The 10 Most Heartbreaking Deaths in the MCU, Ranked

The Marvel Cinematic Universe doesn’t shy away from killing some of its most beloved characters. Every death is hard, from original Avengers to characters who only appeared in one film. So to commemorate the MCU’s fallen heroes, we’ve compiled a list of the top 10 most heart-wrenching deaths. As a note, we don’t include the Scarlet Witch in this list because we refuse to believe that she’s dead.

Scarlett Johansson, whose character Black Widow is among the MCU deaths, wears a strapless dress and pink earrings.
Scarlett Johansson | Photo by Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic

10. Coulson is one of the first MCU deaths

To kick off this list, we must begin with the first MCU death that genuinely broke our hearts — Phil Coulson. Marvel first introduced the S.H.I.E.L.D. agent in Iron Man as Nick Fury’s right-hand man. And from then on, he was a staple in the MCU.

Coulson became even more endearing in The Avengers when he fangirled over Steve Rogers. Unfortunately, Loki later stabbed Coulson in the chest with his scepter in the film.

Of course, those devout fans who watched Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. know that Coulson didn’t really die. Thanks to Project T.A.H.I.T.I., the agent was revived and went on to star in seven seasons of his own television show. However, Marvel refuses to count Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. as a part of the MCU. So Coulson’s original MCU death in The Avengers might be canon, unfortunately.

9. Yondu

Yondu was the leader of the Ravagers clan that took Peter Quill in after his mother died and his father wanted to kill him.

When fans first met Yondu in Guardians of the Galaxy, he didn’t seem like a good person. He and the Ravagers hunted down Peter to take the Orb that contained the Power Stone. However, we learned in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 that Yondu wasn’t so bad.

The Ravagers turned against Yondu when they saw how much he favored Peter. Yondu escaped their ship and helped the Guardians defeat Ego. But in the process, Yondu sacrificed his life and gave Peter the only spacesuit they had so that he wouldn’t suffocate. In the end, Peter’s father figure died right in front of him. Yondu’s heartbreaking death is one that MCU fans will never forget.

8. Gilgamesh

We only had Gilgamesh for a couple of hours, but it didn’t take long to fall in love with his character.

Marvel introduced Gilgamesh in Eternals as one of the 10 Eternals the Celestials sent to Earth to protect humans from the Deviants. He had super strength, but he also had a huge heart. When Thena, another Eternal, suffered from Mahd Wy’ry, Gilgamesh decided to help her. Together, Gilgamesh and Thena retreated to Australia to live as peacefully as they could.

Unfortunately, the Deviants later returned, forcing the partners out of exile. When the Eternals traveled to the Amazon Rainforest to recruit Druig, the Deviants attacked, and Gilgamesh died while protecting Thena. His death is one of the many things that MCU fans have not forgiven Marvel for.

7. Jane Foster

Jane Foster is the latest MCU superhero to die, but a villain didn’t cause her death.

Thor: Love and Thunder revealed that Thor’s ex-girlfriend had been diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer, and no treatment would save her. So Jane traveled to New Asgard for a Hail Mary — Mjolnir. She thought Thor’s hammer, which was in pieces thanks to Hela, could help her. And in a way, Jane was right.

Mjolnir sensed Jane’s presence and chose her to be the Mighty Thor. She fought side-by-side with the love of her life in one final battle against Gorr the God Butcher. Unfortunately, every time Jane picked up Mjolnir, she got sicker. But this last adventure was worth it for Jane, and she died in Thor’s arms before Heimdall welcomed her into Valhalla.

6. Loki has experienced death multiple times in the MCU

If there is one character who is well-versed in MCU deaths, it’s Loki.

The God of Mischief has died three times onscreen, but the first two times were a part of Loki’s tricks. He fell off the Bifrost Bridge at the end of Thor, seemingly disappearing into space. However, a post-credits scene revealed that Loki was alive and plotting his revenge, which would play out in The Avengers. He “died” again in Thor: The Dark World during a battle against the Dark Elves. But it was another illusion, and he impersonated Odin in Asgard for years.

Sadly, the third time was the charm for Loki, and he died for real at the beginning of Avengers: Infinity War. Thanos snapped his neck after Loki attempted to kill him on the Asgardian ship.

Loki is a fan-favorite villain, and his death is understandably one of the saddest scenes in the MCU. He died a hero, and it was all the more painful knowing that Thor had to watch his brother die for the third time. But this time, he wasn’t coming back — unless you count a Loki variant getting his own Disney+ show.

5. Vision

Like Loki, Vision is one of the pre-snap casualties in Avengers: Infinity War. For most of the film, the Avengers tried hiding Vision from Thanos, who sought the Mind Stone from the synthezoid. They brought him to Wakanda, where Shuri worked to remove the stone from Vision without killing him. Unfortunately, time was not on their side.

Once Thanos got the Time Stone from Doctor Strange, he only needed the Mind Stone to complete his collection. He traveled to Wakanda, and Vision pleaded with Wanda to destroy the stone. In one of the most heartbreaking scenes of the MCU, Wanda granted his wish, and Vision died. However, Thanos used the Time Stone to turn back time, get the Mind Stone, and brutally kill Vision a second time.

A white version of Vision later returned in WandaVision, but it’s unclear what and where he is. Perhaps if and when Marvel announces a Scarlet Witch solo film, Paul Bettany as Vision will be involved.

4. Gamora

Thanos caused many MCU deaths, and one of his first kills was his own daughter, Gamora.

Gamora hated her adoptive father from a very young age, and the first chance she got to escape him, she took it. That’s when she met her fellow Guardians of the Galaxy. Gamora formed her own family with Peter, Drax, Groot, Rocket, Mantis, and Nebula. Sadly, Thanos would tear their family apart during his quest for the Infinity Stones.

Thanos kidnapped Gamora during Avengers: Infinity War, and he took her to Vormir. There, he sacrificed her life to obtain the Soul Stone. When Peter found out what happened to the love of his life, he lost it.

Gamora deserved so much better than the hand she was dealt in life, and that’s all the more reason to hate Thanos. Hopefully, the Gamora variant we met in Avengers: Endgame will provide some closure for the fans and the Guardians.

3. Aunt May

Maybe it’s because Aunt May’s death in the MCU is fresh in our minds, but this one hurt a lot. And that’s also partly due to Tom Holland’s performance while his character held his last parental figure in his arms as she took her final breath.

Spider-Man: No Way Home hurt and mended our hearts in more ways than one. But one thing that we will never forgive Marvel for is killing Aunt May. Yes, it brought Peter Parker’s origin story in the MCU full circle, but it was also a very traumatizing scene.

Green Goblin fatally injured May during the movie, and before she died, she told Peter the famous Spider-Man line — “With great power comes great responsibility.” Then, May collapsed, and Peter begged his aunt to open her eyes. It’s safe to say we won’t be getting over this MCU death anytime soon.

2. Iron Man

Robert Downey Jr. was the perfect person to play Tony Stark, and after leading the MCU for 11 years, it was time for him to say goodbye.

Tony survived the Mad Titan’s snap at the end of Avengers: Infinity War. But five years later, he led the remaining Avengers in their mission to reverse Thanos’ actions and bring back everyone they lost. They retrieved the Infinity Stones, and their plan was a success. However, Thanos from 2014 arrived with his army, and Tony used the stones to defeat them.

His human body couldn’t handle the power of the stones, and he died. But in true Tony Stark fashion, his last words were, “I am Iron Man.”

The MCU began with Iron Man, so watching him die in Avengers: Endgame understandably ripped our hearts out of our chests.

1. Black Widow is the saddest MCU death

Some fans might swap the top two of this list, but we stand by the notion that Black Widow’s death is the most heartbreaking goodbye in the MCU.

Natasha Romanoff was one of the six original Avengers, and she was severely underused in the early years of the MCU. By the time Natasha met her demise in Avengers: Endgame, it seemed like Marvel had finally figured out what to do with her character. But it was too late because she sacrificed her life to get the Soul Stone.

We will never forget the look on Clint’s face as he watched his best friend fall to her death on Vormir. Natasha gave her life so he could get his family back, but she was his family, too. The world and the Avengers were significantly affected by her death, and the MCU will never be the same without Black Widow in it.

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