– by David Kozlowski

Every comic-book fanboy’s dream is to see a massive pile-up of heroes and villains slugging it out in a huge battle of fists, feet, and superpowers. How many of our desktop and laptop screen are splashed with full-screen brawls containing dozens of Marvel or DC characters? Last year’s Captain America: Civil War got us as close as any sane fan could possibly expect…until Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers 4 that is.

The massive casts in Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers 4 suggests that Civil War’s epic airport throw down will look like a pickup basketball game by comparison. We’re now learning that the scope of these films are potentially much, much bigger than anticipated…by a lot. Is anyone out there complaining?

Related – Avengers: Infinity War Adds A Black Panther Villain To The Growing Cast Of Characters

Directors Joe and Anthony Russo spoke with CNET recently to elaborate on the scale of their upcoming Avengers films. Anthony relates:

“On one level, it’s the scope of the ensemble. While the Captain America movies we did were ensemble films, and Civil War had a lot of characters in it, they both fail in comparison to these two. Joe and I have always been drawn to ensemble storytelling. We like the idea of telling stories from multiple characters’ points of view…It’s a way to develop very layered, thick storytelling…hopefully, you can keep revisiting because there are a lot of dimensions to discover on multiple viewings.”

So dispense with the notion that these Avengers movies will be linear or narrow-focused. Both The Avengers and Avengers: Age of Ultron had multiple and overlapping subplots, but you might argue that the point-of-view was more singular, a shared perspective from the entire team. The Russo’s are suggesting that events in their Avengers films will be contrasting and varied, which is damned intriguing.

Joe expands the idea of scope with the notion of cameos and surprise appearances, which are both hallmarks of Avengers comics and big-crossover events common to the medium:

“There’s going to be a lot of unexpected characters. There are more surprises packed into this film than any of the others. Part of that is character interactions, new interesting characters, characters that have made small appearances that are really getting fleshed out in this film. A lot of people enjoy the experience, so I don’t want to give anything away, but certainly you can expect lots of surprises.”

These new Avengers films are going to be huge, sprawling, and deep. For any other filmmakers, this sort of thing could get out of hand and result in something totally confusing. However, the Russos cut their teeth on TV shows like Community and Arrested Development — shows that were packed with diverse characters and fully-embraced chaotic storytelling. You’d have to go back to It’s A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World (1963), Caddyshack (1980) or Airplane! (1980) to find anything even remotely equivalent. Pretty amazing time to be a superhero fan!

What surprise characters do you expect to see pop-up in the Russo’s Avengers films? Let us know in the comments down below!

Avengers: Infinity War hits theaters May 4, 2018.

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David Kozlowski is a writer, podcaster, and visual artist. A U.S. Army veteran, David worked 20 years in the videogame industry and is a graduate of Arizona State University's Film and Media Studies.