Bearded Steve Rogers. A new Spider-Man suit. Thor meeting up with the Guardians of the Galaxy in outer space. Thanos hurling comets. These are just of the few things on display in the Infinity War trailer revealed during Marvel’s San Diego Comic-Con panel in July. It’s just too bad the footage was for SDCC only, and the real trailer is nowhere in sight.
The trailer is the same clip that was shown at Disney’s D23 Expo, and it features the many heroes of the Marvel Cinematic Universe coming together to fend off the long-teased Thanos on the hunt for the Infinity Stones.
Spoilers for Thor: Ragnarok follows.
There’s a lot going on in the trailer, but one thing is abundantly clear: After losing his home and his eye in Thor: Ragnarok, the Norse God of Thunder is going to get totally wrecked in Avengers: Infinity War, which sheds new light on that one Ragnarok post-credits scene.
The Infinity War trailer opens by echoing an exchange from Avengers: Age of Ultron, during which Tony Stark rationalizes his creation of Ultron to the rest of the team. Tony wondered — with a bit of overly direct foreshadowing — how the team might handle another cosmic threat akin to the Battle of New York in The Avengers. “Together,” Cap responds. “We’ll lose,” Stark says.
“Then we’ll do that together, too,” Cap says.
The cosmic war Stark feared back in Ultron is finally here in the Infinity War trailer, and many of the 67 characters reported for inclusion are present and accounted for.
Things open with the Guardians of the Galaxy arriving somewhere in space, presumably still in the Andromeda Galaxy, in the wake of some devastating destruction. There’s debris all around, but the most noteworthy piece of it to hit their windshield is a dead-looking Thor. Rocket Raccoon shrieks for the wipers to get him off. They bring Thor inside, and Mantis uses her powers to wake him up. Thor looks ragged and horrified (still sporting a shorter haircut without his hammer, by the way), and he asks, “Who the hell are you guys?”
The Guardians plus a Norse god continue on through space and discover something they don’t like. In case you weren’t sure, Thor confirms that “something’s very wrong.”
There’s an abrupt cut to what must be back on Earth, because Scarlet Witch is in the midst of a battle and dodges some sort of energy blast as cars burn around her. A figure walks through bodies littered about the ground as someone says, “Death follows him like a shadow.” Then, we see Loki wielding the Tesseract, and the voice says, “That’s who Thanos is.”
Things then shift to New York City where Peter Parker is riding the school bus, and the hairs stand up on his arm — which is leading some people to believe he might develop Spider-Man’s famed Spider Sense. “He’s coming to Earth,” a voice says, and we see a massive ship breaking through Earth’s atmosphere.
Iron Man stands on some battlefield alongside Spider-Man, Drax, Star-Lord, and Mantis. They watch what seems like the same ship crash-landing nearby. Uh-oh.
“Fun really isn’t something one considers when balancing the universe” are the first words we actually hear from Thanos. Then it’s Gamora standing in the ruins of the Collector’s Vault. Then it’s Thanos again: “But this does put a smile on my face.”
A flaming portal opens up and out comes Thanos in the costume unveiled at San Diego Comic-Con. Oh, shit.
Doctor Strange teams up with Star-Lord for some magical platform hopping, and then it’s Spider-Man in a dope new costume swinging near a giant, rotating mechanism.
The Winter Soldier arms up alongside Black Panther and the army of Wakanda.
A shadowy figure deftly dodges and catches some sort of spear, emerging from the shadows to debut a bearded Captain America (gasp!) in a less-patriotic suit than we’re used to.
“I know what it’s like to lose,” Thanos lectures, “to feel so desperately that you’re right, yet to fail all the same.”
Scarlet Witch and Vision share a worried look with each other as the trailer kicks into high gear. We get flashes of Black Widow, Iron Man in the Hulkbuster armor, a horde of beasts with six limbs, Black Panther slashing at one of the beasts, and Falcon flip-kicking somebody. These heroes are all badass, but their feats are nothing like Thanos choke-slamming somebody into the ground. We hear Peter almost in tears, saying, “Tony, I’m sorry.” Then Tony himself turns, looking really worried. Thanos grabs Thor by the head and squeezes. Thor screams. This Norse god is really getting his ass kicked in Infinity War.
Nebula whips out a sword. Wong, Doctor Strange, and Bruce Banner look worriedly at something with a fourth figure.
Then, we get a huge battle and a few explosions before heroes start to fall. Star-Lord gets knocked down. Thanos punches Iron Man hard and sends him flying. Then the Mad Titan uses the Infinity Gauntlet to hurl some comets down on everybody, probably directly at Thor if we had to guess.
And that’s it.
Will we ever be able to see a clean, legal version, unobscured by waving arms and drowned-out by shrieking fans? If we do, it’ll look very different for an important reason.
Part of the reason why the SDCC and D23 trailer hasn’t been released to the public yet likely has something to do with the huge continuity issue it would create. When Thor appears in the trailer, he has both eyes, but in Thor: Ragnarok, Hela slashes his eye out with a Necrosword. So when Thor does appear in the actual Infinity War, he’ll have an eye patch just like his father Odin. But Marvel Studios couldn’t spoil that big plot point four months early, could it?
When we do finally get an official Infinity War trailer, chances are high that it will be the same trailer — but Thor will have an eye patch on. If we’re lucky, maybe we’ll get something totally new. Based on previous scheduling in and out of the MCU, we’d normally expect a full trailer to release for Infinity War sometime in the fall.
But an unprecedented type of movie could operate on an unprecedented promotional cycle.
All we know is that Black Panther will be our last stop before Infinity War is upon us. Could Wakanda hold the final Infinity Stone? How does Thor wind up floating in space?
Avengers: Infinity War will be released in theaters May 4, 2018.
This article has been updated from its original version.