Every superhero that will appear in Avengers: Infinity War

The Marvel Cinematic Universe has grown exponentially since its inception in 2008, and it doesn't seem to be slowing down anytime soon. In fact, Anthony and Joe Russo's upcoming Avengers films, Avengers: Infinity War and the currently untitled Avengers 4, will be a culmination of everything the MCU has been leading up to—a showdown with Thanos. A story like that requires a lot of costumed crimefighters, and Marvel is looking to deliver: here's a rundown on the roster of every superhero slated to appear.

Steve Rogers (Captain America?)

An Avengers film isn't complete with Captain America. He is the first Avenger, after all—and Chris Evans' contract confirms him for two more Marvel movies, which will presumably be the next two Avengers movies. But the thing is, Evans will likely be appearing only as Steve Rogers, not Captain America. Why? Because, according to Joe Russo, Rogers quit the gig. "I think him dropping that shield [in Captain America: Civil War] is him letting go of that identity," he told Huffington Post. "[It's] him admitting that certainly the identity of Captain America was in conflict with the very personal choice that he was making." In Infinity War, "his road forward involves figuring out who Steve Rogers is without the shield."

Iron Man

Captain America may be the first Avenger, but without Iron Man, there might not even be a Marvel Cinematic Universe. He's shepherded the entire franchise thus far, and will continue to do so in Avengers: Infinity War. Robert Downey, Jr. confirmed his return for the upcoming Avengers film to Entertainment Tonight in December 2016, saying, "We have a start date! That's, you know, when you start shooting. So I have yet to be released from my Marvel contract!"

Downey, Jr. is not only confirmed to appear, but rumor has it he'll be paid a whopping $200 million for both films—half of the budget for the entire cast. (Remember, he earned $50 million, including box office bonuses, for his appearance in the first Avengers movie.) There must be a reason why the only movies to gross over $1 billion at the worldwide box office—post-Iron Man 2, that is—feature Downey as Ol' Shell-Head: The Avengers, Iron Man 3, Avengers: Age of Ultron, and Captain America: Civil War.

Thor

Sure, mere mortals might see superheroes as gods, but Thor literally is one—the God of Thunder. While doing press for Avengers: Age of Ultron, Thor portrayer Chris Hemsworth confirmed his contract with Marvel extends to Thor: Ragnarok as well as the next two Avengers movies. And just in case there was any confusion, Joe Russo confirmed the character's involvement while doing press for Captain America: Civil War. "I'm excited to work with Thor. They're doing some really interesting stuff with Ragnarok and where he's gonna be at the beginning of Infinity War is gonna be a very interesting place, and I think very profound."

Hulk

Hulk is an interesting character in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Not only was he recast—from Edward Norton to Mark Ruffalo—but he hasn't received a solo movie since 2008. The reason for that is contentious. While Ruffalo is scheduled to appear in Thor: Ragnarok and the upcoming Avengers movies, he isn't likely to appear in a solo Hulk movie, and to compensate for that, Ruffalo says Marvel has created a narrative for Bruce Banner that will feel like one. "We've worked a really interesting arc into Thor 3, Avengers 3 and 4 for Banner," he explained, "that I think will—when it's all added up—will feel like a Hulk movie, a standalone movie."

Black Widow

This one's a no-brainer, but Scarlett Johansson has officially confirmed that she will be back as Black Widow for Avengers: Infinity War. "I'm most excited about seeing all my buds," Johansson told MTV News UK when asked about filming the movie. She also gave a bit of a hint about her character's reaction to some of the new faces she'll meet in the film, saying that, after the events of The Avengers and Avengers: Age of Ultron, she doesn't think Black Widow would even be fazed by Groot.

While Johansson has yet to show up in any set photos, someone who appears to be a stunt double for Black Widow has been spotted on the movie's set in Scotland (and things don't seem to be going well for her).

Scarlet Witch

Elizabeth Olsen made her Marvel debut as Wanda Maximoff, a.k.a. Scarlet Witch, in Avengers: Age of Ultron. While her twin brother Quicksilver died in the film, her story isn't yet over. "She is on a growth arc, and it is part of her development. It is very tricky with powerful characters, because unless they have an internal struggle or a flaw that limits them then they do become limitless, and the storytelling becomes muddled and not very interesting," Joe Russo has explained. "It really has to do with her character specifically going on a journey to understand what the limits of her powers are. … We'll get to see where she goes in Infinity War."

Hawkeye

Though he isn't one of the central heroes on the team, Jeremy Renner's Hawkeye has been an integral part of the Avengers since the beginning. He made his debut in Kenneth Branagh's Thor and continued to appear in both Avengers films as well as Captain America: Civil War.

Renner says he's scheduled to appear in Infinity War—which might mean he won't return for Mission: Impossible 6. "I'm not sure what's happening. I know [the M:I6 producers] really want to get it going and having spoken to Tom [Cruise] about where it's at I know there might be some conflict with schedules," he explained. "I'm not sure what's going to happen. Avengers is going to eat up a lot of [2017], I certainly hope it doesn't ultimately get in the way of Tom and I and the gang getting back together for that because I'd love to."

Although Renner is confirmed for Infinity War, he's unsure of his involvement in Avengers 4. "I don't know outside of my involvement or anything else," he insisted. "I can't tell you! What if I'm dead in the first one? I don't know. I might already be dead."

Vision

Paul Bettany has been around since the very beginning, voicing Tony Stark's personal A.I. system, J.A.R.V.I.S., in every Iron Man film. With Avengers: Age of Ultron, he took on another role: Vision, an android capable of immense power—and knowledge, thanks to the Mind Stone. Bettany may not be a fan of wearing the Vision's costume on set, but he'll have to suck it up for a little while longer; according to his fellow MCU vet Benedict Cumberbatch, who plays Doctor Strange, Bettany's scheduled to appear in Avengers: Infinity War. Cumberbatch spilled the beans when discussing the logistical nightmare that goes into devising a shooting schedule for a movie this size, explaining that the issue with Infinity War is the "logistical challenge of aligning his schedule with those of Robert Downey, Jr., Chris Hemsworth, Elizabeth Olsen, and Paul Bettany."

Winter Soldier

To comic book fans, Sebastian Stan's role as the Winter Soldier is only going to get bigger from here on out, but to fans of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, it may be enough to hear that Stan's role in the universe isn't over yet—in fact, he'll finally move on from the Captain America trilogy and appear in Avengers: Infinity War. Details are scant—and knowing Marvel's penchant for secrecy, they'll probably stay that way for awhile—but the character's involvement has been confirmed by The Hollywood Reporter, whose sources say Stan will film scenes for Infinity War in 2017.

Doctor Strange

Benedict Cumberbatch is one of the latest actors to make his debut in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and his character, Doctor Strange, plays a vital role in the war against Thanos and his quest for galactic domination. As previously mentioned, Cumberbatch has said scheduling is difficult for Avengers: Infinity War, and because of that, rumor has it that Marvel will temporarily use a stand-in for him during the first part of filming. Marvel head honcho Kevin Feige has confirmed Doctor Strange's involvement—and given that he wears the Time Stone, it seems safe to assume he'll have a bigger role in the movie, and with Thanos, than we know.

Wong

Doctor Strange won't be without his mentor and sidekick in Avengers: Infinity War. Both actor Benedict Wong and Marvel chief Kevin Feige have confirmed that Wong will appear in the upcoming team-up movie, with Feige calling him "a very key character for us." Wong, for his part, says he's excited to see how the relationship between Wong and Doctor Strange changes in the future, saying, "I still think that Strange does need [Wong]'s guidance. It's the knowledge that Wong has, being the librarian, reading all of those books. I think it's going to unfold into something interesting in the next one."

Star-Lord

Ever since Guardians of the Galaxy, fans have been waiting to see Chris Pratt's Star-Lord team up with Robert Downey, Jr.'s Iron Man. At the time, the notion of an Avengers-Guardians crossover seemed very unlikely. James Gunn even said the world of Guardians of the Galaxy is "separate from the Avengers." However, it looks like things are finally coming together, as Anthony Russo has maybe kinda-sorta hazily confirmed Star-Lord's role in the film. "The movies are intended to be a culmination of everything that's happened before in the MCU so you don't want to get into spoilers, but I'm a big fan of what James Gunn has done," he told Comic Book. "[Joe Russo and I] are both big fans of what James Gunn has done. Star-Lord is a fantastic character and Chris Pratt is an awesome performer, so you'd be very excited."

Gamora

Having Chris Pratt's Star-Lord appear in Avengers: Infinity War would be great, but why not get the whole Guardians of the Galaxy gang involved? Marvel seems to agree. While on the red carpet at the 2017 Golden Globes, Zoe Saldana, who plays Gamora, confirmed her role in Infinity War to MTV News. When asked whether she'd appear in the film, Saldana nodded and added, "I don't know when they're gonna let me read it. I mean, I'm not looking forward to the five hours of green makeup, but every time I finally arrive on set I feel so happy and lucky to be there."

Nebula

Minor spoilers for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2.

Nebula's hero status may not be fully cemented yet, but following the events of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, it seems as though she's pretty solidly on the side of the good guys, at least when it comes to the fight against Thanos. Actress Karen Gillan confirmed to the BBC that she's set to appear in Avengers: Infinity War, although she noted that it's just going to be a "little appearance." Still, given how connected Nebula's story is to Thanos', it should be interesting to see how she plays into the epic proceedings.

Groot

Vin Diesel may only say three words as Groot, but his performance (and character) is more than capable of capturing the hearts of the audience, and that may be something the Russo brothers are relying on for Avengers: Infinity War. To Diesel, though, it isn't enough to just have Groot (or Baby Groot) in an Avengers movie—he wants some screen time with Mark Ruffalo's Hulk. "I'm excited about Baby Groot; he's just too fun. And in Infinity War, I have to talk to the Russo brothers and find out how this is all gonna go down," said Diesel. "I know somewhere in the Marvel universe there is a moment when you will see Groot and Hulk have a few words." He continued by saying it's something fans will be waiting for, whether they know it or not because we'd all be waiting "to see Groot and the Hulk get down."

Rocket

We know for sure that one half of the Rocket team will be coming back for Avengers: Infinity War, and it would only make sense for the other half to return too. Guardians of the Galaxy writer/director James Gunn made the reveal while responding to a fan on Twitter, saying that his brother, Sean Gunn, will be doing the motion capture on set for Rocket in Avengers: Infinity War, just as he has in the two Guardians movies.

While Bradley Cooper has yet to confirm his appearance, with the rest of the Guardians teaming up with the Avengers and Gunn confirmed to be on set, it seems fairly safe to assume. Rocket may also have an important role, considering some possible concept art shown in Marvel's preview video makes it seem as though he may be fighting alongside Chris Hemsworth's Thor.

Drax the Destroyer

Dave Bautista got his big break in Hollywood by playing Drax the Destroyer in Guardians of the Galaxy. Since then, he's starred in the James Bond film Spectre, and will be appearing in Denis Villeneuve's Blade Runner sequel, Blade Runner 2049, as well as the upcoming Highlander reboot. But somewhere along the line, he plans to make room for Avengers: Infinity War. What's more, he really wants to team up with Iron Man. "I've said all along, I want to work with RDJ, man," Bautista told Collider. "I want to work with Robert Downey, Jr.. He's Iron Man. He's Tony Stark, man. He's the guy!"

Mantis

Mantis, played by Canadian actress Pom Klementieff, makes her cinematic debut in James Gunn's Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol. 2 come July 2017, but the highly-anticipated film won't be her only appearance in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Obviously excited by her involvement in MCU, Klementieff couldn't wait to share the news of her appearing in Avengers: Infinity War, and she did so by posting a picture of The Avengers #123 cover on Instagram—a comic book issue in which Mantis' origin is revealed. Just in case there was any confusion as to whether she'd appear in the film, Klementieff followed up with another photo of herself wearing an Infinity War beanie.

Spider-Man

Spider-Man joining the Avengers was one of the best parts of the Marvel Studios/Sony partnership, and so it comes as no surprise that the character will appear in Avengers: Infinity War. Tom Holland's involvement was first confirmed in a video Marvel Studios released teasing the film, with the actor joining Robert Downey, Jr. and Chris Pratt to talk about how excited he was for filming. Marvel Studios head Kevin Feige later confirmed this as well, saying that, in addition to Captain America: Civil War and Spider-Man: Homecoming, Spidey is set to appear in Avengers: Infinity War, Avengers 4, and a second standalone movie, although they're unsure of the character's MCU future after that.

Black Panther

It makes complete sense that Chadwick Boseman's T'Challa would make an appearance in Avengers: Infinity War, but it was still reassuring when the actor confirmed it by posting a video from the set on his Twitter page. T'Challa made a huge impression when he debuted in Captain America: Civil War, and he's set to lead his own film in Feburary of 2018, just a few months before Infinity War hits theaters. Considering Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige says Black Panther will play a big part in setting up Infinity War, it's good to hear for sure that the title character will get to play a role in the team-up.

Ant-Man

Paul Rudd's Scott Lang had a very enthusiastic first meeting with the rest of the Avengers in Captain America: Civil War, and he'll get to reunite with them in Infinity War. Rudd was spotted on set in late July as the movie neared the end of filming, with set pics showing him out of suit and out of breath as he goes on the run from an unknown assailant. With Rudd's Ant-Man and the Wasp set to be released shortly after Infinity War, it seems safe to say Scott will find a way out of whatever trouble he finds in the movie, but it should definitely be interesting to see which tricks he has up his sleeve this time around.

War Machine

War Machine may have been in bad shape at the end of Captain America: Civil War, but he'll be back for Infinity War. Don Cheadle teased his character's return in an interview with Good Morning America at D23, revealing that it will be an "augmentation" courtesy of Tony Stark that gets Rhodes back on his feet. "When you have someone like Tony who is a master of tech and who can create things that can get you over the hump, then you can walk again," he teased. While it's unclear how much War Machine will be able to participate in the action of the film even with Tony's assistance, it's good to hear he'll be sticking with the team after his tragic fall.

Falcon

It's long been expected that Anthony Mackie's Falcon would appear in Infinity War, considering how integral he was to the team during the events of Captain America: Civil War. (And considering how integral he could be to the future of the Captain America name, should certain comic book storylines pan out.) Still, though, it was good to hear that he was officially confirmed when he was invited on stage with the rest of the Infinity War cast at D23. Mackie has previously said that, as far as he knows, Falcon does survive the events of the epic film, so get prepared to see a lot more of him in the future of the MCU.

Shuri

Black Panther's Letitia Wright is set to reprise her role as T'Challa's sister Shuri in Avengers: Infinity War, according to a Twitter update from Wright herself. Shuri is a tech genius responsible for many of the Vibranium-infused weapons T'Challa uses, and her appearance hints that the rest of the Avengers could be getting some high-tech upgrades soon. Considering Kevin Feige has said Shuri may be even smarter than Tony Stark, we're pretty excited to see what she brings to the table.