ByTom Bacon, writer at Creators.co
I'm a film-and-TV fan who grew up with a deep love of superhero comics! Follow me on Twitter @TomABacon or on Facebook @tombaconsuperheroes!
Tom Bacon

Avengers: Infinity War is probably the most hotly anticipated Marvel movie of all time. Expected to be the crowning glory of Marvel's Phases 1-3, the movie will bring the world's superheroes into head-on collision with Earth's greatest threat: the Mad Titan, Thanos! With Phase 4 likely to tone down the galactic scale and focus in on the street-level escapades of Tom Holland's Spider-Man, this could potentially be the biggest Marvel film ever.

The big question, though, is: who will appear in Infinity War? There are two debates...

Will Captain Marvel Appear in Avengers: Infinity War?

She's a real powerhouse! Image: Marvel Comics
She's a real powerhouse! Image: Marvel Comics

Although Captain Marvel isn't due out until 2019 — a full year after Avengers: Infinity War — most fans are expecting Brie Larson's Carol Danvers to appear before that. In the comics, Carol Danvers was a major supporting character long before she gained superpowers; Infinity War is likely to take the same approach.

In May, the Russos slipped up and accidentally name-dropped #CaptainMarvel as a character in Infinity War. When one fan asked if she'd just been confirmed, one of the Russos desperately clarified:

"Um....Captain Barvel. Totally different character."

More recently, during an interview, Joe Russo was invited to comment on Brie Larson's casting as the iconic superhero:

“It’s an incredible piece of casting. You couldn’t ask for better. Not only is she an amazingly talented actor but she’s a wonderful human being. We’re really looking forward to the opportunity of re-teaming with her…"

Captain Marvel takes flight! Image: Marvel Comics
Captain Marvel takes flight! Image: Marvel Comics

So it seems pretty certain that Carol Danvers is appearing in Infinity War. That said, Captain Marvel co-writer Nicole Perlman is openly discussing the fact that her film is an origin story — she's observed that the origin is too similar to that of Green Lantern, and so it's been subject to heavy rewrites. Comic book fans are never particularly happy about rewriting an origin, but that interview in itself suggests that Carol Danvers won't don the Captain Marvel costume in Infinity War.

Will the Defenders Appear in Avengers: Infinity War?

The gorgeous Defenders logo! Image: Netflix
The gorgeous Defenders logo! Image: Netflix

The #MCU is a lot more than just a series of films, though. It embraces everything from tie-in comic books to the dark and dangerous #MarvelNetflix shows. Unfortunately, as the cast of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. have discovered, the movies don't tend to acknowledge the TV shows that much. Chloe Bennett fumed:

"I don’t know. People who make movies for Marvel, why don’t you acknowledge what happens on our show? Why don’t you guys go ask them that? Cause they don’t seem to care!...The Marvel Cinematic Universe loves to pretend that everything is connected, but then they don’t acknowledge our show at all. So, I would love to do that, but they don’t seem too keen on that idea."

Although that's been the case so far, fans desperately want to see the TV and Netflix characters appear in Infinity War. The dream is that Infinity War ties all the threads neatly together, becoming the biggest event in the MCU to date — whilst acknowledging all that has gone before it.

Luke Cage and Jessica Jones. Image: Netflix
Luke Cage and Jessica Jones. Image: Netflix

Last year, Bleeding Cool reported that #MarvelNetflix's popular #TheDefenders group will have a cameo in Infinity War. Regardless of whether or not you believe Bleeding Cool's sources, though, Infinity War has clearly changed shape since that report. Bleeding Cool specifically refer to the Defenders as having a cameo in 2019's Infinity War Part II, but the movie is no longer a two-parter, and that 2019 film is currently unnamed.

More recently, Jeph Loeb (the head of Marvel Entertainment, who produce the TV shows) explained that there are practical difficulties when it comes to tying films and TV series together.

“I can tell you that part of the challenge of doing this sort of thing is that the movies are planned out years in advance of what it is that we are doing. Television moves at an incredible speed. The other part of the problem is that when you stop and think about it, if I’m shooting a television series and that’s going to go on over a six-month or eight-month period, how am I going to get Mike Colter to be able to go be in a movie? I need Mike to be in a television show.”

Let me illustrate this with an example: four years ago, Chloe Bennett's character in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. was a computer hacker going by the name of Skye. Season 4 opens with her now known as #Quake, an Inhuman with the power to generate tremendous vibrational energy waves. Who knows how the character will have evolved — or if she'll even still be alive — should Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. get to Season 8 in four years' time? The same holds true for the Marvel Netflix heroes. Each series will change and develop them, and planning any extended involvement for four years in the future is very hard to pull off.

The character's changed a lot over the years! Image: ABC
The character's changed a lot over the years! Image: ABC

In spite of these practical difficulties, when questioned, the Russo brothers have insisted they "consider everyone". What's more, Kevin Feige recently explained that Infinity War would cut between different locations a lot — fans are expecting the battle against Thanos's army to be worldwide — and he hinted that "everybody's there". Questioned about whether or not this meant the Defenders (perhaps a glimpse of them fighting it out in Hell's Kitchen), Feige responded, "Spoilers!"

Fans are reacting with excitement to these quotes, but a more recent comment from Feige suggests we should be cautious about getting too hopeful. He insisted that he wouldn't be looking to have "such important characters show up for one second". Instead, he'd be looking to integrate the characters into the plot in the same way Spider-Man and Black Panther were integrated into Captain America: Civil War, or Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver into Avengers: Age of Ultron.

That makes this a really difficult decision. Little wonder that the Russo brothers told BadTaste.it:

"The Marvel Universe is sprawling - the Marvel Cinematic Universe is enormous. Just think of all the characters that haven’t been introduced yet that are going to be introduced by the time that we’re working on Infinity War. We have a tough task just telling the stories of the characters who exist [on the big screen] in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, let alone adding the entire Marvel Television universe."

A lot of characters! Images: Marvel Studios, Sony
A lot of characters! Images: Marvel Studios, Sony

Naturally, the Russos are focused on making Infinity War the best film it can possibly be. If doing so means not having a couple of cameos from Marvel Entertainment, then that's a price they're willing to pay.

In another twist, Mike Colter (who plays Luke Cage) isn't convinced it would be wise to have the Defenders appear in the films at all; he fears it would "dilute" the brand!

See also:

All in all, we don't truly know whether or not Captain Marvel and the Defenders will appear in Infinity War. The evidence indicates that Brie Larson's Carol Danvers will - although she's unlikely to be in costume - but the Defenders are a bit of a stretch. Here at Movie Pilot, we'll keep you posted as we learn more about Infinity War - be sure to look out for more news!

Do you feel Captain Marvel and the Defenders should appear in Avengers: Infinity War? Let me know in the comments - and meantime, check out the teaser for Defenders!