Last year, I posted my predictions on which characters would survive Avengers: Infinity War, and with it’s epic conclusion, Avengers: Endgame, due to open this week, I thought it was time to re-visit that list and see who might be in danger this go-round.
Before we get started, I would like to remind everyone that as I stated in my review of Avengers: Infinity War, I don’t count disappearing due to Thanos’ snap as dying. We all know those characters are coming back. Spiderman already has a trailer out for his second movie, and it’s definitely Peter Parker who’s shown. Unless they manage to rescue them within the first fifteen minutes, I feel pretty confident in predicting that those characters will all be alive at the end of the movie. By my count, the characters who definitely died in Infinity War are Loki, Heimdall, Gamora, and Vision. The question is, will they still be dead when the credits roll on Endgame?
1. Captain America/Steve Rogers
Last Year’s Verdict: It was nice knowing ya’, Cap.
Based on Chris Evans’ stating so plainly he would not be renewing his contract after the fourth Avengers film, I suspected Marvel might try to pull one over on us by sneaking Steve’s death in one movie early, but I’m glad I turned out to be wrong. Unfortunately, his odds haven’t exactly improved going into Endgame. There are still two characters who can take up the mantle of Captain America once the snap is undone, and Steve still hasn’t had a chance to re-build any kind of life outside of being Captain America.
What is working in Steve’s favor this time around is that the trailers appear to show that his relationship with Tony will be repaired, which dials back the angst that might be generated from his death. I have also heard some arguments about the time stone coming into play, since it’s likely going to be used to rescue other characters, possibly allowing Steve to go back to the 1940s and live out the life he wanted with Peggy, but I’m not sold on that conclusion. After all, Sebastian Stan is reportedly contracted for three more movies after Endgame, meaning Bucky wouldn’t be going back with Steve, which doesn’t add up to me.
This Year’s Verdict: I hope he gets to go out on his own terms, but the odds are still pretty high that he’s not making it out alive.
2. Iron Man/Tony Stark
Last Year’s Verdict: I’m on the edge of my seat.
The only thing that has appeared to change for Tony in Endgame is that it looks like he and Steve have repaired their relationship, which at least dials back the angst factor, but otherwise, his worst fear has come to pass. We know from Avengers: Age of Ultron, how desperate Tony was to avoid seeing all his friends, and the rest of the world, destroyed, and in Endgame, he’s only going to be more desperate to try to fix it any way he can.
I still stand by my two possible conclusions for Tony’s arc: save the universe, averting his greatest fear, and then retiring in peace, or he’s going to get the most tragically glorious death scene in franchise history while averting his greatest fear.
Arguments for Option 1: Pepper survived the snap, as she was seen in the trailer. This might keep Tony from being too reckless in his desperation. He has a life outside of being an Avenger, making him one of the few characters who could actually walk into the sunset when all of this is over. He also has a connection to the newer Avengers through Spiderman, Rhodey, and now, Dr. Strange, making the transition a little smoother.
Arguments for Option 2: Pepper survived the snap, meaning she and Tony will have time to hope for the future, which would make his death more angsty. It also means they’d get the chance to say good-bye. He also has a connection to literally almost every character, including the newer Avengers, meaning his death could reverberate through a lot of films. You’ll notice that though we see Happy in the Spiderman: Far From Home trailer, there is no reference to Tony. Is this because it’s too painful, or because he’s simply out of the game?
This Year’s Verdict: I’m still clinging to the edge of my seat.
3. Hulk/Bruce Banner
Last Year’s Verdict: Watch carefully. The more mentions of Bruce learning to live with “the other guy” or even using the infinity stones to cure him, the more likely he’s going to die in the end.
While Bruce got to appear in Infinity War, Hulk was sidelined a bit, unwilling to come out and join the fray for as yet unknown reasons. I’m assuming we’ll learn those reasons in Endgame and likely see him come back with a vengeance. Will this make him more of a target for Thanos? At least working in his favor is that his romantic storyline with Natasha also seemed to be sidelined in Infinity War, so unless they try to revisit it in Endgame, the angst factor of his death is lower.
No, my big worry for Bruce is still the hope he & the Hulk can learn to live with each other. They’re going to be working through things together as they figure out how to get the Hulk to fight again, which could easily open the door to Bruce hoping he might be able to figure out how to have a semi-normal life again. And if the history of storytelling has taught me anything, it’s that when characters start hoping and planning for the future, their odds of dying skyrocket.
This Year’s Verdict: Still watching carefully. The more hopeful Bruce is, the more worried I’ll be.
Last Year’s Verdict: I’m not saying it’ll be easy, but I think he’ll live.
On the one hand, Chris Hemsworth’s contract is up after Endgame. On the other hand, he has expressed interest in doing another Thor movie with director Taika Waititi after the success of Thor: Ragnarok. Thor also proved himself capable of killing Thanos in Infinity War…his aim just needs a little work. Does this put a bigger target on his back in Endgame, or make him the one most likely to survive the final confrontation?
This Year’s Verdict: Safe-ish?
5. Hawkeye/Clint Barton
Last Year’s Verdict: Safe-ish?
Well, he’s actually in this movie, so his odds are automatically a little worse. He also looks pretty hardcore in the trailer, so I’m gonna take a guess that he lost most, if not all, of his family in the snap. This might make him more desperate, which could lead to more reckless decisions. However, it seems like a disservice to a character to sideline them in one movie and then kill them off in the next one, and we’ve played the Hawkeye might die game in Avengers: Age of Ultron already, so there are other characters I’m more concerned about.
This Year’s Verdict: Safe-ish.
6. Black Widow/Natasha Romanoff
Last Year’s Verdict: If she dies, my hope for her standalone movie dies with her.
There’s not been much word on the progress of a Black Widow movie in the past year, but no plans of cancelling it either, so I remain cautiously optimistic that this is evidence she’ll survive. Even if the solo movie turns out to be an origin story, how invested can audiences be in the origin story of a character with no future? Maybe if it were coming out this summer or fall it could be set up with a funeral-type frame story, but this solo film will debut in 2020 at the earliest. That’s still risking a year for audiences to move on. I don’t see a studio gambling their money that way.
This Year’s Verdict: My prediction still stands.
The six characters listed above are the original six Avengers. Did Marvel use Infinity War to narrow the field down to them for nostalgia purposes, as a nice bookend to The Avengers, or did they have something more sinister in mind? There is a possibility, however terrible it might be to consider, that Marvel could go with a nuclear option to close this chapter of their history, and require this core group to all sacrifice themselves together in order to defeat Thanos and undo his snap. After all, there are six Infinity Stones too…
Last Year’s Verdict: Most likely of the Guardians to die.
We know Nebula hates Thanos with a passion, and now he’s gone and killed Gamora, the one person Nebula kind of liked, so she’s doesn’t have anything left to lose. However, she and Rocket are the only Guardians who made it through the snap, so I predict Endgame is going to be more about her finding her place as a team member and setting up her position for Guardians of the Galaxy 3 than threatening us with her potential death.
The one thing that might make me worry more about her this go round is if we start hearing about ways of saving Gamora, especially if they get to have any kind of scene together. Sacrificing herself to bring back her sister would be a believable end to their arc, though I think this would only happen if the writers could work it out for them to share a final scene. I just don’t know how satisfying it would feel for Nebula to sacrifice herself with Rocket as the only character from her franchise to witness it.
This Year’s Verdict: Though still most likely of the Guardians to die, her odds have technically improved.
8. War Machine/James Rhodes
Last Year’s Verdict: Probably safe.
Rhodey broke his back in Captain America: Civil War, so I figured that would earn him a free pass through Infinity War. I don’t think we can count on that fact alone anymore, but I still feel pretty confident he’ll make it out of Endgame alive. His death would really only have a significant emotional impact on Tony Stark, so if he dies, it’ll only be to up Thanos’ body count, and you want a character’s death to be more than that.
This Year’s Verdict: Probably safe.
9. Ant-Man/Scott Lang
Last Year’s Verdict: He’s safe.
Much like Hawkeye, Ant-Man’s odds have worsened by simply being present this time around. However, it feels a little unfair to sit a character out of one movie just to kill him off when he does get to show up. Scott has also been one of the more light-hearted, sweet characters thus far, so it feels off to suddenly make him the suffering and/or sacrifice character when there are so many more angsty characters to choose from.
This Year’s Verdict: Probably safe.
Last Year’s Verdict: Likely to survive, but lose a team member.
As I pointed out last year, Rocket and Yondu share enough traits that killing him would feel like repeating a lot of the beats from Guardians of the Galaxy 2. Now, he’s only one of two Guardians left after the snap, so I’m really not too worried about him. Also, I don’t know how lighthearted anyone will be feeling in this movie, but if there is humor, I imagine a good portion of it is going to come from the Earth-based Avengers trying to figure out how there’s a talking raccoon among them when they finally get a chance to stop and take stock.
This Year’s Verdict: Probably safe.
11. Captain Marvel/Carol Danvers
Last Year’s Verdict: Wasn’t introduced yet.
Her first movie was just last month. Like they’re really gonna choose to kill her off now?
This Year’s Verdict: She’ll be fine.
Could anyone come back from the dead?
With the Time Stone in play and Janet Van Dyne’s (Michelle Pfeiffer) seemingly throwaway line about time vortices in the tag scene of Ant-Man and the Wasp, there’s a distinct possibility time travel could play a role in Endgame, meaning anything is possible. As I mentioned above, I firmly believe everyone who disappeared in the snap is coming back. But what are the odds for everyone else?
Of those who definitely died in Infinity War, I think Gamora is the most likely to come back. Her death was tied to the mystical Soul Stone and Thanos’ wish to eliminate half of all life in the universe, so I feel like there could definitely be some mystical loopholes available to save her. She’s been the female lead of the Guardians franchise so far, and she’s also their only real voice of reason (Star Lord has his moments, but let’s be honest here) so I have a hard time imagining Guardians of the Galaxy 3 without her. If she isn’t coming back, it’s going to fall to Nebula to step up and fill that void in a big way.
Vision couldn’t survive without the Mind Stone, which now resides in Thanos’ gauntlet. In theory, he could be the easiest to bring back once the Avengers defeat Thanos, simply by restoring the Mind Stone to his body, but there’s a distinct possibility the Infinity Stones will need to be destroyed to defeat Thanos (or to prevent anyone else from ever trying his plan).
While there are plenty of conspiracy theories out there on the internet about how and why Loki’s death was an illusion, I have no real evidence to back that up. Just a strong belief in Marvel’s, and even more so, Disney’s, desire to keep making money. And you know who fans love and will continue to spend buckets of money coming to see? Tom Hiddleston as Loki. Also, such a fan favorite character deserves to go out with a little more time spent letting the weight and emotion of their death resonate, and unfortunately Infinity War did not have a lot of time to spare, however much it might have tried. I certainly hope that wasn’t the last we’ll see of Loki.
I only see Heimdall coming back if the Avengers’ manage to pull off a major do-over and are able to time-travel far back enough to save everyone. He’s more of a secondary character, and Thor is the only one who would really be impacted by his permanent death, so I don’t imagine time being set aside to save just him considering the movie is already rumored to push 3 hours.