AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR’s legacy tethers itself not only the conception of the MCU but the characters within it and how they interact with the film industry. Now that INFINITY WAR has finally hit DVD and streaming services everywhere, it’s a perfect opportunity to rewatch and look closely at how legacy affects both the characters and the success of the film as a whole.

Also, there will be a TON of INFINITY WAR spoilers ahead!

A Franchise Legacy

AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR was highly anticipated to rock the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) — and it did. The film is the culmination of ten years worth of films and plot, developed bit by bit in mid-roll and end-credit scenes.

Starting with IRON MAN in 2008, INFINITY WAR’s legacy solidly established the MCU as the first successful superhero franchise to encompass multiple characters with unique stories and audience demographics. Each new installment of an AVENGERS film brings together seemingly disparate characters to achieve a common goal. As expected, the further along a franchise, the more increased the stakes.

infinity war's legacy
Image courtesy of Marvel Entertainment.

INFINITY WAR upped the ante so much that the entire cast couldn’t possibly feature together at one time. Some characters, like Hawkeye and Ant-man, warranted only passing mentions.

Thanos and the Failure of Titan

Thanos’ main drive throughout INFINITY WAR is to collect the Infinity Stones (duh) and use them to wipe out half of the universe. Leading up to the film, the Infinity Stones made appearances that ranged from minor mentions to incredibly important roles in the plot of whatever movie featured them. Thanos himself remained a whisper at the edge of the MCU until GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY rendered his existence terrifyingly present.

Thanos’ Influence: How Much Did He Know Before INFINITY WAR?

In INFINITY WAR, Thanos appears as the sole survivor of Titan’s destructive downfall. A wave of his hand changes the scenery on the tilted planet for the rag-tag group of heroes stuck there — a shortage of resources and war ultimately destroyed Thanos’ home. Somewhere in the aftermath, Thanos makes the leap to conclude that the only way to save the universe from Titan’s fate is to simply remove half of it from the equation. A totally normal and measured response! The legacy of Titan clearly haunts Thanos, and he wishes to change his own legacy in turn.

infinity war's legacy
INFINITY WAR’S Legacy: Titan’s Destruction. Image courtesy of Marvel Entertainment.

Time for a Murder Quest!

Thanos’ view of his own legacy and murder quest obviously affect his relationship with his (Stolen? Kidnapped? Adopted?) daughter, Gamora. In the most literal sense, children are a direct connection to their parents’ legacy. Should someone ever die, they would be survived by their children and their children’s children, and so on? Thanos steals Gamora away from her home planet and family only to hone her into a weapon suitable to take on his legacy.

Casually stealing yourself a new kid. Image courtesy of Marvel Entertainment.

This becomes immensely clear in the dialogue between the two over the course of the film, where Thanos repeatedly lists traits he feels he has “gifted” Gamora. He takes credit for the “good” parts of her and subsequently punishes the bad. Nebula’s initial hatred of Gamora stems from the fact that Nebula was always second best compared to her sister. The punishments for such continuous loss resulted in Nebula’s body being nearly completely artificial.

Infinity War's legacy
Get your own version of legacy with this Iron Spider at Funko!

Thanos’ God-complex not only damages the relationship between two sisters but results in Gamora’s death. He blatantly murders his daughter to further his own goals. In this act, Thanos cements the idea that in the end, Gamora was only ever a tool for Thanos to wield. (He even had the gall to be upset about it!) In terms of screen time and plot, Thanos can be considered the protagonist of INFINITY WAR. As viewers, we spend more time with him than we do with staple characters like Captain America.

Iron Dad & Spider-son

Tony Stark begins the film an unsuspecting man on the verge of marriage — whose dreamt that his fiancee, Pepper, is pregnant with their first child. The entirety of their dialogue before Dr. Strange rolls up with some earth-shattering news centers on Tony’s certainty that Pepper must be pregnant. At the very least, Tony appears to hope that kids could happen eventually. Pepper firmly refuses. She reasons that as long as Tony keeps up with his superhero gig, it wouldn’t be fair to their child. INFINITY WAR’s legacy places heavy emphasis on the possibility of children and the new generation.

infinity war's legacy
I don’t feel so good, Mr. Stark. Image courtesy of Marvel Entertainment.

Tony’s dream of children pairs pretty strongly with his relationship with Peter Parker, a.k.a. Spider-man. Peter’s position as a hero is much different than the others in the MCU. For one, he’s a kid. For two, Spider-man has a secret identity he has not given up to the Sokovia Accords. SPIDER-MAN: HOMECOMING hammered home the point that Tony feels incredibly responsible for Peter and his well-being.

The first suit Tony created for him had so many safety protocols on it that it limited Peter. While HOMECOMING played with this idea in a humorous manner, INFINITY WAR takes everything we love and kills it. In this case, literally. Peter dies in Tony’s arms in the most heartbreaking way possible. In a way, so does Tony’s hope for the future.

“History Has Its Eyes On You”

Peter’s death’s compounded by the fact that just moments before, Thanos told Tony while stabbing him with a fragment of his own suit, “I hope they remember you.” On Earth, Tony Stark is a household name. If Thanos is to be believed, his name might even be known to the wider galaxy.

Over the course of the MCU, Tony Stark tries desperately to change both his personal and family legacy. His shift away from creating war weapons clearly demonstrates this. After getting on the alien ship, it seemed incredibly likely that Tony could die on Titan. God knows how many miles away from Earth. How sad would it be if, after everything, Tony Stark’s accomplishments ultimately meant nothing?

At the conclusion of INFINITY WAR, this is what Tony Stark leaves behind: a destroyed Earth, a fractured Avengers, and a dead teenager.

Analyzing The ‘Close Link’ Of A Marvel Villain In Thanos and Iron Man

The Future of INFINITY WAR’s Legacy

After Thanos’ fatal snap, several characters disintegrated into dust who audiences are pretty certain will come back to life. For example, Spider-man, Black Panther, the Winter Soldier, nearly the entire Guardians of the Galaxy, and more disappeared. Audiences criticized the decision to kill off these characters, but the isolation of the original Avengers team presents a unique storytelling opportunity.

5 Marvel Legacy Characters Who Should Join The MCU

The majority of heroes killed in the snap make up the MCU’s newest and freshest wave of superhero films. Nearly all of them have confirmed sequels and/or appearances in future films. The Avengers left behind now must fight for the restoration of the half the universe, as well as the opportunity for those they have lost to grow and surpass them. The disintegrated heroes represent the potential of a new legacy — both within the MCU and the world outside of it.

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