By Josh Williams
The Marvel Cinematic Universe is one of a kind. Many studios have attempted to replicate the MCU's formula and failed drastically. The DCEU, The Dark Universe, that Guy Ritchie "King Arthur" movie wants its own cinematic universe. The possibilities seem to not end. Marvel has raked in countless amounts of cash so it makes complete sense that other studios would try their best to chase that. Marvel clearly has this section of the market cornered and the way that they have managed to connect all of their films is pretty impressive. For the most part, the connection between their movies is pretty solid, although it is pretty easy to get lost in the shuffle sometimes. So here is our quick breakdown of where all of the major characters are and what they are doing as we head into "Avengers: Infinity War."
Readers beware...Spoilers for all films pre-dating "Avengers: Infinity War" ahead.
Before we jump into the characters, here is also a quick rundown of where the six infinity stones are located within the Marvel Cinematic Universe....
If you don't know, Thanos who is played by Josh Brolin is an all-powerful intergalactic being who possesses the ability to wipe out entire civilizations. A way that he is able to do so is through a weapon he uses called the infinity gauntlet. The infinity gauntlet possesses what is described as infinite power. (There's a lot of mentions of the word infinite in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.) The gauntlet has five empty slots where six stones can be placed. These stones are known as the infinity stones, each one with different abilities and powers. The six stones have been scattered throughout the universe to stop Thanos from retrieving all six. So here is where the six infinity stones are located within the Universe and who has possession of them....
The Space Stone
Location: The Statesman
The space stone was the first infinity stone that we came in contact with in the MCU. The space stone is confined within the tesseract. As we've seen in previous films ("Thor: Ragnarok," "The Avengers," etc.) the tesseract is an ancient artifact that has swapped owners many times yet it always seems to end back up in Loki's hands. Most recently it was seen in the film "Thor: Ragnarok" in Odin's treasure chamber. At the end of "Thor: Ragnarok" we witness Loki stop what he is doing to admire the tesseract. Though we don't see him take it, we do see him holding it in several of the "Avengers: Infinity War" trailers. Therefore, the space stone resides in the hands of Loki and the last time we saw Loki was aboard The Stateman, a giant ship which was previously owned by The Grandmaster.
The Mind Stone
The mind stone was a major plot point in the "Avengers: Age of Ultron" film. The Avengers retrieved Loki's scepter which was the main containment unit for the mind stone. As we saw in "Age of Ultron," Ultron attempted to place his consciousness into a physical human body. Although the Avengers were able to stop that from happening, it led to Tony Stark wanting to place JARVIS into the brain of the physical body that Ultron created. It was a success though it was not JARVIS that came out on the other side. It was the character that we have now come to know as Vision. The mind stone successfully became apart of Vision when he was created, making him the sole owner of the stone at this current time.
The Reality Stone
Owner: The Collector
The reality stone is the infinity stone that was introduced to us during "Thor: The Dark World" as something called the Aether. The Aether is a symbiotic-like liquid that is absorbed into the body of a host and gives them the ability to warp reality at will. The Aether is actually just a liquid containment object for the reality stone. We know this because the stone revealed itself from the liquid during Thor's vision in "Avengers: Age of Ultron." Natalie Portman's character Jane Foster is one of the two known hosts for the Aether and after having it extracted from her, it was given to The Collector who resides on the planet Knowhere.
The Power Stone
Owner: Nova Corps
The power stone was revealed to us in the first "Guardians of the Galaxy" film. Ronan the Accuser was tasked with retrieving the stone from the dead planet Morag in order to destroy Xandar. However, the Guardians were able to steal the stone from Ronan and attempt to sell it to The Collector. Yet the power of the stone was released on Knowhere, almost leveling the entire planet. Ronan was able to regain the stone and continue on with his plans. Then during a final skirmish on Xandar between Ronan and the Guardians, Star-Lord was able to take the stone back from Ronan. Star-Lord and the rest of the Guardians were then able to leave the stone with Nova Corps for safe keeping and protection.
The Time Stone
Owner: Doctor Stephen Strange
The time stone was revealed to us in "Doctor Strange." Dr. Stephen Strange was the greatest surgeon in the world until he got into a terrible car accident that took away the use of his hands. On a quest to discover himself and also regain the use of his hands he met The Ancient One, an all-powerful woman trained in the mystical arts. The Ancient One trained Doctor Strange in these arts in hopes that he would discover the bigger purpose in life. During his training, Strange was given a number of ancient artifacts to help him along with his journey. One of those artifacts being the Eye of Agamotto: a necklace with the ability to turn time forwards and or backward. The necklace possesses this ability because it is infused with the time stone, allowing the wearer of the necklace to manipulate the flow of time.
The Soul Stone
The soul stone has seen much debate over the past few months among Marvel fans. At first, it was believed that the soul stone's location would be revealed in Ryan Coogler's "Black Panther." But as we all clearly saw, no infinity stones were shown in the film. The soul stone is still a complete mystery in terms of its location and who is the owner. There is still some speculation among fans that the stone is hiding somewhere in Wakanda, but there is no official word just yet.
Phew, that was a lot. Now onto where all the major characters are and what they are doing as we head into "Avengers: Infinity War."
The Guardians Of The Galaxy
We last saw the Guardians in "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2" which was quite a spectacle. We were introduced to some new key characters like Ego and Mantis. We learned some key things about Star-Lord, like the fact that he is a half-god basically. We also saw some development between sisters Gamora and Nebula as well as the development of Rocket's character. "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2" is one of the more emotional and heartfelt MCU films, but where does it leave the Guardians? The Guardians are a tad bit undefined at the moment. While they successfully defeated Ego, their next destination is a little unknown. We see them appear at the end of the first Infinity War trailer with Thor aboard their ship. The Guardians are probably just traveling around space looking for new shenanigans to get themselves into. Then once Thor appears on their ship, they get roped into helping the Avengers. It's possible that we will see the Guardians stumble upon the Statesman ship that all of Asgard is on and that is how Thor and the Guardians are united.
James Rhodes aka. "War Machine"
We saw War Machine take a pretty gnarly hit from Vision in "Captain America: Civil War." Though Vision was aiming for the aircraft that Bucky and Cap were taking off in, he accidentally struck Rhodes. The War Machine suit was destroyed by Vision's blast sending Rhodes into a free-fall towards the ground. After his crash, he was left paralyzed in his legs preventing him from walking. His friend Tony Stark was able to create a physical therapy device that allowed Rhodes to walk again and presumably operate the War Machine suit again at a later date. We see War Machine in the "Avengers: Infinity War" trailers, so a new suit is probably made and utilized in the fight against Thanos.
Scott Lang aka. "Ant-Man"
Ant-Man came to the assistance of Team Captain America in "Captain America: Civil War," giving Cap's team the overall advantage against Tony's team for a significant portion of the fight. After the airport fight, however, the entirety of Cap's team, aside from Bucky and Cap himself was sentenced to time in prison. Tony visits them in said prison having brief conversations with each of them. Hawkeye, Falcon, Scarlet Witch, and Ant-Man himself all reside in a maximum security cell. At the end of "Civil War," we do see Cap show up to the prison and give his friends a fun little smirk. Although we don't see Ant-Man in any of the "Avengers: Infinity War" trailers it still is very likely that Cap broke everyone out of prison, including Ant-Man himself. But will we see Ant-Man in the fight against Thanos?
Clint Barton aka. "Hawkeye"
Last we saw the sharp shooter, he was in a prison cell in "Captain America: Civil War" regretting coming out of retirement following the events of "Age Of Ultron." Although it is insinuated that he is freed by Cap, I'm sure he wants nothing more than to go back home on the farm to his wife and kids but will somehow be dragged into the fight against Thanos anyway.
Sam Wilson aka. "Falcon"
Like Barton is "Civil War," he too is probably wishing that he had retired instead of getting involved with all of this silliness at this point...But in all seriousness, Falcon is loyal to Cap. Wherever Rogers goes, Sam Wilson shall follow. Expect to see him alongside his friend again soon in "Avengers: Infinity War."
Stephen Strange aka. "Doctor Strange"
Doctor Strange has clearly been harnessing his mystical abilities ever since we last saw him in his stand-alone film. Thor pays him a visit in "Thor: Ragnarok" where we get to witness Strange force Loki to keep continuously falling through dimensions. Strange also teleports himself and Thor constantly around the Sanctum Santorum, showing off just how powerful he's become. Though we don't get to see his full potential, he clearly is much stronger than when we first were introduced to him. So it seems that Strange has been spending a majority of his time flexing his mystical abilities. It seems that Strange prefers to stay out of most confrontations, but when Hulk comes crashing through the Sanctum Santorum in the "Avengers: Infinity War" trailer, it becomes clear he can no longer ignore these conflicts. He will play a key role in stopping Thanos as he is the one who possesses the time stone.
Vision will be crucial in the overall story of "Avengers: Infinity War" since an infinity stone is literally part of his anatomy. We see him getting the stone ripped from his head in one of the "Infinity War" trailers which looks excruciatingly painful. Vision's fate is left open from when we last saw him as well. He was apart of Team Iron Man in "Captain America: Civil War" and was attempting to protect Scarlet Witch from causing harm to anyone until Hawkeye came and rescued her. After all of the fighting in "Civil War," we saw Vision caress Scarlet Witch as their romantic side story began to develop further. It's clear that the two of them care about each other more than the others due to their unique abilities. Vision's story remains open since then but after these trailers, it seems like it may become grim.
Wanda Maximoff aka. "Scarlet Witch"
Scarlet Witch will be another key component in the fight against Thanos. She was apart of Team Captain America in "Captain America: Civil War" and was able to cause a lot of threats for Team Iron Man. She is easily one of the most powerful members of the Avengers. At the end of "Civil War," she ended up in the same prison as Ant-Man, Hawkeye, and Falcon. We see her in action in the "Avengers: Infinity War" trailers, so it's pretty clear that she has broken out of prison along with those other heroes. In "Civil War" when she escapes with Hawkeye, she is able to best Vision by taking control of the mind stone within Vision's head. This ability will be crucial to helping the other heroes in the battle against Thanos.
Bucky Barnes aka. "The Winter Soldier"
Bucky met a pretty terrible fate in "Captain America: Civil War." In his battle against Iron Man alongside Cap, Iron Man managed to fire a laser from his chest blowing off Bucky's metal arm. In one of the post-credits scenes in "Civil War," we see that Bucky has been escorted to Wakanda where his arm will be repaired. Then in the post-credits scene of "Black Panther," we see him in a small village in Wakanda. Shuri comes to visit him and we see that his arm is still missing. However, in the "Avengers: Infinity War" trailers, we see him with his metal arm fully intact. Presumably what happens is that due to the genius of Shuri, she is able to replace his arm better than ever.
T'Challa aka. "Black Panther"
After defeating Erik Killmonger in a battle for the throne of Wakanda, T'Challa decides to open up Wakanda's resources to the rest of the world. Funnily enough, it looks like a majority of the major battles in "Avengers: Infinity War" will take place in Wakanda. Black Panther appears to be offering a safe haven for Captain America while the tension builds outside of Wakanda between Thanos and the other Avengers. Black Panther is clearly going to be an immense force in "Infinity War," not only by offering his home as a safe haven that eventually becomes a battlefield but also utilizing his armies to fight against the armies of Thanos. T'Challa is putting everything on the line in this next film, just like how he did in his stand-alone film, making him a towering character in "Infinity War."
Natasha Romanoff aka. "Black Widow"
Black Widow's fate is another one that is left open since the last time we saw her. She stops Black Panther from reaching Cap and Bucky before they leave the airport in "Captain America: Civil War." After that, we don't really see her again. We see her in the "Avengers: Infinity War" trailers with a new hairstyle and color, looking ready to kick some major ass. It becomes a little unclear as to what she's been doing but she clearly is ready to fight once again in "Infinity War." One thing that I personally hope is discussed in "Infinity War" is her relationship with Bruce Banner. Their romance was lit ablaze in "Avengers: Age of Ultron," so will it re-surface since they have spent some time away from one another?
Bruce Banner aka. "Hulk"
Hulk took the queen jet out to god knows where in "Avengers: Age of Ultron." Then in "Thor: Ragnarok" that question was answered. He was off being one of the Grandmaster's most revered champions in a gladiator-style arena. When Thor arrives on this planet, the two of them are able to team up in order to save Asgard. After they save Asgard we see Thor, Loki, Hulk and the rest of Asgard aboard the Statesman. In the post-credits scene of "Thor: Ragnarok," another ship shows up in space alongside the Statesman that appears to be Thanos's spaceship. In the "Avengers: Infinity War" trailer we see Hulk as Bruce Banner crashed into the Sanctum Santorum which could allude to the fact that Hulk crash lands on Earth? We'll see.
Thor's fate remains rather similar to Hulk's except he ends up in a completely different place. At the end of one of the "Avengers: Infinity War" trailers, we see Thor on the ship with the Guardians of the Galaxy. We also see Thor alongside Rocket and Groot in another one of the "Infinity War" trailers. The possibility for what's going on with Thor could be that at the same time that Hulk crash lands on Earth, Thor is flung from The Statesman and is left to float in space until the Guardians discover him and bring him aboard. We haven't seen Thor in play with some of the other heavy hitter Avengers yet, mainly just the Guardians. It is possible that Thor will be off doing some Asgardian stuff that will assist the others in the overall fight.
Peter Parker aka. "Spider-Man"
Peter Parker has done exactly what Tony wants of him. He's kept his ear close to the ground and has been handling some small-scale issues within the world. After rejecting Stark's offer to join the Avengers at the end of "Spider-Man: Homecoming," Peter realizes that his small-scale work will actually help Stark and the other Avengers. Though when Thanos invades it becomes clear that the others will need Peter's help in this massive battle. We see Peter in the Iron Spider suit in the "Avengers: Infinity War" trailers that was first shown to us at the end of "Homecoming." It's possible that Spider-Man interjects himself into the conflict against Stark's will. Spider-Man's fate will be an interesting one being that he is the youngest hero on the team with a father figure in Tony.
Tony Stark aka. "Iron Man"
Tony Stark took quite a beating mentally and physically in "Captain America: Civil War." Learning that Bucky had murdered his parents, he attempted to kill Bucky for revenge. Going after Bucky meant also having to fight Cap, leading to a downfall for the Avengers. Tearing the Avengers in two was a devastating blow to everyone on the team, damaging things for what seemed to be beyond repair. However, at the end of "Civil War," Cap sends Tony a letter letting him know that if Tony ever needs Cap that he can just call (Thus pissing off our editor in chief Matt Neglia for all time). Resetting everything that "Civil War" had set into place, that letter now brings us to the current state of affairs. Tony is left with a content heart, his anger set aside and a new determination to revive the Avengers program. It will be interesting to see Tony's state of mind in "Avengers: Infinity War." Will he be ready to sacrifice himself for the team like in "The Avengers" or if he will stand for what he knows is right like in "Civil War?"
Steve Rogers aka. "Captain America"
After the brutal skirmish between Bucky, himself, and Iron Man in "Captain America: Civil War," Cap left everything about his old self behind. Tony tells him "You don't deserve that shield. My father made that shield. It doesn't belong to you." Cap then leaves the famous shield of his behind with a beaten and bruised Tony Stark. Cap then delivers an injured Bucky to Wakanda so that they can remove The Winter Soldier mentality from his mind and also repair his arm. This leaves Cap alone to break out the Avengers who have been locked in the prison that we see at the end of "Civil War." In the "Avengers: Infinity War" trailers, Cap is a whole new man. Long hair, a new outfit, no shield, and one hell of a beard. After the events in "Civil War," Steve Rogers is looking nice and pissed off. He's ready to kick anybody's ass that tries to disturb the peace of planet Earth. After all, he can do this all day.
Are you excited for "Avengers: Infinity War?" Be sure to vote on our latest poll and tell us what is your favorite Marvel Cinematic Universe film. Check out Mike Vermette's Top 10 MCU films, Dan Howat's look at the MCU's history with the Oscars and also be sure to listen to our Patron review of 2012's "The Avengers" on the podcast.
You can follow Josh and hear more of his thoughts on the Oscars and Film on Twitter at @josh_williams09
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The Lion King - VES
BEST ANIMATED FEATURE
Toy Story 4 (32) - AFCC, BOFCA, CCA, CFCA, COFCA, DFCS, DFCS, DFWFCA, GFCA, GWNYFCA, HCA, HFCS, HFCS, IFCA, KCFCC, LEJA, MCFCA, NCFCA, NFCS, NTFCA, OAFFC, OFCC, OFCS, OFTA, OSCAR, PCC, PFCC, PFCS, SEFCA, SFCS, StLFCA, WAFCA
I Lost My Body (13) - AFCA, AWFJ, BFCC, BSFC, CIC, FFCC, LAFCA, NDFS, NYFCC, NYFCO, SDFCS, SFBAFCC, UFCA
Missing Link (3) - GG, LVFCS, TFCA
Klaus (2) - ANNIE, BAFTA
How To Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World (2) - IFJA, NBR
Abominable - AAFCA
The Lion King - IPA
BEST INTERNATIONAL FEATURE FILM
Parasite (49) - AFCA, AAFCA, AFCC, AWFJ, BAFTA, BFCC, BIFA, BOFCA, BSFC, CCA, CFCA, CIC, COFCA, DFCS, DFWFCA, GALECA, GFCA, GG, GWNYFCA, HCA, HFCS, HFCS, IFJA, KCFCC, LEJA, LVFCS, MCFCA, NBR, NCFCA, NDFS, NTFCA, NYFCC, OFCC, OFCS, OFTA, OSCAR, PCC, PFCC, PFCS, SDFCS, SEFCA, SFBAFCC, SFCS, SPIRIT, StLFCA, TFCA, UFCA, VFCC, WAFCA
Portrait Of A Lady On Fire (4) - FFCC, LFCC, NYFCO, WFCC
Pain and Glory (2) - AARP, LAFCA
Truth and Justice - IPA
BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE
Apollo 11 (36) - AFCA, AFCC, AWFJ, BOFCA, CCA, CFCA, CIC, COFCA, DFCC, DFCS, DFWFCA, FFCC, GFCA, GWNYFCA, HCA, HFCS, HFCS, IFCA, KCFCC, LVFCS, MCFCA, NCFCA, NFCS, NTFCA, NYFCO, OAFFC, OFCS, OFTA, PCC, PFCC, SEFCA, SFBAFCC, SFCS, StLFCA, UFCA, WAFCA
Honeyland (7) - BSFC, DFCS, GALECA, NDFS, NSFC, NYFCC, VFCC
American Factory (6) - IFP, LAFCA, OFCC, OSCAR, SPIRIT, TFCA
For Sama (6) - BAFTA, BIFA, EFA, IDA, IFJA, LFCC
One Child Nation (2) - PFCS, SDFCS
63 Up - IPA
Amazing Grace - KCFCC
The Black Godfather - AAFCA
Knock Down The House - LEJA
Linda Ronstadt: The Sound of My Voice - AARP
Maiden - NBR
Toni Morrison: The Pieces I Am - BFCC