There’s one major difference between the first Avengers: Infinity War trailer that premiered this morning and the footage thousands of fans were privy to over the summer: Wakanda.
[Warning: The following contains spoilers for Thor: Ragnarok.]
Wakanda is home to Black Panther, one of Marvel’s newer heroes in the Cinematic Universe. We’ve seen glimpses of the futuristic nation and the impressive technology its citizens rely on in earlier Black Panther trailers, gotten a sense of how stunning and ample the nation is, and we’ve been told about its importance. Captain America: Civil War introduced the notion that Wakanda would play a major role in uniting heroes and protecting the world from an impending attack.
The Infinity War trailer makes Wakanda a major plot point, introducing characters like Hulk and Scarlet Witch to the nation, alongside Captain America and Winter Soldier, who first ventured to the planet at the end of Civil War. The smaller component of the Avengers’ main team can be seen fighting alongside Black Panther and other Wakandan people as they defend the nation from an attack by an alien species known as Outriders and Thanos himself.
It’s easily the most exciting part of the trailer and, for those who attended either D23 or San Diego Comic-Con (SDCC), also marks the newest footage.
It makes sense that Marvel would use Wakanda and Black Panther to introduce Avengers: Infinity War — and explains why the studio waited this long to release its first trailer. Unlike previous footage from D23 and SDCC, which focused heavily on the Guardians of the Galaxy’s first interaction with Thor, who was floating lifelessly through space, the Guardians don’t appear in this trailer until the very end.
Timing is everything. When the first Avengers: Infinity War footage debuted, it was ahead of Thor: Ragnarok’s release and following Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. It made sense to use Thor and the Guardians to hype up the movie, including compilations of earlier Marvel movies throughout the year, like Iron Man or Captain America: Winter Soldier. Marvel relied on the anticipation of Thor: Ragnarok and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2’s success to excite fans, and footage of older movies set to classic Marvel scores as a way to drive home how this movie is an event in itself.
The Avengers: Infinity War trailer we all watched today is designed to explain what’s about to happen, teasing it out with additional background. The footage shown at SDCC and D23 is meant to please a crowd running on little sleep and jittery with anticipation for seeing their favorite hero on the big screen. The two couldn’t be more different.
That’s why we had to wait months for this trailer. They couldn’t show Thor without his eyepatch or a clip of Loki holding the Tesseract in his hand until Thor: Ragnarok had been released. They couldn’t tease out Wakanda and Black Panther’s role in the impending war without more footage of Black Panther (they showed a new trailer and extended footage at SDCC) and additional context of what’s happening.
Marvel executives have been saying this for months. Marvel Studios’ co-president, Louis D’Eposito, tweeted in October that the trailer was being finished, alluding to them needing extra time and footage to put the trailer together. Kevin Feige, the face of Marvel Studios and co-president, remarked multiple times that the trailer we saw today would be different from the SDCC footage and it was worth the wait.
We exist in a culture that demands trailers constantly, bemoaning those who have power to release new footage almost every week. It’s not possible, but based on the trailer we saw today, it’s usually worth the wait.
Avengers: Infinity War will be released on May 4, 2018.