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Avengers: Infinity War and its sequel, Avengers 4, mark the end of an era for Marvel Studios. Some of the original Avengers will step down to make way for the new generation, inviting an obvious question: Who will die in Avengers: Infinity War?
Fans have speculated for years about which Marvel hero will die first. Most of the original Avengers actors have completed their multi-film contracts, and you can’t introduce a war with Thanos without killing off a few characters. Without knowing any spoilers, we’ve tried to figure out which heroes are safe and which are most likely doomed.
Who will definitely survive Avengers: Infinity War?
We can determine our list of survivors pretty easily, because some characters are due to appear in sequels after Infinity War. So, Ant-Man, Spidey, and Black Panther are all safe.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 is Marvel’s only other announced sequel, so Peter Quill will probably survive. However, his teammates may not be so lucky. With Nebula waiting in the wings and Mantis joining the team in Vol. 2, Marvel has room to kill off one of the original Guardians. Gamora is a believable option because Zoe Saldana has several Avatar sequels left to film, and Gamora has a conflicted relationship with her father Thanos.
Who will die in Avengers: Infinity War?
Vision is a pretty safe bet, closely followed by Loki. Thanos needs the Infinity Stone in Vision’s forehead to complete the Infinity Gauntlet, meaning Vision is basically a walking Maguffin. His death would also add an emotional kick to the first act of the story, because he’s Scarlet Witch’s boyfriend and (kind of) Tony Stark’s son.
As for Loki, he’s one of the most popular predictions because Thanos already has a score to settle with him. Loki failed to conquer Earth on Thanos’ orders in The Avengers, and in the Infinity War trailer, we see him captured by the Black Order, Thanos’ henchmen. Since Thor apparently has a key role in this movie, Loki’s murder could be a motivating factor.
Captain America and Iron Man
As much as we like to imagine Captain America retiring to a beach house with Bucky Barnes, Cap’s story is ultimately a tragedy, and he’s not exactly the retiring type. So: He’s doomed. Also, actor Chris Evans is the first Avenger to explicitly announce his retirement from the Marvel scene. Steve Rogers will probably die, but he may not die until Avengers 4. Marvel filmed the two movies back-to-back, and they want us to assume that all the major players are in both of them. For now, it’s a Schrodinger’s Cap situation where he could be either dead or alive.
Robert Downey Jr. has started to make noises about aging out of his role as Tony Stark, but he hasn’t actually confirmed he’s leaving Marvel. To dig deeper, let’s look at some inside-baseball analysis of Infinity War‘s actor credits.
Due to the massive cast list between Infinity War and Avengers 4, some characters will have bigger roles in this movie, and smaller (or nonexistent) roles in the sequel. RDJ received the top credit in Infinity War, followed by Chris Hemsworth, and Mark Ruffalo. Is this purely due to RDJ’s star power, or does it signal a particularly significant role? And if so, does that mean someone else will receive top billing in Avengers 4? If Iron Man dies in Infinity War, Marvel has successfully kept a lid on one of the biggest movie spoilers of all time.
It would take all day to investigate every character in this arguably overstuffed movie, but here’s a rundown of the other major players.
Hawkeye: Some fans will scoff and say he should be in the “very likely” to die category, but hear me out. Although Hawkeye is mysteriously absent from the Infinity War marketing materials, this doesn’t necessarily mark him for death. If he was going to die, wouldn’t it make more sense to include him in the posters as a fake-out? My theory is that while he has a minor role in Infinity War, his screentime will expand in Avengers 4.
Hulk/Bruce Banner: Total wild card.
Black Widow: She has a solo spinoff in the works, but that could be a backstory prequel. The main argument against her death is that it’s kind of awkward to kill of the most prominent female character in an already male-dominated cast.
Thor: According to the Russo brothers, Thor is practically the protagonist of Infinity War—alongside Thanos, of course. Chris Hemsworth and Taika Waititi have talked about making a fourth Thor movie, but Infinity War could easily be his epic send-off, leaving Heimdall in charge of Asgard.
Scarlet Witch: Definitely plausible. Elizabeth Olsen has already ruled out the idea of a Scarlet Witch spinoff, and Scarlet Witch is one of the more expendable characters. The Avengers need a magic-user, though, so they probably won’t kill off Scarlet Witch and Doctor Strange
Doctor Strange: Marvel hasn’t announced a Doctor Strange sequel yet, so this could actually happen.
Rhodey/War Machine: Surely they won’t kill off Rhodey after breaking his spine in the last movie? Right?
Bucky and Falcon: There’s a lot of speculation about which of these two could take over the Captain America franchise—or if they’ll team up for their own spinoff. Bucky is the more likely death because he’s already had an extensive emotional arc, but hopefully, they’ll both survive.
Are there any Skrulls in Avengers: Infinity War?
To add some spice to all of this morbid speculation, there’s another leftfield option for the Infinity War cast. Some of them may be aliens in disguise.
The upcoming Captain Marvel movie will involve the Kree-Skrull war, an epic conflict from Marvel Comics. Skrulls are shapeshifting aliens, and in the comics storyline Secret Invasion, they infiltrated Earth by impersonating certain superheroes. In theory, any character in the MCU could already be a Skrull. That includes characters who might die in Infinity War and return as their original counterparts in Avengers 4. Could Hawkeye’s absence be hiding an alien secret? You’ll find out on April 27.
Gavia Baker-Whitelaw is a staff writer at the Daily Dot, covering geek culture and fandom. Specializing in sci-fi movies and superheroes, she also appears as a film and TV critic on BBC radio. Elsewhere, she co-hosts the pop culture podcast Overinvested. Follow her on Twitter: @Hello_Tailor