It’s seldom remarked upon, but one of the most remarkable achievements of the Marvel Cinematic Universe is that it’s managed to get audiences invested in the Infinity Stones – keeping track of the ones that have featured in the films and speculating endlessly about the others – for the better part of a decade. This is all the more impressive given that many Many of the Stones have functioned as relatively minor plot devices or as MacGuffins (a term coined by Alfred Hitchcock that refers to an object which exists solely to drive the plot) in their prior appearances (think the Aether in ‘Thor: The Dark World’). All of that, though, has been leading to ‘Avengers: Infinity War, which sees arch-villain Thanos at last begin to collect the stones, and finally giving audiences a sense of just what they can do when they fall into the right (or wrong) hands.
Of course, as we’ve just pointed out, the Infinity Stones to date haven’t exactly been the focus of the films they’ve appeared in. That’s going to change in ‘Infinity War’, where all six stones (or the hunt for them, at least) will be the driving force of the plot. That, obviously, necessitates a somewhat different approach. As ‘Infinity War’ co-writer Stephen McFeely explains:
“They’re still spread out. Remember, one of our jobs – we’re big structure guys. So if you go back and look at ‘Winter Soldier’ and ‘Civil War’ particularly, they are – whether you like the movies or not – they’re pretty well structured. Big choices have been made. We had to do the same thing here, and yet, we had sic MacGuffins. It can be relentless, if you do this right.”
“Which means, every time you collect [an Infinity Stone] – I don’t mean to get into the screenwriting weeds – but every time you collect one, it can’t just be a check mark. It has to do something “characterful.” It’s got to move the plot forward, but it also has to [have] stakes, and cost, for literal characters at the time, so that it’s not just a shopping spree. And I think we’ve done that. And boy, we’re going to wrench some emotion out of each and every one of those moments that we can.”
Given the information we already have, it’s not hard to imagine just how high the stakes will get. Take the Space and Power stones, for example, both of which can be seen in Thanos’s possession on the Infinity Gauntlet in the trailers. The Power stone was last seen on Xandar in the care of the Nova Corps, while the Space stone was rescued from Asgard by Loki prior to its destruction. And then, of course, there’s the Time stone (which Doctor Strange is tasked with guarding) and of course, the Mind stone, which currently resides in Vision’s forehead. High stakes indeed.
Directed by the Russo brothers from a script by Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely, ‘Avengers: Infinity War’ marks the culmination of a decade-long effort by Marvel Studios and sees the Avengers team up with the Guardians of the Galaxy to take on Thanos. The film counts Robert Downey Jr., Scarlett Johansson, Mark Ruffalo, Tom Holland, Karen Gillan, Paul Rudd, Chadwick Boseman, Benedict Cumberbatch, Elizabeth Olson, Sebastian Stan, and three gentlemen named “Chris” among its gargantuan cast. The long awaited movie is set to arrive in theaters on April 27, 2018.