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 recent Vanity Fair cover story, the Avengers cast — including Mark Ruffalo, Scarlett Johansson, Chris Evans, and Chris Hemsworth — were having fun together, and Evans 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 likely survives as well
The only other character that we know for sure survives Avengers 4 is Spider-Man. Most fans would have already assumed as much; Marvel literally just introduced Spider-Man, so they obviously aren’t going to kill him after just two years.
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.
The Homecoming sequel will, therefore, be the official launch of Marvel’s Phase 4. It sounds like Spider-Man will be central to that next phase, especially if some of the original Avengers aren’t around.
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. 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. Black Panther, Doctor Strange, Ant-Man, and others won’t be killed
So who else will survive into the next era of the Marvel universe? Well, Black Panther living is a pretty safe bet. He’s just getting his first movie in 2018, and there really is no compelling reason to kill him off so early. Chadwick Boseman has also signed up for five films, meaning he’d still have one left after Avengers 4.
Doctor Strange likely won’t die, either. 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. Black Panther 2, 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. Vision, Loki, and Iron Man will probably die
Vision’s death feels inevitable, considering he’s powered by the Mind Stone, one of the six Infinity Stones. Thanos needs the stone in order to power the Infinity Gauntlet, and there’s a shot in the Infinity War trailer of the stone being ripped from Vision’s head. Previous movies have strongly implied that Vision will die without this stone, or at least lose his powers. Considering Thanos needs the stone for his story to continue, it’s difficult to imagine how Vision lives.
Then there’s 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. Maybe Loki offers up the Tesseract to save everyone, therefore redeeming himself, but Thanos kills him anyway. Regardless of how it happens, Loki’s arc for the past few movies has seemed to build towards a redemptive sacrifice.
But the main character whose death fans are most commonly 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.
Needless to say, you’re going to want to have tissues handy when Avengers 4 opens in 2019.
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