2018 is going to be a huge year for Marvel and the MCU. Not only is Infinity War going to be a blockbuster the likes of which we haven't seen since... well, the first Avengers movie, but Black Panther is coming in February, Deadpool's getting a sequel, and we'll be seeing a Venom-related horror movie before too long as well.
In any productions this size, it's inevitable that rumors about the cast, producers, and the future of the franchise are going to be batted around like crazy, as it's rumoured that Marvel may be closing in on including the X-Men in the larger MCU, instead of having them as a separate franchise, as has been the case.
Whatever the immediate future holds for Marvel, it's likely that we're going to be at least a little bit surprised by who pops up in these flicks, especially Infinity War, whose comics included a veritable who's who of Marvel characters. Odds are Marvel's going to make as much as some countries earn this year, so let's tackle some of the juiciest rumors about their 2018 output, at least some of the more likely ones.
15 Infinity War May Introduce A Huge New Character
While it's not exactly a rumor that Brie Larson's been tapped to play Captain Marvel, as that character's own starring film is set to be released in 2019, nobody really knows if Brie's going to debut as Carol Danvers in 2018's Infinity War.
It stands to reason that there's a pretty good chance that Captain Marvel will show up.
Co-director Anthony Russo recently told Yahoo that while they had their hands full with the preexisting cast of Infinity War, they weren't ruling out introducing a new character, although he "plead the fifth" on saying who.
Larson might have spilled the beans inadvertently when she posted a picture recently on Instagram of her in a Marvel hat, hinting at a possible appearance coming soon, but again, nobody knows for sure ...
14 Thanos Is Going To Take Out One Of Marvel's Roster
Thanos is easily going to be the biggest threat The Avengers have ever faced. In the comics alone, Thanos recently took out War Machine and critically injured She-Hulk in the most recent Civil War storyline, not an easy task considering how formidable both characters are.
Rumours are flying that Thanos is going to lay a similar smackdown on The Avengers and company in this year's Infinity Wars, possibly even permanently "retiring" one or more of them.
The Vision is a heavy contender for this title, as he possesses one of the stones that Thanos will need to complete his ultimate weapon, the Infinity Gauntlet.
But hey, since Marvel president Kevin Feige has said that he sees Infinity War as the culmination of the MCU movies so far, starting with 2008's Iron Man and continuing to the present day, we should probably expect some finality from the upcoming movie. Maybe he was even hinting that Iron Man could be on the chopping block...
13 Black Widow's Future Is In Doubt
The thing about Black Widow is that, while she's a great character with an interesting backstory and is acted expertly by Scarlett Johansson, at the end of the day she's a human with a couple of guns. Along with Hawkeye and yes, maybe even Captain America, she doesn't stand much of a chance against Thanos, a being with Godlike power.
If we're still taking bets on which MCU characters might get bumped off in Infinity War, Black Widow might be a safe bet.
Besides her own mortality, there's also the matter of Johansson being the most loosely-contracted member of the core Avengers group, as her contract only extended to Iron Man 2 and she's been re-upping on a movie-by-movie basis ever since.
Bumping off Black Widow doesn't have to be a total loss for Marvel, though, as they can still produce a prequel focussing on her past life as a spy, bits of which have been teased in flashbacks in Age Of Ultron. Even if Johansson walks, Black Widow the spy could still make bank.
12 Infinity War Will Restart The MCU
While Infinity War won't be hitting theatres until May of this year, we already know it's going to sum up the last decade of Marvel MCU movies, although we don't necessarily know which direction is next for the hugely successful and long-running franchise.
2018 will see the introduction of new characters, a few older ones exiting, but it will also be a time of rebirth and the steering of the good ship Marvel to a new beginning of sorts. While it's unlikely that too many big names are going to be bumped off, we're likely to see the incorporation of some more recent comic storylines into the MCU movie universe.
While the Russo brothers haven't really elaborated on which storyline threads they plan on weaving in, the recent Civil War storyline that focuses on Captain Marvel is a likely bet, although in those, Bruce Banner is shot through the head by Hawkeye, so maybe not.
11 Iron Man Might Be Getting A Replacement
Even if Tony Stark does bite it in Infinity War, that wouldn't necessarily mean that the character of Iron Man would leave the MCU. In fact, there's already Riri Williams as Ironheart in the Marvel Universe, a young genius teen with high-tech armor who has essentially taken his place.
There might even be another character who could fill Tony's boots, should he exit the MCU this year. Black Panther's sister Shari is going to debut soon in February's Black Panther, a technological genius who is tasked with defending Black Panther's home country of Wakanda from outsiders, as well as refining her own weapons and tech.
Marvel would be making a risky move if they replaced Robert Downey Jr. with a lesser known actress to play Iron Man, as the decision would likely irk fans used to seeing Downey Jr. in the role. However, an actor with a lower pay grade would be great for Marvel's bottom line, in the short term at least.
10 The Winter Soldier's Coming Out Of Hibernation
Sebastian Stan's Winter Soldier has been one of the best-received breakout characters of the MCU, appearing first in Captain America: The Winter Soldier, and reprising the role in 2016's hugely successful Civil War.
Although Stan hasn't confirmed whether or not he's appearing in Infinity War, and neither have the Russo brothers, rumors seem to indicate that the Winter Soldier's going to be sneaking into the upcoming guaranteed blockbuster.
The Winter Soldier has so far been mostly an anti-hero when he hasn't been a brainwashed villain, but Infinity War could be his chance to make good. Maybe he's going to pop Thanos in his gigantic purple jaw with that cyborg arm?
9 Elisabeth Olson Doesn't Want A Scarlet Witch Movie
As the sister of mega-rich Full House alumni and fashion moguls Mary-Kate and Ashley Olson, Elisabeth Olson has some big shoes to fill. As the Scarlet Witch, a mutant with the power to alter reality and shoot weird red magic at her enemies, Olson made a huge impression after being introduced in 2015's Age Of Ultron. So why hasn't the Scarlet Witch had her own movie?
Well, to be fair neither has Scarlett Johansson's Black Widow. Plot-wise, there's also a lot that could be explored with Olson's Scarlet Witch. Her relationship with The Vision could be expanded like in the comics, not to mention her relationship with her dad, Magneto.
Olsen, for her part, has said that she's not sure that a standalone movie for her character is even necessary and she is not sure how it would fit in the MCU, but money has a way of changing people's minds.
8 Namor Is Probably Heading To The Big Screen
No comic fan can deny that DC's Aquaman has been a running joke for decades now. The guy's strong, swims real good, and talks to fish. That's about it. Maybe it's the fact that he's been paired up with Batman and Superman for so long in the Justice League that makes him look silly and useless by comparison.
Marvel's Namor, on the other hand, doesn't seem to suffer the same stigma, even though he's a strikingly similar character, with a similar power set and even look (though Namor can fly because he has tiny little wings on his feet).
Namor's personality is also a bit more aggro than Aquaman's. He can go toe-to-toe with The Hulk, and he's not afraid to rub it in. Who could play him, though? It's a long shot, but here's hoping Nicolas Cage gets the call, and if not him, at least another actor who could play a character with such a fiery temper.
7 More "Community" Cameos
The Russo brothers are behind the extremely successful Marvel movies Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Captain America: Civil War. They're obviously a fan of the character, but perhaps almost as obvious is their love of the cult TV comedy Community.
Makes sense, since they previously produced the show, so it was probably just a matter of calling up their old pals Jim Rash, Daniel Pudi and D.C. Pierson for the odd cameo in those movies, Pudi playing a hapless S.H.I.E.L.D. agent.
When Joe Russo was asked for a confirmation by Cinemablend, he said "Yeah, absolutely. We've got to keep the streak going." Guess we're doing to be seeing a lot more of the Community crew in Marvel movie ... Well, maybe not Chevy Chase.
6 Infinity War Will Include Everyone And The Kitchen Sink
So far, we know that The Avengers, Guardians of the Galaxy, Loki, Spider-Man, Dr. Strange, and more will be opposing Thanos in Infinity War, but that's not likely to be all by a longshot. Characters like The Silver Surfer, She-Hulk, the Inhumans and more fought alongside each other in the comic, trying to separate Thanos and the Infinity Stones.
Tessa Thompson's Valkyrie may very well be making an appearance, as she starred in 2017's Thor: Ragnarok, and recently posted a selfie in Edinburgh, Scotland, where Infinity War was filming.
Seeing as Valkyrie was such an important backing character in the former movie, she'll likely be lending a hand to Thor and the bigger conflict against Thanos.
Hey, at this point any character from the last 10 years of Marvel movies is fair game to show up.
5 Infinity War's Budget Is Insane
The thing with casting a ton of big-name actors in a mega-epic-blockbuster to end all blockbusters is that it ain't cheap. So now that we know that Infinity War is going to be a two-parter, with Part I coming out this year and a more loosely-affiliated part II arriving in 2019, what's the final price tag?
How about a cool BILLION dollars? That's right, between the actor's salaries, FX budget, and exotic locations, both parts of the upcoming penultimate Marvel movie cost the studio a billion dollars. So basically, if the film's a flop expect to see Captain America and Thor flipping burgers at a drive-through near you.
4 Invasion Of The Skrulls?
Skrulls, an alien race of shape-shifting villains bent on taking over the earth, have long been a problem for the heroes of the MCU, culminating in the crossover storyline Secret Invasion, where various Marvel heroes like Elektra and Goliath were replaced by Skrull agents posing as the characters until it was time for a full-scale invasion.
Seeing as how upcoming Marvel film Captain Marvel will include the Skrulls as antagonists, it would make sense for them to try to incorporate the long-running storyline at some point. Knowing that anyone in The Avengers or even the MCU at large could be a Skrull in disguise would add a new dimension to what some fans feel is a becoming a played-out franchise.
In fact, the Chitauri of the first Avengers movie were supposed to be Skrulls. Although that didn't happen due to rights disputes with Fox, the possibility is always open to expose any current Marvel hero as a Skrull, which will likely be further explored in Captain Marvel, as it takes place in the not-so-distant past of the 1990s, leaving ample time for those seeds to be planted.
3 The Fantastic Four Aren't Invited To The Party
The Fantastic Four has had a tumultuous history in film, to say the least. Roger Corman's rights-retaining cheapo feature in 1994 wasn't even released in theaters but is arguably more popular than the Jessica Alba-era major 2000s-era releases. Not a good sign.
Marvel chairman Ike Perlmutter agrees that the Fantastic Four is more or less a lost cause, especially after the massive flop of the 2015 reboot. The team doesn't even have their own comic anymore and haven't since 2014. Perlmutter's demanded that the team be effectively sidelined, and the characters have been mostly absent from recent crossover comics, serving as background characters if they even appear at all.
It could just be a case of an aging franchise being phased out, as the Fantastic Four have been around since 1961, and the title has a vastly different, more science-based approach and clean-cut tone than current Marvel outings. It could also be that the Fantastic Four have inherently goofy powers (Stretching? Being on fire?) that don't translate well to the big screen. Either way, they won't be seen around the Marvel water cooler any time soon.
2 Peter Dinklage May Have Created The Infinity Gauntlet
Peter Dinklage is no stranger to appearing in movies starring Marvel characters, as he appeared in X-Men: Days Of Future Past as Dr. Bolivar Trask, the inventor of the menacing Sentinel robots that plagued the X-Men for years, almost creating a dystopia in the process.
Although he hasn't appeared in the broader MCU movies with the Avengers and other popular characters, rumor has it that Dinklage has been tapped to appear in Infinity War or another upcoming project as either MODOK, a cyborg game show host from another planet, or Eitri, the King of the Dwarves, who invented not only Thor's hammer Mjolnir, but also the Infinity Gauntlet that Thanos is searching for.
Spurring on these rumors is the fact that Eitri has already appeared in a Thor: The Dark World prequel comic, making it increasingly likely that he'll appear in some capacity as this character (if not a troll named Pip), although nothing's been officially announced.
1 Quicksilver Probably Won't Stay Gone
Something of an anomaly in the broader world of Marvel characters brought to the big screen, Quicksilver has been a part of both the X-Men and Avengers, two franchises that haven't had an on-screen team-up yet.
Called a mutant in the X-Men's universe and a "Miracle" in Age Of Ultron, Quicksilver sadly met his end in that movie at the hands of Ultron, to save Hawkeye and a small child.
It's pretty obvious to point out, though, that superheroes seldom stay gone in the comics, so it's more than likely Quicksilver will return as there's just so much that can be done with him on an FX level.
There are several ways it could be done. The Soul Infinity stone could bring him back to life, Dr. Strange could do some of his wizardry, or who knows, maybe Tony Stark has something up his sleeve that could bring Pietro Maximoff back. Either way, it's likely we'll see him again.