Way before Marvel even released their first MCU film Iron Man in 2008, Marvel comics put out the Infinity War limited series in 1991. When Robert Downey Jr.donned his first suit, Marvel couldn’t have imagined where the studio is ten years later and how nearly 20 films and the entire universe would converge into the story line of a six-issue limited series called Infinity Gauntlet.
The Infinity Gauntlet is not only one of the best Marvel comic events of all time, but those pesky infinity gems that form the Infinity Gauntlet Thanos craves are the “MacGuffins” providing the common thread underlining each film that came from the Marvel Cinematic Universe over the last decade. From 2008’s Iron Man to 2018’s Black Panther and everything in-between, they’ve been setting you for Infinity War.
It’s clear and obvious from the trailers that the Infinity War movie takes a lot from the original source, but knowing the book so well, there are huge differences between the comic book and the film. And that’s come to be expected with any movie adaptation. With Marvel, things are more complicated because when the company was on the verge of bankruptcy in the mid-1990s, they sold off the movie rights to many of their popular characters to Sony, Universal and Fox. Flash forward 15 years when the increasingly-successful Marvel Studios wanted to create a story arc to bring their universe together, the Infinity Gauntlet movie, there were huge gaps because of that financial move.
In this post, we’ll talk about how that need to remain solvent impacted Infinity War; specifically the differences between the main players in the Infinity Gauntlet comic book and those that appear in the Infinity War film.
Infinity Gauntlet vs. Infinity War: Characters
With the growing anticipation for the Infinity War movie, the comic series comes more and more in focus with each passing day. And what a film it will be – it’s been called the culmination, end-game of a decade’s worth of successive, hugely-successful superhero movies coming out of Marvel Studios.
With all the Infinity War trailers coming out along with my blood pressure on the rise inspired me to go back and re-read the graphic novel again (for the umpteenth-thousand time). Knowing that Marvel was headed in the Infinity-plot direction for several years now, I knew that there were Infinity Gauntlet characters that I was waiting for them to introduce that were key to the original source material. Now that Black Panther has come and gone, there’s no other Marvel film to look forward to for introductions, so this was a good time to list them out these missing core players in order of priority.
1. Adam Warlock Okay we lied, you’ll see Adam Warlock, but probably not until after Infinity War. In the comic books, Warlock is the leader and mastermind of the Earth’s good guys going after Thanos. In the movies we haven’t seen his face, but there’s been a couple references to him in previous films. We’ve seen Warlock’s cocoon in Thor and Ayesha dropped Warlock’s first name in Volume two of Guardians of the Galaxy. It’s also been confirmed that Adam Warlock is going to show up in GOTG Vol. 3.
2. Mephisto In the comic books, the devil incarnate plays trusted sidekick and confidant to Thanos as the “Mad Titan” figures out how to deal with his newfound power. In the movies, Mephisto hasn’t shown up and as of this post, he’s probably not going to. From all indications, Loki will likely step into the scheming-Mephisto role in the film. .
3. Death In the comic books, Thanos’ thirst to impress the embodiment of Death is the sole purpose of the Infinity Gauntlet struggle. Her continued talk-to-the-hand attitude causes Thanos to take the step to remove half the living beings in the universe and that’s what causes the superheros to act. In the movies, there’s no central antagonist to Thanos’ motivation meaning that we likely won’t be seeing Death.
4. Starfox Otherwise known as Eros, Starfox is Thanos’ good guy brother. In the comic book, Starfox tries to use his powers to influence Thanos’ emotions is quickly silenced and is tortured by the purple Titan. Starfox is key in the comic book because his thoughts set up the narrative as he witnesses the crazy events. In the movies, we’ll not need Starfox. A narrative isn’t necessary and is dispensable because, well, it’s a movie and we don’t need text bubbles to explain actions. We’ll have 2 hours and 36 minutes to flesh everything out.
5. Silver Surfer In the comic books, Surfer plays a key role in alerting the Earth’s superheros to the oncoming threat of Thanos. Silver Surfer also plays a pawn in Adam Warlock’s plan to wrest the Gauntlet from Thanos.. In the movies, yes, we’ve seen Silver Surfer, but not in the MCU. He likely won’t show up in Infinity War, and his role of messenger looks like will be taken over by Hulk/Bruce Banner who falls to Earth into Doctor Strange’s sanctum after a rumored meeting with Thanos.
6. Pip the Troll In the comic books, the cigar smoking crass troll is on Adam Warlock’s team and oversees the Warlock’s cocoon on Earth. In the movies, Pip hasn’t shown up in the cinematic universe, but the recent news of the casting of Peter Dinklage all but confirms that Pip will be a crucial player in the film. Unless Dinklage is voicing one of the Black Order.
7. Infinity In the comic books, Infinity is the all-encompassing embodiment of the universe itself — the most powerful being in our dimension… next to Thanos. The two mighty deities powerful clash destroys universes. In the movies we’ve seen cosmic entities like The Collector and Ego, but have yet to witness the greatness of Infinity and we likely won’t see Infinity appear in the film.
8. Doctor Doom In the comic books, the superheros recognize that Doom’s power and intellect would be extremely beneficial in their battle with Thanos despite Doom being one of Marvel’s worst offenders. In the movies, we’ve seen Doom portrayed, but like Surfer, not in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Unless there’s a huge surprise, don’t expect to see Doom in Infinity War. (but wouldn’t it be awesome if Doom showed up a la Spider Man agreement between Fox and Marvel).
9. Galactus In the comic books, Galactus doesn’t play as critical a role, but the huge planet-eating God has many speaking panels. Most importantly, Galactus questions Adam Warlock’s plans, qualifications and worthiness to lead he and his fellow cosmic beings against Thanos. In the MCU movies, Galactus hasn’t shown his huge head and probably won’t until Disney merges with Fox.in 2019, but like Doom, wouldn’t it be cool if….
10. Terraxia In the comic books, Thanos tires of his love being unrequited so at one point decides to use his all-powerful diamond glove to create the perfect mate out of thin air — Terraxia. All in the hope of making Death jealous. Sheesh. In the movies, Terraxia hasn’t appeared and that makes sense since she’s a creation of Thanos. The likelihood of Terraxia showing up in Infinity War is slim. The film will have a lot of villain introductions to do with Thanos himself and his Black Order.
Other Character Differences From Film to Comic Book
On top of Silver Surfer, Doctor Doom and Galactus’ film rights, there’s a few Marvel characters that had smaller roles in the comimc books that also couldn’t appear due to film usage-rights. Though the X-Men’s Cyclops and Wolverine as well as Namor are in Infinity Gauntlet during the superhero’s assault, their film rights aren’t owned by Marvel meaning that they can’t (and won’t) appear.
For the rest of the characters that are in the comic but won’t show up in the film include She Hulk, Firelord, Quasar, Cloak, and potentially Nova. These handful of players weren’t big enough roles in the series to merit adding another actor in an already HUGE cast that’s nearing eighty characters for big screen consideration.