What Happened Before ‘Avengers: Infinity War'? Here's What To Know To Avoid Getting Lost In The Action

There has never been a movie like Avengers: Infinity War. That's not hyperbole, either... literally no one has ever produced a crossover film of this magnitude. The movie is the nineteenth installment in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and crosses over the Avengers, Spider-Man, Black Panther, Doctor Strange, and Guardians of the Galaxy franchises. It's a massive undertaking that's expected to compete as one of the highest-grossing films ever made, so naturally, you're going to want to uncover everything to know about Infinity War before going into the movie so you won't be confused by all of the busyness on screen.

The basic plot of the film is derived from a classic Marvel comics storyline called "The Infinity Gauntlet." That story, written by Jim Starlin and first published in 1991, saw the alien Mad Titan Thanos come into possession of all six Infinity Gems. These gems (referred to as Infinity Stones in the film, and from this point on in this article to avoid confusion) are cosmic artifacts that, when combined, offer their owner the powers of a god. Once Thanos obtains all six, which he wears in a gauntlet, he destroys half the life in the universe in an effort to appease the embodiment of Death, with whom he is in love (it's a weird story). Eventually, he is defeated by a collective of Marvel heroes and his actions are reversed by Adam Warlock after he takes the gauntlet for himself.

The film will not be following this story to the letter, and will instead tell its own original story that's a continuation of what the prior 18 films of the MCU have been building toward. So here's what you need to know about it.

Where Everyone Is

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After Captain America: Civil War, the Avengers effectively split up and scattered after choosing to side with Iron Man or Captain America during that conflict, and it can be difficult to keep track of where everyone is. So take a look below to find out.

Iron Man & Company

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We last saw Iron Man in Spider-Man: Homecoming, where he mentored a young Peter Parker. At the conclusion of Civil War, his only real ally remaining besides Spidey was War Machine, who was still recovering from his injuries.

Captain America & The Fugitives

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We last saw Cap in Civil War (not counting his filmed cameos in Homecoming), breaking his fellow former Avengers out of prison and dropping Bucky off in Wakanda. Black Widow, who sided with Iron Man in Civil War before turning on him, has gone into hiding, but eventually joins forces with Cap and Falcon during Infinity War. Hawkeye and Ant-Man, who sided with Cap in Civil War, are not confirmed to appear in Infinity War.

The Wakanda Contingency

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Black Panther, Okoye, and Shuri will all play key roles in the film — as will Bucky Barnes, who was revealed to still be rehabbing in the African nation in a Black Panther post-credits scene. Bucky will also receive a new metal arm at some point, presumably one made of vibranium.

The Guardians

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At the end of Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol. 2, the team had acquired two new members in Mantis and Nebula. Both Nebula and Gamora are the adopted daughters of Thanos, meaning they know the villain better than any other Marvel heroes. Infinity War will mark the first time the Guardians meet any of Marvel's other characters.

Scarlet Witch & Vision

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These two Avengers took opposite sides in Civil War, but made up before the battle was even over. The pair had a budding romance in that film, and are presumed to be on their own together in Infinity War.

Thor & The Asgardians

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Thor, Hulk, and Loki took the surviving Asgardians from Asgard at the end of Thor: Ragnarok, with the intention of settling on Earth. However, they don't make it, as a post-credits scene revealed that they encountered Thanos' ship. Also on that ship were Valkyrie, Korg, and Heimdall, but it's unknown if they appear in Infinity War.

Doctor Strange

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Strange was last seen in Ragnarok, where he appeared even more powerful than in his solo film. He's still based in New York, where he acts as the guardian of that city's sanctum.

Where The Infinity Stones Are

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Thanos needs to collect six Infinity Stones, and he'll need to travel a bit to do so. Here are their last known locations.

The Space Stone

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Also known as the Tesseract and first seen in Captain America: The First Avenger, it was placed in Odin's vault on Asgard at the end of The Avengers. However, Loki spied it in Thor: Ragnarok while in the vault, and he presumably stole it. This could explain why Thanos confronts the Asgardians' ship.

The Mind Stone

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This stone first appeared in Loki's scepter in The Avengers, which he received from Thanos, and it now resides in Vision's forehead. This is likely very bad news for Vision.

The Reality Stone

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This stone first appeared as a powerful mist called Aether in Thor: The Dark World. In that film's post-credits scene, it was brought to The Collector for safekeeping. It's unknown whether he still has it after his headquarters was destroyed in Guardians of the Galaxy.

The Power Stone

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The MacGuffin in Guardians of the Galaxy, Thanos hired Ronan to obtain this stone for him in that film, but Ronan kept it for himself. He was defeated by the Guardians, who then entrusted the stone to the Nova Corps on Xandar.

The Time Stone

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First seen in Doctor Strange as the Eye of Agamotto, Strange currently wears this stone around his neck. Like Vision, he could be in serious trouble because of this.

The Soul Stone

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The only stone to not yet appear in a Marvel film, its current whereabouts are unknown, though some fans theorize it's in Wakanda (that would explain the meteor that injected the country with vibranium) since Thanos invades the nation in Infinity War.

Who The Villains Are

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Thanos is obviously the big bad here, having been lurking in the shadows of the MCU since his introduction in the post-credits scene of The Avengers, but he won't be acting alone.

Thanos

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The movie is said to be about Thanos, with the Avengers as supporting characters, so we'll be learning a lot more about him. So far, we know he's one of the most powerful beings in the galaxy, has two adopted daughters who hate him, and wants to eliminate half the life in the universe.

The Black Order

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Thanos' powerful alien henchmen, of which there are four. Ebony Maw, seen in the above gif, has powers of manipulation. Cull Obsidian (called Black Dwarf in the comics) is a brute with strength comparable to the Hulk's. Proxima Midnight is the lone female member, and she possesses a spear of near-limitless power. Lastly is Corvus Glaive, who also has a superweapon: a blade that keeps him immortal. The Black Order were introduced in the 2013 comics storyline "Infinity," from which the movie also draws some influence.

Outriders

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These alien soldiers make up Thanos' army, and they're quite savage fighters with six arms and strong jaws. They were also introduced in "Infinity," where they possessed the power to turn invisible. It's unknown if they'll display this power in the film as well.

Loki

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Loki's allegiance will likely shift throughout the film, since this is Loki we're talking about, but the film's trailers do show him standing alongside the Black Order at one point.

What The Trailers Show

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Without delving too much into rumor territory, the trailers have shown Iron Man and Bruce Banner meeting Doctor Strange and Wong in New York; Thor meeting the Guardians and subsequently branching off with Rocket and Groot; Captain America, Black Widow, Falcon, War Machine, Hulk, Scarlet Witch, Vision, and Bucky fighting alongside Black Panther and the Wakandans against Thanos and the Outriders in Wakanda; Iron Man, Doctor Strange, Star Lord, Drax, and Spider-Man meeting on another planet; and Vision having his Infinity Stone ripped out of his head by Corvus Glaive; among other things (phew).

This movie, which opens on April 27 and has a runtime of two hours and 40 minutes, has a lot going on, so study up before heading to the theater to avoid becoming hopelessly lost.