The new trailer for Avengers: Infinity War dropped early yesterday. By now, you’ve probably watched it a dozen times and read exhaustive analysis about the meaning behind Natasha’s new Blonde Widow look (she’s in *hiding*, duh).
But while it may have been touched upon earlier, the fact that Infinity War, opening May 4, 2018, represents the beginning of the end for Phase 3 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe can’t be overstated. This decade-long journey (Iron Man came out in 2008, believe it or not) is about to come to an appropriately bombastic end (the final Avengers movie will be released in 2019), and sadly, not all of your favorites are going to make it.
It’s understandable. Some of these actors have been playing the same role for almost ten years, and some of *those* are now earning salaries that can charitably be described as “unholy.” Mix that up with a plot involving a “mutant Titanian Eternal” who wields a gauntlet that makes him nigh omnipotent, and some people gon’ die.
These are hard truths to be faced, which is why I’m attempting to ease some of your suffering by providing survival odds for (most of) your beloved Avengers et al. Some may die in Infinity War, or get cliffhangered until whatever they end up calling the fourth and final movie. Needless to say, spoilers for the Marvel movies (that I’ve seen, anyway) follow.
Steve Rogers/Captain America
The first Avenger may not be the first to bite it, but consider the character. Steve Rogers has been written this entire time to stand at the forefront of any struggle against evil or tyranny. You can’t “retire” him, because he’ll never sit on the sidelines while others fight. How he survives going toe to toe with Thanos remains to be seen, but unless Chris Evans gets a new contract (the 4th Avengers movie is his final one right now) it’s doubtful Rogers remain standing when all is said and done.
Odds of Survival: 1,000 to 1
Tony Stark/Iron Man
Stark has experienced perhaps the most complete arc, going from arrogant, alcoholic arms developer to … arrogant, recovering alcoholic superhero. He experiences PTSD following the events of The Avengers, and seems irrevocably split with Cap following Captain America: Civil War. Considering we don’t see any shots of Stark in Wakanda (I have a theory about who's actually wearing the Hulkbuster suit), and Robert Downey, Jr. is reportedly getting $200 million to appear in the final two films, I’m guessing ole Shell Head might be gone for good.
Odds of Survival: 500 to 1
He appeared to turn over a new leaf in Thor: Ragnarok, but the trailer clearly shows him stepping over (Asgardian?) corpses to give the Tesseract (aka the Space Stone) to someone taller than him. So, maybe Thanos?. Maybe Lebron James. The only question is whether Thanos considers him more a threat or an annoyance. Bad news for Loki if it’s the former.
Odds of Survival: 100 to 1
Vision/Mr. Scarlet Witch
I know he’s an android and all, but I’ll be very interested to see how one survives getting the Mind Stone peeled from your skull like a banana.
Odds of Survival: 50 to 1
It’d be easy to hand wave Thor’s absence in the next phase of the MCU by saying he’d buggered off to Asgard. At least, it would’ve been before Ragnarok, which eliminated that option. That movie also ended with Thor as nominal king of the surviving Asgardians. Then again, from the look of the trailer, there may not be many surviving Asgardians when all is said and done.
Odds of Survival: 10 to 1
Bruce Banner/The Hulk
Banner said in Ragnarok he was afraid of Hulking out because he didn’t know if “Bruce Banner” would ever return. Obviously, at some point in Infinity War he wakes up (presumably naked again) in Dr. Strange’s Sanctum Sanctorum (I initially wrote that as “Sanctum Santorum,” which … ewww). But then he’s Hulk again in Wakanda. So many questions, chief among them: how easily could Thanos kill the Big Guy?
Odds of Survival: 5 to 1
Well, for starters, anyone who we know has a movie coming out post-Infinity War is probably safe for now, so Spider-Man (2019), Ant-Man (2019), Captain Marvel (2019...will she show up in this? Stay tuned, true believers), and the Guardians of the Galaxy (2020).
Or do they?
Guardians of the Galaxy
The only caveat to throw in here is how goofy the team’s history has been, especially when you try to reconcile the ‘60s version with the current lineup. I don’t think any of the core members bite it, but it wouldn’t surprise me if Nebula gets killed by Thanos for past “transgressions” (and hopefully not what happens in the Infinity Gauntlet comics), and also to make Gamora even more murderous.
Odds of Survival: Team: 3 to 2; Nebula 10 to 1
Also: RIP Xandar and the Nova Corps, unless we’re supposed to believe Glenn Close just gave up the Power Stone without a fight.
BP is one of the characters Disney is banking on for the next wave of the MCU, and seeing how prominently Wakanda figures in the trailer (it’s the rumored home of the only Infinity Gem we haven’t seen yet, the Soul Stone), it’s safe to say T’Challa will be around for a while.
Odds of Survival: 1 to 10
Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow
Natasha’s a survivor, so I like her chances. Also, would they reunite her and Bruce just to break them up again? Eh, possibly. There are two scenarios where I can see Banner involuntarily becoming the Big Guy again (after expressing his fears in doing so) after Ragnarok, and one is Natasha’s death. Having said that, I don’t think it happens.
Odds of Survival: 1 to 2
Steve Rogers abandoned his shield, and if there’s anyone likely to pick it up in the next phase of the MCU, my money’s on Sam. His backstory isn’t as historic, and he’s not exactly a Super Soldier, but he’s got the heart for it.
Odds of Survival: 1 to 5, though they’d be better if he adopted the old red and white leotard from the comics.
Wanda Maximoff/Scarlet Witch
Though her character has never really meshed with the rest of the team, she was included in the new Avengers lineup at the end of Age of Ultron. It’s possible she loses her shit when Vision “dies” and goes on a suicide attack, but that’s really more of an X-Men thing.
Odds of Survival: 2 to 3
James Rhodes/War Machine
It’d be kind of cruel to kill him off after paralyzing him in Civil War, wouldn’t it?
Odds of Survival: 2 to 5
He’s the guy fighting aliens/robots with a bow, after all, and while his skills are undeniable, Thanos isn’t going to be taken down by an arrow. More likely, Barton ends up retiring to his secret-ish family farm.
Odds of Survival: 2 to 3
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Stephen Strange/Doctor Strange
The Sorcerer Supreme was a late addition to the MCU, and will always be an odd fit, association with Thor and Loki aside. Benedict Cumberbatch is reportedly signed on for one more standalone movie, but given his body of work, failing to do so wouldn’t hurt him any. Thanos needs the Time Stone in the Eye of Agamotto to complete the Gauntlet, but whether he obtains it non-lethally remains to be seen.
Odds of Survival: Even (that said, I hope Wong lives)
Bucky Barnes/The Winter Soldier
Speculation abounds as to who will take up the shield once Captain America retires/buys the farm, but I’m here to tell you it won’t be Bucky. Steve is the only one who can tolerate him, while plenty of the others would be just as happy to see him dead. Evidently cured of his HYDRA conditioning, taking a bullet (or gauntlet, whatever) for his best friend really would be taking it to “the end of the line.” That he’s been allowed to mope around the MCU for this long is a drag, in any case.
Odds of Survival: The right thing to do would’ve been to let Tony kill him in Civil War.