Most of the movies in the MCU have opened both big and small doors for future films and even TV shows within the franchise. It’s the reason Marvel Studios has been so insanely successful and the object of so much shared universe envy. As the culmination of the 18 movies that have come before it and a contender for the most ambitious movie ever made, Avengers: Infinity War was destined to hint at things to come. Here are the nods to the comics and the future of the franchise.
If box office numbers are any indicator, we’ve all seen the fastest sold movie in history by now. I’ll say SPOILER ALERT now for both the movies and the comics.
1. Captain Marvel
Let’s just get the most certain and most obvious hint out of the way first. This movie has been being talked about for quite a long time. As Marvel Studio’s first female led movie, it has been making waves since its inception. If you’re one of the few who didn’t rush to google the meaning of the symbol in Infinity War’s post credits scene, this is who Nick Fury was summoning as he and Maria Hill succumbed to Thanos’s finger snap. Carol Danvers is one of the most powerful characters in all of the Marvel Comic’s universe after having her body infused with powerful Kree energy, giving her a plethora of amazing abilities.
2. Beta Ray Bill
The first character other than Thor to ever wield Mjolnir, the Odinson’s oath brother has been the subject of an Easter egg or two before. His influence was sprinkled around in Thor Ragnarok, but most prominently when his face was shown immortalized as one of the Grandmaster’s former champions along with a few other character nods.
While paying far too much attention to detail, I realized the Grandmaster’s promise that anyone who beats his champion will be set free. One would assume that in order to become a champion, one must beat the former champion, thus giving Bill a chance of being out there in the cosmos somewhere on his sentient ship, Scuttlebutt (I promise I didn’t make that up).
His link to Infinity War comes in when Thor, having lost his beloved Mjolnir in the aforementioned Ragnarok, gets a replacement hammer/axe/Bifrost superweapon from giant Peter Dinklage lookalike, Eitri. The weapon is named Stormbreaker, which is the name of the weapon the less handsome comic book version Eitri gives to Beta Ray Bill when Odin deems him worthy of Mjolnir, which he can’t give him because Thor is still using it. Will we see the mighty Korbanite warrior in the MCU’s future? One can only hope.
As could’ve been guessed, but was confirmed by Thor, Thanos decimated the planet Xandar to get the power stone. Xandar is the home to the intergalactic police force known as the Nova Corps. In the comics event known as Annihilation, the planet is also decimated, which leaves human member Richard Rider as the only survivor. He links up with the Worldmind computer and is given the power of the entire force.
In the comics, this is a significant upgrade to his already impressive superhuman abilities but considering the Nova Corps in the movies relies more on tech than powers, it could be an opportunity to introduce a unique and interesting character in the wake of the Mad Titan’s rampage. Whether it’s the classic Rider version or the younger Sam Alexander, the human rocket has officially been given prime real estate to appear in the MCU.
4. Jack of Hearts
Although he is pretty much no one’s favorite Avenger, Jack of Hearts is still one of their most powerful members. In the comics, Jack Hart is the son of a human scientist and a member of the Contraxian race. If you’re wondering why that sounds familiar, it’s because it’s the pleasure planet that was prominently featured in an early scene of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. It’s the place where Yondu and Stakar have their initial falling out (Howard the Duck was there too).
It was mentioned a second time in Infinity War as the place where rocket obtained the cybernetic eye he gives to Thor. With this big part of this C-lister’s origin already established. He may not be very popular after his thirty plus years of existence, but he could definitely lend a helping energy blast in the fight against the Thanos. After all, we’ve already seen what the MCU can do for their less prominent characters.
5. Iron Man 2020/Ultimo
In Infinity War we get a conversation where Tony Stark tells Pepper Potts about a dream he had where they had a son named Morgan. In the comics, Morgan Stark is Tony’s cousin who incorrectly believes his uncle Howard stole their fortune from his own father. Therefore, he is his cousin’s sworn enemy and tries to constantly reclaim his legacy through any means possible. Eventually, through a series of events that can only happen in comic books, he gains the superhuman abilities of an android called Ultimo.
Later, Morgan has a son named Arno, who inherits Stark Industries. Arno becomes Iron Man 2020 (although I imagine that name doesn’t sound as futuristic as it did in 1984) and forgoes the heroic path for a much more selfish one. As Morgan is now potentially presented as Tony’s son instead of cousin, this could be something the original Iron Man runs into during the time traveling that seems to be the focus of Avengers 4. But then again, it could also lead to another character…
6. Kang the Conqueror
In the Marvel Comics multiverse, where there’s time travel, there’s the 31st Century Warlord known as Kang the Conqueror. In print, he is the descendant of Reed Richards, whose rights are still currently gathering dust and poor adaptations over at 20th Century Fox. With Disney’s potential acquisition of that studio, the rights could come back over to Marvel.
If not, just like the (honestly unnecessary) change in Ultron’s parentage, Kang’s identity could go to the future Morgan or Arno Stark. After all, a time controlling villain with 41st Century Stark Tech sounds infinity more interesting than either Ultimo or Iron Man 2020. We probably should’ve got him instead of Ultron…
7. The Eternals of Titan
Would it blow your mind if I told you Thanos was a prince? Meet his royal family. In the movie, we see the remains of Titan, where ol’ Purple Puss was born. We get a story of how the large moon’s civilization crumbled. If Avengers 4 delves a bit deeper into the Mad Titan’s history, we could learn more about his family and the planet. His parents Mentor (A’lars) and Sui-San are both important influences on who he is and his brother Starfox is a long-standing Avenger in the comics.
He hates every one of them and actually killed and vivisected his mother. Exploring that past could make him an even more complex and compelling character. Personally, I would just love to see a portrayal the super computer known as ISAAC (Integral Synaptic Anti+/Anionic Computer) and its failure to maintain the overpopulated colony it was in charge of.
8. The Thunderbolts
Just like lightning! Just in case the heroes we saw turn to dust with a snap of a gauntleted finger, we could have this team of villains be used to take their place. Since we’re so deep in and have already had a few villains for the Avengers (looking at you again, Ultron), we’re probably not going to see the Masters of Evil in the MCU.
In that case, we could get a cinematic version of the Thunderbolts with all of the baddies that are still alive like the Abomination, The Ghost, Baron Mordo, some kind of Justin Hammer based tech guy, um… the Vulture, Red Skull doesn’t have anything to do anymore I guess, but they can all be led by Helmut Zemo. Okay that’s not the best line up, but I’m only just now realizing how they really don’t let these villains live to fight another day. I still think this is possible though. It could be like Suicide Squad… but good.
9. The Elders of the Universe
So far we have only met two of them the awesome Goldblumish Grandmaster and the eccentric Collector, but in the wake of the latter’s defeat at Thanos’s hands, the rest of them can come by and start some noise. In the comics, the Elders are the first born of the universe. In the wake of their lengthy lifespans, they all took up hobbies to keep themselves from getting bored. The Grandmaster likes playing games and betting on fights, the Collector, well, collects things and the rest indulge in similarly obvious activities.
There’s the Runner, the Champion, the Gardener, the Architect and a few more words with “the” in front of them. In the comics, every one of them are possessed of near infinite, god-like power, but as evidenced by their defeats, this probably won’t be the case in the MCU.
10. The Magus and the Goddess
The names sound similar, but these are not Elders of the universe. These are the alternate personas of the heretofore unseen in the MCU Adam Warlock. One of the most prominent cosmic characters and probably the most important character in the original Infinity Trilogy (Infinity Gauntlet, Infinity War and Infinity Crusade), Warlock is the one who ends up with the Infinity Gauntlet. In his efforts to become an impartial and worthy wielder of the six stones, he purges all of the good and evil from his being. Then they both become their own beings and somehow villains because comics.
The evil Magus goes on to found the Universal Church of Truth and wield the gauntlet himself, becoming an ongoing threat to the cosmos who pops up here and there.
The Goddess, the good side of Warlock, creates a “cosmic egg” and brings all spiritual beings to a planet she creates called Paradise Omega. It sounds perfectly well and good until you find out that she was just recruiting them to her cause, which is to eliminate all sin by destroying everything capable of sin.
Unfortunately, James Gunn has stated that Adam Warlock will be held in reserve for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, so he won’t be appearing in Avengers 4. I’m still not ready to give up on his alter egos though.
11. Infinity Watch/Illuminati
In the aftermath of the Infinity War of the comics, the aforementioned Adam Warlock took it upon himself to defend the six Infinity Gems from any who might seek to collect them all again. He keeps the Soul Stone and gathers a team of friends and heroes to hold onto the others for safekeeping. Drax the Destroyer gets the Power Gem, Gamora gets the Time Gem, Moondragon (Drax’s telepathic daughter who I don’t see coming into the MCU) gets the Mind Gem and Pip the Troll (who I also don’t see coming to the MCU) gets the Space Gem, with a secret sixth member getting the Reality Gem…. Thanos… It’s Thanos.
Later, the Illuminati, a secret a group of the most prominent leaders of the superhuman community, get the same idea. Mr. Fantastic gets the Power Gem, Iron Man gets the Reality Gem, Professor X gets the Mind Gem, Dr. Strange gets the Soul Gem, Namor gets the Time Gem and Black Bolt gets the Space Gem.
The gems change hands here and there as the Illuminati change members, but we have to move on instead of listing more gem bearers. With the inevitable defeat of Thanos coming up in Avengers 4 (hopefully), the Infinity Stones will need somewhere to go. Maybe we’ll see one of these groups come into being within the MCU in one incarnation or another.
12. Cosmic Entities
There is supposed to be an order to the universe, so when someone gets something as powerful as the Infinity Gauntlet and does something extreme, the big boys show up. Not enjoying anyone controlling it, Eternity, the embodiment of the universe, is one of the primary protestors of mortals being allowed to wield such objects. The same goes for his siblings: Infinity, Lord Chaos, Master Order, The In-Betweener, Master Hate, Mistress Love, the Celestials, Death (who is Thano’s motivation in the comics) and the most powerful of them all, The Living Tribunal (who was mentioned in Doctor Strange).
They all lack physical forms (except when they don’t) and are servants of The One Above All, who is exactly what is name suggests and is portrayed as Jack Kirby. This is all pretty heavy for something like the MCU, which Marvel Studios has been trying to keep grounded, but where something like the Infinity Gauntlet is concerned, this can all be possible sometime in the future.
Bonus: Other Alien Races
This one is definitely a reach but killing half of all life in the universe affects way more than just Earth. Heck, the Asgardians probably got it the worst. They lost their queen in The Dark World, their king, a large chunk of their population and their planet in Ragnarok, then one of their princes and half of their leftover population at the beginning of Infinity War and they most likely got halved again with the finger snap. I doubt Thanos, considered all of the races he already halved after collecting the gems.
That being said, the Marvel comics universe is host to a great many alien races and empires. Hopefully that means we’ll be seeing a lot more of those races on the big screen since we’ve only really seen the Xandarians, the Sakaarans, the Kronans, the Kree (so much Kree in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.) so far.
The Skrulls are confirmed for the upcoming Captain Marvel movie and it shouldn’t be hard to add in the Spartax Empire (Star Lords relatives in the comics). If Disney successfully purchases Fox, then that opens the door for the Brood, the Badoon, the Zin’La and my personal favorites, the Shi’ar!
Those are all of the characters I could find evidence, hints or cause for speculation for in my multiple viewings of Avengers: Infinity War. If you feel like I’m reaching or I missed any please let me know in the comments. I would love to lose my mind with more speculation.