(NBC News) - The debut of "Avengers: Infinity War" Is many things: sci-fi epic, comic-book blockbuster, and "nerd Christmas", but it's also an anniversary.
Image Source: Marvel / Walt Disney / MGN
"Almost exactly ten years ago, we were right in the same spot debuting Iron Man 1," producer Kevin Feige said at the "Infinity War" premiere.
That Robert Downey, Jr. smash led to what is now known as the Marvel Cinematic Universe: A collection of superhero films all tied together. Stand-alone characters then joined forces in 2012's "The Avengers."
Now worlds collide again when "The Avengers" meet the rogue space pirates of "Guardians of the Galaxy."
Fans have whipped-up over $5 billion at the box office for the 18 films produced by Marvel, but money isn't the only common thread among these franchises. There's also the unbeatable enemy that unites all the heroes in the universe.
"To be able to play in almost a theater platform with my buddies who I've known for a long time was more than a blast," says Josh Brolin, who plays villain Thanos. "And I would love to keep doing it again and again and again."
The cast may be at it again sooner than you think, with "Infinity War Part Two" scheduled to release in May of next year.
You won't have to wait long for the 20th film in the Marvel Universe. The latest "Ant-Man" movie is slated for release in July.