One of the criticisms of the Marvel Cinematic Universe for some time has been that the stakes are fairly low. Its villains aren’t too threatening, and we never feel like one of the heroes could genuinely die.
But that’s about to change. In the upcoming two Avengers movies, it’s believed that one or more beloved characters will be killed off. So who’s going to live and who will die? So far, we know for sure that a handful of characters are going to make it out alive, and based a new interview, it sounds like one original Avenger is safe.
1. A significant number of characters will die or retire in Avengers 4
Marvel Studios has made it clear that Avengers 4 is the end of the MCU as we know it. In a Vanity Fair cover story, the Avengers cast — including Mark Ruffalo, Scarlett Johansson, Chris Evans, and Chris Hemsworth — were having fun together, and Hemsworth observed, “This is going to be the last time we get to hang out like this.”
Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige also told Vanity Fair that Avengers 4 will “bring things you’ve never seen in superhero films: a finale.” He added that “there will be two distinct periods. Everything before Avengers 4 and everything after.”
But that’s not to say Marvel is starting over from scratch after that. In a separate Vanity Fair piece, Avengers director Anthony Russo said that Avengers 4 is “an end for some of these characters” but that “some of these characters will go on.”
Next: We know for sure that this group of characters survives Avengers 4.
2. All of the Guardians of the Galaxy characters will likely survive
Each member of the Guardians of the Galaxy will almost certainly survive Avengers 4. After all, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 has already been confirmed. It’s coming out in 2020, the year after Avengers 4.
Granted, a third Guardians movie could still happen even if one of the protagonists — Drax, Gamora, or maybe Nebula — dies. But that’s unlikely because director James Gunn has said that you’ll be able to watch Vol. 3 without seeing Avengers 4, and you won’t really be confused.
“You can still watch the three Guardians movies as a whole and they’ll still basically make sense, with maybe a couple of little elements you’re going to have to be caught up on,” Gunn said in a Facebook Q&A.
One of the main characters of the series dying off screen would hardly be a “little element.” So based on Gunn’s quote, it sounds like Peter Quill, Gamora, Drax, Groot, and Rocket all survive their encounter with Thanos.
Next: Marvel has confirmed that this character does not die in Avengers 4.
3. Spider-Man and Black Panther definitely survive as well
The only other characters that we know for sure survive Avengers 4 are Spider-Man and Black Panther. Most fans would have already assumed as much; Marvel literally just introduced those two.
But in case there were any doubts, Marvel has confirmed that a sequel to Spider-Man: Homecoming is on the way, scheduled for July 2019, just two months after Avengers 4. Apparently, that movie is going to deal with the immediate aftermath of Avengers 4; it picks up just a few minutes later.
In addition, a sequel to Black Panther is also coming.
Next: Based on a recent interview, it sounds like this original Avenger probably makes it out alive, too.
4. Chris Hemsworth hints Thor will make it through Infinity War
So will any of the original Avengers survive and continue on into the next phase? Right now, the most likely candidate to live is Thor. Chris Hemsworth recently said in an interview that he’d like to keep playing Thor after Avengers 4.
“If I had the opportunity to do it again, I think I’d love to,” Hemsworth said. “I also think there’s an appetite for it now, or there’s a far greater range of possibilities of where he can go now, what he can do, just because we’ve kind of broken the mold a bit.”
Hemsworth noted that the character evolved with Ragnarok, and he evolves even more with the next two Avengers movies. He also said that he has a “renewed sense of excitement and enthusiasm” for Thor after Ragnarok and the two new Avengers films. A crucial element of this is the fact that this interview would have been conducted after most of the filming for Avengers 4 had been completed, so Hemsworth obviously knows what happens to Thor.
Maybe Hemsworth is biting his tongue in this interview not wanting to give away the fact that Thor dies. But it sure sounds like Thor makes it out alive and Hemsworth wants his storyline to keep going.
Next: More reason to believe that Thor does not die in Avengers 4.
5. There has been some talk of a fourth Thor movie
After the success of Thor: Ragnarok, there has been talk of a potential fourth Thor film. Ragnarok‘s director, Taika Waititi, told Screen Rant that he would “for sure” direct a sequel. He noted that it would basically be a second Thor: Ragnarok rather than a fourth Thor movie. He also suggested that it would star Mark Ruffalo again, therefore implying Hulk lives through Avengers 4.
In another interview, Waititi said that he and Hemsworth have had conversations about doing another Thor, which doesn’t sound like something they’d talk about if Thor dies in Avengers 4.
Marvel has never given any of their heroes a fourth movie. But it would be appropriate for Thor to be the first to get one, since he was completely reinvented for Ragnarok. Ragnarok was also a rousing success at the box office, making about as much money as Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 and almost doubling the gross of the original Thor.
Next: A few other characters who are most likely safe.
6. Doctor Strange, Ant-Man, and others likely won’t be killed
So who else will survive into the next era of the Marvel universe? Well, Doctor Strange surviving seems like a safe bet. He’s still got a lot of story left in him, including a conflict with Mordo, which presumably will not resolve itself in these Avengers movies and is a setup for Doctor Strange 2. Kevin Feige has also said that the studio would like to make a Doctor Strange sequel.
Ant-Man, too, will probably live. Ant-Man and the Wasp is coming out this summer, and Michael Pena recently implied there will be a third one. Doctor Strange 2 and Ant-Man 3 haven’t technically been confirmed yet, probably because doing so would spoil who lives and who dies. But in Phase 1, every single Marvel hero who received a solo movie got at least two more, with the exception of Hulk.
Basically, it seems that with one exception, most of the heroes introduced in Phase 2 onwards will live.
Next: These three characters are most likely to die in the next two movies.
7. Loki and Iron Man will probably die
One character who seems likely to die is Loki. Thor’s brother is in possession of the Tesseract, which houses the Space Stone and which Thanos has apparently arrived to take in the end credits scene of Thor: Ragnarok. Thanos could kill Loki and take the Tesseract early on in Infinity War to establish the stakes.
It’s worth noting that in the Infinity War trailers, literally every shot we’ve seen of Loki has been from the same scene of his confrontation with Thanos, which fits with the idea that Loki dies there and isn’t in the rest of the movie. There’s also a scene in the most recent trailer where Loki is being threatened and Thanos seems to be forcing Thor to watch something, perhaps Loki’s death.
But the main character whose death fans are most often predicting is Iron Man. In contrast to Hemsworth, Robert Downey Jr. has spent years talking about how he doesn’t want to overstay his welcome and wants to leave when it’s appropriate. Well, it’s appropriate now. Tony Stark is essentially the father figure of the Avengers, and his death would certainly shake this story up and force the next team of Avengers — and especially Spider-Man — to fend for themselves. There’s little left for him to do in the Marvel universe, and a lot to be gained from killing him off.
Next: It sounds like this character will bite the dust.
8. Captain America might be a goner, too
Leading up to Infinity War, Chris Evans has given a lot of hints that he’s retiring from the Marvel Universe. In an interview with The New York Times, Evans said “You want to get off the train before they push you off,” leading many to believe that he will be exiting the franchise after Avengers 4. Evans also talked excitedly about his new projects, so it seems like he (and Cap) are ready to hang up that shield for good.
Needless to say, you’re going to want to have tissues handy when Avengers 4 opens in 2019.
Additional reporting by Becca Bleznak.
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