All week long, MTV News is celebrating the Marvel Cinematic Universe ahead of the anticipated release of Avengers: Infinity War.
In 2012, The Avengers premiered and the red carpet buzzed with excitement for the future of our six superheroes: Iron Man, Captain America, the Hulk, Thor, Black Widow, and Hawkeye.
Now, as Marvel is getting ready to close one chapter with the premiere of Avengers: Infinity War, we can see just how much has happened over the past six years. Folds of new superheroes have come onto the scene, some are mysteriously absent, and new villains have revealed themselves. But with a franchise as beloved as the Marvel Cinematic Universe, some things never change.
Let’s take a look at the Avengers, then and now.
THE SAME: Robert Downey Jr.Steve Granitz/WireImage; Jon Kopaloff/FilmMagic
There is something very comforting about knowing that the actor who plays the superhero who started us on the whole MCU journey is more or less the same as when he started. Robert Downey Jr. approached the Infinity War carpet in the same way he approached the Avengers carpet all those years ago: with the immense confidence only Iron Man could possess and a hint of unharnessed pride peeking out from behind his purple-tinted glasses.
THE SAME: Scarlett Johansson and Mark RuffaloFilmMagic/WireImage/Getty Images for Disney
Looking at these photos of Scarlett Johansson and Mark Ruffalo, it’s hard to tell which are old and which are new. The only differences: the actress now has darker, shorter hair and the actor has a bushier beard. Do Black Widow and the Hulk benefit from some kind of real-life anti-aging power?
THE SAME-ISH: Chris HemsworthAlberto E. Rodriguez/WireImage; Jon Kopaloff/FilmMagic
On the one hand, Chris Hemsworth is still trying to hammer things out in the MCU as Thor, and on the other, he looks like a new man, having swapped the ponytail on his head for the beard on his face. On a personal note, Hemsworth has welcomed three children with wife Elsa Pataky since Avengers premiered, and I would say he wears the refinement of fatherhood well.
DIFFERENT: Chris Evans and Jeremy RennerJon Kopaloff/FilmMagic; Albert L. Ortega/WireImage
These photos of Chris Evans and Jeremy Renner are both ‘then’ shots because the Captain America and Hawkeye actors were both noticeably absent from the Infinity War premiere! While Evans’s absence is excused — he’s in the middle of his debut Broadway run in Lobby Hero — Renner’s is much more mysterious, as he’s the only original Avenger who’s been missing from every bit of movie promo so far.
DIFFERENT: The VillainAlberto E. Rodriguez/WireImage; Jesse Grant/Getty Images for Disney
There is a new force of evil threatening the safety of the universe in Infinity War — although he’s one we’ve seen snippets of in the Guardians of the Galaxy franchise. Tom Hiddleston’s Loki, brother of Thor, was the one-to-defeat in Avengers, but now Josh Brolin’s Thanos is the new big bad of the universe. Both men have a pretty menacing red carpet presence, no?
DIFFERENT: New AvengersWireImage/Getty Images
Not only is there a new villain, but there have been a number of new superheroes added to the Avengers roster since 2012, including Spider-Man (Tom Holland), Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen), Dr. Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch), Ant-Man (Paul Rudd), and more.
DIFFERENT: Guardians of the GalaxyRich Polk/Getty Images for Disney; Albert L. Ortega/Getty Images
We may have lost one of the Chrises at the Infinity War premiere, but we also gained one. The new film added a slew of intergalactic stars with the Guardians of the Galaxy crew, including Chris Pratt (Peter Quill), Sean Gunn (Kraglin/Rocket), Zoe Saldana (Gamora), Vin Diesel (Groot), and Karen Gillan (Nebula) — all of whom looked particularly heroic on the red carpet.
DIFFERENT: Black PantherGetty Images
Of course, the Guardians weren’t the only new group on the carpet. The groundbreaking and record-shattering Black Panther cast — including Danai Gurira (Okoye), Chadwick Boseman (Black Panther), and Letitia Wright (Shuri) — was on hand to celebrate Infinity War, the first movie to take the Avengers to Wakanda.
DIFFERENT: Captain MarvelRich Polk/Getty Images for Disney
Although Captain Marvel isn’t set to make an appearance in Infinity War, the first female title character in the MCU is set to make her grand debut in 2019. (And there are reports that she'll even show up in Avengers 4.) In anticipation of the historic event, Brie Larson graced the premiere with her presence.
THE SAME: Stan LeeGregg DeGuire/FilmMagic; Jon Kopaloff/FilmMagic
The comic book writer and former Marvel editor-in-chief, publisher, and chairman saw some of his creations in action at both premieres, and it is confirmed that Stan Lee was just as feisty in 2012 as he is today.
DIFFERENT AND THE SAME: The CastAlberto E. Rodriguez/WireImage; Rich Polk/Getty Images for Disney
All of this is to say, look at how the universe has grown, from a lean group in The Avengers to the expanded team in Infinity War!