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The Infinity Saga is a saga of films made up of the first twenty two films of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The saga began with Iron Man and concluded with Avengers: Endgame. The saga's prominent theme is the gathering of the Infinity Stones and the war against Thanos.

Synopsis

The Infinity Saga is the name given to the overarching storyline comprising the original twenty-two films of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, with the primary focus being the Infinity Stones, a collection of six powerful objects which individually control a different aspect of the universe. The primary antagonist of the saga, the extraterrestrial warlord Thanos, whose goal is to collect the stones and use them to exterminate half of the universe's inhabitants, believing that it will spare it from being destroyed by overpopulation. His primary opposition is the team of superheroes known as the Avengers.

The earliest points of history explored in the MCU show that three of the stones, the TimeReality and Space Stones, found their way to the Nine Realms. While the Time Stone fell into the possession of the Masters of the Mystic Arts, the latter two were procured by the Asgardians. They later hide the two stones away, with the Space Stone sent to Earth where it is eventually acquired during World War II by the Nazi science organization, HYDRA. Their efforts to use the Space Stone to further their own goals of conquering the world lead to Steve Rogers' transformation into the super soldier Captain America, and together with operatives of the Strategic Scientific Reserve (SSR) manages to defeat HYDRA's leader and re-obtain the Space Stone. However, Rogers himself is lost and frozen in the Arctic for nearly seventy years.

The SSR is later reformed as the peacekeeping organization S.H.I.E.L.D., unknowingly infiltrated by HYDRA. The agency continues to experiment with the Space Stone, and in the 1990s, rogue members of the Kree Empire come to Earth and try to use it to help save the Skrulls from the Kree's genocidal war against them. The battle between the two races results in United States Air Force pilot Carol Danvers being given superpowers by the Tesseract, and she wards the Kree away and leaves Earth to help the Skrulls relocate. The experience with Danvers and the extraterrestrials prompts S.H.I.E.L.D. into creating the Avengers Initiative, a global defense program designed to recruit superpowered individuals.

In the present day, the Avengers comes to comprise of six members: Steve Rogers himself, who is rescued and revived by S.H.I.E.L.D.; scientist Bruce Banner; billionaire inventor Tony Stark; the Asgardian prince Thor; and assassins Natasha Romanoff and Clint Barton. Together, the six of them form the original Avengers, and have their first battle with Thanos' forces when he sends an army of Chitauri under the command of Thor's errant brother Loki to steal the Space Stone. The Avengers defeat Loki and the Chitauri in a grande battle in New York City, and the Space Stone is returned to Asgard. A year later, the Reality Stone reemerges when astrophysicist Jane Foster unwittingly stumbles upon it while studying the cosmic phenomenon known as the Convergence, leading to a series of altercations between Asgard and the Dark Elves, who seek to use the Reality Stone to wipe out the Nine Realms. Thor manages to single-handedly defeat the Dark Elves, and the Reality Stone is placed in the care of the Collector. Also during this time, various intergalactic parties working both for and against Thanos conflict over the Power Stone. A small cadre of alien outcasts, the Guardians of the Galaxy, manage to keep Thanos and his allies from obtaining the stone by fighting and killing his conspirators on Xandar, the capitol world of the Nova Empire.

S.H.I.E.L.D. is later destroyed when HYDRA's infiltration is brought to light, and the Avengers are left to work against HYDRA independently. In their last battle against the terrorists, the Avengers come across the Mind Stone, which had been recovered earlier by Thanos but lost on Earth after Loki's defeat. Experiments with the stone lead to the empowerment of twins Wanda Maximoff and Pietro Maximoff and the creation of two powerful androids, Ultron and the Vision. However, Ultron becomes megalomaniacal and attempts to wipe out the human race. The Avengers manage to stop him, but the destruction wrought by the conflict causes friction between them and the public. This dissension escalates with the creation of the Sokovia Accords, a set of documents meant to regulate the Avengers' activities. The Accords cause a schism in the Avengers, leading to multiple conflicts and the eventual disbandment of the team.

The fracturing of the Avengers team coupled with the destruction of Asgard wrought on by the return of Thor's sadistic older sister Hela leaves the many factions of the universe vulnerable when Thanos finally sets out to obtain the Infinity Stones himself. Xandar is obliterated when he takes the Power Stone, and he acquires the Space Stone from the survivors of Asgard's fall. Thanos sends his children to Earth to find the Time and Mind Stones, then goes to Knowhere to take the Reality Stone from the Collector and captures Gamora, knowing she found the Soul Stone on Vormir, where it is kept by Red Skull, who wound up there after touching the Space Stone. Tearfully, Thanos sacrifices Gamora to obtain the Soul Stone and returns to his home planet of Titan expecting his children to have the Time and Mind Stones for him, only to face Doctor Strange, Iron Man, Spider-Man, Star-Lord, Drax the Destroyer, Mantis and Nebula in a battle for the Time Stone, while another battle rages in Wakanda for the Mind Stone. The battle on Titan ends with Strange giving Thanos the Time Stone to save Stark's life as Thanos' army is defeated by the combined efforts of Captain America, Black Widow, Hulk, Scarlet Witch, Vision, Falcon, War Machine, Bucky Barnes, Thor, Groot, Rocket Raccoon, Black Panther and the Wakandan tribes. Although Scarlet Witch destroys Vision to prevent Thanos from getting the Mind Stone, Thanos uses the Time Stone to reverse Vision's destruction and rips the Mind Stone from his head to complete his collection of all six stones. Thor tries to finish him off with Stormbreaker, but Thanos manages to snap his fingers and decimate half of all life in the universe. Victims of the Decimation include Winter Soldier, Black Panther, Groot, Scarlet Witch, Falcon, Mantis, Drax, Star-Lord, Doctor Strange, Spider-Man, Maria Hill, Nick Fury, Hank Pym, Janet van Dyne, Hope van Dyne, and Barton's family.

Three weeks after the Decimation, Stark and Nebula are brought to Earth by Captain Marvel and the remaining Avengers ambush Thanos on his new homeworld upon discovering that he used the stones again, only to learn that he destroyed the stones so his work could not be undone. Thor then cuts his head off, making the Avengers' efforts to bring back their allies all for naught.

Five years later, the Avengers attempt to get on with their lives when Scott Lang, having returned from the Quantum Realm, comes up with a plan to go back to various points in time and take the Infinity Stones before Thanos can collect them all. Iron Man, Captain America, Hulk, and Ant-Man go back to 2012 New York to retrieve the Space, Mind and Time Stones. However, when Loki escapes with the Tessaract, Stark and Rogers go back to 1970s New Jersey to retrieve the Space Stone from the camp where Rogers was trained. Thor and Rocket go back to 2013 Asgard to retrieve the Reality Stone from Jane Foster and Thor has a heart-to-heart with his mother Frigga before leaving with Mjølnir. War Machine and Nebula go back to 2014 Morag to retrieve the Power Stone before Star-Lord, while Black Widow and Hawkeye head to Vormir to retrieve the Soul Stone. Black Widow sacrifices herself for the Soul Stone just as Thanos in that time becomes aware of the Avengers' plan to undo the Decimation and sends past Nebula to take her future self's place and use the Quantum Realm to bring him and his army to 2023 just as Hulk uses the stones to reverse the decimation. Thanos comes to the realization that only wiping out half of all life would be a mistake and declares his intention to destroy the entire universe and recreate it in his image. A massive battle ensues between the heroes of the universe and Thanos, during which Nebula kills her past self after convincing Gamora from 2014 to rebel against their adoptive father and Captain Marvel arrives to lend her assistance. Just as Thanos is about to redo his deed, Iron Man snatches the stones and with the snap of his fingers, wipes the villain and his army out of existence, sacrificing himself in the process.

In the aftermath, Stark is memorialized by his allies, as well as his wife Pepper Potts and daughter Morgan. The remaining Avengers then go their separate ways with Thor joining the Guardians of the Galaxy, Barton reuniting with his family, and Rogers making Wilson the new Captain America by giving him his shield, having decided to live out the life with Peggy Carter he always wanted after returning the stones to their proper places, thus concluding the Saga.

Films

Iron Man (2008)

When wealthy industrialist Tony Stark is forced to build an armored suit after a life-threatening incident, he ultimately decides to use the technology to fight against evil.

The Incredible Hulk (2008)

Thanks to a gamma ray experiment gone wrong, Doctor Bruce Banner must deal with the side effects as well as being hunted by the military. Meanwhile, a soldier uses the same technology to become a deadly abomination.

Iron Man 2 (2010)

With the world now aware of his dual life as an armored superhero, billionaire inventor Tony Stark faces pressure from the government, the press, and the public to share his technology with the military, along with dealing with an insane Russian genius who is intent on killing him.

Thor (2011)

The powerful but arrogant Asgardian Thor is cast out from his home to live among humans on Earth, where he must learn humility, and ends up finding love.

Captain America: The First Avenger (2011)

After being deemed unfit for military service, Steve Rogers volunteers for a top secret research project that turns him into Captain America, a superhero dedicated to defending American ideals.

The Avengers (2012)

When global security is threatened by Loki and his cohorts, Nick Fury of S.H.I.E.L.D. assembles a team of superheroes to save the world from disaster.

Iron Man 3 (2013)

When Tony Stark's world is torn apart by a formidable terrorist called the Mandarin, he starts an odyssey of rebuilding and retribution.

Thor: The Dark World (2013)

When Jane Foster is targeted by the denizens of the dark world Svartalfheim and a mysterious weapon called the Aether, Thor sets out on a quest to protect her at all costs.

Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)

Steve Rogers struggles to embrace his role in the modern world and teams up with Natasha Romanoff, AKA Black Widow, to battle a powerful but shadowy enemy in present-day Washington, D.C.

Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)

In outer space, Peter Quill, a man taken from Earth as a child, joins up with a rag-tag group of extraterrestrial misfits in order to take down Ronan, a sadistic leader of the alien Kree who seeks an object that could potentially threaten the entire galaxy.

Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)

In a world where HYDRA continues to gain power and control, Tony Stark builds an advanced A.I. to combat the organization. Plans go awry when the machine becomes self-aware and targets the Avengers.

Ant-Man (2015)

Armed with the astonishing ability to shrink in scale but increase in strength, con-man Scott Lang must embrace his inner-hero and help his mentor, Hank Pym, protect the secret behind his spectacular Ant-Man Suit from a new generation of towering threats.

Captain America: Civil War (2016)

Marvel's Captain America: Civil War finds Steve Rogers leading the newly formed team of Avengers in their continued efforts to safeguard humanity. But after another incident involving the Avengers results in collateral damage, political pressure mounts to install a system of accountability, headed by a governing body to oversee and direct the team. The new status quo fractures the Avengers, resulting in two camps—one led by Steve Rogers and his desire for the Avengers to remain free to defend humanity without government interference, and the other following Tony Stark's surprising decision to support government oversight and accountability.

Doctor Strange (2016)

From Marvel comes Doctor Strange, the story of the world-famous neurosurgeon Dr. Stephen Strange whose life changes forever after a horrific car accident robs him of the use of his hands. When traditional medicine fails him, he is forced to look for healing, and hope, in an unlikely place – a mysterious enclave known as Kamar-Taj. He quickly learns that this is not just a center for healing but also the front line of a battle against unseen dark forces bent on destroying our reality. Before long Strange – armed with newly acquired magical powers – is forced to choose whether to return to his life of fortune and status or leave it all behind to defend the world as the most powerful sorcerer in existence.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017)

Set to the backdrop of "Awesome Mixtape #2," Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 continues the team's adventures as they traverse the outer reaches of the cosmos. The Guardians must fight to keep their newfound family together as they unravel the mysteries of Peter Quill's true parentage. Old foes become new allies and fan-favorite characters from the classic comics will come to our heroes' aid as the Marvel Cinematic Universe continues to expand.

Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017)

A young Peter Parker/Spider-Man, who made his sensational debut in Captain America: Civil War, begins to navigate his newfound identity as the web-slinging superhero. Thrilled by his experience with the Avengers, Peter returns home, where he lives with his Aunt May, under the watchful eye of his new mentor Tony Stark. Peter tries to fall back into his normal daily routine – distracted by thoughts of proving himself to be more than just your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man – but when the Vulture emerges as a new villain, everything that Peter holds most important will be threatened.

Thor: Ragnarok (2017)

In Marvel StudiosThor: Ragnarok, Thor is imprisoned on the other side of the universe without his mighty hammer and finds himself in a race against time to get back to Asgard to stop Ragnarök – the destruction of his homeworld and the end of Asgardian civilization – at the hands of an all-powerful new threat, the ruthless Hela. But first he must survive a deadly gladiatorial contest that pits him against his former ally and fellow Avenger – the Incredible Hulk!

Black Panther (2018)

Black Panther follows T'Challa who, after the events of Captain America: Civil War, returns home to the isolated, technologically advanced African nation of Wakanda to take his place as King. However, when an old enemy reappears on the radar, T’Challa’s mettle as King and Black Panther is tested when he is drawn into a conflict that puts the entire fate of Wakanda and the world at risk.

Avengers: Infinity War (2018)

An unprecedented cinematic journey ten years in the making and spanning the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe, Marvel Studios' Avengers: Infinity War brings to the screen the ultimate, deadliest showdown of all time.

Ant-Man and the Wasp (2018)

From the Marvel Cinematic Universe comes a new chapter featuring heroes with the astonishing ability to shrink: Ant-Man and the Wasp. In the aftermath of Captain America: Civil War, Scott Lang grapples with the consequences of his choices as both a Super Hero and a father. As he struggles to rebalance his home life with his responsibilities as Ant-Man, he’s confronted by Hope van Dyne and Dr. Hank Pym with an urgent new mission. Scott must once again put on the suit and learn to fight alongside The Wasp as the team works together to uncover secrets from their past.

Captain Marvel (2019)

Set in the 1990s, Marvel Studios' Captain Marvel follows the journey of Carol Danvers as she becomes one of the universe’s most powerful heroes. While a galactic war between two alien races reaches Earth, Danvers finds herself and a small cadre of allies at the center of the maelstrom.

Avengers: Endgame (2019)

The grave course of events set in motion by Thanos that wiped out half the universe and fractured the Avengers ranks compels the remaining Avengers to take one final stand in Marvel Studios’ grand conclusion to twenty-two films, Avengers: Endgame.

Trivia

Behind the Scenes

  • Kevin Feige revealed to Empire Magazine that he dubbed the first wave of Marvel Cinematic Universe films as the "Infinity Saga" to separate them from the films that will follow: "We wanted to bring to a conclusion a series of movies in a way that had never been done before. Harry Potter had an ending because there were only so many books. Lord of the Rings too. But we thought, 22 movies in, wouldn't it be fun to bring some finality to the storyline?"[1]

References

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