Some rifts heal with time. Others are infinite. At the close of Captain America: Civil War, Steve Rogers had downed his shield, broken his allies out of imprisonment in the Raft and established a new status quo for Marvel's fractured team of superheroes. Captain America, the nation's greatest hero, is now a fugitive.
Looking forward to Avengers: Infinity War, the cataclysmic, doomsday-esque event which finds the very existence of each and every superhero threatened by Thanos's mission to complete the Infinity Gauntlet, you might imagine that the Avengers will have no choice but to heal their rift, reunite and pool their resources. When going up against the most powerful being in the universe, it helps to be on the same page. But a new interview with the Russo brothers, directors of Civil War and Infinity War, just poured cold water on that idea.
Speaking to The Independent, Anthony Russo spoke of how their "philosophical approach" to writing rules out any quick or easy reunion for the Avengers:
"One of our favourite things about Civil War [was] that it ended in a difficult place where it’s hard to imagine what the road forward exactly is for both Tony Stark, Steve Rogers and these two sides that have suffered the consequences of this division. On a storytelling level, it is a very difficult place and yes, that is very much the condition of the world as we move forward after Civil War. This very much sets the stage for where Infinity War begins – it’s a place of a strong divide.”
While Civil War felt like a grounded, character-driven story of two clashing ideologies, Infinity War is an entirely different beast. The crux of this story is a mad titan intent on seizing absolute control of the universe. It's hard to fashion a character-driven story around a premise as ambitious as that, but by taking the call not to reunite the Avengers simply because the story demands a deus ex-machina, the Russos are raising the stakes of Infinity War even higher.
For more MCU speculation:
- 6 Things Learned From The 'Civil War' Blu-ray's Doctor Strange Featurette
- A Major 'Civil War' Mystery Solved: Steve Is No Longer Captain America
- Russo Brothers Reveal Their Favorite 'Civil War' Easter Egg
They may share a common goal, but can Tony Stark's Avengers and Cap's fugitives really do anything to dent Thanos's chances of domination by working separately? If the Russos enjoy writing themselves into a corner, as Anthony claims, they now find themselves in the mother of all corners. And that's pretty exciting.
Captain America's Secret Weapon
Having been rendered fugitives by their breakout of the Raft, Team Cap now finds itself in need of a new base of operations. On a personal level, one of the of the major disappointments of Civil War was the absence of Nick Fury, the tactical genius whose espionage skills and reign as the director of S.H.I.E.L.D. make him perhaps the single most invaluable ally to the Avengers, or the team's former members.
In Infinity War, Steve and his friends — Black Widow, Falcon, Scarlet Witch, Ant-Man and Hawkeye — are essentially off the grid. If The Winter Soldier taught us anything, it's that Fury is particularly gifted at pulling the strings while hiding in the shadows.
I like the idea of Fury heading up a team of "secret" Avengers (if you'll forgive the name) while Iron Man, Spider-Man operate on a more legal level. Ultimately, though, it's difficult to imagine how the heroes of Earth could possibly stand a chance against Thanos while so deeply divided. Perhaps that's where the likes of Peter Quill come in. Armed with a more intimate knowledge of Thanos, thanks to Gamora, Star-Lord could function as a liaison in order to unite the former teammates before Thanos completes his gauntlet and assumes complete control.
Ultimately, Avengers: Infinity War is still shrouded in mystery, right down to whether we'll even venture off-Earth or Thanos will descend to NYC, but it's cool to know that some of the MCU's most sophisticated storytelling isn't about to be thrown away for the sake of getting the old gang back together.
Avengers: Infinity War hits theaters May 4, 2018. Captain America: Civil War gets a Blu-ray release on September 13.
How will the Avengers and Cap's friends defeat Thanos if divided in Infinity War?