Avengers: Infinity War is less than two weeks away, and you know what that means–it’s time to wildly speculate! Marvel has been building up to this for a decade, so we can expect some big things, and some of those things are going to be dead superheroes. With that in mind, let’s calculate the odds of the MCU’s major players making it out alive. I say calculate, but there’s absolutely no math involved, and everything is based on the very limited information I have. I didn’t even look up specifics on actor’s contracts or who is confirmed for Avengers 4. It’s all from memory. I probably should have done some research, but it’s too late now! Let’s get started!
Destiny’s Child (Because You’re, You Know, a Survivor)
While Thanos is definitely making a stop in Wakanda, T’Challa is most certainly safe. Marvel isn’t about to kill off its new cash kitty. The character is too popular, and Kevin Feige and Ryan Coogler are already talking sequel. Black Panther will live to fight another day.
Similar to Black Panther, Tom Holland’s Peter Parker is too popular to off right now. Plus, a sequel to Spider-Man: Homecoming is definitely happening with Holland set to return. Also, it would be pretty bleak to kill off a teenager …
… so Black Panther’s little sis is probably safe, too.
Ant-Man and the Wasp is coming out after Infinity War, so it feels save to assume that he’s going to make it through the fray. Marvel is clearly still working with this character. It would be kinda hard to get people invested in a movie about a character they know is a hop and a skip away from the grave.
The post-credit scene for Doctor Strange definitely set up a sequel, and Benedict Cumberbatch probably has at the very least one more solo film left in his contract. It wouldn’t make much sense to off a well-received character played by a popular actor. And since more Doctor Strange movies are the horizon, you can probably count on his sidekick Wong to pull through as well. Plus, they’re both magic. That counts for something, right?
Like a lot of the characters in the safe zone, this placement is based mostly on what I know Marvel has planned for the future. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 is happening, and I don’t think Marvel will carry on that franchise without its main character. Also, Pratt is a bankable star, so I don’t think the company will want to lose him just yet, especially when some other big hitters are likely to be on the chopping block.
He already died and came back! Well, technically a different Groot came back if you listen to James Gunn, but he’s still very much Groot. Killing the character again would feel cheap, and it would not have much impact since he’d likely just sprout anew again. Although, if teenage Groot dies, he might turn back into baby Groot, which is the superior Groot.
Just Stand by a Red Shirt and You’ll Be Fine
Avengers 4 is coming next year. Do you think they’ll be fighting a new villain? Unlikely! Expect Thanos’ death in 2019.
The Black Widow standalone movie is moving forward and has a screenwriter and everything. While there are no details about how the movie will fit into the MCU timeline and it could very well be a prequel, it still seems like Marvel will keep Natasha Romanov around. She’s probably the safest of the OG Avengers.
The Hulk is hard to kill. That’s like his defining characteristic in the MCU outside of, you know, green and angry. Marvel’s weird deal with Universal means that Mark Ruffalo will never get a solo Hulk movie, but he seems happy enough playing the character, and Thor: Ragnarok was successful, demonstrating the character’s potential for team-ups. It seems like the big guy is going to make it. Although, it would be shocking and a great demonstration of power if Thanos takes out the green, mean, smashing machine.
Like Star Lord, Rocket is too integral of a character to kill off before Guardians 3 happens. Also, he’s a raccoon, and it would just be sad to watch a giant purple spaceman kill a raccoon.
In some ways, Mantis seems like the most likely Guardian to kick the bucket because, as the newest member, her death will have the smallest impact on the franchise. But that’s probably what is going to keep her safe. Would we care if Mantis died? Not really. So what would be the point exactly?
Gamora is finally going to faceoff with her adoptive father, but will she survive the confrontation? Most likely. She’s another integral part of the Guardians team, and the franchise has just started developing her romantic relationship with Star Lord. Seems doubtful Marvel would kill her off in Infinity War, especially with another child of Thanos also gunning for revenge against the mad titan.
I’ll be honest; I don’t have much to say about Falcon. I mean, I like the character, but he’s a sidekick that hasn’t really had much of an arc. He’s just super loyal to Captain America. I don’t know what Anthony Mackie’s Marvel contract is like, but Chris Evans has been pretty public with the fact that he’s done playing Cap. This could be good news for Falcon since Sam Wilson is currently wielding the shield in the comics. It would also give the character more to do in future MCU entries. In my opinion, he’s probably safe.
Like Falcon, Bucky has taken up the mantle of Captain America in the comics. The MCU could be building to that but could also be swiftly moving to wrap up his storyline. Unlike Falcon, he’s had a much more complete arc, and he could finally find peace by sacrificing himself for a noble cause. We’ll just have to wait and see if he finds atonement through a glorious death or picking up the shield. But my money’s on the latter (and it’s not just because I have a dog named Bucky … shut up!). Also, Sebastian Stan has a nine film contract, and he’s only been in five (if we count Infinity War and that Black Panther post-credits scene).
Since Marvel’s been criticized for its lack of female characters in the past, it feels unlikely that they’d kill off one who was recently introduced in a successful film. But if Valkyrie does die, Tessa Thompson can fall back on her exciting secondary career as Janelle Monae’s clitoris.
As the leader of the Dora Milaje, she’ll definitely be in the thick of it when Thanos comes to Wakanda. She’s more likely to give her life for the cause than T’Challa or Shuri, but Marvel will likely want to keep the Black Panther team intact for the sequel. Money is more powerful than any space demigod.
Maybe Check Your Life Insurance Policy
The first Avengers set a precedent for killing SHIELD agents. Hill has about the same screen time as Coulson before. Even if she’s not as popular, she is a recognizable character and had a pretty sizable role in Captain America: The Winter Soldier. She seems like a logical choice to get the axe. People will recognize her, but her death won’t make that much of an impact.
The new king of Asgard lost an eye, his luscious locks and his homeworld in Thor: Ragnarok. It also revitalized the franchise, so Marvel may want to keep Chris Hemsworth’s brawny god of thunder around. But Hemsworth is at the end of his contract, and the Russo brothers have said that Thor gets a lot of screen time. Could it be his big send off? Personally, I hope Thor survives, decides to relocate Asgard to Australia and gets in some quality bro-time with Darryl.
Scarlet Witch has been in two MCU movies, and there are no plans for a solo movie. She’s pretty much just an ensemble player, and that doesn’t necessarily look great for the character in terms of survival. Of course, the Avengers lineup would be even more Y-chromosome heavy without her. She’s also magic, and if I gave Doctor Strange survival points for that, she gets ‘em too! Plus, her love interest is higher up on this list, so Marvel may keep her around for some good ol’ fashioned mourning.
M’Baku and Ayo
Someone from Wakanda has to die, right? I mean a major battle is clearly happening there. It’s not going to be casualty free. With smaller parts in Black Panther, these characters are the more likely choices. The films have already deviated a lot from M’Baku in the comics where he’s a villain, so he may just be offed. His death could allow another member of the Jabari tribe to take on the Man-Ape role. But the character was popular, and future films could do a lot more with him. Ayo is probably the more logical choice. She’s a member of the Dora Milaje, but beyond a fun standoff with Black Widow, she’s not as much of a standout as the other Wakandans on this list.
The actor who played the character has already been replaced once, so he isn’t really integral to the MCU. Captain America: Civil War teased the idea of War Machine’s death, but ended up only seriously injuring him. Will Infinity War go all the way? It’s certainly a possibility.
His whole deal is getting revenge for the death of his family, which is Thanos-related even if he wasn’t the one doing the killing. He’s also pretty impulsive, so expect him to be on the frontlines. Hell, it wouldn’t be completely out of character for him to launch a one-man assault. It’ll be a pretty big blow to the Guardians’ dynamics, but he’s the most likely of the original five to bite the dust.
There’s a theory that Heimdall has the Soul Stone, the only Infinity Stone we haven’t encountered yet. It is what gives him the ability to see all the souls in the nine realms and makes his eyes that nifty orange color (truly compelling evidence). If it’s true, that makes him a pretty major target for Thanos. Even if that’s not true, the mid-credits scene of Thor: Ragnarok suggests that the spaceship holding all of Asgard is about to be attacked. Heimdall might be an early casualty.
The Collector is in possession of the Reality Stone. He’ll almost certainly have a confrontation with the big purple guy. But will it result in a violent death or him just handing it over? I honestly don’t know. Maybe Disney will pressure Marvel to keep him alive because he features prominently in the Guardians of the Galaxy ride at Disneyland?
So, You’re Only Two Days Away From Retirement …
Thanos is after the Infinity Stones. Vision was brought to life by the Mind Stone, which is still stuck in his forehead. Thanos is going to rip that stone out, so that doesn’t look great for our friendly android. Vision doesn’t shoot to number one on the list because the trailers show the actual ripping moment. While trailers aren’t known for taking a less-is-more approach these days, that’s an awful big moment to spoil. Marvel might try to subvert our expectations. Maybe Vision gets the stone removed, but Tony or Shuri figure out a way to revive him without it. But still, Vision’s probably going to be dead for like at least a minute.
She’s got a serious vendetta against her adoptive father. In the comics, she plays a big part in defeating Thanos, so we can expect her to be a major player. But will her heroic turn in Guardians Vol. 2 culminate with her going out in a blaze of glory? It seems like a real possibility, and Nebula is the most likely Guardian to die.
Poor Jeremy Renner. His archer has never made much of an impact in the MCU beyond being an easy target (pun definitely intended) for jokes. Hawkeye also has been largely absent from the marketing material. He’s not on the poster. He’s not in the trailers. Could it be he has little screen time because he bites the big one early? If anything is saving Hawkeye, it’s that he has three young kids and a wife, but that could easily be milked for some good old fashioned pathos. In theory, he also could fake his death and return as Ronin a la the comics, but it seems unlikely. Do average movie viewers know who Ronin is? I barely know who Ronin is, and I’ve even read some Hawkeye comics.
Captain America/Iron Man
I stuck these two together because I think we’re in an either/or situation. While there’s no way they’re both making it out alive, Marvel also isn’t going to kill off both Cap and Tony Stark in the same movie. Afterall, one of them has to be all guilty and shit about the other’s death in Avengers 4, and I guess lead the team or something. Both Chris Evans and Robert Downey Jr. are at the end of their Marvel tenures, and Evans has even said that reshoots for Avengers 4 are the last time he’s playing Captain America. He’s clearly ready to put down the shield, and the Avengers 4 reshoots could be flashbacks or time travel nonsense thanks to magic space rocks. The Russo brothers’ experience in the MCU is with two Captain America films, so it would be logical for them to handle the character’s death. I guess I’ll give the edge to Cap. He’s got two replacements on standby. Meanwhile, Marvel may want to keep Tony around as a supporting character in the next Spider-Man.
Where else can Loki’s character go honestly? True, he’s popular, and who, other than Amanda, isn’t fond of Tom Hiddleston? But he’s betrayed Thor so often it was played for a joke in Thor: Ragnarok. He’s also in possession of the Tesseract, and the trailer shows him seemingly preparing to pass it off to Thanos, who probably isn’t happy about Loki losing two Infinity Stones in the first Avengers. He could meet his end pretty quickly, but I think we can expect another classic Loki double-cross. He’ll ally with Thanos and then betray him, but this time, it will cost him his life.