Avengers: Infinity War is less than a week away from hitting theaters, and with dozens of characters appearing onscreen to tie up 10 years of Marvel Cinematic Universe plot-threads, there’s a lot to consider going into the imminent blockbuster.
Fortunately, we’ve got you covered with our field guide of sorts to the characters of Avengers: Infinity War. Here’s everything you need to know about the Avengers, their allies, and their enemies before you see the film.
One of Infinity War’s crucial set pieces takes place in Wakanda, with Thanos himself arriving on Earth to claim Vision’s Mind Stone. But the Mad Titan will be opposed by Avengers' Captain America, Falcon, Black Widow, Bruce Banner (who’s also present at Team Stark’s New York battle), and War Machine.
They’re joined by several Wakandan heroes including Okoye, M’Baku, and of course Black Panther. And oh yeah - Wakanda is also the site of the reunion between Cap and Bucky -the so-called “White Wolf” of Wakanda.
Steve Rogers was last seen in Captain America: Civil War (go figure!), laying down his shield and his identity as Cap after a bitter feud with Tony Stark over the Sokovia Accords, legislation designed to regulate superhero activity. With Steve refusing to bow to the Accords, he gave up being Captain America and set out with a group of fugitive Avengers including Falcon and Black Widow.
Going into Avengers: Infinity War, Cap’s got a new look in the form of longer hair and a burly beard – and from the looks of the trailers, hasn’t lost a step in fighting form despite the lack of his trademark shield. Fortunately, he’ll be equipped with new Vibranium powered battle gauntlets when he and his 'Secret Avengers' travel to Wakanda to aid in the fight against Thanos, and to help repair Vision.
But Steve may not make it all the way through Infinity War. In the comic book Infinity Gauntlet, Cap was the last man standing against the Mad Titan, before he too was slain – a moment echoed in the trailer for the film.
As for whether Steve and Tony – the two most iconic Avengers – will reconcile, well, we haven’t seen them onscreen together yet, so time will tell.
Like her ally Steve Rogers, Black Widow has a whole new look for Avengers: Infinity War, sporting newly blonde hair and a pair of electrified batons that combine into a staff.
So far, we’ve seen Black Widow take on the Black Order (and seemingly win), and team up with several other Avengers and heroes against Thanos in Wakanda.
Infinity War does have a personal stake for Black Widow - she’ll be reunited with her star-crossed paramour Bruce Banner for the first time since Avengers: Age of Ultron when they both make their way to Wakanda (read more about that in Part One).
Sam Wilson has been off the grid with Captain America and Black Widow since the events of Captain America: Civil War. He, Ant-Man, and Hawkeye were last seen breaking out of the Raft with Cap’s help after siding with him in the conflict with Tony Stark.
Not much is known about Ant-Man and Hawkeye’s whereabouts following Civil War (see Part Two for more on that), but Falcon’s been running with Captain America (or at least Steve Rogers, since he gave up the shield) and Black Widow. He’ll join them for the battle of Wakanda in Infinity War.
James Rhodes was critically injured in Captain America: Civil War when his pro-Stark ally the Vision accidentally blasted him while aiming for Falcon in the film’s biggest battle scene. His spinal injuries, which left him confined to the use of an exo-skeleton to walk, were referenced in Doctor Strange.
Actors Don Cheadle and Paul Bettany (Rhodey and Vision, respectively) have said in interviews that their characters still have tension over the incident, but Rhodey’s role in the big picture of Infinity War is one of the film’s many unanswered questions.
Steve Rogers’ oldest friend was at the heart of the conflict in Captain America: Civil War, with the villainous Baron Zemo using his brainwashing as a Hydra assassin to drive a wedge between Steve Rogers and Tony Stark.
Bucky escaped judgment for his crimes (including killing Tony Stark’s parents) at the end of Civil War, but he was last seen in that film being put into a kind of cryogenic stasis in Wakanda, with T’Challa telling Steve they’d help him.
Bucky popped back up in a post-credits scene in Black Panther, with T’Challa’s sister Shuri having apparently broken his brainwashing (more on her role in Infinity War can be found in Part Two). Since he’s been in Wakanda recovering, he's left his Hydra codename "Winter Soldier" behind, while the people of the once hidden nation have nicknamed him “White Wolf” (a name taken from a different minor comic book character).
He’ll reunite with Steve in Wakanda (for the first time without Hydra programming since World War II (it should be noted), when the heroes convene to defend the nation’s borders from Thanos’ assault. Bucky will also get a new cybernetic arm built with Wakandan tech in the film.
Marvel’s newest superstar T’Challa last popped up in his solo film Black Panther having made his debut in Captain America: Civil War. As the king of Wakanda, he also serves as its protector and greatest hero with powers bestowed on him through the Vibranium-enriched heart-shaped herb.
T’Challa will play a major role in Avengers: Infinity War as one of Captain America’s newest allies, and the man responsible for capturing Baron Zemo and bringing Bucky to Wakanda in Civil War.
T’Challa will finally fight alongside the Avengers when Thanos comes calling for Vision’s Soul Stone, which winds up in Wakanda when the Avengers bring him there for repairs performed by T’Challa’s sister Shuri.
The leader of the Dorae Milaje, General Okoye is one of Wakanda’s fiercest warriors and T’Challa’s closest allies. Okoye was a central character in Black Panther, with Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige specifically mentioning her as a breakout star with solo movie potential.
Okoye will return in Avengers: Infinity War, fighting alongside the Avengers to help defend Wakanda from Thanos’ attack.
M’Baku is the leader of the Jabari, a tribe who reside in the remote mountains of Wakanda and who revere a version of the Hindu deity Hanuman. The Jabari have often quarreled with the rest of Wakanda over the nation’s reliance on technological advancements, and M’Baku started out as one of T’Challa’s adversary in Black Panther, challenging him for the throne.
However, M’Baku later saved T’Challa from death at the hands of Killmonger and led the Jabari in helping defeat the villain. At the end of the film, he was seen having joined T’Challa’s council of advisors.
M’Baku will appear in Avengers: Infinity War at the battle of Wakanda, once again leading the Jabari in the defense of their homeland.
Stay tuned to Newsarama for more coverage of Avengers: Infinity War leading up to, and through, it's theatrical debut.