As the official Most Hyped Film Of All Time, Avengers: Infinity War is a source of non-stop speculation about its story. As the culmination of 10 years of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, it should be an absolute game-changer for the franchise, and when the stakes are “saving the universe” level, some of these changes are bound to be major character deaths. Here, we break down who we think will live and die as Earth’s Mightiest Heroes take on the cosmic conqueror: Thanos.
Black Panther and his supporting cast (Shuri, Okoye etc.)
Black Panther was a billion-dollar smash hit for Marvel and gave the franchise not only a whole new world to keep exploring with Wakanda, but a new West Coast base for the surviving Avengers. T’Challa will most likely end up the leader of whatever battered and broken team emerges from Infinity War and Avengers 4.
The sequel to Homecoming already has a 2019 release date, and you can’t have that sequel without Tom Holland’s Peter Parker.
We’re not sure yet if Ant-Man will even be in Infinity War, though he looks to have an important role in Avengers 4; but either way, you can’t kill off a character and then have his standalone sequel release three months later.
Doctor Strange and Wong
Doctor Strange 2 is pretty much an inevitability, and killing off Wong in Infinity War would be a cheap copout death that would also deprive the MCU of vital diversity.
The Guardians of the Galaxy (excluding Nebula)
Like Spider-Man, the Guardians already have their sequel guaranteed, so they’ll (almost) all be fine.
Rhodey’s death was already teased at before being shied away from in Civil War, so to have him in mortal danger again would feel a little lazy. He could also take up the mantle of Iron Man should Tony lose his life.
Falcon and the Winter Soldier
Bucky Barnes is in a similar boat to War Machine, in that his death has basically already happened, and he can take up the Captain America mantle. The other candidate for that honour is Falcon, and as possible talismanic leaders of future fights, it seems unlikely that either of them will die.
Now an established Avenger, Wanda Maximoff is not only a very useful plot device for any further massive events that the MCU wants to conjure up, but also one of the too few women in the team. Kevin Feige and the Russos know better than to kill her off before she can team up with Brie Larson’s Captain Marvel.
Like War Machine and Winter Soldier, Nick Fury has already “died” in the MCU, but he has enough clout that a second death could still be impactful. That said, he hasn’t appeared in Infinity War marketing, and if the battle against Thanos is truly catastrophic, then who else but Samuel L. Jackson to rally the remaining forces in the sequel.
With a solo movie looking ever more likely for Black Widow, we doubt her arc will end in this cosmic clash, especially as she’s one of Marvel’s most down-to-earth characters. Sure, her standalone film could be a prequel, but who really wants that?
Conspicuously absent from any and all trailers and posters, the Russos have promised that Hawkeye will be a presence in Infinity War, but that he’s on his own journey. After all the hinting that Clint Barton would meet his maker in Age of Ultron, it’s possible that they’ll kill him off for real in Infinity War – but if he’s avoiding Thanos to keep his family safe, that seems like a good survival strategy.
That’s right, the Big Bad himself. Bear with us here, as with Avengers 4 right around the corner, you might be assuming that Thanos is untouchable until 2019. Yet, as the Russos have insisted that the next Avengers instalment is nothing like anything anyone has predicted, we could be seeing a different central conflict there. Also, Death’s rejection of Thanos is one of the most consistent traits of his stories in the comics so this demise wouldn’t necessarily be permanent.
The Hulk is clearly going to be pivotal in the grand battles of Infinity War, which puts him in a lot of danger. That being said, Marvel (due to rights issues) haven’t yet had the chance to give the Green Goliath his own movie, which should become a possibility soon as Disney takes over every corner of entertainment. Killing him off before this opportunity arises could be considered a waste by the studio.
After redeeming herself in Guardians of the Galaxy 2, Nebula now faces a battle against the father she despises. It’s easy to see how her arc would end with self-sacrifice against Thanos and his forces, dying so that the rest of the Guardians may live.
And now we reach the main Avengers whose contracts run out after Avengers 4. Thor just about feels like the least likely to die of the Big Three, even though trailers have shown his head being crushed between Thanos’s giant purple hands. Not only is he incredibly powerful post-Ragnarok, but a new Thor instalment again headed up by Taika Waititi could tempt Hemsworth back into the role.
The founding father of the MCU may well be the most fitting death as this chapter of the story closes. Tony Stark is pretty much the face of blockbuster entertainment these days, so his departure would be massive, as well as leave plenty of room for followers to take up his mantle, be it Rhodey or Black Panther’s Shuri in a kinda-sorta adaptation of the new Ironheart character in the comics. One hint that he’ll survive, however, is the presumed use of his memory-altering technology from Civil War as a pivotal plot device in Avengers 4.
Steve Rogers is, indisputably, the most traditionally heroic character in this entire franchise. His death would be monumentally sad, and no one on the team is more likely to give their life for the sake of the others than him. He has two sidekicks waiting to take up the Captain America identity, and Chris Evans has stated that he wants to take a break from acting for a while. Even if it is a little predictable, the loss of Cap (and his new beard) would be the biggest gut-punch this film could deliver.
Vision has an Infinity Stone in his brain, which is not a great place for it to be when Thanos starts ripping the Stones out to put in his gauntlet. This may end up being an Hawkeye-esque inevitable death fakeout, but even if it’s temporary, the Vision will almost certainly be killed in this war.
Loki and the Asgardians
The Asgardian ark will be one of Thanos’ first victims. Loki will no doubt betray his homeland in a desperate attempt to stay alive, but whether Thanos kills him anyway out of spite or he dies more honorably, this gambit will only be a brief reprieve. His death will be powerful, and his character has now exhausted pretty much every story possibility, so it’s time for the MCU to get ready to say goodbye to Tom Hiddleston.
Thanos’ Children (the Black Order)
There’s no way these chumps don’t get murdered before the end credits roll.