The writer details the new iteration of Earth's Mightiest Team!

Written by Jess Harrold

The old order changeth once again—for a bold new era! And it doesn’t come much bolder than the creative team of Jason Aaron and Ed McGuinness putting together one of the mightiest Avengers rosters ever seen! Here, Aaron talks about his plans for the book—including building on ideas he introduced in MARVEL LEGACY #1.

Marvel: So with you writing, the incredible Ed McGuinness on art and a spectacular lineup, there’s no doubt about it: this is one blockbuster book! What can fans expect?

Jason Aaron: Coming into this, we wanted it to feel big and epic—like a huge Marvel event, every arc. So I wanted a lineup of all big, iconic characters. Some of them you’ve seen as Avengers—like Steve Rogers, Tony Stark, and Thor Odinson—but for the first time in years, the “big three” are back together. There’s also some characters we’re not used to seeing. Ghost Rider, I guess, is the big surprise, and it’s cool for me getting back to writing Ghost Rider again.

Marvel: And Captain Marvel and Black Panther make for a big five! There’s been a lot of conflict between these characters in recent years. How well are they all going to cope with working together again?

Jason Aaron: Well it’s not necessarily a “snap your fingers, and it’s done” kind of thing. The first arc is really about the hardships of putting that band back together. It’s very much a team drawn together for very specific reasons, instead of just Steve Rogers calling people in his Rolodex. The circumstances of this threat are really what bring these characters together. They are drawn into this battle for very specific reasons, which only become evident as that arc rolls on—and then continue to play a part going forward. Some of that clearly links back to the prehistoric Avengers introduced in MARVEL LEGACY #1. You will see them again in this arc, and they will be a part of the series going forward.

Marvel: Will you be adopting a similar multi-timeline approach to the one we’ve seen in your THOR run?

Jason Aaron: Yep, absolutely. In this first arc, the roots of the Celestial threat the Avengers are facing go back to those prehistoric days with Odin. But we will come back between arcs and do issues focusing on that group and those prehistoric characters. We will learn more about them as we go forward, get to see them in action in the past and see the ways their adventures connect to the present day.

Marvel: Another stalwart Avenger on the roster is Jennifer Walters—but is she She-Hulk or Hulk? And what can fans expect from her on the team?

Jason Aaron: Yeah, I’ve just been calling her “Hulk” in the book. It is the same Jen Walters we’ve seen in recent issues of her own series so we definitely continue on from that. But this story also changes things for her and takes her in a bit of a different direction. We switch around her powers a little bit and try to differentiate her more from her cousin. What is exciting me is to see Ed McGuiness draw the Hulk again!

Marvel: As for the new guy you mentioned—we know you know a thing or two about Ghost Riders, but what do you like about Robbie Reyes?

Jason Aaron: He’s a great entry-level character for the Avengers; he is still very much a new kid on the block. He doesn’t really know these characters and has not been a part of something quite like this. You know his life has been pretty crazy in its own right since he became the Ghost Rider, but this really takes things up a notch. We get to see him level up in terms of his power. He is unlike any of the previous Ghost Riders so we will continue to explore what that means and exactly what he is capable of. Also, the more I write it, the more I love the idea of having a guy in the Avengers who drives a car. He just goes driving into battle in the Hell Charger. I love that, and I love the way Ed’s drawing him.

Marvel: Another character you have history with is Doctor Strange, who is on the team at least to begin with, right?

Jason Aaron: He pops up initially in a different sort of team-up. He and Black Panther are investigating something that pulls him into this bigger mystery. Strange plays a big part of this first arc, but you kind of have to wait and see after that who sticks around. I don’t want to specifically have a cast too large, but I think we will have at least one slot rotating—have a character join for a couple of arcs, and then somebody else takes the pledge. There’ll be some old familiar faces and some we’re not used to seeing in the pages of an Avengers comic.

Marvel: You mentioned the Celestial threat, the ominously named Final Host—they seem like a great fit for Ed’s bombastic style.

Jason Aaron: Absolutely. We see a lot of different Celestials over the course of the story—some classic ones, some all-new designed by Ed, which look amazing. Ed is also so great at conveying the feel of something like this: our Avengers against giant space gods who are thousands of feet tall. How can the Avengers go toe-to-toe with characters who are that powerful? That’s the challenge they face right there out of the gate.

Marvel: And it all begins with a Free Comic Book Day issue featuring another stellar artist, Sara Pichelli, correct?

Jason Aaron: Yes, it’s sort of a direct lead in to AVENGERS #1. It’s mostly a story about Black Panther and Odin—a meeting of the king of Wakanda and the All-Father of Asgard, which again kind of stretches back to those prehistoric Avengers and plants the seeds for the Celestial threats the Avengers will face. And it’s free!

Marvel: And from there, the main series is set to really blow everyone’s socks off.

Jason Aaron: Yeah, I want this to be a book that issue to issue gives you a look at the entire Marvel Universe. So we will travel the globe, we will cross the galaxies, we will go to all the different hot spots of the MU. If you are only reading one Marvel Comic—not that you should just read one Marvel Comic—this book will give you an idea of what the entire breadth of the Marvel Universe looks like right now at this moment in time.

AVENGERS #1 by Jason Aaron and Ed McGuinness is on sale May 2!

Read More

Assemble the sweetest breakfast on Earth!

Bite into these delicious breakfast treats inspired by Earth’s Mightiest Heroes! Read through the ingredients and directions below, then get ready for Marvel Studios’ “Avengers: Infinity War” in theaters April 27th!

Dough Ingredients:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 Tablespoon sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cold and diced
  • 1 egg
  • 2 Tablespoons heavy cream
  • Black food gel dye (for Black Panther)
  • Green food gel dye (For Gamora)
  • Red food gel dye (For Iron Man)
  • 1 egg plus 1 tablespoon water, for egg wash

Icing Ingredients:

  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1-2 Tablespoons water, as needed
  • 1 Tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
  • Magenta food gel dye
  • Black food gel dye
  • Green food gel dye

For Filling and Decoration:

  • Blackberry jam (for Black Panther)
  • Strawberry jam (for Gamora)
  • Apricot jam (for Iron Man)
  • Or jam of choice!
  • Edible gold luster dust (for Iron Man icing)

Directions:

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Prep baking sheets with parchment or silpats.
  • In a bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, and salt. Use a pastry cutter and cut in the cold butter until crumbly. Add the egg, heavy cream, and black food gel dye, until combined.
  • Wrap dough in plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for 20-30 minutes.
  • Between two pieces of parchment, roll out the dough to approximately ⅛-inch thick. Use your character template to cut out the shapes. You should get 8 pieces out of each dough.
  • Place four of the Black Panther cut-outs onto the prepped sheets. Spoon the blackberry jam onto the center of each of them.
  • Brush the egg wash along the edges of the dough pieces. Place the second piece of dough over the fillings, then press the edges using the tines of a fork, sealing along the sides. With a toothpick, poke the centers of the tarts a few times to release air while baking.
  • Repeat this process creating dough with green food gel dye and strawberry jam for Gamora, and dough with red food gel dye and apricot jam for Iron Man.
  • Once the tarts are prepped, bake for 30 minutes, then let cool on a wire rack.
  • In a small bowl stir together the powdered sugar, water, and melted butter to make white icing. Use this to create the details on the Black Panther tarts.
  • For Gamora, in a small bowl stir together the powdered sugar, water, melted butter, and magenta food gel dye. Repeat the process to create black and green icings. Pipe the magenta icing onto the green hand pie to create the hair. Then use black, green, and white icings to create the face details.
  • In a small bowl stir together the powdered sugar, water, melted butter, and yellow food gel dye. Pipe the outline of the helmet onto the red Iron Man hand pie, then flood with icing to fill. Once the icing has set completely, use a clean kitchen brush to brush edible gold shimmer over the yellow icing. Use black and white icing to add face details.
  • Once all the icing has set, the toaster tarts are ready to serve! Assemble and enjoy.
Read More

Olsen and Bettany detail the difference between a Russos and a Whedon 'Avengers' film.

The Avengers are assembling to take on their biggest threat yet and Thanos looms large in Marvel Studios’ “Avengers: Infinity War.” Earth’s mightiest heroes will need the entire team to take down the Mad Titan, including some of Scarlet Witch’s mutant magic.

From the set of “Infinity War,” Elizabeth Olsen (Scarlet Witch) and Paul Bettany (Vision) spoke about the large cast of characters, offered up their thoughts on the Mad Titan Thanos, as well as gave some interesting insight to Scarlet Witch and Vision’s complicated relationship.

Thanos is a Dark Lord that reigns unparalleled according to his underlings, but he remains a perplexing, foreboding villain that needs to be taken down by the team, “We haven’t really gotten to that bit in the exploration, but he’s not a good guy. We don’t necessarily want to be his friend. You don’t want to be his friend. Yes, he sets his goals very high,” quipped Olsen. Bettany agreed, “You don’t want to be his friend, no, but you can admire…he has an ambitious goal.”

Played by Josh Brolin, Thanos is a bad guy through and through—yet still a character that Olsen is still unsure about, “[Josh] Brolin is doing a really cool job creating an interesting villain ‘cause he doesn’t really come across…he seems he’s defending it quite well.”

Having started her journey as Scarlet Witch in Joss Whedon’s “Avengers: Age of Ultron,” Olsen described how “Infinity War” is different from the previous film, “The main difference is that the Russos delegate and they trust everything that they’ve delegated things to. Not saying Joss didn’t, but that’s a lot of pressure to be a director and then go home to also do rewrites for the next week. It’s just as it gets bigger, things become more specific to different departments and I think it allows maybe even a freedom within the dialogue sometimes…because there’s a space some of us have the ability to step out and not be on the page.”

Directors Joe and Anthony Russo allowed the actors to speak freely about the portrayal of their characters. “At the beginning of filming, [the Russos] are like, ‘You’re in control of your character. If there are things you think we missed, please participate, please say,’” recalled Olsen.

The collaborative atmosphere was refreshing for Bettany, “They really want you to be a collaborator and it’s great. There’s a huge upside for that. For [the Russos], when you’re dealing with so many characters and actors to have two of them, and it’s brilliant because you can play one off against the other.”

The openness in creativity helped Bettany have a better understanding of his character, “The success of the Marvel films comes from the fact that they’re made by fans. They really love those characters. When I first came out dressed as Vision, Kevin Feige nearly cried. I didn’t grow up reading comics but they make you fall in love with your character. They really do. Their love for these stories is really infectious and you become really invested, and there’s a lot of invested people beyond the financials of it all.” Bettany emphasized the positivity that came with the love of the comics, “They really want to do a good job, and I think fans really trust that if they bend things that they’re in safe hands — that the story is in safe hands because I guarantee you it’s made by geeks. This movie is made by geeks. They love them, they feel it when they’re talking about it.”

“Captain America: Civil War” changed everything and “Infinity War” is putting the pieces back together both in the physical team and in the emotional state of the heroes. Olsen believes Vision and Scarlet Witch have a grounded relationship that helps to spur on their fight, “I think in a different way not so much about the last movie and their own sagas, but this is definitely the most emotional arc I’ve done in an Avenger film, that’s for sure.”

“The cost and the danger that we’re all facing becomes more important than certain beef that people had in the past because it’s so desperate,” explained Bettany. “The point of the Avengers, and by extension mankind, it’s fraught with danger. Old grudges are buried and put off until next time.”

Vision is constantly trying to understand the human mind and Scarlet Witch is there to show him the way. Olsen describes how the couple’s dynamic makes scenes more fun, “You have something really specific to work with all the time. And that feels nice. There’s like an anchor point to everything, which is what you’re constantly looking for when you’re doing these movies. What anchors you to a grounded reality? And you have that throughout the whole film. You have your partner, your life partner with you by your side, and that creates a different kind of stakes, as well.”

“Avengers: Infinity War” opens in theaters on April 27. Get tickets on Fandango now! Stay tuned to Marvel.com, follow @Avengers on Twitter, and Like “The Avengers” on Facebook for the latest on the Avengers as it develops!

Read More

Marvel screenwriters on creating the Mad Titan's emotional story in 'Avengers: Infinity War.'

There is no denying the epic scale and insane ambition of the Marvel Cinematic Universe that has everyone celebrating Marvel Studios’ 10th anniversary. Everything Earth’s mightiest heroes have fought for in the previous 18 films has led up to this moment — protecting the fate of the world and its existence from Thanos in Marvel Studios’ “Avengers: Infinity War.”

The antagonist of “Infinity War” has been pulling the strings throughout the MCU since “The Avengers.” Besides shopping around the galaxy for Infinity Stones, not much is known about Thanos outside of the glimpses we’ve seen here and there. Marvel screenwriters Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely rose to the challenge of balancing the ensemble and bringing this “epic level of storytelling” required to “surprise the hell out of people.” Make no mistake, according to McFeely, this is “Thanos’ movie.”

Last summer, Marvel.com made the trek out to Pinewood Studios to visit the set of “Avengers: Infinity War.” We’ve talked to Mark Ruffalo, Chadwick Boseman, Scarlett Johansson and Chris Evans, the Russo Brothers, and Danai Gurira. Markus and McFeely teamed up with directors Anthony Russo and Joe Russo on “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” and “Captain America: Civil War.” The team has assembled again to take on the Mad Titan in “Avengers: Infinity War” and the fourth untitled “Avengers” film. During the set visit, the screenwriters shared how they made Thanos, an “amoral philosopher” in their eyes, the emotional center of the film, the “strange alchemy” of “Infinity War,” and more.

Thanos does not see himself as the Big Bad of his story. “Villain is a derogatory term that Thanos wouldn’t agree with,” said Markus. In fact, Markus hopes you come away from “Infinity War” the same way you do with the publishing source material, “where you go, ‘I can’t say he was wrong.'” He stands in a category all his own. Adding, “Weirdly, he’s the most understandable guy in the movie sometimes.”

The writers borrowed from Jim Starlin in portraying Thanos as an “amoral philosopher.” They wanted an antagonist that doesn’t just “want to kill somebody” or “take over the world because it seems like a fun thing to do” because “that guy isn’t very interesting; he’s pathetic.” That approach doesn’t marry well with character who knows what he wants and carries emotional weight that can go toe-to-toe with any of the Avengers.

“He’s not the Devil – although he does sometimes have the Devil standing next to him. We wanted that all the way through,” revealed Markus. “To have a villain with understandable motivations and emotions. Thanos has family. Thanos has two daughters that we know of. Thanos has 8 million back stories in the comics, but they’re all kind of sad.”

The writers placed a lot of care in developing Thanos, a man worthy of driving “Infinity War” and bringing all of the Avengers and their allies together. One can compare Thanos to two other Marvel antagonists – Loki and Kilgrave. Yes, they are “creepy and awful,” but they “really care in a strange way.” Everyone has weird family relationships. McFeely drove the point home that Thanos does not see himself as the villain because he believes what he’s doing is right, “[Thanos’] got daughters that he clearly has to deal with.”

“The bad guy tends to be a foil for the development of the hero, and that’s not the case here,” added McFeely. “If anything, it’s the opposite. Our heroes are the foils for the villain, whose story we need to tell at large.”

We learned that the Mad Titan isn’t driven by the Infinity Stones alone. Anthony Russo previously commented how everything in “Infinity War” had to be character-based, an approach that extends to Markus and McFeely. “Every time you collect one, it can’t just be a check mark,” stressed McFeely. “It has to do something characterful. It’s got to move the plot forward, but it also has to have stakes and costs…so that it’s not just a shopping spree. We’re going to wrench some emotion out of each and every one of those moments that we can.”

A big focus of “Avengers: Infinity War” Markus shared, “All the way along the line we wanted to give people choices and make them continue to have to sacrifice this decision for this decision.” What motivates Thanos’ hunger to collect these stones and at what costs to get what he wants, we’ll have to wait until April 27 to find out.

“Avengers: Infinity War” opens in theaters on April 27. Get tickets on Fandango now! Stay tuned to Marvel.com, follow @Avengers on Twitter, and Like “The Avengers” on Facebook for the latest on the Avengers as it develops!

Read More

Okoye, leader of the Dora Milaje, isn't ready to assemble.

The Black Panther may reign over Wakanda, but the Dora Milaje are the true protectors of the resplendent nation. As the general of the royal armed forces, actress Danai Gurira plays the role of Okoye, the Dora Milaje’s fierce and cautious leader. Speaking from the set of Marvel Studios’ “Avengers: Infinity War,” Gurira talked about Okoye’s loyalty and the roles of strong women in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

As seen in Marvel Studios’ “Black Panther,” Wakanda was isolated from the rest of the world for thousands of years. Just as they opened their doors, “Infinity War” brings the Avengers all together onto Black Panther’s playing field. To have the warriors meet the super heroes was exciting for Gurira, but brought up different feelings for her character, “I’m excited for all the connections she can and might make—through what she’s about to go through with these warriors and these Avengers, these super heroes. [Okoye’s] more cautious about that.”

Gurira continued, “She’s hasn’t been excited about outsiders. You’ll see that in a very clear way in the movie.”

As a deep traditionalist with the weight of protecting Wakanda and its King, leading the Dora Milaje, and adhering to Wakanda’s traditions and structures, all responsibility lies solely on Okoye’s shoulders. “The vocation of being a Dora is you’re learning how to be one from quite a young age,” revealed Gurira. “Her entire vocation has been to maintain this nation.”

These responsibilities and traditional values are what drives her apprehension of the Avengers. “[Okoye’s] always thinking about how many things can go wrong and how much she can control what could go wrong before it goes wrong,” explained Gurira. “There’s not a lot of control that she can have over something that’s coming that’s this massive. But that’s where her caution is. That’s where her concerns lie. It’s, of course, in her gut.”

The changes Wakanda faces such as the opening of the borders and revealing themselves to the world is what Gurira’s character must grapple with as we enter “Infinity War.” Gurira acknowledged the Dora will be tested more than ever before, “This is one of the biggest threats they’ve dealt with.” At the end of the day, she’s led by her King and goes by his decision.

Gurira was acquainted with her co-stars before the filming of “Black Panther,” which lead to a comfortability on set. The sisterhood continued on the set of “Avengers: Infinity War.” On her relationship with Angela Bassett, “I’ve always really adored Ms. Bassett and she’s always been so kind and gracious to me every time I’ve been around her. It was really beautiful, actually.” As for Gurira’s sisterly relationship with Lupita Nyong’o, “Lupita and I go way back, and we just worked together on my play, ‘Eclipsed.’ We are very much [like] close sisters — it was very much balancing off each other and supporting each other, and our thoughts and collaborations and how we were figuring out the language and everything. We were making sure we had fun because I’m the person that needs to be encourage-minded to have fun, and she made sure I did that.”

As for the King’s sister Shuri, played by Letitia Wright, Gurira was familiar with her from her London play as well, “I loved her from the second I saw her…saying, ‘This girl’s got fire.’ I loved her since then, so getting to be in this movie with her, it was amazing.”

The familial feeling continued off-camera with the cast spending time together solidifying their successful on-screen chemistry. “We had a good time together,” said Gurira. “Supportive, fun, lots of going out on the weekend, lots of bowling, going to [get] Nigerian food, partying. Mr. Addison [Henderson] and Chadwick made sure people always had a good time. It was actually a really awesome family of women and men. It was a great sisterhood. We took a lot of care of each other.”

To be a part of a massive Marvel film with so many female characters is something that spoke to Gurira, “It’s really thrilling. I’m insanely thankful to be alive at the moment I am alive, and I don’t take it for granted that so many women before me have had to navigate and push for more representation, and I get to benefit from the fruits of their labor. I’ve seen that evolution before I started acting to now. You can feel that, the shift, and it is a really exciting thing when you see there is a lot of attention paid to the position and the contribution to the female characters.”

“Avengers: Infinity War” opens in theaters on April 27. Get tickets on Fandango now! Stay tuned to Marvel.com, follow @Avengers on Twitter, and Like “The Avengers” on Facebook for the latest on the Avengers as it develops!

Read More

Get a glimpse on the storytelling elements from balancing tones to collaborations and more.

How do you approach the behemoth that is Marvel Studios’ “Avengers: Infinity War” — a film with ten years of baggage with different storylines, different visions, different tones, to honor? How does a storyteller divide screen time among  40+ major players who are at different stages of their journeys and continue to engage and surprise viewers? The challenge and weight of what this film means to many is not lost on “Avengers: Infinity War” directors Anthony Russo and Joe Russo.

As we continue unveiling everything we learned during last summer’s set visit, we couldn’t think of two better people to get a look at the magnitude of the biggest cinematic production ever assembled than those who are helming the film — the Russo Brothers. Not only were the Russos tackling “Avengers: Infinity War” and the untitled fourth “Avengers” film simultaneously, they had to contend with the finishing of James Gunn’s “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” and Taika Watiti’s “Thor: Ragnarok,” with the concurrent production of Ryan Coogler’s “Black Panther,” start of Peyton Reed’s “Ant-Man and the Wasp,” and planning for “Captain Marvel.”

The Russos entered the Marvel Cinematic Universe as storytellers with “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” joined by screenwriters Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely. The team went on to tackle higher stakes with “Captain America: Civil War.” Not to be outdone, they’re now tackling 20-some heroes, multiple locations, six Infinity Stones, and the baddest/most powerful villain our heroes have ever encountered—Thanos, with the next “Avengers” installment. The Brothers shared insight on their approach to the characters, the complications of putting together a project of this scale, and dropped some insights during our intimate set visit.

[Note: This interview has been edited for clarity.]

How “Avengers: Infinity War” Kicks Off

“Avengers: Infinity War” is two years following “Captain America: Civil War.” According to Anthony, “Infinity War” is a “direct corollary to the end of ‘Civil War,’ and our heroes will be heading into this film “with the ramifications of that film at the forefront of this film.”

Continuing, “[‘Infinity War’] is very much about how we move forward from ‘Civil War’ in a big way, and what happens to that division between the Avengers and how does that affect them. What does that mean when the greatest threat they’ll ever face comes to them.”

Despite the two years following “Civil War,” the Russo Brothers have a storytelling philosophy where make sure to “keep any big moments of the characters’ lives on camera.”

We know Cap’s team of Avengers find their way to Wakanda seeking aid from King T’Challa. Joe explained the fortified country is the most “logical place for anyone seeking refuge.”

Meanwhile, Tony Stark has to deal with the consequences of his choice to side with the Sokovia Accords. Our directors haven’t forgotten young Peter Parker. “They basically have a unique mentor/mentee relationship that continues to evolve as they move into this film,” shared Anthony.

With the Guardians, the directors acknowledged the film picks up 5-6 years following “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2.” The Guardians have had a chance to deepen their relationships with each other where the Avengers haven’t had that chance.

“They’re closer, and they’re tighter, and they’ve been doing it for a while,” said Anthony. “They’ve cemented their chemistry as a team. And they would stand in contrast with the other teams. Potentially.”

They’re thrilled at the chance to take on Thor and lean into his profound experience during “Thor: Ragnarok.” As for Hawkeye, the Russos confirmed he’s on his own journey in this film.

The Directors’ Approach to the Tone and Characters, and their Collaboration with Past Filmmakers

“It’s been a personal journey for us as filmmakers from ‘Winter Soldier,’ of a theme set in that movie that we then tried to expand upon in ‘Civil War,’ that then led to Infinity War,” shared Joe Russo. “It’s how we feel about the characters, as comic book fans, the story that we want to see.”

“It’s not only a culmination of the last ten years of Marvel storytelling, but for us, it’s a culmination of our journey as directors to the Marvel Universe,” added Joe. “Having at our disposal all of those characters and allowing ourselves to re-filter them through the way that we see the universe, the way that we feel about the characters, the themes that we really want to bring to the forefront, that’s what these two movies are for us.”

“Everything’s always got to be character based,” proclaimed Anthony. “If we’re sitting in the editing room, watch the sequences for more than 20 seconds without a character having a point of view or moving the action forward, my brain just shuts down. The action for us, it’s always character based.”

In addition to screenwriters Markus and McFeely, the Russos credited the team there were able to work with the past films, including effects supervisor Dan Deleeuw, editor Jeff Ford, DP Trent Opaloch, and stunt coordinator Sam Hargrave, to achieving the complex and ambitious nature of “Infinity War.”

It was important for the Russos to honor the journeys and approach the other MCU filmmakers took their characters on, but also make it work with the film they were creating. As Joe explained, the “Russo Brothers-execution” was filtering what others have done “through our very personal expression of them as characters.” Anthony acknowledged, “Everyone is interwoven in this plot in a way where they have an emotional connection to the story…. You can’t tell a movie with this many characters and not have each of those characters show up and honor them from the different franchises if they are not motivated to be there. If there are not in life or death circumstances. If they are not fighting to save their belief system or way of life.”

The Russos equated the MCU process as similar to how comic book stories evolve and involve several comic creators. “[We] found repeatedly that the best and only way for us to move forward is to receive that information, and keep what we like, and explore what we like, and exploit what we like, and tell the story that we want to tell. The same way you do in a comic run when you’re reading it, you go, ‘I want to see someone else’s point-of-view on that.’ That’s what Marvel’s done really well, bringing in a lot of different voices to execute the films.”

It’s safe to say everyone in the Marvel Universe had been involved. During the preparation and production of the third and fourth “Avengers” films, the Russos had the opportunity to collaborate closely with James Gunn, Taika Waititi, Scott Derrickson, Peyton Reed, Ryan Coogler, and producer Nate Moore. With the Marvel Universe progressing in different courses simultaneously and at the time, not yet completed, the Russos adopted a “real collaborative united artists approach” to ensure they were sensitive to the other stories and sharing those elements.

The Sources and Influences

Mark Ruffalo previously alluded to how THE INFINITY GAUNTLET informed the film, but there are clear deviations. Joe further elaborated on the comics source: “Certainly the Starlin book was our jumping off point. It’s a brilliant comic, and the ideas behind it are so large, it’s what pushed us to go for the scale that we’re going for on these movies.”

Joe continuing, “Anth and I love the post-modern comics. We’re also drawing from newer INFINITY stuff, and we’re kind of combining it all into…how do we see elements from each helping the story that we want to tell.”

In addition, the Russos were inspired by ensemble 90s crime films, and the two films that they look to for inspiration in relation to narrative imagery were “Two Days in the Valley” and “Out of Sight.”

“These movies are so complex you need a unifying peace, or a sense of cohesion, and that cohesion can come from a narrative construct that you can apply all the characters to,” explained Joe Russo.

Thanos (Josh Brolin)

Thanos

True Believers, you’ve never seen a more formidable antagonist in the MCU like the Mad Titan, and he’s on a destructive mission to collect all the Infinity Stones no matter the stakes.

“This movie is catalyzed by Thanos’ decision and an opportunity for him to make a very aggressive move for the stones, a more effective move for the stones than he has ever in the past,” revealed Anthony. “When Thanos decides to do it, he really goes for it. He’s one step ahead of our heroes through the movie and he puts them through a lot of pain in the process.”

“Our job with Thanos is to make him the preeminent villain in the Marvel Universe,” added Joe. “In order to be a preeminent villain, you have to do some pretty bad things.”

The Russos stressed that the Infinity Stones are the “bedrock of the film” — “the key driver.”

Prepare Your Hearts

On the subject of Thanos, several of our heroes wield/guard the Infinity Stones putting them in directly in the path of Thanos, elevating the emotional weight. When asked about the invincibility of our heroes, Joe quickly teased, “I’m sorry.”

Acknowledging that every character is someone’s favorite character, Anthony explained, “We like mature storytelling. We like dramatic storytelling. We like intense storytelling. We appreciate conflict, and we appreciate stakes. And without stakes, there really isn’t a lot of value to the story. If you look at the Marvel Universe as a whole, as a story that’s been told for 10 years, you can look at [‘Infinity War’] as the climax. The stakes will be higher in this movie than they’ve ever been, times ten.”

Once the dust settles, we can expect the Avengers to see major casualties as they protect the universe and all of existence from Thanos.

Topping the “Civil War” Airport Fight Scene

“We have an equivalent that’s like if you had a comic book, and you open it up to your double panel, and then you fold it out. And then you fold it out again and again,” said Joe Russo.

Anthony Russo adding, “And you have another comic book laid out next to it.” “So we have the equivalent of that in this movie,” continued Joe Russo.

Hinting at the Untitled Fourth “Avengers” Film

The Brothers on the new challenge of shooting two MCU films at the same time: “Our approach has always been how we look at the project. It’s simply the same thing in the way that the ‘Winter Soldier’ related to ‘Civil War,’ and the way that ‘Civil War’ relates to ‘Infinity War.’ These two movies will also relate…but at the same time, there’s an independence in terms of what the experience is or where the story goes. It isn’t a true two-parter…. It ended up being more of two singular expressions.”

“We always try to make each film different so they don’t get repetitive,” said Joe. “This kind of serialized storytelling…. You have to keep evolving who’s at the forefront, how you’re laying the story out because rigor mortis will set in very quickly. Each character…can shape and color and re-tone an entire film depending on who you’re following. We find them as exciting as complex and inspiring and heartbreaking, and we believe that there are real emotional stakes. This is exactly the kind of movies we aspire to and exactly the kind of movies we look for as film goers in a theater.”

It’s safe to say that we’ve never seen anything like “Avengers: Infinity War.” Closing out the visit, Joe remarked, “If you were to think of the Marvel Universe over the last ten years of the book, this is the ending of the book. There may be new books written, but this is certainly the ending of this book.”

“Avengers: Infinity War” opens in theaters on April 27. Stay tuned to Marvel.com, follow @Avengers on Twitter, and Like “The Avengers” on Facebook for the latest on the Avengers as it develops!

Read More

Peter David and Brian Level share hints about the limited series!

In a digital adventure the likes of which Earth’s Mightiest Heroes have never seen before, writer Peter David and artist Brian Level are bringing AVENGERS: BACK TO BASICS to Comixology! And the six issue limited series begins next week on March 7!

A solar eclipse is about to hit North America—but this is no scientific phenomenon. Darkness is coming, and with it, a terrible and ancient danger. Can the Avengers avert this Ragnarok, or will the servants of death prove triumphant?

We checked in with writer Peter David and artist Brian Level to get the scoop on this brand new Comixology series!

Marvel.com: So, for some background, what’s the premise for this story?

Peter David: There are three plots! I wrote three two-part stories which, to me, seemed like the simplest way to go about it. The first one is some ancient Norse characters endeavoring to jumpstart Ragnorak, the second one is a Captain Marvel story except that Captain Marvel seems to have gone insane or has been replaced by a Skrull, and the third one is a time travel story with Ms. Marvel being shunted back to when the Avengers were first started.

Marvel.com: Brian, how did you incorporate the idea of “back to basics” into the art of this series?

Brian Level: Well, I knew that I was working with certain costumes from a certain era, but a lot of my reference was Frank Robbins’ stuff and older material that I really like anyway, like old Jack Kirby cells. I love pulling out that old stuff to look at action and how those older comics were framed out; what got me excited and got my imagination going. I wanted to strip down some of the more complex things visually, plus I’m a horror guy so I was thinking about how we could up the creepiness levels here. I love Steve Ditko stuff, I love Jack Kirby stuff, so I went back to those things that I really, really like to try to relate it back. These are the mid-2000s costumes, so I was thinking about what could I bring from then to 2009 but still keep it 2018—current and modern—so I was kind of trying to mash up a bunch of influences and aesthetics.

Marvel.com: I think that definitely comes through in the design!

Peter David: Good! Like I said, we have a story that’s set back to AVENGERS #4.

Brian Level: Yeah, the original AVENGERS #4!

Peter David: Right, and giving this a kind of old-time feel is exactly what the material needs.

Marvel.com: And Peter, how did you incorporate those “basics” into the story?

Peter David: Well, the thing is that I was approached to produce a group of issues that was supposed to cover six issues and my editors thought that I could do whatever I wanted in terms of how I laid that out. I could do a two-parter, and the second one could be a four-parter. What I decided to do is to connect the whole project to each other because back in the Avengers-whatever-it was-called-back-then that Ms. Marvel was in, the Vision gave her a pair of goggles that would enable her to see previous adventures of the Avengers. And I thought that was perfect! I set this up by having Ms. Marvel sitting in her bedroom, watching old adventures with the glasses and the thing that makes it interesting is that I make it clear in issue #2 that some individual is watching her doing this and has some nasty plans for her. So in the third two-parter, Ms. Marvel is watching the original Avengers and they suddenly turn to look at her and say “Who the heck are you?!” and she realizes that she’s actually there! And then we have Ms. Marvel interacting with the original Avengers which was very entertaining for me to write.

Brian Level: For just a second, I wanted to say that the scene at the beginning of issue #1 with her in the goggles, when I drew it, it literally felt like how I felt reading comics growing up. I thought, holy cow, this is how I felt—to just get so totally transported like that.

Marvel.com: Did knowing this was going to be a Comixology special change your process?

Peter David: In general I tend to write very very specific scripts anyway. I write in what’s called Full Script Style, where I break it down panel-by-panel and have all the dialogue in the panel so that the artist can figure out how the whole thing should run. I think it makes it easier for artists with me doing the basic storytelling so they don’t have to choose because I overwrote it and then they have to go try to get in there. Writing it like that forces me think about how the story is going to look.

Brian Level: But your panel descriptions were so succinct, too, so it makes it great for me. It felt like I could still be imaginative without feeling like I’m just handling logistics.

Peter David: Well, you know, I wanted to make my script so detailed that the artist should be able to have everything he needs for what he’s supposed to put into the comics page.

Brian Level: You’re very, very good like that.

Peter David: Thank you! There are some writers who are even more detailed—they start drawing layouts and that kind of thing—but that’s not something I’d be interested in doing because my attitude is, well, you’re the artist, if you can’t come up with better layouts than me then something is wrong!

Marvel.com: What about you, Brian? Any difference in how you created the art to be read on Comixology?

Brian Level: I’ve done it a little differently, like in the way that they do the panel-to-panel jumps. There’s a scene where somebody vanishes so I did this weird sequence of panels that were the same size and I would imagine that when readers jump to the next page it’ll almost feel kind of animated in a way. I also did some page design stuff so there’d be a splash when you see the whole page but then it goes back to the panels. I thought about stuff that I could do differently to play that up, but it would still work just fine on a physical page format, too—but Comixology does have the panel-to-panel thing, so I wanted to make it so that feature would pop.

Marvel.com: Peter, could you hint anything about the mysterious villain of the series?

Peter David: Why would I tell you that?! [Laughs]

Go to Comixology for AVENGERS: BACK TO BASICS, by Peter David and Brian Level, on March 7!

Read More

T’Challa aids the Avengers and Daredevil and goes solo to take on Killmonger and Venomm!

For more than 50 years, the Black Panther has stood at the forefront on the Marvel Universe. With T’Challa appearing on the big screen again this year in both Marvel Studios’ “Black Panther” and “Avengers: Infinity War,” take a look back at over five decades worth of comic book adventures for the King of Wakanda!

Captured by the Space Phantom and his temporary ally the Grim Reaper in AVENGERS #107, the Black Panther witnessed the two villains’ temptation of the Vision and their plans to secure a new body for the android. After being freed by Captain America in AVENGERS #108, T’Challa and his teammates welcomed help from the cosmic Captain Marvel to defeat the Phantom and the Reaper as well as the hordes of Hydra.

Following that adventure, the Panther faced off against the gigantic Imus Champion in AVENGERS #109 and received Hawkeye’s resignation from the team. When the team rallied again to aid the X-Men in their battle with Magneto in AVENGERS #110, T’Challa found himself buried under rocks by the mutant villain, prompting a scouting mission in DAREDEVIL #99 to secure assistance for another fight.

Avengers (1963) #112

Avengers (1963) #112

What is Marvel Unlimited?

With Daredevil and the Black Widow at their side, the Black Panther and the Avengers finally put down Magneto’s latest scheme in AVENGERS #111, and welcomed the Widow into their ranks. Her tenure lasted briefly, though, for she left following T’Challa’s harrowing confrontation with the Lion God in AVENGERS #112.

The Panther served masterfully in helping his teammates operate on a wounded Vision in AVENGERS #113, and in another bout with the Lion God in AVENGERS #114. In AVENGERS #115 he secured a surrender from the dreaded Troglodytes and in AVENGERS #116 discovered the presence of the mystical Evil Eye in the mystery of the Black Knight’s disappearance. T’Challa found himself pitted against Doctor Strange during the search for the Evil Eye in DEFENDERS #9, and rejoined with his teammates to witness the final moments of a Thor-Hulk clash in DEFENDERS #10.

After the so-called Avengers-Defenders War wrapped up with a big battle involving both teams as well as Loki and Dormammu in AVENGERS #118, the Black Panther returned to his native Wakanda in JUNGLE ACTION #6 to meet the revolutionary called Erik Killmonger and suffer defeat at his hands. Later, in JUNGLE ACTION #7, T’Challa looked into an illegal vibranium mine to gain a new foe known as Venomm.

Jungle Action (1972) #7

Jungle Action (1972) #7

What is Marvel Unlimited?

The Black Panther welcomed Captain America’s partner The Falcon to Wakanda in CAPTAIN AMERICA #169, and by CAPTAIN AMERICA #171 provided the hero with a high-tech rig to grant him the power of flight. Later, T’Challa stopped a new menace known as Malice from invading the royal palace to free the Panther’s prisoner, Venomm, in JUNGLE ACTION #8.

Erik Killmonger directed Baron Macabre to send his undead against the Black Panther JUNGLE ACTION #9, while T’Challa’s friend Monica stood accused of murder. Macabre joined forces with Kind Cadaver in JUNGLE ACTION #10, but faced defeat at the hands of the Panther. Killmonger stole weapons from the Wakandan armory and directed King Karnaj to attack T’Challa in JUNGLE ACTION #11, and dumped an unconscious Black Panther into the wolf-ridden Land of the Chilling Mists in JUNGLE ACTION #12.

Returning to the States and the Avengers, the Panther aided Spider-Man in a conflict with Stegron the Dinosaur Man in MARVEL TEAM-UP #20, then joined with his teammates in battle with the Collector in AVENGERS #119, and a long campaign against the Zodiac in AVENGERS #121123. In the aftermath of that fight, T’Challa helped activate a Zodiac weapon that unfortunately brought the dreaded, dragon-like Star-Stalker to Earth in AVENGERS #124.

Avengers (1963) #126

Avengers (1963) #126

What is Marvel Unlimited?

Next, the Panther served valiantly in an immense struggle between the mad god Thanos and Earth’s Mightiest Heroes in AVENGERS #125, and then a rematch with his old foe Klaw and the energy-charged Solarr in AVENGERS #126.

Read More

Avengers Academy 2.0 brings massive combat, story, and character changes

We’re coming up on the second anniversary for “Marvel Avengers Academy”! The fan-favorite game has continued to add new characters and build an amazing story over these two years, but one mystery has yet to be uncovered. What is up with that timefog? What is Fury hiding? Why does he have an Infinity Gauntlet? Who is that Thanos guy the Guardians keep talking about? Well, now’s the time to get some answers.

Along with this new story content, there are some major changes coming to the game. Combat, questions, hero outfits, and much more are seeing overhauls. We sat down with Allen Warner – Senior Narrative Designer at TinyCo – for an expansive interview about all the changes and new features we’ll see when Avengers Academy 2.0 launches soon. 

Marvel.com: First, let’s talk big changes. Combat has been a key component of most major Avengers Academy events, and now it’s being overhauled. How will players take the fight to the many Marvel villains they’ll face going forward?

Allen Warner: There are a lot of big changes coming to the game, but none bigger than the way players interact with combat. We really wanted to make combat more interactive and strategic to make the entire experience more fun, immersive, and rewarding for players. You’ll now have more control over giving yourself the best chance to succeed by getting to choose your team of heroes from a larger roster, choosing their alignment based on their unique abilities and class, and by choosing their individual actions and attacks. Heroes will also have individual health bars, so your team will be able to keep fighting if one of your heroes goes down. All of this will be supported by a robust hero management system, new combat animations for every hero, tons of new combat environments, and new villains to fight.

Marvel.com: So combat will now be used outside of events?

Allen Warner: Yes, there will be new quests, maps, and characters added to the main game, and combat will be a big part of the overall experience. The faculty is preparing for war against Thanos, the imprisoned villains are on the verge of activating their master plan, and the students are getting closer to uncovering the mysteries behind what Nick Fury keeps in his underground vaults, and how their universe came into existence. They’ll have to fight their way through Thanos and his forces to get those answers.

Marvel.com: Speaking of the Academy students and faculty, how do the other ways we interact with them change in 2.0?

Allen Warner: Hero management will be a major part of the revamped Avengers Academy experience. From a gameplay perspective, heroes will feel more unique with new special abilities, classes, and animations. We really wanted to streamline the process of upgrading and ranking up heroes, so there will be fewer rank-up items to collect, and players will have more control over who they want to rank up, making ranking up a specific hero easier. Unlike the current game, upgrading your hero’s combat stats persists after an event is over, and can be used in the main game and future events.

Marvel.com: This is massive! Now, players have been asking for a while to see their favorite event and late-game heroes suit up in new outfits. Is there any chance we’ll see this here?

Allen Warner: Yes, this is another huge change. We’ve always relied on the first few heroes in the game for new outfits because we wanted to make sure that new players would be able to acquire and enjoy those outfits, but the revamped structure allows us to give outfits to a wider variety of characters. I love Iron Man, Wasp, Loki, Black Widow, and Falcon, but they’ve had their share of awesome outfits, and it’s time for the rest of the team to have a chance. We’ll be focusing on heroes who’ve had zero to few alternative looks to this point, which is really exciting. You can expect to see new outfits for Black Panther, Vision, Hawkeye, Winter Soldier, and many, many more in the coming months.

Marvel.com: Along with these cosmetic dreams, fans of the game have been hoping for the next zone of the timefog to open up and for more main story quests to be added. Can you share anything new on this front?

Allen Warner: We’ve talked about it, and are continuing to talk about it, but this one is a little more complicated. The issue is that when we open a new zone, it creates more space for characters, decorations, and buildings, which makes the game more difficult to run on older devices. We don’t want to exclude our players with older devices that wouldn’t be able to run the game properly, so we’re actively working on a solution. I definitely understand the frustration. Players have earned a bunch of awesome decorations and buildings that they want to showcase, but have to keep them in storage because they don’t have enough space. I’m hopeful that we’ll figure something out soon.

Marvel.com: The story of Avengers Academy has arguably been building to this point since launch. What can you tell us about the next act and everything in store for our heroes, Thanos, and the Academy universe at large?

Allen Warner: Yeah, the first thing I ever wrote for this game was the story of how this universe was created, and we’re finally getting to the point where that story can be told, which is really exciting. I don’t want to give too much away, but we know that the faculty has been aware of Thanos from the beginning. They’ve met before, and it didn’t go well for the Avengers. We know that Nick Fury is hiding artifacts, weapons, and possibly even heroes and villains in his secret underground vaults. His second Infinity Gauntlet is a clue to how powerful some of these things might be. We know that Mephisto, Hela, Madame Gao, and the rest of the imprisoned villains are plotting something, and that somehow they’ve been able to contact Thanos, who most likely orchestrated their plan from the beginning. We also know that there’s a mole on campus. Someone who every hero trusts is either betraying their fellow Avengers, or isn’t who we think they are. Maybe both. Lastly, we know that Thanos is coming. His arrival will set all of these things in motion, and eventually answer all of these questions, while spinning this world into a wild new direction.

Marvel.com: Will the structure of missions or quests change as this new content is introduced?

Allen Warner: Missions are changing drastically, and I think it will create a much better experience for the player. The new Mission Board is more streamlined and organized to give players more agency, and better suit their style and needs. If they’re only interested in completing story missions, they can focus on those. If they only want to gather items to upgrade a specific hero, they can do that too. It will be easier for players to get what they’re most interested in getting, so the overall experience will be more suited to their play style, and focusing on what they enjoy most in the game.

Marvel.com: Along with Thanos’s impending arrival, Voyager is coming to campus! The hero – recently created by Mark Waid, Al Ewing, Jim Zub, and Pepe Larraz for “Avengers: No Surrender” – makes her Marvel Games debut here. How does she come to join the Academy?

Allen Warner: Yeah, this is really exciting. I always think it’s so cool when we can bring a character from the comics to games for the first time, and Voyager is an awesome hero who’s a great fit for our world. I don’t want to give away too much about how she’s involved yet, but in the books, she’s a character from a different place and time, and our world is filled with alternate universes and time anomalies, so it shouldn’t be too difficult for her to find her way here. Her visual ranks and animations are really cool, and I think people are going to love adding her to the team.

Voyager

Marvel.com: How can players add her to their Academy roster?

Allen Warner: Voyager will be a log-in bonus character, so everyone will be able to get her just by logging in each day during the time she’s available. The more you log in during that period of time, the stronger your Voyager will be when she enters the campus. There are even more perks for Marvel Insiders.

Marvel.com: What does the Marvel Insider integration mean for Avengers Academy players? How can they join the program?

Allen Warner: If you’re a Marvel Insider, or decide to become an Insider, and you submit your Avengers Academy game ID through the site, you’ll automatically get Insider points. If you recruit Voyager in the given time period, you’ll get even more Insider points. Anyone with Marvel Insider points can use them to purchase a special Voyager in-game trophy that generates upgrade items.

Marvel.com: There’s a whole lot of new stuff coming to campus. Will we also see new main buildings and locations?

Allen Warner: There will be a new upgradeable building Nick Fury places on campus to help train the heroes and protect the school from Thanos’s inevitable attack, and there will be a ton of new locations for your heroes to travel and fight various villains and factions across the globe and beyond.

Marvel.com: With all these changes, a lot of current materials and mechanics are changing. What will this mean for existing players – both recent and longtime?

Allen Warner: Existing players will keep everything they’ve earned, and will be given a proportional amount of the new upgrade materials for all of the rank-ups they have in the current game. This revamped version of Avengers Academy is a new experience, and we believe a better experience, but it will still be very familiar to our existing players, and if you enjoy it now, we hope you’ll enjoy the new experience even more.

Marvel.com: What are you most excited to share with players as 2.0 officially launches?

Allen Warner: I’m excited about all of the opportunities for new stories, outfits, characters, locales, and an experience that gives players more control to play the game they want to play it, and focus on the parts of the game that they find the most fun. It feels like an evolution of the original game, and I’m excited to see where it goes, while putting the bow on some long-running storylines, and spinning up some new ones.

Marvel.com: Is there anything else you’d like to tell us about this humongous new update?

Allen Warner: I just hope everyone enjoys the new experience, and I can wait for everyone to see all of the cool new things we have in store!

For all the latest news and updates on “Marvel Avengers Academy,” visit Marvel.com and follow us on Twitter @MarvelGames!

Read More

This summer, an entire universe. Once and for all.

Tonight, during the Big Game, we got another glimpse of the highly-anticipated Marvel Studios’ “Avengers: Infinity War.’ Check it out above!

As the Avengers and their allies have continued to protect the world from threats too large for any one hero to handle, a new danger has emerged from the cosmic shadows: Thanos. A despot of intergalactic infamy, his goal is to collect all six Infinity Stones, artifacts of unimaginable power, and use them to inflict his twisted will on all of reality. Everything the Avengers have fought for has led up to this moment – the fate of Earth and existence itself has never been more uncertain.

“Avengers: Infinity War” opens in theaters on May 4. Stay tuned to Marvel.com, follow @Avengers on Twitter, and Like “The Avengers” on Facebook for the latest on the Avengers as it develops!

Read More