clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Avengers: Infinity War: breaking down the biggest clues in the movie’s first trailer

If you blinked, you might have missed Proxima Midnight.

Alex Abad-Santos is a senior correspondent who explains what society obsesses over, from Marvel and movies to fitness and skin care. He came to Vox in 2014. Prior to that, he worked at the Atlantic.

When Marvel’s Avengers: Infinity War comes out in May, it will be the culmination of 10 years of Marvel moviemaking magic. And now we finally have a glimpse of the film, in the first official trailer for the movie:

The trailer is packed with potential, not to mention so many take-my-money moments for comic book fans.

Captain America (Chris Evans) is sporting a beard. Spider-Man (Tom Holland) is getting that tingling Spidey-sense. Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) and Wong (Benedict Wong) makes friends with the Hulk and Iron Man. Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) has a new dye job. And then there’s an all-out assault on Black Panther’s kingdom of Wakanda.

There’s so much to talk about that the trailer is easily worth a second (or third or fourth or fifth) look. And with repeated viewings, some big clues about what happens in Infinity War begin to materialize. Here’s a rundown of our favorite moments and highlights.

The Infinity War trailer assembles three distinct teams of Avengers

Last year’s Captain America: Civil War ended with the Avengers broken and split up. Captain America’s team — Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen), Ant-Man (Paul Rudd), Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan), Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner), and Falcon (Anthony Mackie) — wanted nothing to do with Iron Man and the superhuman registry that his team, made up of Vision (Paul Bettany), Spider-Man, Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman), Black Widow, and War Machine (Don Cheadle), believed in.

The movie revealed that Captain America’s team was captured and then promptly freed (by Cap himself), but we don’t know where they ended up, except for Cap and Bucky, who in a post-credits scene were revealed to be taking refuge in Wakanda. At the end of the movie, we also saw Black Panther and Black Widow switch sides or defect from Iron Man’s team.

Infinity War’s first trailer slyly offers clues as to where the missing members of Cap’s team are by showing us who’s linking up with whom. There are three main groups of Avengers gearing up to combat Thanos’s invasion: one in Wakanda, one in New York City, and one in outer space.

There’s a good shot in Wakanda of Black Panther, Captain America, Black Widow, Bucky Barnes, the Hulk, War Machine, and what looks to be one of the Dora Milaje (possibly Danai Gurira’s Okoye) running into battle. However, at this point it’s unclear who’s piloting War Machine’s suit (in Civil War we saw Rhodey being seriously injured, but we do know that Cheadle is still playing the character in Infinity War).

Marvel Studios

Meanwhile, in New York, Iron Man has assembled his own makeshift squad in the wake of his team from Civil War falling apart. In one shot from the Infinity War trailer, it appears he’s called upon Doctor Strange, Wong, and Bruce Banner, a.k.a. the Hulk, for some help:

Marvel Studios

Spider-Man also appears to be in New York City, as we catch sight of him on a school bus there, but we don’t see him interact with Iron Man and the other team members.

And then there’s the cosmic team out in space, featuring Thor and the Guardians of the Galaxy — including a now-teenage Groot:


To be clear, none of this means that these three teams will remain separated throughout Infinity War — the Hulk is seen in both Wakanda and in New York City with Doctor Strange and Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), for example. Rather, it vaguely sets up where everybody starts out and who’s working with whom, at least initially.

In Thor: Ragnarok, Thor, Loki, and the Hulk were together. Now they’re split up.

One of the biggest clues in the Infinity War trailer tells us more about what happened to the Asgardian spaceship after it encountered what was presumed to be Thanos’s ship in one of Thor: Ragnarok’s post-credits scenes. That ominous scene showed Thanos’s ship intercepting the Asgardian ship — which had the Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Loki (Tom Hiddleston), Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson), and others aboard — but didn’t show what happened next.

The Infinity War trailer starts to fill in the blanks. It looks like Thanos separated everyone and sent the Hulk crashing down to Earth:


It seems as if Thanos also sent Thor drifting off into space — which is in keeping with the original cut of the Infinity War trailer that premiered at San Diego Comic-Con in July but was never publicly released. That cut opened with Thor floating through the galaxy, being found and woken up by the Guardians, and telling them that they all needed to set out for Earth.

Now, in the official Infinity War trailer, there’s a quick shot of Thor on a spaceship, looking down at what appears to be a planet being ravaged:


We also get a glimpse of Loki. He appears to be holding the Tesseract and climbing over the (possibly dead) bodies of what look to be Asgardians:


Loki doesn’t seem to be looking at the Tesseract, but rather at someone or something beyond it, which could indicate that he’s handing it over to Thanos. Whatever the circumstances, we see Thanos pop what looks like the Tesseract’s blue Infinity Stone into the Infinity Gauntlet later in the trailer. That’s not a great sign for the Avengers:


Thanos isn’t working alone. Say Hello to Proxima Midnight.

The Infinity War trailer also contains a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it moment that features a supervillain other than Thanos: A shadowy figure catches a trident/spear while Black Panther delivers a voiceover that identifies the figure as Captain America. It’s hard to see the face of the person who threw it.

But if you slow down the clip, you can see that it’s a woman with bluish hair, a mask, and a white face:


This aligns with a character in Marvel’s comic books known as Proxima Midnight. Proxima Midnight is part of a 2013 crossover event known as “Infinity,” in which Thanos assembles a team called the Black Order and then attacks Earth. Proxima Midnight is part of the Black Order:

Marvel Comics

With Proxima Midnight having apparently entered the mix, it seems that Thanos isn’t acquiring the Infinity Stones by himself. Which means the other members of the Black Order — Ebony Maw, Supergiant, and Corvus Glaive (whose weapon appears to be pinning Vision to the ground in the trailer) — might make an appearance in Infinity War too.

Black Panther’s home of Wakanda will be a key setting

The way the Infinity War trailer is edited makes it difficult to keep of track of who’s fighting where and with whom, as there are several quick cuts between scenes. But if you pay close attention to the lighting and the colors of those scenes, you can identify at least three distinct locations that are in play.

The first is a dark industrial setting seen in the Proxima Midnight GIF above, where she throws the spear at Captain America. That also seems to be where Black Widow is attacking someone or something:

And where Vision and Scarlet Witch are fighting:


The second setting is this brightly lit, golden locale, where we often see Iron Man looking really sad:


Gravity appears to work differently in this golden place (which could be anywhere, like above Wakanda or above New York City).

Iron Man also gets beat up there:


As does Spider-Man:

Marvel Studios

The third definitive setting is Wakanda, a country whose legacy in the Marvel comic book universe is that it’s never been conquered.

The Infinity War trailer has been edited and presented in a way that makes it seem like Iron Man and Captain America aren’t together in Wakanda. But there are a couple of hints (some big and some small) that suggest they’re working together, even if they’re in different places.

The big clue is the Hulk showing up in Wakanda and fighting there, presumably after he’s thrown to Earth by Thanos and we see him meet and team up with Doctor Strange and Wong. A small scene shows the Hulk in Wakanda, standing next to what appears to be a piece of Iron Man’s Hulk-buster armor:


Further, there’s a small cut of Falcon flying into battle in Wakanda, and in the background you can see what looks like Hulk-buster armor in action:


Finally, if you look closely behind Black Panther in the following sequence, you can see a glimmer of red armor peeking through:


Granted, Iron Man has been known to use remote-controlled versions of his armor in the past. But at the very least, it seems like he and Cap and the rest of the Avengers have patched things up since Civil War, to unite before this epic battle to defend Wakanda.


With Black Panther coming out in February — probably with some telling post-credits scenes of its own — it’s likely that a few more details about Infinity War will soon lock into place. Perhaps we’ll learn why Thanos seems so interested in invading Wakanda (one guess is that there’s an Infinity Stone hiding there), or maybe we’ll get some additional information about what’s been going on lately between Bucky and Cap.

And as new trailers for Infinity War are released in the coming months, we’ll be able to piece together the puzzle even more. For now, Infinity War looks every bit like the massive superhero team-up that Marvel promised it would be.

Avengers: Infinity War (Part I) hits theaters on May 4, 2018.