Marvel Studios still has a handful of films to produce before we ever get to Infinity War, which is expected to be The Avengers on steroids. But particularly recently, there’s been a lot of excitement with regard to the Infinity War project. For instance, it was confirmed that the movie will now be called Avengers: Infinity War (whereas it was once called Avengers: Infinity War Part 1) and is slated for a May 2019 release. This has been a relief for some fans who didn’t like the idea of one massive film split into two parts, and it’s set speculation about the plot and general content of the film running wild once more.

But the most interesting bit of information we’ve gotten about Infinity War so far was the hint, some time ago, that it may have as many as 67 hero characters. The Russo brothers, who directed Captain America: Civil War and are in charge of this massive project, didn’t explicitly say there will be that many. But they did say they had a board with 67 characters on it, which, unless it was intended for a process of elimination, might be a clue that they’re working on ways to fit all of them in.

Sixty-seven is a wild number of characters, and naturally people are already trying to figure out who they all are. New Media Rockstars tried to compile the full cast, and probably produced the best guess out there. But rather than looking at the full cast and trying to come up with 67 characters, we’re going to look at something else: who are the essential inclusions, beyond the leading men?

In other words, it’s a given that Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), Captain America (Chris Evans), Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) and Thor (Chris Hemsworth) will be included in addition to many smaller characters, who will have minor roles. Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner), Vision (Paul Bettany), Spider-Man (Tom Holland), and Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman) now seem like sure bets as well. But which supporting characters will make it in to form the meat of the project beyond the primary protagonists?

Here are five who seem essential.

Bucky Barnes


Arguably the main focus of two films now despite not being a “main” character in the MCU, Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan) now feels like a necessity. In fact, there were even those who were wondering if Bucky would become Captain America in Civil War (which has actually happened in a certain strand of the Marvel comics). That’s probably a long shot at this point, but it’s pretty clear that Barnes’s Winter Soldier alter-ego is at least Cap’s equal, and when he’s not being psychologically manipulated, he’s a very powerful ally for the Avengers. He may not be a leading man in the traditional sense, but Barnes would probably be the most shocking exclusion if he doesn’t appear in Infinity War.


Guardians Of The Galaxy 2 is due out in spring 2017, so one way or another we’ll (probably) be seeing more of everybody’s favorite humanoid tree fairly soon. But Groot (Vin Diesel) feels like an important inclusion for Infinity War as well. There are two reasons for this. One is that he barely speaks, which takes away half the complication of including a character, so in a sense he’s an easy toss-in for a film looking to go wild with its cast. The other is that he provides nearly automatic comic relief, which will be sorely needed in a film of this scope. If the Russos try to address this purely with Robert Downey Jr.’s witty banter, they could end up making it a little too serious.

War Machine

You can make the argument that War Machine (Don Cheadle) is the most prominent sidekick in the MCU. Cheadle has appeared in four films as well as the Iron Man 2 video game, and Lt. Rhodes, the man in the War Machine, has been in five films (though he was first played by Terrence Howard). You can even find War Machine featured on multiple games among movie-related slot and jackpot games. The majority of characters there are film-leading characters, but War Machine gets nearly equal treatment to Iron Man. This is indicative of his place in the saga, and it would just feel strange to see him omitted at this point, even if he was very nearly killed off in Civil War.


Heimdall (Idris Elba) is a more minor character, and one that, frankly, probably wouldn’t be missed too much if he were left out of Infinity War. That’s not to say people don’t like the character, though. Also, he does serve two crucial purposes. One is that he’s effectively the gatekeeper of Asgard, and thus opens the door to a whole planet’s worth of additional characters, even if Asgard only features in a scene or two. Additionally, Heimdall represents a way for Marvel Studios to put one more big name actor into this film, and every name helps to sell tickets. Idris Elba has become one of the bigger names in Hollywood in recent years, and still comes up in conversations about the next James Bond. His presence, at this stage in his career, would elevate the film in a way that wasn’t necessarily true back when he first appeared in Thor.

Baron Zemo

baron zemo

Baron Zemo (Daniel Bruhl) was actually a little bit anticlimactic in Civil War. Sure, he was the evil mastermind behind many of the movie’s twists and conflicts, but the character himself was written rather unimaginatively. But at this point, he’s one of the few MCU villains who’s still around to do some damage, and it feels like they only scratched the surface of what he could accomplish in Civil War. There’s also the little fact that judging by Geek Tyrant’s reveal of unused concept art from Civil War, Zemo was at one point intended to be much more of a typical villain (meaning dressing up in a sinister purple mask). Because we haven’t seen that yet, and simply because he’s around, it feels like he ought to be included in Infinity War.

Written by | James Chatman

This is a guest post by James Chatman, a freelance writer out of New Bern, NC. He spends his time between Marvel Cinematic releases pondering which direction the studio will go next, and enjoys sharing his thoughts with others.