We’re only a few weeks away from the cinematic experience of the year, Avengers: Infinity War, but with rumours abound that we’ll be losing a fan favourite hero, who exactly is on the chopping block?
For a few years now it’s been long rumoured that we would be facing the death of at least one major Marvel Cinematic Universe character once Infinity War and Avengers 4 rolled around. Names as wide and varied as Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, War Machine, Hawkeye and Vision have all had their names thrown out over the years as potential heroes who will bite the bullet. Contract agreements have led to speculation over some, whilst storyline threads have alluded to others.
Therefore as it stands the playing field is pretty open, there are a number of routes that Marvel could take to deliver an emotional gut punch during Infinity War and from the point of view of the fans that unpredictability is something to cherish. Too often do we go into superhero films with a solid idea of where the story will take us. Just last year DC tried in vein to dupe the audience into believing that Superman wouldn’t be coming back in Justice League, it was only once box office market numbers started to dwindle that they brought him into the marketing campaign. Even Marvel have suffered from a form of predictability, with the always present knowledge that Infinity War and Avengers 4 were around the corner we knew deep down that whilst watching films such as Thor Ragnarok and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 that none of our heroes were yet in the firing line.
The gloves are off and it’s hard to argue that any of the original Avengers cast are for sure going to find themselves coming out these two films alive and well. Sure there are some who have a longevity that the others do not. Hulk is likely to stick around and with rumours abound of a Black Widow spin-off being in the works, as well as the easier route of having the more human characters retire to a farm somewhere, always being open.
So who do I think are the likely candidates to start pushing daisies?
It was a recent profile on Chris Evans for the New York Times that prompted the creation of this article in the first place. In the profile it appears to confirm that Cap is sticking around until Avengers 4 and then packing his boots and leaving the franchise for good.
But for me that all feels a little too convenient so close to the release of Infinity War. Why would Marvel authorise the release of that news if it takes away any stakes for the character in a hotly anticipated film that’s only a few weeks away? Combining that with the knowledge that Evans’ original contract with Marvel finished with Infinity War, and that he supposedly signed on to an additional film, and with tinfoil hat on I’m starting to think that there’s a conspiracy afoot.
Whilst it could very well be true that Evans is sticking around for Avengers 4 and that is the end of his Marvel run, I’m now slightly more convinced that we could be looking at a shock exit for the character at the end of Infinity War.
It was recently made evident by the Russo Brothers that Infinity War is essentially the story of both Thanos and Thor, with the two characters taking up the most amount of screen time in the film.
Thanos having such a pivotal role was an obvious reveal, but I feel as though the Thor declaration was slightly more revealing plot-wise. As of yet Thor hasn’t had a massive presence in the trailers, popping up here and there, but with little dialogue and no clear direction for where his story in the film will take him. Which is interesting given that the film will likely start with the Asgardian clashing with Thanos before being flung into the far reaches of space where he will meet up with the Guardians of the Galaxy.
What this leads me to believe, is that Marvel are trying to play coy with us. We’re directly shown Loki approaching who we assume is Thanos on the captured Asgardian ship, with accompanying Asgardian bodies littering the ground. We presume this is Loki’s turn to Thanos’ side, or at the very least his surrender of the Tesseract. But I think there’s more to that scene, so it’s prediction time!
Loki has played a key role in Phases 1-3 of the MCU, you could even argue that he was the central villain that for a long time kept the whole thing anchored to a central point. So what better way is there for Thanos to be asserted as the new big-bad than to take out the person who came before him? I expect that Thor and Bruce Banner are nearby in the scene where Loki is handing over the Infinity Stone, and that as a final act he turns and uses its power to cast the pair away to safety, saving them and causing Thanos to have him killed at the hands of the Black Order. This will be how Thor ends up with the Guardians and Bruce ends up back on Earth.
This can then lead Thor on a revenge mission against Thanos, one that culminates with the God of Thunder falling in some heroic fashion that helps to save the rest of the Avengers or at the very least foil Thanos’ plan long enough for there to be a need for another part to this story in Avengers 4.
So in wrap up, I think that Infinity War will at the very least be the last time we see Captain America and Loki, with Thor either following them out in the same film or his death being held off for Avengers 4. Both Cap and Thor have had their time in the sun, they both have 3 solo films under their belt and their stories have little room to maneuver in Phase 4.
Iron Man is another obvious candidate, but I think that he will bow out in Avengers 4 rather than Infinity War, setting up a clean slate for the likes of Black Panther, Spider-Man and Dr. Strange to take over as the leaders in the MCU new age and allowing us to see an angry Tony Stark who is out for revenge following Cap’s death.