The first trailer for Avengers: Infinity War is finally here! (And you can watch it below!) On May 4th, 2018 begins a cosmic cinematic brouhaha that has been in the making for ten years.
But we still have lots of questions. Will the movie address them? Let’s find out!
[Note: Spoilers for Thor: Ragnarok ahead.]
1. What kind of Thanos are we getting?
Thanos can be a very interesting villain, but it depends on which version we’re getting. A dopey noob who is using a helicopter as part of his first attempt at godhood? (As he was during his first comic appearances.) A methodical, sadistic chessmaster with a fervent religious devotion to death? (As he was during his quest for the Infinity Stones / Gauntlet.) A calculating ally with an irksome nobility? (As he was during after his ultimate loss of the Infinity Stones.) Or a boorish brute exhausted by his inability to die? (As he has been depicted throughout the 21st century.)
Sadistic chessmaster Thanos would be the most fun to see depicted on the big screen. He’s got passionate personal goals and does colossally insane things to achieve them, like deleting mouths off of faces because he feels like it, or turning Thor into glass, or killing half of all living creatures in the universe just to get a smile out of the grim reaper. He’s grandiose to the extreme, a Sauron for the superhero universe, although therein lies the danger of this version of Thanos. He’s so extreme that his antics could easily throw off an entire film, making Infinity War just another entry in a “Weirdest Superhero Movie Moments” list. We’ve got to get a Thanos who is a serious, understandable threat.
So are we getting the bored, conniving brute version of Thanos? This would initially appear to be the case, since Infinity War borrows elements from the more recent Thanos comic storylines. That Thanos, same as the one in the trailer, is still somewhat small. His imagination isn’t yet up to the requirements of godhood and his delights seem to be centered mostly on empowering others (Gamora, Nebula, Loki, and the Black Order that we’re meeting in Infinity War) and watching them struggle against each other. This version of Thanos works in the sense that these are methods that can be addressed and fought by our Earthbound Avengers, but could falter in that this version of Thanos comes off more as a mob boss or reality TV show producer, seemingly more interested in creating drama than becoming an unstoppable force of universe-altering will.
2. Where is the Soul Gem i.e. the final Infinity Stone?
There are six Infinity Stones, displaying mastery over Space, Reality, Power, Mind, Time, and Soul. So far, the first five have been uncovered within the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but the Soul Gem, the most esoteric and metaphysical of the Infinity Stones, has yet to make an appearance.
Really there’s only three answers to this question left. Which one are we going to get?
Option #1: Infinity War is a hunt for the final Stone, either on Earth, space, or across the cosmos/”realms”. This seems the most plausible, since it lends an important urgency to the events of the film (an urgency that Thanos may not yet be able to imbue) and would give a good reason for Tony calling in every superpowered being there is, delivering on the promise of a giant Avengers film where everyone meets everyone.
Option #2: It’s in Wakanda. The trailers for Black Panther make clear that the “real” Wakanda is separated and hidden from the rest of the world. The power or technology required to do this kind of thing in a tech-wacky universe where Tony Stark can build these things in a cave with a box o’ scraps would have to be…otherworldly. In the comics, the Soul Gem holds a harmonious universe within itself…what if Real Wakanda only exists within that universe? (This would also dovetail nicely with the MCU’s concept of vibranium, a metal that harmonizes with all frequencies, which is only available within Wakanda.)
Alternately, the Soul Gem might simply be a key possession of the Wakandan royal lineage, allowing the current Black Panther to seek wisdom from their deceased ancestors. T’Chaka’s voice can be heard in the trailers, after all, and there’s a shot in the Black Panther trailer that certainly looks like T’Challa has entered a dreamy realm.
Finally, in the Infinity War trailer Thanos has clearly sent legions of his forces to Wakanda and New York City, meaning that there are either Infinity Stones or their defenders located there.
Option #3: Thanos has it already. In the comics, the Soul Gem maintains a tenuous link with the other Infinity Stones, and it is hinted that you can locate the others if you possess the Soul Gem/Stone. Maybe Thanos has it already? This would explain how he is able to hone in on the other Stones. It would also explain why he seemed so…cavalier…in giving Loki the Mind Stone. It’s not as big a deal to give up an Infinity Stone if you have a way of keeping track of it. (Although he doesn’t appear to have it in the trailer, so this is a distant possibility.)
3. Is Vision doomed?
Speaking of the Mind Stone…that one currently grants Vision his consciousness and doubles as a power source that keeps his body running… the one embedded smack in the middle of his beautiful highbrow forehead…
Vision is completely doomed, isn’t he?
4. What is Loki’s role in the Infinity War?
Kevin Feige confirmed that Thor, Hulk, Valkyrie, Loki, and the Asgardian refugees encounter Thanos’ ship in the post-credits scene of Thor: Ragnarok. Loki is carrying the Space Stone by that point so…what does he do?
Option #1: Loki saves Asgard. He’s not eager to meet Thanos again and still kind of buzzing from the high of defending Asgardians from greater threats like Hela and Surtur. Using the Space Stone, Loki teleports the Asgardians out of harm’s way, to their destination on Earth. Thanos follows, realizes that most of the Infinity Stones are now on this one planet, and the Infinity War begins.
Option #2: Loki betrays Asgard. He’s not eager to meet Thanos again but he recognizes that Thanos will feel that Loki owes him a debt and that Thanos has the power to collect on it. He turns coat and rejoins Thanos for a shot at greater power (and vengeance upon the Avengers). Or, Loki reads the situation correctly and figures he can better affects coming events if he’s trusted by Thanos (requiring a relinquishment of the Space Stone).
The trailer makes it clear that Thanos gets the Space Stone in one way or another, and Loki seemingly is handing it off to…someone…in the trailer. That could easily be a misdirect, though. Hulk crashes to Earth, Thor runs into the Guardians, and Loki looks pretty beat up in the trailer, so clearly the Asgardian ship goes in fighting and loses, with its defenders scattered. Hulk would have to be teleported by the Space Stone to get back to Earth, wouldn’t he? It’s possible that Loki does the same thing, with his trademark smirk, just after the moment in the trailer where we see him trembling in awe, raising the Stone…
Interestingly, both options put Earth in Thanos’ crosshairs.
Bonus 5: Does Xandar get pulped?
Thanos has the Space and Power Stones in the Infinity War trailer, the latter of which was held on Xandar.
What other questions do you think the Infinity War trailer raises? (Aside from: “Whose bloody hand is Tony holding in the beginning there…)