Who Will Live and Who Will Die in Avengers: Infinity War (and Avengers 4)
The culmination of the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s first three phases will be bloody, and we have a few ideas on who will die in Avengers: Infinity War.
After ten years and 18 movies, Marvel will have the first of its two-part finale of sorts in theaters soon. The MCU will continue on with a new over-arching story and new characters, but there is a definite sense of finality surrounding Avengers: Infinity War and its untitled sequel. That sense of foreboding has been amplified by the film’s directors Anthony Joe Russo essentially confirming that people will die – the questions is which ones?
To be fair, there may be a death or two in this film with the bulk of the deaths planned for the sequel next year. But while Marvel is trying to make sure people know the two films are separate and not necessarily Part 1 and Part 2, it’s probably fair to see them as Part 1 and Part 2. No matter how they position it, there’s also a huge amount of emphasis on the films behind-the-scenes, and they will mark the end of the contracts for several of the MCU’s most beloved characters. That will probably have just as much impact on the results, even more than narratively.
So with that in mind, we look at the characters most likely to die in Avengers: Infinity War (and its sequel). We also stuck with the main superheroes, although there is a very good chance some of the supporting characters may not make it.
This one may be the most telegraphed of all the looming character deaths, as Chris Evans has been saying for years now that he is preparing for an MCU-less future. There’s a chance that this is just misdirection and there’s always the lure of earning more money than some small countries make in a year, but Evans was initially reluctant to take on the role in the first place and he wants to explore new options. He could always return to the MCU as a director, but Avengers 4 will almost certainly be his last turn as Cap. And it would make sense to send him off with a tragic bang.
If the MCU follows the comics, there’s a natural path for the story to take: Steve Rogers dies and Bucky Barnes takes on the role of Cap (and if not Bucky, Sam Wilson). If Rogers just retires, not only would it not really make sense given the character’s moral compass and need to be involved, it would prevent another character from fully stepping out of his shadow.
The odds are he will die near the end of Avengers 4, probably in a heroic fashion. There is a chance he will die in Infinity War and then appear in the next film in a flashback, dream sequence, hallucination, etc., but the next film makes more sense.
There has been a lot of talk about why Hawkeye isn’t featured in any of the trailers or even in the promo art, but that’s not why he’s on this list. The Russos stated that “Hawkeye is on his own journey in this movie” following the aftermath of Civil War, and Jeremy Renner is definitely in the film. We’ll see Hawkeye at some point – probably in a surprising way. And it may be for the last time.
The MCU has borrowed heavily from the Ultimates comics, and in that version of the Marvel universe, Hawkeye’s family – who were introduced on screen in Avengers: Age of Ultron – were all killed, sending him into a brutal spiral. That may be the path the films are taking, which would mean we’ll see more of Hawkeye in the future, albeit a different side of him. Or, alternatively, Marvel Studios may decide that they don’t really need Hawkeye anymore, and so he is expendable. Renner’s contract is also up after Avengers 4, which doesn’t mean he can’t sign a new one and he does have a clause for a Hawkeye solo movie, but it seems like there’s a natural endpoint for him.
Besides, Hawkeye is a human character with human limitations fighting with and against gods. If someone was going to get caught in the crossfire, it would make sense that it’s the guy with the bow and arrows.
The character of the Hulk is in a weird place, legally speaking. Universal technically owns the rights to distribute Hulk films, although Marvel has the rights to the character – which is part of the reason the “Planet Hulk” storyline was adapted in Thor: Ragnarok and not a solo movie. Plus, Mark Ruffalo’s contract is nearly up, and he will complete that contract with the two Avengers films. There is, potentially, a way around both problems for Marvel, but it would be a risk.
In the comics, Bruce Banner is not the only person to bear the mantle of the Hulk. It’s tough to say how the lawyers would take it, but the character of Amadeus Cho – who took over as Hulk after the death of Bruce Banner – might solve both problems, plus he has even been teased in the MCU. In Avengers: Age of Ultron, the character of Helen Cho, Amadeus Cho’s mother, reluctantly helped to create Vision. That may have just been an Easter egg for fans, or it could have been laying the groundwork for something later.
There’s really only so much you can do with the Hulk in the MCU, especially given the legal issues, so killing him off might be a smart way around that. It would also be a fresh way to keep the character vital. Plus, if Thanos is going to take on the Avengers, neutralizing the giant green rage monster makes sense.
Like Captain America and Chris Evans, it seems fairly likely that Iron Man and Robert Downey Jr. are not going to survive to see Phase Four. Downey Jr. has been a staple of the MCU, but it has come with a cost to Marvel – a huge, huge cost. Thanks to his own resurgence as an actor and some clever negotiations, Downey Jr. earned around $40 million for Civil War alone, and for the next two Avengers films he is expected to take home around $200 million. A lot of that will probably come from the backend, but that’s still around the cost of a full feature length MCU movie in itself.
Marvel is no doubt indebted to Downey for his helping bring the MCU to life, but at this point, the films can get along fine without him and the studio would probably love to see that money go elsewhere. It also makes sense narratively. Iron Man is such an integral piece of the MCU that his death would be a hugely emotional moment for the films, enough to give the films a real sense of weight. There’s also the possibility that Iron Man will continue without Tony Stark.
While Stark is the main focal point of Iron Man, he is still just a person in a suit – a suit that others can wear. The comics have been trying to build on this idea for a few years now, ever since the introduction of Riri Williams, who became the character Ironheart. The MCU may or may not go that direction, but it has the option, and if the MCU needs a resident genius, there’s now T’Challa’s kid sister Shuri. Regardless, it seems very likely that Tony Stark and Robert Downey Jr.’s time in the MCU is coming to an end.
Whether or not Tom Hiddleston returns as Thor will likely have a lot to do with Marvel’s plans for Thor. Hiddleston has two more films in his contract that will play out in the next two Avengers movies, but given that he isn’t the star of the films Marvel can probably comfortably afford to continue to pay him if they have a reason to. Of course, there’s another option for Loki.
Like Thor, Loki has taken on many forms. The character could continue as a new actor or actress, and it would fit with the comics. In that, Hiddleston’s future at Marvel is probably connected with Hemsworth’s. The two have been tied together for years now, and switching one and not the other would be odd. If Marvel is going to switching things up like that, a near complete reset makes more sense than a partial one.
Loki’s story also has him in a difficult spot for Infiniy War. He worked with Thanos during Avengers, but failed to deliver the Earth. Thanos doesn’t seem like the type of guy to take that lightly. There’s another side to it though. In the trailers, Loki seems to present Thanos with the Tesseract, which is probably Loki’s survival instinct kicking in. In Thor: Ragnarok he seemed to be leaning more toward the side of good, and that could continue in Infinity War. Either way, he’s going to have to betray someone and the results probably won’t be great for him.
It may be a bit of a stretch to call her a hero, but Nebula definitely seemed to be on a redemption arc in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2. And given that she and Gamora have the closest connection to Thanos, they will probably have a big role to play. There’s also a lot of comic lore surrounding Nebula and the Infinity Gautlet.
If we were going to put money on who is the one to eventually deliver Thanos the fatal blow, we would put a few dollars on it being Nebula. In the comics, Nebula took the Infinity Gauntlet from Thanos and set things in motion for his downfall. The films may not directly copy that, but she will certainly be part of the fight. And it may end up costing her life.
In terms of both business and narrative, Nick Fury and Samuel L. Jackson’s ride is probably coming to an end. He initially signed up for nine Marvel films, and so far he has appeared in seven of them and is confirmed to appear in Captain Marvel. He isn’t confirmed to appear in Infinity War, but oddly, his stand-in and makeup artist are both listed on the IMDB page. That could be an error or it could be that the page is combining both Infinity War and its sequel since it was filmed back-to-back, but Fury will probably appear sooner or later, and it will probably lead to his death.
There’s always a chance that Marvel will lure Jackson back for more films, and during a recent interview, he seemed to hint that his character was busy looking into “the Skull,” which could refer to the return of the villain Red Skull, something connected to him, or another group using the name. Regardless, it sounds like something that would play out in Phase Four after the next two Avengers films.
But if Marvel is cleaning house and looking to save a little money, Fury’s story basically ended with the fall of S.H.I.E.L.D. and everything since has been bonus time – and that time may be running out.
This pick is a bit of an outlier, but there may be cause to fear for Danai Gurira’s Okoye. Although it could go either way.
On one hand, Marvel may not want to mess with the formula that helped make Black Panther the highest grossing U.S. superhero film of all time. A sequel has already been confirmed, and Gurira was a big part of that success. But on the other hand, much of Infinity War seems to take place in Wakanda, with the Wakandans going head-to-head with Thanos’s troops. There will be a high body count, and it would make sense that one of the Wakandan leaders is among those to fall. That could always happen with lesser known characters from Black Panther, but Okoye is featured heavily in the trailers.
One thing definitely working in her favor, however, is the opposite of what may doom many of the MCU stars. Gurira is a rising star without a heavy contract weighing against her. Marvel can feature the character in several films of the next few years without having to pay tens of millions of dollars. In terms of story though, it would make sense for a high-ranking Wakandan to die. It sure won’t be T’Challa or his fan-favorite sister Shuri, and Lupita Nyong’o’s Nakia isn’t even in the movie. Another solid option is Winston Duke’s M’Baku.
Chris Hemsworth is one of the OG MCU actors, and his contract is nearing an end. He’s completed a trilogy of Thor films and will have been in all four Avengers film, not to mention a cameo in Doctor Strange. He might be ready to walk away, and Marvel may be content to see him go – and his increasingly expensive asking price.
In the comics, there have been a handful of other characters to bear the name Thor, so even if Hemsworth leaves that doesn’t mean the character will end. The story would also support Hemsworth’s Thor leaving. He saved Asgard and his people are on a new path, so they are all about change. It also makes sense that if Thanos were going to kill any MCU character it would be one of the most powerful.
The one thing working against Thor dying is Hemsworth’s reaction to Thor: Ragnarok. By all accounts, he absolutely loved working with Taika Waititi and appreciated the new slant on the character, and the two have already discussed Thor 4. If Marvel is willing to push even further in that direction, he may be willing to work with the studio on a contract that works for everyone so he can keep playing the god of thunder. Alternatively, Hemsworth and Waititi may just work on another non-MCU project, and this may be the end of Thor as we know him.
Given that Paul Bettany has only appeared in two MCU films so far as Vision, it would make sense that he would be safe for a few more films at least, contractually speaking. But in terms of the story, Vision is perhaps the most likely to die in Infinity War.
Vision is the holder of the Mind Stone, and more than that, he was brought to life because of it. It’s not entirely clear if he can survive without it, and the odds are that Thanos will get it sooner or later. Plus, the first trailer seems to suggest Vision won’t hold onto it too long.
On top of that, Vision is essentially a supporting character. His death would be sad, but it wouldn’t make much of a difference to the MCU as a whole. Basically, he’s expendable, and given that he’s powered by the thing that the baddest bad guy in the MCU wants most, Vision may be a casualty of the war.
This one is a little out there, but hear us out. When the Infinity Gauntlet is fully assembled, it gives the wearer god-like power. It could, for example, kill off most of the MCU heroes with a wave of a hand. It could also bring them back to life.
In the comic storyline “The Infinity Gautlet,” Thanos takes control of the fully powered gauntlet and kills off most of the Marvel superheroes. He eventually loses the gauntlet and the next wearer – Nebula – is tricked into bringing them all back to life. It might feel like a bit of a cheat in the movie, but it would also be a hell of a shocking moment to see most of the MCU characters die… and it would make another shocking moment to see them all come back in the next film.
It’s just an idea, but it would be a huge twist for audiences while fitting with the comics. It could also be a way to kill off the characters and tease us with their return, only to kill them off again to right the balance or something like that.
We’ll see soon enough.