One of the drawbacks of planning a franchise so far in advance is that it provides even more material for journalists to ask difficult and probing questions about. So inevitably, being as Marvel have their Phase 3 offerings publicly mapped out for the next 4 years, when Joe and Anthony Russo were being quizzed by journalists last week about the forthcoming ‘Captain America 3: Civil War’, they were also asked how 2018’s ‘Infinity War’ was shaping up.
And it was Joe Russo’s reply to that question that immediately set the Internet alight in a frenzy of fan speculation:
“We have so many characters we’re dealing with. We’re breaking ground on Avengers: Infinity War, We have a board with 67 characters on it.”
Was this an ‘off the cuff’ answer to appease a pack of baying journalists, or is this an accurate and very specific number of protagonists that the Russo brothers genuinely have created to refer to? Well, your guess is as good as mine, and only time will tell.
67 characters sounds like a lot, even spread over two films. A hell of a lot. So how far and wide do you have to research to realistically build up a list of MCU characters to get to 67? Well, I thought I’d save you the five minutes of your life it would take, and give it a good go myself.
Firstly, the loggerheads between the Marvel and TV families is well documented. The TV family is able to reference the larger Cinematic Universe, and some of the supporting Cinematic characters have been known to cameo on the TV shows. But at this stage, TV characters are not allowed to make the jump into the MCU, and all the noises coming out of the company suggest this rule will continue. Now dependent on the success of the Netflix project, that may well change, but for the time being, I’ve looked to create a list bearing that in mind.
Secondly, there are no doubt going to be new characters who as of yet have not been announced or cast that we can’t factor in, who will likely cameo or crop up in the films that will feature between Civil War and Infinity War. Examples of these would be:
Villains working for Thanos
Black Panther supporting cast
Doctor Strange supporting cast
The eventual arrival of the Inhumans
Put these to one side. We don’t pretend to have any insider knowledge. This isn’t click bait, it’s just a bit of an experiment, with some light-hearted fun mixed into it.
So let’s get the ball rolling. Who are the definites, and how far into the list does that get us?
F.R.I.D.A.Y (Tony’s new AI)
Martin Freeman’s as yet unnamed character
The token Stan Lee cameo!!!
That should pretty much represent all the existing main players, their individual supporting characters and the ones we’re expecting to see appear prior to the Infinity War. It’s about two thirds of the figure we needed. So let’s look at the next layer, who realistically might make up the rest?
Captain Marvel – surely she’ll get a cameo prior to her own movie?
Phil Coulson – if anything was going to drag him back into the MCU, surely the destruction of reality is it?
Doctor Cho – She was introduced as the new Avengers assistant in Age Of Ultron
Darcey Lewis – If Jane’s appearing, she may well too
Laura Barton – Now Clint’s wife’s out of the bag, she’ll likely feature again
Wong – If Doc Strange is in it, then perhaps his uncast manservant will also feature
Deadpool – If his movie shapes up as hoped, then that must pull him into future studio plans (if Fox and Marvel can make a deal)
That still leaves us 15 or 16 characters short. How hard do we have to scrabble to find a few more to make up the shortfall?
Betty Ross – we haven’t seen her since 2008, but with her dad back, it’s a possibility.
Emil Blonsky – his return was teased in a Marvel one-shot, and he nearly came back for Avengers
Blade – it’s believed Wesley Snipes is in preliminary talks to bring the daywalker back
President Ellis – Since Iron Man 3, William Sadler’s commander in chief has become a regular feature
Christine Everheart – her announcement for Cap 3 makes her one of the franchise’s longest standing supporting characters
Hela/Enchantress – Cate Blanchett will be playing one of these in Thor 3 and May reappear
Tyr – Thor’s brother who rocked up in ‘The Dark World’
Howard The Duck – turned up at the end of GOTG, and long overdue a reappearance in the MCU
60 – 62. Luis/Kurt/Dave – Ant-Man’s supporting crew might make a small appearance at some stage
Brock Rumblow – Crossbones looks to be shaping up to be a repeat antagonist in future films
Ulysses Klaue – If he survives his appearance in Black Panther, his help may be required to defeat Thanos
Zemo – Again, dependent on his survival, he may be needed to help out the heroes
So that’s it then. Stretching prospective characters and previous appearances as far as humanly possible, the list still comes up two persons short. Which suggests either Joe Russo was lying, or there’s a lot of planned characters yet to be announced. Either way, I need to get out more…