The most epic superhero crossover war is less than a month away, which means it’s time to plan a funeral. If “Avengers: Infinity War” is the destructive entity it promises to be, lives will be lost and favorites will fall. Sometimes it’s best to be prepared before your heart gives out. Below are the survival odds for the entire roster of Avengers.
Most Likely Camp:
Black Panther/King T’Challa – After just being introduced to the MCU two years ago in “Captain America: Civil War,” Black Panther has only elevated his royalty in the fandom. With over $1 billion and counting at the worldwide box office, it would be the cruelest of film realities to see Panther slain when the iron this scalding. In the comics, King T’Challa eventually steps aside to serve as hand to his sister, Queen Shuri. Furthermore, there is a second major civil war between heroes where the Avenger plays a significant part in the conflict. Most importantly, we live in a world where the #BlackLivesMatter movement has become such an integral component to social progress. The non-cinematic universe needs Black Panther a lot more than his fictional one does.
Bucky Barnes/The Winter Soldier – If Bucky’s neverending comic book lifespan and Sebastian Stan’s nine-movie contract (extending further than Chris Evans’s) are any indications, the Winter Soldier is going to be surviving the summer conflict. The post-credits scene in “Black Panther” has Wakandan children referring to him as “White Wolf,” potentially his post-PTSD alter-ego in upcoming films. In the comics, Barnes dons both shield and Avenger name of best friend, Steve Rogers. The latter character’s assassination in the comics opens the door for Bucky to leave the sidekick shadows and step into the “leading hero” spotlight. Might this be his fate in movies to come?
Ant-Man/Scott Lang – Unless there’s some marketing red herring ploy in which only co-star Evangeline Lilly appears in “Ant-Man and the Wasp,” Ant-Man is guaranteed a survival ticket. The only thing this microscopic Avenger has to fear is being so overshadowed by the rest of the team that buzz for his upcoming movie dies under the heap of “Infinity War’s” sequel anticipation.
Black Widow/Natasha Romanoff – For such an A-list actress, Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow has been saddled with D-list writing. The love interest angle irked audiences hoping to see her as an independent force among the Avengers unit. It’s difficult to imagine Widow’s demise before writers can reverse fan apathy. A spin-off is vital if this character wants to leave behind a legacy of heroine supremacy. Given Hollywood’s recent attempts to course-correct onscreen representations of women, Romanoff’s own agency in the form of a solo feature should be the next logical step.
Spider-Man/Peter Parker – If Hollywood were truly daring, they would make it a point to kill off Peter Parker in “Infinity War” and replace him with successor Miles Morales. Unfortunately, that boldness isn’t in the cards considering the aforementioned biracial Spidey is swinging into theaters this winter…in animated form. Yep, “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” will feature the half-Black, half-Puerto Rican iteration of the web-slinger. Peter Parker is safe for now, and the only thing he’s likely to lose in “Infinity War” is his precocious high-pitched voice.
Thor – “Thor Ragnarok” proved the Norse god was more than just a handsomely bearded hammer-thrower. The guy can elicit jokes with the swagger of Tony Stark, not to mention strap on his leader’s helmet when the stakes demand. With Hela presumed destroyed (let’s see how long that lasts) and Loki summoning even more treachery, there’s still plenty of “Thor-y” left to tell for this newly one-eyed Avenger.
Doctor Strange/Stephen Strange – Given how big a personality Benedict Cumberbatch is, it’s odd to feel like this Avenger’s presence is slightly muted. He is certainly a new addition, and yet his ordinary beginnings and mystical leanings feel too “primitive” for the Avengers. Cumberbatch’s quirky and befuddling screen presence is a staple that fits the MCU, though I think the character requires one more sequel to really set Strange apart. Chances are that this wizard of world-bending will get such a promotion.
On the Fence:
Scarlet Witch/Wanda Maximoff – Scarlet Witch has struggled to reclaim her superhero mojo after the loss of her brother Quicksilver. Her fear of government oversight and unstable abilities have withdrawn her investment in the elite coterie. Thankfully Vision is someone she can lean on even when the two have been in heated disputes. The reason Witch’s survival odds remain on the fence in “Infinity War” is that her comic history not only confirms a love pact with Vision, but the pair do sacrifice themselves for the sake of the universe. Prior to that, however, Vision is lost to her first. This leads to the assumption that if at least one of the two is perishing, it will be Vision.
War Machine/James Rhodes – Despite all he’s endured over the course of the MCU, Iron Man hasn’t lost anyone close aside from his parents. If that flippancy seems insensitive, remember that it’s pretty much a given that every superhero’s parent dies at one point or another to harden their drive. Many thought Pepper would perish in “Iron Man 3,” but Gwyneth Paltrow’s Pepper Potts lived to lecture another day. Maybe it will be James Rhodes’ War Machine to hit the junk pile, a loss that would send Tony Stark into an emotional tailspin.
Sam Wilson/Falcon – Another under-the-radar Avengers member, Falcon has wings but has yet to take flight in the way a proper superhero should. His sidekick passivity could be shattered depending on Captain America’s fate…or he could take a sacrificial last stand to be remembered. In the comics, Wilson is handed the Captain America baton after Rogers retires, even going so far as to be the head of the Avengers. Perhaps “Infinity War” is the cultivation of a new leader in charge.
Hawkeye/Clint Barton – This expert archer and “stay-away-from-home” dad was given all cinematic hints in the world of an impending death in “Avengers: Age of Ultron.” The shocker was that Hawkeye was the “bait” in that instance, with poor Quicksilver as the “switch.” This time, Hawkeye might not get a second chance at defying the expected odds of extermination. Renner’s contract is likely coming to a close; branching out to other film franchises mean his MCU involvement is looking slimmer by the film.
Least Likely Camp:
The Incredible Hulk/Bruce Banner – How much violent pummeling can this behemoth take? At the end of “Age of Ultron,” Hulk appeared to be buried in defeat indefinitely. However, Thor helped Banner escape the raving Hulk persona in “Thor Ragnarok.” With Banner back in the driver’s seat, hopefully, he’ll keep his alter-ego at bay at least until Thanos needs a can of whoop-ass. The Hulk has always been a scene-stealer but provides minimal character impact. With “Infinity War” looming, it’s possible he could push his monstrous side past its physical limitations. If there is one thing Banner would give anything for, it’s his life when it’s no longer his own to control.
Iron Man/Tony Stark – After “Iron Man 3,” Robert Downey, Jr. seemed as done with Tony Stark’s adventures as audiences were. His pro-government oversight stance in “Civil War” did little to cull departed followers. Downey, Jr. is also reaching the end of his contractual obligations. Furthermore, after all the havoc this superhero has wreaked on the global masses, Stark might just be willing to make amends for his former misdeeds. Whatever that reparation form takes, Stark will undoubtedly stand alongside Captain America to make sure they’re the initial line of defense.
Captain America/Steve Rogers – With headlines hitting fans over the head with the depressing knowledge that Chris Evans is done with the MCU, it might seem like the shield is about to crack irreparably. However, between the new trailers and international pressures of being the Earthly face of invasion resistance, I’m of the mind that Cappy’s fate is being misdirected. Yes, his “death” in the comics set a reverberating precedent that these fictionally immortal icons are prey to demise. However, Steve Rogers eventually returned very much alive, meaning that the MCU could be rearing up for another “fake news” death cycle.
Prediction to Die:
Vision – His lackluster creation followed by his even more underwhelming superweapon
capacity in “Age of Ultron” means Vision has something to prove to fans coming into “Infinity War.” As mentioned earlier with Scarlet Witch, Vision has a comic history of sacrifice. Most significant is Vision’s infinity stone which powers his sentient life. Because it’s precisely the artifact Thanos needs to conquer worlds, something has gotta give when the two face each other. Vision is in dire need of a huge character moment that will cement his status as a symbol of human valor. Dying at the hands of Thanos in order to spare the galaxy his dominance, Vision stands most likely to pay the ultimate price.