'Avengers: Infinity War': Everything You Need To Know About Marvel's Epic Smackdown

Bone up on your Marvel knowledge before the blockbuster's April 27 nationwide release.
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Avengers: Infinity War

A decade of Marvel movies have been leading up to this: the release of Avengers: Infinity War on April 27.

The blockbuster will bring together 42 of your favorite comic book-spawned characters as the Avengers band together to take down the might supervillain Thanos. It's even been called "the most ambitious crossover event in history."

There's a lot of ground to cover, and audiences who haven't seen every movie of the Marvel canon since the 2008 release of Iron Man may be scrambling to catch up.

But no need to frantically Google the Wikipedia pages of every character just yet. Here's pretty much everything you need to know before seeing Avengers: Infinity War.

Thanos wants to destroy the Universe

You haven't seen much of him in the movies leading up to Infinity War, but the action will center entirely on supervillain Thanos. He's a member of the Eternals, a superhuman race that reside on Titan, the largest moon of Saturn. The purple giant is obsessed with death and wants to build a lethal weapon, the Infinity Gauntlet, to wipe out the universe. 

He needs the six Infinity Stones 

To build his weapon, he will have to gather six powerful minerals hidden throughout the Marvel universe—the Time Gem, Space Gem, Mind Gem, Reality Gem, Soul Gem and Power Gem. There is technically a seventh, the Continuity Gem, but Deadpool is owned by a separate studio, and the Merc With the Mouth won't be included in the Avengers franchise.

That means he'll have to kill Vision

The Mind Stone was placed in Vision's forehead in Avengers: Age of Ultron, which gave him the power to fly and shoot lasers, among others. But it means that in order for Thanos to acquire it, he will have to cut open Vision's head. That should throw in a wrench into his burgeoning love affair with Scarlet Witch, played by Elizabeth Olsen.

And travel to Wakanda

Wakanda was depicted in Black Panther to be a high-tech African utopia thanks to its abundance of vibranium, and Infinity War will also reveal it to be the home of one of the stones, the Mind Stone. That means the Black Panther universe will likely feature more prominently in Infinity War than others, and we'll even get to see fan favorite Princess Shuri team with fellow scientist Bruce Banner (a.k.a. the Hu, played by Mark Ruffalo. 

He'll need some help from The Black Order

To acquire the stones, Thanos, who famously does not enjoy leaving his giant throne, has assembled a small army of Titan supervillains, the Black Order. It includes Corvus Glaive, with the powers of strength and speed, Proxima Midnight, who also has super-strength, Ebony Maw, who has super-intelligence, and Black Dwarf, who has impenetrable skin. Infinity War will mark their first appearance in the Avengers franchise. 

The Avengers must band together to stop him

The gravity of Thanos' threat to the Universe explains why Marvel has brought together nearly every one of its superheros in one movie, 42 total, to stop him. They include Iron Man, Thor, Captain America, the Guardians of the Galaxy, Doctor Strange, Spider-Man, Black Panther and Black Widow. Infinity War hasn't been called "The Super Bowl of Superhero Films" for nothing.

But that's gonna be complicated

They'll have to get over some tensions if they are to save the Universe from Thanos. Infinity War will follow the events of Captain America: Civil War, which saw the Avengers split up after Captain America and Bucky Barnes turned on one another. Captain America is said to have become disillusioned with the Avengers since, and Bucky Barnes was revealed at the end of Black Panther to be hiding out in Wakanda. Also, the grandiose personalities of some of the other heroes, namely those of Doctor Strange and Iron Man, are bound to clash. 

And they might leave out Hawkeye

Hawkeye, played by Jeremy Renner, has notably been missing from much of the promotional materials. But that doesn't mean he'll be sitting on the sidelines forever, maybe just for this installment. "We [at Marvel] love Hawkeye," Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige told io9. "There are big, big story things coming up for Hawkeye and Jeremy Renner is as strong an actor as anyone in the MCU and awesome as this character."

Avengers: Infinity War hits theaters nationwide Friday, April 27th.