With Avengers: Infinity War setting the stage for the first part of an epic Phase Three finale, we have to ask the question: Will all of our favorite heroes make it out alive?
The short answer to that question is probably no. At least, if Vanity Fair is to be believed. In their recent cover story, Secrets of the Marvel Universe (which is well worth the read), they astutely pointed out that, “After Avengers 4, an ambitious multi-franchise crossover movie slated for release in 2019, at least some of the original characters who sit at the center of the billion-dollar Avengers team will be hanging up their capes and shields.”
Despite those contracts expiring in Avengers 4, it is unlikely that all of the Original Avengers will make it to the grand finale. Thanos is, after all, the greatest threat the team – and the world – has faced down. Expecting there to be no casualties would be somewhat naive.
So, we’re breaking down the most likely of the character to exit before Avengers 4 comes around in 2019.
Warning: Mild spoilers for the Marvel comics will be found throughout this article.
Based on recent interviews, and a planned slate of solo movies, there are a handful of characters we can immediately dismiss as being possible casualties. If these characters die, er. That could complicate future Marvel movies. A lot.
- Peter Parker (Spider-Man): With several solo movies planned post-Homecoming, Peter is almost guaranteed a ‘Get Out of Infinity War free card.
- Scott Lang and Hope van Dyne (Ant-Man and the Wasp): Due to premiere in July 2018, four months after Infinity War, both Scott and Hope will need to be alive in order to co-headline their upcoming film.
- Natasha Romanov (Black Widow), Bruce Banner (Hulk): In the same Vanity Fair feature, Scarlett Johansson mentioned she’d been on the set of Avengers 4 with Mark Ruffalo and Brie Larson (Captain Marvel.) That’s good odds for them surviving Infinity War.
- Carol Danvers (Captain Marvel): Though she won’t be one of the many characters in Infinity War, we do know that Carol’s solo-movie will debut following Avengers 4. She kind of needs to be alive to appear in that film.
Out of the many, many characters now inhabiting the Marvel Cinematic Universe, that’s barely a handful of guaranteed survivors. And, even then, several of those contracts are up by the time the curtain falls on Avengers 4. But for now, they’re safe…
(Honorable mentions to: Doctor Strange, the Guardians of the Galaxy, and Black Panther, all of whom either have sequels planned, are almost guaranteed one, or will serve to bridge the gap into the more “mystic” side of the MCU.)
The Potential Casualties of ‘Infinity War’
Which brings us to the most likely deaths, or exits, when Infinity Wars hits the big screen in 2018. And where better a place to look for clues that the source material for the MCU. The comics did, after all, provide the blueprint for the Marvel movies as we know and love them.
So, with a mixture of comic book knowledge, and speculating on what we know from in Cinematic Universe, here are our best guesses at who will meet their fate at Thanos’ hand… er. Gauntlet?
A Guardian of the Galaxy
While a third Guardians film is on Marvel’s slate, that’s no guarantee that every single one of them will make it there.
With some notable exceptions, such as Star Lord, Gamora, Groot and Rocket, the other members of the Space Avengers might not be so fortunate.
There are two likely candidates in the Guardians’ ranks that could bite the dust.
The first is Drax. You may recall, back in Guardians of the Galaxy, that Drax was seeking vengeance against Ronan for causing the death of his family. That need for vengeance transferred to Thanos, once Drax realised that Ronan was just carrying out orders. We can’t imagine that showdown will end well for Drax – especially not if Thanos is already in possession of several Infinity Stones.
Nebula is the second most likely candidate. As one of Thanos’ daughters, who defected from his side, there’s already a personal stake in that relationship. And, with Gamora still being Thanos’ favoured daughter, we have plenty of familial tension that could lead to a confrontation between the sisters and their father. If we were to put money on which of them would make it out alive, well…
Above all the other characters, Vision is near-as-certain to meet his end in Infinity War. His life is entirely dependent on the Infinity Stone nestled in his forehead – and Thanos will, as evidenced in the trailer, stop at nothing to obtain every last one of them.
There is a chance, of course, that Vision might survive beyond Infinity War. Especially with Scarlet Witch, and her powers, in the mix. But we wouldn’t count on that as a given. The power of love might not be enough to save Vision and ensure he has a place in Avengers 4.
Oh, Loki. As Asgard crumbled under the force of Ragnarok, Loki stole away with the Tesseract, one of the artefacts that houses an Infinity Stone. Being in possession of one of the stones immediately puts your life on the line, and we can only imagine that Loki’s ability to cheat death is finite. What worked on the Grandmaster likely won’t work in this instance.
With several Asgardians dead at Loki’s feet, it’s unlikely that Thanos will be feeling much mercy. Particularly as Loki has worked for him once before. Will Loki make it away from Thanos, alive and unscathed, a second time.
That hinges almost entirely on whether or not Loki has been playing the long con, and has been working for Thanos all along. If not? Well. We might need to prepare ourselves for the Trickster’s luck to finally run out.
Steve Rogers (Captain America)
The death of Captain America, admittedly, was one we expected during Civil War. That event was, after all, the catalyst for the war’s end in the comics. And, whilst Captain America did lay down his shield, Steve Rogers lived on to fight another day – albeit as a fugitive, in the eyes of the law and the government.
This death seems almost inevitable. And, if it doesn’t come about in Infinity War, it’s almost guaranteed to do so in Avengers 4. The end of Phase Three is going to change the fabric of the MCU as we know it, and what bigger shake up than the death of the first Avenger – in-universe, anyway.
His potential successors are also poised to return in Infinity War. Bucky Barnes’ – who voluntarily entered cryogenic sleep – story is far from over yet, and his picking up the shield and taking on Captain America’s mantle would be just as heartbreaking as it was in the comics.
Likewise, Sam Wilson also has the potential to step into Captain America’s shoes, and would also be a worthy successor. Both Sam, and Bucky, have a close relationship and connection with Steve – in their own ways – so either are just as likely to occur by the end of Phase Three.
And, if Steve Rogers is going to go down in a fight, it is most likely to be against one of the most powerful beings in the entire universe.
Tony Stark (Iron Man)
The Avenger that started it all. (Well, not counting the jump back in time to Captain America. But you get what I mean.)
There would be something poignant, if devastating, about Tony Stark’s journey being the beginning of the end of a Marvel legacy. The fall of the old guard, and the rise of the new.
In Spider-Man: Homecoming, Tony stepped into a Nick Fury-esque role, attempting to… er. Guide Peter into being a better hero than he’d ever been. We won’t speak to how successful Tony’s brand of “mentoring” was, despite his intentions, but with that shift in his place within the MCU, also comes a certain responsibility. For his team, for Peter, for the world.
The first Avengers team-up proved that Tony would make the sacrifice play, if it came down to it. And it almost certainly might come down to it in Infinity War. We could see Tony stepping in to protect Peter – and we know that Peter will be in a bit of a predicament at least once in the movie.
Will Tony be able to stop Thanos and save his team? Not alone. And Tony is rather prone at going in half-cocked and a little over-confident. That could prove to be his eventual downfall.
Clint Barton (Hawkeye)
It genuinely hurts me to say this – he is, after all, my favorite Marvel comics character, for better or worse – but Clint Barton is arguably the most expendable Avenger.
Unlike the comics, Renner’s Hawkeye never quite hit the same chord in the hearts of the audience. And, with large portions of material taken from Ultimates, a near-universally reviled entry in Hawkeye’s history, there was very little to endear even his most devoted fans. Clint often falls to the background and, with his character unlikely to have more story to tell beyond Infinity War, we might see him meet his end during the battle against Thanos.
While this wouldn’t be the biggest shock of a death – certainly not compared to some of the other entries on this list – it would be one that would have an immediate and lasting effect on several of the characters. Not least, Black Widow, with whom he has a close friendship.
If any death could illustrate to the Avengers that Thanos is not here to play a child’s game, Clint Barton is high on that list.