Marvel’s movies are a bit odd. Sure, there’s a formula to them (meet good guy, good guy learns lesson while beating the crap out of completely forgettable bad guy who isn’t Loki and gets the girl), but at the same time they’re wildly different from one another. I’m not just talking about the obvious stuff either, such as Iron Man being about an egocentric billionaire who saves the world while Guardians of the Galaxy is about a space pirate with a heart of gold.
In terms of themes, the films differ massively. Compare Captain America: The First Avenger to its first sequel, The Winter Soldier. The first film is a glorious patriotastic romp of punching faceless Hitler deux in the jaw, while the second film is a massive spy drama with tenser themes and Robert Redford being Robert Rooi Gevaar with the idea of fascism.
And that’s something that you’ll see in the third and fourth Avengers movie, which will eventually combine to form Avengers: Infinity War. It’s not exactly a novel idea to shoot movies back to back, and to split the grand finales. The Hobbit did this with (un)ease, but according to directors Joe and Anthony Russo, Avengers 3 and 4 won’t be one story split down the middle. “The movies are very very different from one another,” Anthony Russo said to io9.
“I will agree [the two movies are very different], and that was very important to all of us,” writer Stephen McFeely added. Whatever the end result, Avengers: Infinity War is going to be big. It’s going to touch on three phases of Marvel movie history, whose seeds have been planted from all the way back in Captain America: The First Avenger. “For us there’s a through line from Winter Soldier, through Civil War, right to Infinity War,” Anthony Russo explained. “In our mind, the storytelling arc moves that way.”
“There’s an overarching story that’s going to be told through all four films,” Joe Russo added.
That’s…that’s a lot of characters. That’s just about every character to ever pop up in those movies. And according to Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige, we’ve already seen the foundation laid down for that massive roster. “Much of the groundwork has already been laid,” Feige said.
You can thank writers Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely for that groundwork, which they say has been worked on since before Civil War. “We’re on set for Civil War and then as soon as they start shooting we don’t have much to do for the next six hours,” McFeely said.
“We sent in literally 60 pages of unrelated ideas,” Markus said. “Just like ‘Here’s some stuff that could happen in this insane movie.’ Then we came back from Atlanta and everyone had a copy of that [document] and they’d circle this, ‘This is cool, this is insane, this is cool, we’re not allowed to do that,’ and from there we’ve pieced it together very slowly. We’re in the middle of it now.”
That is going to be one massive movie, that could possibly signal the end of the Marvel Universe as we know it. But Feige is feeling just fine about the future of this franchise. “We’re only working on what’s been announced through the end of 2019,” said Feige.
Avengers: Infinity War Part 1 kicks off on May 4 2018. Part 2 arrives a year later on May 3.