With nearly 20 feature-length films leading up to Avengers: Infinity War, it is totally understandable for viewers to be wondering whether they should stage a weeks-long mega-binge before going to the movie theater. While some hardcore superfans probably are attempting this, most of us just don't have the time (or patience) for a 40ish-hour movie marathon. The good news is that you totally don't need to do a full rewatch to enjoy Avengers: Infinity War. Whether you're asking do you need to see The Avengers movies before Infinity War, or just need a quick refresher on where everyone's at before the new movie, I've got your pre-Infinity War guide right here.
First, let's go over what Avengers: Infinity War will be about. The new movie will unite all of the Marvel Cinematic Universe heroes against their most powerful villain yet: an intergalactic warlord named Thanos, who is bent on destroying the world. Thanos has appeared in a couple of post-credits scenes in past Marvel films, and his plot is to collect the six Infinity Stones in order to obtain insurmountable power. The Infinity Stones (minus one) have all previously appeared in Marvel movies also.
Now let's get into the things from past Marvel movies that you need to know about for Avengers: Infinity War.
1. Who Is Thanos?
APPEARANCES: The Avengers, Guardians of the Galaxy, Avengers: Age of Ultron, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
As the main part of Avengers: Infinity War, you are probably going to want to refresh your memory on Thanos's brief but important appearances in the Marvel Cinematic Universe before now. He popped up in the post-credits scenes for both prior Avengers movies, revealing his Infinity Gauntlet, and was an unseen player in the first movie, as the entity who gifted Loki with the Mind Stone and sent him to Earth for the Space Stone.
Aside from short cameos in the Avengers films, Thanos's other mentions come in the Guardians of the Galaxy movies. The despot is actually the adoptive father of Guardians main character Gamora and her sister Nebula, and the sisters detail how horrific their childhood was under Thanos in the two movies.
2. What And Where Are The Infinity Stones?
APPEARANCES: nearly every movie, but the big ones are The Avengers, Thor: The Dark World, Guardians of the Galaxy, Avengers: Age of Ultron, Doctor Strange, Thor: Ragnarok
Now that you know Thanos, let's talk about what he's after. The six Infinity Stones are vessels of immense power, each with their own unique domain. When brought together, they can grant their holder with unstoppable power. We've seen all but one of the Infinity Stones in prior MCU movies:
- The Space Stone — Allows user to manipulate space. This stone first appeared as the Tesseract in Captain America: The First Avenger when it was used by Hyrda to fuel weapons in World War II. It was later used by Loki to cause destruction in the Battle of New York, and then recaptured and stored in Odin's vault on Asgard. However, at the end of Thor: Ragnarok, we see Loki grab it before Asgard is destroyed.
- The Mind Stone — Allows user to manipulate minds. Thanos lent Loki the Mind Stone in The Avengers in order to aid his mission, but it was captured by the Avengers. In Avengers: Age of Ultron, Ultron implants the stone in a cybernetic body, creating Vision.
- The Reality Stone — Allows user to manipulate reality. Only seen in Thor: The Dark World, this stone was used by the Dark Elves to battle Thor. It ended up in the hands of The Collector, a mysterious being who knows all about the Infinity Stones.
- The Power Stone — Allows user to manipulate power/strength. Only seen in Guardians of the Galaxy, this was the orb that Star Lord and Ronan the Accuser fight over. Ronan was attempting to get the Power Stone for Thanos, but lost it to Star Lord. The Power Stone is currently held by the intergalactic authorities Nova Corps.
- The Time Stone — Allows user to manipulate time. Only seen in Doctor Strange, this stone was used by Doctor Strange to defeat Dormammu. It is currently held within the secret compound Kamar-Taj.
3. Wait... What About The Sixth Infinity Stone?
The only stone that we have yet to clearly see in the Marvel movies is the Soul Stone, which grants its users the ability to manipulate souls. There are a bunch of theories about where the Soul Stone could be. Some fans think the Soul Stone is in Wakanda, the African country at the center of Black Panther, while another convincing theory is that Thor's buddy Heimdall has the Soul Stone. Or, maybe Thanos has had the stone all along. We aren't going to know for sure until Avengers: Infinity War finally shows us the Soul Stone.
4. Who Knows Who?
This big team-up will finally get everyone in the Marvel Cinematic Universe together for the first time, but a lot of the heroes already know one another pretty well. Obviously, all of the Avengers (Iron Man, Captain America, Black Widow, Hulk, Hawkeye, Thor, Scarlet Witch, Vision, War Machine, Falcon) are old pals, and they have also gotten to know Ant-Man, Black Panther, and Spider-Man thanks to that airport battle in Captain America: Civil War.
The Guardians of the Galaxy will be new faces to the rest of the crew, though. Star Lord, Gamora, Rocket Raccoon, Drax, and Groot haven't been earthbound since becoming intergalactic heroes, and it looks like their first meeting is with Thor, who finds himself floating around the cosmos after Asgard is destroyed. The Guardians also have the closest connection to Thanos of any of the heroes.
And finally, Doctor Strange is mostly new to the rest of the Avengers. He did meet Thor and Loki during a brief appearance in Thor: Ragnarok, but he will be a new addition to the team overall.
Avengers: Infinity War hits theaters on April 27.