Infinity War: How Marvel Might Be Planning to Unite The Avengers And Guardians Of The Galaxy

Marvel is looking to continue its string of comic book movie hits in August with Guardians of the Galaxy, which will feature a space-faring band of misfits on a quest to... well, guard the galaxy. But is Guardians just the first big step toward a massive crossover featuring the Avengers, Thanos, and the Infinity Gauntlet?

Wait. Infinity what now?

If you've been paying attention to the Marvel movies like we have, you've probably noticed the appearance of a number of curious artifacts that have varying degrees of impact on each movie's story:

  • The Tesseract popped up in the first Thor movie, as well as Captain America: The First Avenger and The Avengers. It was also mentioned in Iron Man 2 and Thor: The Dark World.
  • Thor: The Dark World also featured another mysterious artifact, the Aether. That film's post-credits scene saw the Aether being handed over to The Collector for safe keeping, with a character saying that the Tesseract was already on Asgard and that it would be unwise to keep two Infinity Stones in the same location.
  • Now, with the Guardians of the Galaxy preview having having come and gone, there has been confirmation that another Infinity Stone shows up in that film.

Infinity Stones, Infinity Gems: Just what are they, and why do they matter?

Infinity Gauntlet
The Infinity Gauntlet. Source of unlimited power. Keep away from Mad Titans.

[Related: Could Guardians of the Galaxy lead into Marvel making a great Hulk movie?]

The Infinity Gems -- or whatever you want to call them -- are items of immense power, the remnants of one of the earliest beings from the time of the universe's creation. In the comics, there are six of them: the Soul Gem, Power Gem, Time Gem, Reality Gem, Space Gem, and Mind Gem.

The Infinity Gems all slot into the Infinity Gauntlet, a glove-like artifact with settings for each Gem. Brought together, the Gems and the Gauntlet give the wearer near-limitless power to reshape existence.

So how does this fit into the Marvel cinematic universe? With three Infinity Stones already revealed, that should be becoming much clearer. Unfortunately -- or fortunately -- it doesn't look like all of the Stones will be coming together for at least a couple of years.

Why? Well, for one, Guardians of the Galaxy reportedly only features one or two Infinity Stones, and there's no word so far on the Infinity Gauntlet, although that latter artifact was visible at one point in Odin's Trophy Room in the first Thor movie. Marvel's next big hit will have enough on its hands introducing the Guardians, and there won't be enough space to lay too much groundwork for the Stones or the Gauntlet.

Del Toro Collector Marvel
One of the Infinity Stones was left in the care of The Collector at the end of Thor: The Dark World. We're betting he won't be able to hold on to it for too long. Image via FiveDollarShake.

Meanwhile, Avengers: Age of Ultron will likely have -- surprise! -- Ultron as its main villain. We could see another Infinity Stone popping up there, but not so much on the Gauntlet.

To get a sense of where Marvel might be taking this, bear with us as we do one of our favorite things: prognosticating on Marvel movies.

We've already said how we think that Guardians of the Galaxy might lead to Marvel making its first good Hulk movie. That bit of crystal-balling had Hulk getting shot off-planet in Age of Ultron, only to pop up in Guardians of the Galaxy 2 (which we titled "Guardians of the Galaxy: Planet Hulk" and we totally think Marvel should go with that). We then imagined the Guardians deciding to take the Hulk back to Earth -- because, again: Hulk -- leading into the classic superhero-teams-meet-misunderstand-and-fight scenario between the Guardians and the Avengers.

That classic superhero meet-fight scenario, though, typically winds up with the two sides joining forces against a common enemy. In this case, we think it would be against Thanos. Not just Thanos, though; probably Thanos alongside numerous baddies from previous Marvel flicks, and maybe even the Black Order, a powerful cabal of subordinates Marvel introduced last year in the Infinity comics crossover.

Thanos Black Order
If Thanos is coming to town, he'll no doubt be bringing some troublesome guests along with him.

Oh! Forgot one thing: This would be Thanos armed with the Infinity Gauntlet, having taken down (or partnered with) The Collector, wreaked havoc on Asgard to get the Tesseract, and done whatever else necessary to get the other Stones. Marvel wouldn't go to the trouble of showing the Stones put into safe keeping if they were actually going to stay in safe keeping. That's Chekov's Gun 101, right there.

Psyched yet? We are. But this isn't just some fanboy daydreaming. Okay, well, yes, it is, but it's daydreaming with some support in reality.

For one, Marvel Studios President of Production Kevin Feige has already hinted that elements like the Infinity Stones are leading somewhere. Back in October, Feige told ScreenRant that it's all part of the plan:

"Certainly fans of the comics could surmise that all of this is leading somewhere," Feige said. "That Joss' decision to have Thanos turn around and smile for the audience at the end of 'Avengers', our reveal, was always the plan."

For another point, it simply wouldn't make sense for Marvel to focus on the Stones if they weren't something more than Easter Eggs. Do you think Marvel would show off Thanos at the end of The Avengers if the Mad Titan wasn't going to show up somewhere down the road? Do you think Marvel would have the name "Infinity Stones" uttered if it weren't of import? And, most importantly, do you think Marvel would even dream of having Thanos show up as a villain without the Infinity Gauntlet in tow?

Yeah, we didn't think so either.

If we're even halfway right, Guardians of the Galaxy will wind up being the first step in the Marvel cinematic universe getting much more awesome. We're talking about a crossover that spans multiple films, as well as the galaxy.

Thanos Infinity
Thanos plus Infinity Gauntlet plus Infinity Stones equals trouble equals much money.

The only downside? This is going to take years. Age of Ultron won't hit theaters until next summer. Probably the earliest we could expect a Guardians of the Galaxy sequel would be 2016, but even that is optimistic. We could see an Infinity Gauntlet-armed Thanos as the villain there, but it would make more sense for that to be the big push of Avengers 3, no? At best, then, we'd be looking at, what? 2017? 2018?

Marvel Infinity: It's not just a title, it's how long it will take to get here.

[Lead image via ScreenRant.]