The crazy thing about Marvel’s movies is the second you get a new one, it just makes you even more eager to know about what comes after. Captain America: Civil War, coming May 6, sets things in motion for another epic story—one which will end with not one, but two Avengers movies.
This weekend, io9 talked to the producer, directors and writers, not just of Captain America: Civil War, but of those third and fourth Avengers movies, Infinity War parts 1 and 2. Most of the Civil War talk dealt with spoilers, so we’re going to hold that for a bit. (It’s great, by the way). We’re all in the dark on Infinity War, however—so here’s an update on that.
Directors Anthony and Joe Russo confirmed that they’ll shoot both movies, which are currently scheduled for release in May 2018 and May 2019 respectively, at the same time. But they stressed that the back-to-back filming doesn’t mean it’s just one story split in half.
“The movies are very very different from one another,” said Anthony Russo. “It’s not a part one and part two scenario, necessarily. They’re just two different expressions. I think it creates a misconception that we’re shooting them at the same time.”
When we asked writers Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely about that statement, they confirmed the sentiment, but refused to elaborate. “I will agree [the two movies are very different], and that was very important to all of us,” McFeely said.
For some clue as to what the different movies could entail (outside of probably Thanos, the Infinity Gems, and all the Avengers), the Russos pointed to the past. That Infinity War will continue a story they’ve been working on for some time. “For us there’s a through line from Winter Soldier, through Civil War, right to Infinity War,” said Anthony Russo. “In our mind, the storytelling arc moves that way.”
“There’s an overarching story that’s going to be told through all four films,” added Joe Russo. “And I think having the amount of characters we have in [Civil War] certainly prepares us to deal with probably triple the amount of characters in Infinity War.”
Triple the amount from Civil War? That seems like a huge movie, with a lot of leg work leading up to it. But, according to Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige, we’ve already seen a lot of that lead up.
“Much of the groundwork has already been laid,” he said. “That’s the truth. Doctor Strange will lay some more. Thor: Ragnarok will lay some more—but I think the majority of it is already there.”
The men who are responsible for putting all those pieces together, Markus and McFeely, revealed they’ve been doing so since well before Civil War was completed.
“We’re on set for Civil War and then as soon as they start shooting we don’t have much to do for the next six hours,” McFeely said. “We’d go to the office, read comic books, write down ideas, put everything on the wall and just go ‘These are all the characters we could have.’”
“We sent in literally 60 pages of unrelated ideas,” Markus added. “Just like ‘Here’s some stuff that could happen in this insane movie.’ Then we came back from Atlanta and everyone had a copy of that [document] and they’d circle this, ‘This is cool, this is insane, this is cool, we’re not allowed to do that,’ and from there we’ve pieced it together very slowly. We’re in the middle of it now.”
Again, no one would talk about any specifics in the movie—but both the writers and directors said they’ve been talking to the directors and writers of the other Phase 3 movies on an almost weekly basis, to make sure everything lines up right. And both pairs used the word “culmination” when referring to the films. Does that suggest the Marvel Cinematic Universe could be over in 2020? Not at all.
“We’re only working on what’s been announced through the end of 2019,” said Feige. “And it is still a big chess board for 2020 and beyond, but certainly I would say Guardians 3 is [one film that’s] up there. I don’t know what exactly the order will be.”