'Thor: Ragnarok' May Set Up 'Avengers: Infinity War' In A Big Way; Marvel Wants To Get More Intimate After That

Every single year from here to the end of time will have Marvel movies for fans to look forward to. However, the stakes have been rising ever since Thanos was first teased in a credits scene from The Avengers, followed by the gradual introduction of various Infinity Stones and the golden gauntlet that can turn whoever is wielding them into an unstoppable force.

Fans have assumed that the standalone franchises leading up to Avengers: Infinity War (and Avengers 4) will all have some kind of set up for the next assembly of all of Marvel's superheroes, but it sounds like the most overt one yet may come from Thor: Ragnarok. A new rumor pegs a certain element of the sequel that could have a major influence on what happens in The Avengers: Infinity War.

But once we reach this culmination of all the Marvel movies that came before it, Kevin Feige says they're probably going to pull the reins in a bit with regards to the large scale action. Find out more about how Thor Ragnarok sets up The Avengers Infinity War after the jump, but beware of spoilers.

First up, you may recall that back in January this past year, there was some interesting speculation regarding how Cate Blanchett's villain character Hela would be utilized in the Marvel cinematic universe. Beyond her part in Thor: Ragnarok, there was a theory that the character, who is known as the goddess of death, may be able to stand in as the physical embodiment of Death, a character who drives Thanos to all the destruction and chaos that he will unleash in Infinity War and beyond.

That would be much better than trying to explain how or why Death is a person in the Marvel cinematic universe, and if it means we get to keep Cate Blanchett around for at least one more Marvel movie, that's some good news. Kevin Feige was asked by Vulture specifically about this theory/rumor, and he tap-danced around it successfully:

Anything is possible. but knowledge of the comics can be both beneficial to fans anticipating things, and also misleading. So you'll have to see.

He also took the time to hype up just how amazing Cate Blanchett is going to be in the upcoming Thor sequel. Feige says, "I would be psyched if I were you. Put it this way: Her part is wrapped, and we haven't done any effects yet. Even without any effects at all — I'm talking dots on her costume, and green screen — it's amazing."

Regardless of whether or not Cate Blanchett ends up standing in for Death in the Marvel cinematic universe's adaptation of the Infinity War storyline, this is undoubtedly going to be the biggest Marvel movie yet. But what happens after that? Can Marvel continue the momentum that this cinematic universe has? Will they be able to top what they bring to the big screen in Avengers: Infinity War?

It sounds like Marvel doesn't intend to keep going bigger and better. In fact, after Avengers: Infinity War, Kevin Feige hopes they can go back to making somewhat smaller, perhaps more isolated movies:

I think it's possible to have more intimate movies after that, or to have more interesting, unexpected combinations of characters after that, absolutely. It never is intentionally about 'being even bigger.' Arguably, one of the biggest scenes we've ever had in a movie was the airport battle in Civil War, and there weren't world-ending stakes in that scene, there wasn't an asteroid smashing into a city in that scene, but there was a conflict between the characters that made you feel something.

Feige makes a fair point, but having 12 of their superheroes going head-to-head is still something big, even if it's not on a global scale. But it sounds like Feige wants to start digging deeper into their superheroes, perhaps giving us stories that are more akin to Ant-Man. The Marvel chief adds, "To us, it's less about continuing to go bigger with spectacle — although in some cases, we will — and more about continuing to go deeper with those character interactions."

That doesn't mean we won't still get some massive blockbuster action out of Marvel, but maybe they'll start moving away from the portal in the sky, doomsday device plots and put the conflicts on the shoulders of just the heroes and villains themselves. But we'll have to wait until after 2019 to see how that all plays out.