The Avengers: Infinity War cast probably isn't as large as previous reports have claimed. From a storytelling point of view, it would be like attempting to abridge Stephen King's The Stand.
One of the biggest mistakes most superhero films of the past have made was introducing too many characters and trying to juggle them all. It happened with Batman and Robin, as well as Spider-Man 3 and The Amazing Spider-Man 2. Too many characters at once can make a movie into a convoluted mess.
Last week, Joe Russo had announced, "We have so many characters we're dealing with. We're breaking ground on Avengers: Infinity War. We have a board with 67 characters on it."
In order to successfully integrate that many characters into the Avengers: Infinity War cast, it would likely require at least a decade of releases, with multiple MCU characters being introduced with each one. This works in films like Guardians of the Galaxy and Ant-Man, where multiple heroes are either needed or hinted at, but not in movies like Iron Man or Spider-Man. The stronger the character, the more time is needed to build them up and make them interesting.
Currently heading into the third phase, the MCU still doesn't have half of the number Joe Russo said was on the board for the Avengers: Infinity War cast. Some actors would likely need to be recast as well, since Robert Downey, Jr. is probably the oldest member of the team (and the first one to introduce us to the MCU).
With the rumors running rampant, it seems the Russo brothers needed to clarify what Joe meant, according to The Playlist.
"We were being figurative when we said [67 characters] and people took it as literal, but there's a lot of characters. Infinity War is meant to be the culmination of the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe up to that point. It's very ambitious in its scope, it wants to take everything that you've seen before and coalesce into some kinda of climactic ending. It's complicated, ambitious storytelling … We're not talking about lead characters, just people that make an appearance."There may easily be more than 67 characters in the film, but the chances are likely that most of them won't be heroes or main characters. Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Avengers: Age of Ultron both had probably hundreds of people onscreen by the end. While there will be more characters introduced by then, the Avengers: Infinity War cast will likely only focus on maybe a handful of the heroes.
The only way that so many characters could make it from Marvel's pool of heroes is if 20th Century Fox grants them the movie rights for the X-Men and Fantastic Four. Even then, their appearances would likely range from fly-by cameos to Easter Eggs.
Screen Rant says that the MCU's phase three has directors and everything attached to most of it already, despite it mostly being years away. Everything has been meticulously planned, but as the Russo brothers themselves have clarified, the Avengers: Infinity War cast will be large, but there won't actually be 67 characters in it, even across both films.
There have been rumors that Fox may have already given over the rights to the Fantastic Four franchise, as previously reported by The Inquisitr. However, 20th Century Fox has come out to state that they still own the franchise. This means that Silver Surfer, Galactus, and most mutants will be off-limits for the 2018 collaboration film, unless Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver were only the beginning of the cross-overs.
Who do you think will be added to the expansive Avengers: Infinity War cast? There won't be 67 characters, but there will be a lot.
[Feature image via Marvel]