Look, we all know that the Marvel Cinematic Universe can't go on forever in its current form. Unlike pen and ink drawings, actors have to age, and we can't keep getting Captain America movies into the 2030s. So let's talk about the big cosmic elephant in the room. Avengers: Infinity War is coming up, and somebody's gonna die. I don't love the idea, but hey, we're all expecting it, so who's it gonna be? Well, let's look at the potential casualties and figure out who's gonna wind up six feet under Avengers Mansion.
Honorable Mention 1: Drax
Yeah, this one is suuuuuuper unlikely but that's why its an honorable mention and not an entry.
Drax is most likely going to stick around for Guardians 3 at least but if they wanted to kill off one of the Guardians of the Galaxy, he would be the one to go with. Why? Well I'll tell you. Drax is a being driven by rage and revenge. He is The Destroyer. And, while the first Guardians movie re-wrote his origin to make Ronan the one directly responsible for killing his wife instead of Thanos, we already know Ronan did that while working with Thanos.
Plus, if they wanted to adapt it, they could do the whole "Drax's daughter got adapted by Thanos and became Moondragon" thing it would give Drax even more of a reason to want to see Thanos dead. We already know Drax wants Thanos dead, and seeing him go down completing his one true goal would be a tragically beautiful moment. Buuuuut odds are it won't happen.
Odds of death: 1 in 200.
Honorable Mention 2: The Winter Soldier
I mean, it'd sure be shocking.
Yeah, I've been assuming Bucky is gonna be our next Captain America after Steve retires/dies/whatever, but what if he isn't? What if they go with Sam Wilson taking over? Then you got a surplus Bucky to deal with. And killing him off to give Steve a defining motivation to take into the final conflict would be a neat thing to do. Bucky has died in the comics. I mean, obviously, for decades it was the most notable thing about him.
After he took over the role as Captain America from Steve however, he "died" again during Fear Itself, although that was super temporary and mostly just happened so he would go back to being The Winter Soldier again. Which he did. Later he became the Man On The Wall before coming back to be Winter Soldier yet again. Which he is now. He's leading the Thunderbolts, in fact.
Odds of death: 1 in 175.
15. Maria Hill
If you aren't going to kill a main super, Maria Hill has been around long enough to fill the Coulson role this time.
I've always liked her from her earliest appearances in Secret War. She took over SHIELD from a disgraced Nick Fury and ran it throughout Marvel's Civil War event, after which she was replaced by Tony Stark. As Deputy Director, however things didn't run smoothly. She faced off with Skrull invaders during Secret Invasion, is booted from SHIELD when it became HAMMER during Dark Reign, and returned to the fold to help Thor during Siege.
Afterwards, when Steve Rogers became director of SHIELD, she began working with the Avengers full time. She followed Daisy Johnson as Director when she was disgraced for an Op on AIM Island and was disgraced herself after her Pleasant Hill project came to light. Currently, she's on the run from current head of SHIELD and secret HYDRA agent Steve "Captain America" Rogers.
Odds of death: 1 in 150.
14. Black Widow
No one Avenger lives a more dangerous life than Black Widow. She gets up close and personal with some of the most dangerous people on the planet, trusting only her instincts, skills, and weapons to keep her alive.
However, I somehow don't see Widow being the one to bite the dust in the upcoming film. Not only would it unfairly throw off the Avengers' already not great gender ratio, I just don't think her death would be the most narratively satisfying one.
Widow has been a big part of the Marvel films for a long time. From Iron Man 2; to The Avengers; and to Winter Soldier, Age of Ultron, and Civil War, she's always been standing by, ready to answer the call. Plus, Scarlett Johansson is one of the most recognizable and beloved actresses on the planet right now, and I can't help but think Marvel will want to hang on to her for a bit longer. Hopefully she finally gets a solo movie at some point.
Odds of death: 1 in 100
13. Nick Fury (Again)
I know we already went through this whole thing once before, but not really. After all, Fury was shown to not be dead IN the same movie he supposedly died in last time.
And while Captain America: Winter Soldier had a good pseudo send off for Nicholas J. Fury, there's nothing that would send him off better than watching him go down while fighting Thanos himself. Sam Jackson is and always will be a badass but he can't keep doing these movies forever. There's gotta be an endpoint in mind. And hey, maybe this is reinforcement to what Fury did with Coulson's death in The Avengers. Giving the team something to avenge and all.
Aaaaaaaand if you leave the top spot at SHIELD open, it can be filled by whoever you want! Maybe Maria Hill? Or maybe either Captain America or Iron Man, as retired superheroes saving the earth in their own more laid back way.
Odds of death: 1 in 50.
To be honest, of the Avengers' Big Three, Thor is the least likely to be killed. But, hey, still totally possible, and it would be a big moment to establish how big and scary Thanos could be. But I do have to be honest on this one, if Marvel isn't gonna kill Thor in a movie titled Ragnarok (they aren't), then they ain't gonna kill him, period.
The Mighty Avenger has died more than once in the source material. Here are some notable examples: The Thunder God was killed by Onslaught, and then reconstituted in a pocket universe before eventually finding his way home. He suffered a more vague and metaphorical death during the Avengers: Disassembled event under the story arc name Ragnarok. While he was dead, Tony Stark, Reed Richards, and Hank Pym employed a clone Thor, who was destroyed. He was also named Ragnarok, and I swear to god I'm not purposely trying to work that word in so often on purpose; it just comes up a lot when you're writing about Thor deaths.
The real Thor came back, and he was super pissed about his clone robot duplicate. During the Fear Itself event, Thor dropped dead AGAIN, this time for such a short period of time that they hadn't finished carving his friggin' tombstone when he crawled out from under it. What I'm saying is that Thor dies a lot. But will he in this movie? Probably not.
Odds of Death: 1 in 40
Hulk smash!! And maybe die, too. Hulk will see how that one goes.
I'll be honest; this one is far less likely. After all, Ruffalo is a newer addition to the MCU family than his other Avengers pals, and since he doesn’t have a starring role, his payday probably isn't quite as high as that of his co-stars, so he can be kept around longer. However, if they wanted a shocking death to show how scary and powerful Thanos or any other possible mystery villain was, having them execute the Hulk would be a likely call.
But I can also see Bruce Banner sticking around for a good long while into the future. The Hulk has died multiple times in the comics. One of the most notable was when he was killed fighting Onslaught alongside the Avengers and Fantastic Four. Of course, he was reborn in a pocket universe, and then got reborn later on. He died again when the Red Hulk shoved a trident through his chest. Of course, that one didn't last, either, and the Grandmaster brought him back. He's currently dead again, this time at the hands of former teammate Hawkeye during a mercy killing. But will his movie counterpart follow suit?
Odds of death: 1 in 35
10. War Machine
How beaten up can one dude get? Like, he just got waist-down paralyzed a movie ago, and we're already talking about whether or not he's going to die?
To be honest, this one is a little more likely. Whether he dies or not, there very clearly won't be a major place in the MCU for Tony Stark post-Avengers 3 and 4, and I don't feel like the films have established Rhodey as his own character enough to let him stand alone. That was a poor choice of words.
On the other hand, though, his paralysis is clearly a set-up for future stories, and it's not likely that they'd abandon those in favor of a shocking death. Plus, they already put Rhodey through the iron wringer during Civil War, and doing it again in Infinity War would just seem needlessly cruel. Rhodey is currently dead in the comics, having been slain by"¦Thanos"¦during Civil War 2. Ok, I know how that sounds, but still.
Odds of death: 1 in 25
Well, here's a likely contender.
Clint Barton has been a Marvel Film mainstay since his cameo in the first Thor film, and while he's easily the least served Avenger, he's had his moments. Specifically, he’s the best part of Age of Ultron, an otherwise mediocre movie that did at least let us know that Hawkeye lives on a farm upstate with his wife, Lindsay Weir.
Hawkeye has been assumed to be a sacrificial lamb for years now. In fact, I remember early rumors that Captain America: Civil War would start with Crossbones killing off Clint's family, and potentially Clint, as well. That turned out to be BS, but it's not totally out of the realm of possibility that the archer's gonna kick the bucket. Barton did indeed bite the dust in the comics, most famously during Avengers: Disassembled, when he rode a jetpack into an exploding Kree warship created by the Scarlet Witch's insanity, screaming, "Not like this!" Not the most dignified of endings, I'll say.
Odds of death: 1 in 20
8. The Falcon
Hopefully this bird doesn't get his wings clipped before he gets to shine.
Anthony Mackie is an inspired choice. He doesn’t get the credit he deserves for being so great in these movies. He was fantastic in Winter Soldier, and did well with what little screen time he had in Age of Ultron. Plus, his extended cameo in Ant-Man was way better than it had any right to be, and his limited role in Civil War was done perfectly.
We could see him get killed off, but I hope not. Someone has to pick up the shield when Steve Rogers exits the MCU, and I'd love for the Falcon to take after his comic book predecessor on that front. That would also keep him safe from getting the axe in Infinity War, but if Bucky is the one chosen to wield the Shield, then Sam Wilson could be expendable.
Odds of death: 1 in 15
7. Everyone Else
Or at least half of everyone else.
As most all of you probably know, the upcoming film, at least in part, is based on the Marvel Comics story Infinity Gauntlet. In that story, Thanos assembles all of the Infinity Gems into the Infinity Gauntlet, a relic of unlimited power and multiverse shaping potential. Also, Thanos is in love with death. No, like, not in a poetic context, he is romantically in love with the physical representation of death who, in the Marvel Universe, is a female grim reaper. So, to appease her, Thanos's first act is to erase half of all life in the entire universe. It got fixed later on, but that is Thanos's opening gambit.
It's kind of a big deal. And so as far as movies go, that's not a bad inciting incident. Take all the MCU characters you aren't planning on having work with the Avengers in the main plot and open the movie with them disappearing in horror. Nick Fury? Temporarily erased. Wong? Him too. Jane Foster, Pepper Potts, Bucky Barnes, Yondu, maybe someone like Daredevil if they felt like getting the obligatory Netflix/films crossover out of the way? All gone. And all to be slowly returned at the end of the film.
Odds of death(s): 1 in 15
6. No One
One of the biggest complaints about Marvel's previous huge venture Civil War was that no one died. This complaint is, to be blunt, really stupid. And I'd be perfectly fine if no one died in this film as well.
This whole list is my speculation based on narrative structure and character arcs and, well, knowing how movies work. It is not me giddily hoping for someone to kick the bucket. Someone probably will die, but if no one does? If this just continues to be a film series where action is packed, people are hurt, but no one has to die I am perfectly okay with that.
Look, you don't need a fear of death to have stakes. Go back and watch Raiders of the Lost Arc right now. You know Indiana Jones is gonna live, partially because there are follow up Indy movies, but that original film is still tense and suspenseful and excellent. Everyone knows that Saul Goodman isn't going to kick it halfway through an episode of Better Call Saul because he shows up in Breaking Bad, but my roommates still obsessively watch that show week in and week out. So yeah. That's also a possibility.
Odds of (no) death: 1 in 10.
5. Scarlet Witch
I've always liked the Scarlet Witch quite a bit. And the MCU version is a really strong adaptation.
She's struggling to be a hero, despite her troubled past. She has far more power than she regularly uses, but there's no doubt that she's a hero in the end. While she seems to have a full life ahead of her, her death isn't totally impossible. In fact, she already completed her character arc in Civil War by saving the day and accepting Hawkeye's life debt to her.
And having the former villainess sacrifice herself for the universe and for her team wouldn't be totally out of the blue. Wanda Maximoff has been an important Avenger, and she’s died in the comics. The most recent instance was in Uncanny Avengers, when Rogue stabbed her in the chest, although that death was undone.
Odds of death: 1 in 10
4. The Vision
If any of the non-founding Avengers are going to kick the bucket here, it's going to be the Vision.
His arc of growing into his personality and consciousness, as well as the teased relationship between him and the Scarlet Witch, set him up for a potentially tragic fall. Also, Thanos is collecting the Infinity Gems to form the Gauntlet, and one of those tasty little gems is currently embedded in The Vision's skull.
So it's not out of the realm of possibility that, after snatching The Orb from the Nova Corps and The Eye of Agamotto from Dr. Strange, Thanos might just stop off at the Avengers Compound to pry that yellow gem right out of poor Vision's frontal cortex. Vision has been struck down in the comic books, just like everybody else. In one of the most famous examples, She-Hulk ripped him in half after the Scarlet Witch drove her insane. He was rebuilt after that, first as a teenager, and then in his adult form.
Odds of death: 1 in 7
3. Iron Man
The man who brought the Marvel Cinematic Universe to life is an obvious call for the big death to close out its first age.
I'd be lying if I didn't say this death would make absolute, perfect sense. And it would be a fitting close to the arc Stark's been heading down since the first Avengers movie. During the Battle of New York, Tony gets a look at how vast the universe is, and has an existential crisis as he wonders, "Who will save us?" In Iron Man 3, he tries to save the world on his own by building countless suits of armor, but he realizes how misguided that is. In Age of Ultron, he places his faith in something greater: artificial intelligence. Hoping that he can build someone else to save the world, he fails and creates Ultron. He puts his faith in the government in Civil War, assuming they can do something to help everyone. They can't, and only wind up dividing the heroes. All that's left is for Stark to realize that if the world's gonna be saved, he has to do it himself with the help of his friends.
And he might have to die to accomplish his ultimate goal.
Odds of death: 1 in 5
Not an Avenger, true, but I never said we were only including the heroes.
Look, Marvel has a tendency to kill off their villains at the end of every movie. Seriously, who's left alive still? Abomination? Loki? Dormmamu? Zemo? Uh"¦ Red Skull? Maybe? Is that really it? Look, the literal only reason for Thanos to not be killed off at the end of this film would be if they leave him alive to die in the sequel.
Thanos originally died when Adam Warlock stopped him from conquering the universe by turning him to stone. He was resurrected only to later be killed in vengeance by Drax the Destroyer. He came back yet again and got almost immediately frozen in limbo by his son, Thane. Then he got freed and then Dr. Doom annihilated him. But we aren't done yet because Galactus accidentally brought him back to life and he went on a rampage and killed War Machine. And now he's still running around.
Odds of death: 1 in 4.
1. Captain America
Who else was it gonna be?
If anyone is going to be buried six feet under with a big A-shaped gravestone after Infinity War, it is one hundred percent going to be Captain America. He's the Avengers' biggest figure, and his death would be iconographically tragic. Plus, we have both Bucky "Winter Soldier" Barnes and The Falcon waiting around to pick up that shield once Steve drops it. Rogers has died multiple times in the comics, most famously when he was shot in the shoulder and stomach after Civil War. But that's not the death I want to focus on. No, that death, quickly reversed as it was, is from Infinity Gauntlet.
In the story, Thanos uses all of the gems to piece together the Infinity Gauntlet, and then goes on a murder spree. All of the best Marvel heroes join together to stop him, but Thanos kills them all. As the last man left standing, Steve calmly strides across the battlefield, gets face-to-face with Thanos, and"¦talks to him. Cap gives a stunningly great speech about how Thanos will never truly triumph as long as one man stands against him. And then Thanos kills him. As far as endings go, that's a pretty darn solid one.
Odds of death: 1 in 2
And there you go. Those are my odds. Could be right, could be wrong. We'll see. And being surprised is half the fun!