Ten years and billions of dollars later, the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) has transcended from a franchise to a global cultural phenomenon. This month, all of it comes to a head Avengers: Infinity War on April 27th. So, from Thor’s hammer to Stark’s new suit, we are analyzing the comics, the trailers and the merchandize and placing our bets on the top 5 things look out for in Avengers: Infinity War.

1. The Mystery of the Stormbreaker: Thor’s New Hammer

The movie trailers and the Lego sets tease Thor forging a new hammer with Groot and Rocket Racoon in tow. But then in Thor: Ragnarok, Odin, Thor’s father, reveals to him that he doesn’t really need the Mjolnir to use his powers. Now, if that’s be the case, a side quest to forge a new hammer serves no purpose, does it?

My money is on the Power Cosmic an elemental force in the Marvel Universe wielded only by some of the most powerful beings. In the comics the Stormbreaker was wielded by Beta Ray Bill, a noble half-human creature, deemed worthy of wielding the Mjolnir and given his own hammer by Odin. The Stormbreaker is, in one of the storylines, imbibed with the Powers Cosmic.

So is Thor forging the Stormbreaker with a specific purpose? We think so! Thanos will need power levels beyond ‘lightning’ to be taken down and the Stormbreaker may be the key to that power (cosmic).

Comic book Read list:

  • Stormbreaker: The Saga of Beta Ray Bill
  • The Thanos Imperative

2. The Suits: Bleeding Edge and Iron Spider

Tony is ramping up Stark-tech this time round and we might have had a glimpse of what’s coming in Captain America: Civil War. Remember the watch based arc reactor glove? In a few trailer scenes you also see his armour evolving to match his needs – as he creates a powerful booster in his suit to catch up with the alien ship in the sky.  

This is the Bleeding Edge Armour – versatile, powerful and stunning. The Bleeding Edge (Mark 37) is an upgrade on his “Extremis” version in the comics and works on nanotech, emanating from Stark’s body, to encapsulate him. It’s similar to the nanotech suit Shuri provided T’Challa in the Black Panther.  

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It can adapt and take on various shapes and even help Stark survive in space. But, will it be able to stand up against Thanos? I sincerely doubt that. That being said, the coolest Iron Man armour since the Hulkbuster, is coming to the silver screen along with the Iron Spider suit!

The Iron Spider suit, first seen in the comics in the ‘Civil War’ storyline is a stunning and multipurpose piece of tech that turned Spidey into a heavy-hitter in the comicverse.  It also added 8 mecha arms for Peter to use, making him look truly ‘spider-like’. In an all-hands-on-deck situation, the Avengers will probably need as many hands as possible!

Comic book Read list:

  • Marvel: Civil War
  • Invincible Iron Man V1 and V2 (2010)

3. Thanos’ Backstory and his ‘Daughters’

MCU chief, Kevin Feige recently teased that Thanos establishes himself as the big bad of the Marvel universe within the first 5 minutes of the movie. He may be to Thanos’ onslaught on the fleeing Asgardians for the Tessaract or perhaps the destruction of Xandar as to retrieve the Power Stone.

In the comics, Thanos has never been a one dimensional characters. Thanos’ motivations have always been complex yet simple. Simple because he’s just a man, standing in front of a girl (Death), telling her he loves her… by destroying half the universe. Thanos is also complex because he truly seeks to restore balance in a universe that is unruly, cruel and wayward.

Will the MCU be able to give Thanos a backstory that makes him identifiable? Like Killmonger and Loki – will we as the audience, if not relate, at least understand Thanos’ motivations? I have a feeling we will.

His ‘daughters’ Gamora and Nebula are destined to play key roles in Infinity War as well adding much needed character motivations to the action. Gamora is running from him and Nebula is gunning for him. We are betting on ‘daddy issues’ being key plot pivots in Infinity War!

Comic book Read list:  

  • Infinity War
  • Marvel: The End
  • Thanos
  • Thanos Rising

4. That Last Missing McGuffin: The Soul Stone

The Soul Stone is the last of the missing Infinity Stones that Thanos is collecting. At this point theories abound as to where the soul stone really is. They range from sensible ones stating that it is in Wakanda, to ridiculous ones like the Soul Stone being trapped in time. So far, we haven’t seen this McGuffin anywhere in the MCU, which is very atypical of Marvel. However, it also means it’s the biggest play Russo brothers have.

Conventional wisdom would suggest that it is in Wakanda and will lead us to the large set-piece sequence with the “Earth Avengers” vs Thanos’ forces, teased in the trailers.

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But let us suggest a more ridiculous theory to watch out for, rooted in comic books. In Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 post credits, Ayesha and the Sovereign create (or awaken) Adam Warlock (in that golden cocoon!). Now, Adam Warlock is a powerful being and key player in Marvel comicverse. He was for a while the keeper of the Soul Stone, given to him by the High Evolutionary.

Honestly, it would be strange for the MCU to add a character as powerful as Adam and not use him at all in the biggest battle for the universe. Watch out, we predict that the Soul Stone is with Adam Warlock and he is coming to Infinity War.

Comic book Read list:

  • Infinity Gauntlet Trade Paperback
  • Marvel Masterworks Warlock: Vol. 2

5. Captain America and Hawkeye

While we have been focusing on the heavy hitters to bring Thanos’ reign to an end, we have ignored those that helped forge the core of MCU – Captain America, Black Widow, Hawkeye, Maria Hill, Nick Fury and SHIELD. What role will they play? Are they already aware of the oncoming threats? And yes, there are deaths coming in Infinity War…so who is saying goodbye?  

So long, Captain. And thanks for the memories.  

Since the events of Civil War, Cap has been on the run, possibly in his ‘Nomad’ avatar – keeping the world safer without geo-political mandates of the Sokovia Accords. In the trailer, we see him lead the charge in the “Battle of Wakanda”, at one point stopping Thanos’ fist dead in its tracks.

Now that scares us. That just sets up an ultimate sacrifice!

Cap has been in many ways the moral compass of MCU. Losing him will not only add the required sense of gravitas to Infinity War, it will also help set-up the final stand-off between Thanos and the Avengers. Given how close the Captain America movie trilogy has been to Ed Brubacker’s run, Cap’s death is inevitable. We will be bringing tissues to the theatre. Will you?

Oh, and about Hawkeye? He’s probably polishing arrows somewhere – who cares…

Comic book Read list:  

  • Secret Empire
  • Captain America #120
  • The Death Of Captain America

So what do you think about our look-out list? Got any more theories and things to watch out for? Time to sound off in the comments!

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