long re-organization that will then be negated by a suddenly merger-averse DOJ.

      3. Most likely it doesn’t matter who buys Fox in the end, at least not when it comes to Marvel. We can’t forget that Fox doesn’t own those rights, it just has it “on lease”, and while the contract has never been made public, there has to be a rule in it that prevents Fox from selling those rights to someone else. They can only sell back to Marvel.

        Also, under the current government the Justice Department won’t kill anything. There has never been a better time to make mergers like this. Not that this is a good thing, but I tend to look at the upsides, as few as there are.

      4. Generally, agree about Justice Department, but in a post-Trump world we don’t really know anything about the government for sure because nothing being done makes sense.

        As for Fox, I don’t know if it will really work like that. It’s not like Fox is directly and specifically seeking to sell their Marvel rights. No, they’re looking to change corporate owners who will assume control over everything, Marvel included. That feels like something which could get around any kind of provision like the one you mentioned. I guess, more honestly, I just second guess it because to this point none of the trades have written about the Fox sale from that point of view. They all seem to assume the Marvel rights will be part of the deal. They, and by extension I, could be wrong, of course.

      5. Well, if Disney is the buyer it won’t make a difference if they are part of the package or not. They either end up with Disney proper or Marvel. And if Disney isn’t the buyer it is just speculation because nobody has ever seen the contract, most of what is known about it is based on the court case between Marvel and Fox.

        Exactly because a Post Trump era could change everything the companies might go ahead now that the sale will most likely be easier. It will take some time to properly remove Trump from office and even then the Republicans are still in charge. It will take some time to clean house. If they hurry up now, they could use the window.

        I am wondering though…If the sales goes through, Disney would need to do some serious rebranding, wouldn’t it? I mean, I can’t imagine that they would want to be permanently associated with Fox news. So either Murdoch changes the name of his news channels, or Disney changes the name of the studio and the entertainment channels.

      6. “I am wondering though…If the sales goes through, Disney would need to do some serious rebranding, wouldn’t it? I mean, I can’t imagine that they would want to be permanently associated with Fox news. So either Murdoch changes the name of his news channels, or Disney changes the name of the studio and the entertainment channels.”

        Actually, that’s one point which has been consistent in all the reporting I’ve seen – Fox News will not be included in any kind of sale. If Fox sells it’s because they no longer want to compete in the scale for scale’s sake business and reorganize itself into a news and sports-only organization, with film and TV having always been a business venture to the Murdochs but news Rupert’s true love. So, Disney’s re-branding post-Fox would be more restricted to stuff like figuring out how to merchandise R-Rated movies like Logan, Deadpool 2 and Multiple Man.

      7. Yes, I know. But the channels they are interested in and the studio are also both called Fox. Usually Disney just buys the company and then let’s it run under its own name, if for no other reason than to keep r-rated properties away from the Disney brand. So what will they do with Fox studios for example? Will they rename it? Will they dismantle it and only keep the IP’s? My point was that if they keep the current name, they keep up a link with Fox which might damage them down the line. But if they rename the studio, well, it is one of the traditional studios, so that isn’t necessarily good PR either.

      8. The latest headline I saw indicates the purchase might now include Fox’s stake in SkyTV as well.

        Also, agreed about Disney’s strange position. Fox is a legacy studio, almost as old as Disney itself, but Murdoch has poisoned that name from a marketing standpoint. However, 20th Century Fox doesn’t really seem to have a problem with getting audiences to differentiate between Fox News/Sports and Fox Movies. Would changing ownership over to Fox really change that? If so, maybe they revive one of their now-defunct old live action studio labels for all new Fox movies, but I …. kind of totally hate that idea. Just let the studio keep the name it’s had for the past 80+ years.

      9. Really? Disney wants to take THAT money grave off their hands? But then, Disney might actually have some use for it….not sure how I should feel about that, because so far, our public networks have always been able to outbid Sky regarding the Football rights for the big tournament (meaning the Worldcup and the Euros). With Disney in the mix, this might become too expensive.

        Technically it is 21century Fox. They changed the name to fit the new era.

        Who knows, perhaps they’ll rename it into 21 century Touchstone while keeping the style of the logo, merging those two parts of the Disney company and still allowing a nod to what Fox originally was. It is kind of a shame, though.

        Btw, something I had originally forgotten but might be an issue here…is Constantine Film still the actual owner of the Fantastic 4 rights?

        Word on the less reputable media is that they will make an announcement next week. So we might know more, soon.

      10. I know it’s 21st Century, technically, it’s just that no one seems to call it that. In all of the industry reporting I read it’s always 20th Century Fox.

        Century/Touchstone is kind of what I was going for with my thing about them reviving one of their inactive live-action labels, and obviously, the comic book movies would just get folded into Marvel Studios.

        Fantastic 4 rights – According to CBR, the answer as to the exact ownership of the rights remains a mystery. The most likely scenario is Fox has distribution rights while Constanin has production rights meaning even if Constantin sold the rights, since its parent company is talking about consolidating and focusing more on sports broadcasting, Fox would likely still remain in charge of distribution, similar to Universal’s hold on The Hulk. If Constantin sold the rights back to Marvel and Disney buys Fox, problem solved, but if Constantin sells to some other company then…well, a mess all over again.

        https://www.cbr.com/fantastic-four-movie-series-mcu-update/

        “Word on the less reputable media is that they will make an announcement next week.”

        And now everyone, reputable or not, seems to be running with that as fact.

      11. To be fair, it was reported on an outlet belonging to one of the competitors of Disney for this bid, so they should have a pretty good idea what is going on. They are kind of jumping the gun, but they should have some insights which lead to the report.

        Granted, I don’t think that Constantin will be much of a problem. Even if they are involved, they will most likely just allow Disney to do whatever they want in exchange for a cut or a buy-out. Everyone knows that the Fantastic 4 rights are worthless outside of the MCU thanks to Fox thoroughly burning the brand. And Constantin itself is focussing on the German market anyway.

        Perhaps they can call it 20th century Foxstone….if they get the right to the fanfare…….

      12. “Perhaps they can call it 20th century Foxstone….if they get the right to the fanfare……”

        Well, I don’t hate that idea, although it might be dependent on people actually remember what Touchstone was.

        Eh, they’ll figure it out.

        Also agreed about Fantastic 4 rights … they’re worthless. Best to sell and get what you can now because everyone knows the only thing that can save the franchise is the MCU.

      13. Something just occurred to me…Gotham runs on Fox, right? Does this mean that Fox owns the TV rights for Batman? Or did Fox bought the show? I need to look this up…..

      14. Gotham, as far as I know, is a WB TV show that Fox simply happens to run. They don’t own it. In film terms, they’re just the distributor. There are surely exceptions, but in general, the DC character rights are all safe and secure under WB’s control.

      15. Yeah, I thought so. Still, it will be interesting to see them sorting out all those ownership and distribution rights.

      16. How about “20th century Mouse”? But then, Disney is really careful with Mickey….

      17. 20th Century Mouse….Hmmm. I don’t know. That sounds kinda like it should be the title of a kids movie or maybe some sort of satirical indie.

      18. Could be worse…could be 20th century Duck.

  3. Great article. Hopefully Hawkeye will bite the dust. Useless and forgettable.

    Reply

    1. The only reason they didn’t kill him in Age of Ultron is because Whedon thought it would be too obvious. He even leaned into it hard, playing up the family angle to not only comment on what he has and the other Avengers don’t but to also set off our spidey senses that the Lethal Weapon-like figure so close to retirement was surely destined to die. But, then, boom, Quicksilver instead.

      Ah, you got us Whedon.

      But Whedon is gone, and Renner’s contract is up. He’s one of the most expendable figures in the universe. I’ll be stunned if he makes it past Avengers 4.

      Reply

  4. Vision will most likely die. Though I hope they could find other use for Jarvis. (I was re-watching Iron-Man movies and I thought Tony is Iron-Man… and SO IS JARVIS.) Is that Loki’s scepter pointed at his forehead? As for Hawkeye, some speculated his wife and kids would die, which would be more tragic than with him dying. I’m thinking they could use the Eye of Whatshisname so they could bring back his family and then lived happily ever after.

    Between Cap and Tony, I’d go with Tony. It’s either he die or retire (for real this time). I feel like the remaining Avengers and their movies needs a leader somehow, and that would be Cap. They could probably kill Rhodes this time (again, for real.)

    Maybe Scarlet Witch would also die, but in Avengers 4. Story-wise, there isn’t much for her that I could think of.

    A few questions/observations: Thor is with the Guardians, but Banner is with Tony, Doctor Strange and Spidey in NY. How did Cap and War Machine ended in Wakanda? Is the last Infinity Stone in Wakanda and not the Eternal Flame in Asgard? Is that Hawkeye shown with his back on the camera in some kind of spaceship?

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s