After an extremely patient and totally tolerant internet calmly waited without a single complaint for the trailer for Avengers: Infinity War, the day has finally come for Marvel to release the first official footage for the film. Naturally, the responses have ranged from “meh, underwhelming” to “which limb do I have to offer in order to see this movie RIGHT NOW?” A lot of people are also sitting comfortably in the middle, but let’s face it, most of us have teased the latter. Regardless of how you feel about the Marvel Cinematic Universe, one cannot deny the impact these films have had on the industry, and what a true accomplishment it is to release 19 interconnected movies within a ten year timespan. And with Avengers 4 in 2019 as the 22nd release and end cap to the current MCU, the top brass has promised some big changes which may or may not involve some beloved characters biting the dust. I think it’s safe to say that at least one, if not multiple heroes, will perish at the hands of Thanos. The following is a list comprised of the top candidates.
Tony in a lot of ways seems like the most obvious candidate, as well as being the most critical character to the MCU. If Kevin Feige really does intend to shake things up going forward, killing Tony would be really the only choice to manifest that change. The story of the Marvel Cinematic Universe is in some ways the story of Tony Stark, so to end it would be to end Iron Man. It’d certainly be a poetic way to close out this saga.
If Tony’s on the table, then Steve has to be. The Russo brothers already avoided his death once by not killing him off in Civil War; a departure from the comic it’s adapted from. Steve means so much to so many people: not just audiences, but every other Avenger and the civilians that inhabit that universe. It’d be a scenario that DC tried to pitch with Justice League and the death of Superman: the physical embodiment of hope perishing. But unlike the DCEU, where Superman was seemingly reviled but the majority of the population, a lot of people still believe in Captain America, despite the events of Civil War. Both Bucky Barnes AKA The Winter Soldier and Sam Wilson AKA The Falcon have taken up the mantle of Captain America in the comics after Steve was off the table. It’s feasible that the same could occur in the MCU.
Hawkeye is a softball; a character that has seemingly been groomed from the very beginning of the franchise to die. This may sound harsh, and is in no ways meant to disrespect the character or Jeremy Renner’s solid performance, but he’s the least important original Avenger, meaning that the movies could very easily carry one without him. One of his most pivotal characteristics is the fact that he emotionally compromises Black Widow, which is a mark in the “Gonna Die” checklist. Natasha has been through a lot with losing Bruce Banner in Age of Ultron and the general “fuckupedness” of Civil War. Hawkeye dying would be the ultimate test of her keeping her shit together, which may prove difficult with her also having to deal with a crazed space overlord threatening to eradicate all life. Let’s also not ignore the fact that Hawkeye has received his fair share of character development in one of the better aspects of the second Avengers film. Clint Barton is a family man who, when not shooting bad guys in the head with arrows for S.H.I.E.L.D, tends to a farm in the middle of god-knows-where with a loving wife and children. Clint is the most human of all the Avengers, and as such, is almost our surrogate. To end his life would deal significant emotional impact to both the rest of the characters as well as the film audience. His death was even teased in Age of Ultron, with Quicksilver being the one to perish in his stead. At this point, it would honestly be surprising if he made it out of Avengers 3 and 4 alive.
Since Age of Ultron, when Vision was created with the Mind Stone as his power source, fans have asked “How can Vision survive Infinity War if Thanos needs the Mind Stone for the Infinity Gauntlet?” Well, the answer is simply that he can’t. I’m sure Tony could find a way to power Vision without the Mind Stone, but it seems he’ll be pretty busy with other work in Infinity War. And much like a brain, the Mind Stone is Vision. Even if his body finds a new power source, it’s extremely unlikely he’ll recognizably be himself any more. We even see in the trailer a clip of Thanos, or one of his agents, seemingly trying to pry the Mind Stone from Vision’s head. This is either a red herring or the beginning of the end for the character, but if Thanos is to complete the Infinity Gauntlet, it’s going to happen one way or another. Vision is also one of the few characters that could be feasibly resurrected. All they’d need would be to pair his body back with the Mind Stone, which if they defeat Thanos would imaginably be possible. And much like Hawkeye and Black Widow, Vision has become an emotional crux for Scarlet Witch. After losing her brother Pietro AKA Quicksilver in Age of Ultron, losing Vision would be another devastating blow that may put her over the edge. It’s happened in the comics before, and it might be the thing the heroes need to defeat Thanos, as Scarlet Witch is arguably the most powerful Avenger. That rage might fuel her to really unleash all she’s got on Thanos and his horde.
Speaking of Wanda, she is also a viable candidate for perishing. She’s not an original Avenger, and yet has made a huge impact on the team since her arrival; she was essentially the crux of Civil War. Arguably she is the most important character to be added to the team since they formed. Thanos would also want her off the table; as I mentioned earlier she’s pretty much the most powerful Avenger, so his best chances of winning are taking her out. Like I also touched upon, there’s certainly precedence in the comics for Wanda going off the deep end when under trauma and significantly losing her shit to the point that she does unimaginable damage. This could be an interesting set up in which Scarlet Witch unleashes all her energy at once, sacrificing herself after losing Vision and dealing a massive blow to Thanos in the process. In his weakened state, the rest of the team might have an actual chance of defeating him. The icing on the tragic cake would be if Vision was brought back, but with Wanda being his only real human connection, he himself goes through a great deal of loss that defines his character going forward.
No matter who dies, I think it’s important that the deaths stick. People have propositioned that everyone might die and that the Time Stone will be used to undo all the damage. I find that to be a cop out and in no way a satisfying end, and I think Kevin Feige and the Russo brothers believe that as well. In the comics, all too often are hero deaths used to shock audiences, only for those characters to be resurrected down the line because writers simply don’t know what to do without them. Since the MCU is more contained, controlled and a seemingly finite thing, the storytellers could continue even if their biggest names are taken out of the sandbox. And if that’s going to happen, Infinity War and its sequel are the films to do it.