Avengers: Infinity War promises to be the crowning glory of the MCU to date, a cinematic triumph that unites countless heroes against Josh Brolin's Thanos. The Thanos plot has been building up over the last few years — teased in 2012's The Avengers, the character made his presence felt in 2014's Guardians of the Galaxy, and in 2015, he promised to get to work himself. But will Thanos be alone, a single warrior battling against an army of heroes? Or will he have allies, and perhaps even an army of his own?
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The evidence is building that Thanos won't be alone. We've had both a tantalizing teaser - and some intriguing set images...
Here's What We Know
Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter, motion capture artist Terry Notaro revealed that he's joined the cast of Infinity War!
"I’m working with Josh Brolin and three other actors [in Marvel’s Avengers: Infinity War], and I’m playing Josh Brolin’s right-hand bad guy in the film. I can’t say the name of the character or I think Marvel will sever my head, but I apply those same principals of what it means to drop bullshit and just play a character truly evil. And it’s working. [Laughs] It’s truly working."
You can see Notary's work in #KongSkullIsland, where he's playing the part of the towering king of the jungle. He's also been involved in other classics of motion capture, including Avatar and the "Planet of the Apes" movies. So it makes sense that #Marvel has turned to top talent like Notary in order to help realize some of their characters for the big screen.
For Marvel fans, though, the quote's particularly important because it tells us Thanos has a small group of allies working alongside him — and Notaro is playing Thanos's right-hand-man. Thanos won't be standing alone. Since then, set images have confirmed Thanos's allies.
Will the Black Order Appear in 'Infinity War'?
Until recently, the Thanos of the comics usually worked alone, most notably in the classic Infinity Gauntlet arc, which we believed was the loose inspiration for "Infinity War". That was until Jonathan Hickman's recent run; Hickman placed Thanos in charge of an army, and even gave him a small band of lieutenants - the Black Order. These were, as Notary states, "truly evil". What's more, several of their members wielded staffs just like those seen in the set-images.
If this is the case, Infinity War could easily be influenced by the 2013 event "Infinity", which saw Thanos's armies storm the Earth. The Black Order proved more than a match for Earth's defenders, and for a time it really looked as though Earth could fall. This approach would see a full-on invasion fleet burst into the Earth's skies, the Black Order at their head, and would leave humanity desperately struggling against the invasion — even as Thanos and his Black Order seek out the Infinity Stones.
Who are the Black Order?
Perhaps the most interesting detail in Terry Notaro's comment is that there are only four close allies of Thanos; traditionally, there are five members of the Black Order. Fans are uncertain whether or not the character of Corvus Glaive will appear; the set images seem similar, but there's one major argument against him. The character of the Other (Thanos's servant in The Avengers and Guardians of the Galaxy) was visually similar to Corvus Glaive, so many fans assumed he'll be written out of Infinity War.
If you assume Corvus Glaive isn't in the film, you're left - significantly - with four major possible members of the Black Order. You have Proxima Midnight, a dangerously brutal master combatant; the physically powerful Black Giant, who launched the attack on Wakanda; the psychic-manipulator Ebony Maw, who was able to take control of the mind of Doctor Strange, learning the secrets of the Earth's heroes; and the powerful mental parasite Supergiant. Given Notaro's skill at playing physically powerful creatures like King Kong, it wouldn't surprise me if he were playing Black Giant.
An Important Clue
If the Black Order are indeed due to enter the #MCU in Infinity War, then this suggests the film may not be as close to the original Infinity Gauntlet comic as we'd previously assumed. It could actually draw inspiration from Jonathan Hickman's Infinity event — an approach that would make sense, since Infinity featured Thanos's forces combing the Earth for his son, Thane. Of course, the quest is very different; in Infinity War, Thanos is seeking out the Infinity Stones, not Thane. But the 'hide-and-seek' element of Infinity would dovetail perfectly into his quest for the Infinity Stones, and I can easily imagine the Black Order taking on the Avengers in force.
It's not hard to picture Ebony Maw, for example, making his way into the Sanctum Sanctorum and manipulating Doctor Strange into revealing the secrets of the Time Stone; in the comics, he was able to control the Sorcerer Supreme and trick him into unleashing extra-dimensional entities. What's more, I can easily imagine Black Giant leading an invasion of Wakanda, just as he did in the comics.
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Infinity War is taking shape. With so many heroes and villains assembled, we'd long been wondering how the battle with Thanos would play out; now we have our first tantalizing clue, a hint that the Avengers may well be faced with a global threat. When Thanos arrives on Earth, it looks like he's bringing his armies with him...
Do you think the Black Order will appear in 'Infinity War'?
(Source: The Hollywood Reporter; Poll Image Credit: Marvel Comics)