Preview screenings of Avengers: Infinity War are happening Tuesday, May 24, so spoilers are going to start seeping out about exactly who lives and dies in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. But because the only thing we love more than superheroes are lists and betting, here’s a full list of just how likely it is your favorite characters bite the dust in this week’s blockbuster. Start an office pool, impress your friends!
But, have no fear– let’s remember that even if someone dies, these are comic book movies. How many times have these characters died and been later reborn (in the comics, anyway?) Even in these films, several characters have apparently died and then reappeared. Add in the power of some Infinity Stones with the power to reshape reality (or, more likely, to bring back familiar characters recast with new actors in a few years time) means the actual safe money is that no one is dead forever.
Let’s start with the people who are probably safe:
∞ to 1
(get it? An Infinity War joke? I’ll see myself out. . .)
Spider-Man: He’s Marvel’s mascot, they just made the deal with Sony to make more movies together, they’re not going to kill him off now. And, he has announced sequel.
Ant Man: Normally, a guy like Scott Lang is Most Likely to Die in a giant crossover event (see: Avengers: Disassembled) BUT he has an announced sequel coming out in three months. All of Team Ant Man are safe.:
Groot: He already died, came back. Even Thanos can’t stop him. We are Groot.
1000 to 1
T’Challa, Shuri, Okoye, M’Baku: With Black Panther currently #3 in all-time US box office and still in theaters, nipping at the heels of Avatar, with an announced sequel, it’s incredibly unlikely Marvel would kill off their most popular characters. Also, we need Shuri around to take over as Iron Man when Tony Stark shuffles off this mortal coil.
100 to 1
Wong: Here’s where being a supporting character pays off. Dr. Strange is going to be a major target for Thanos since he has the Time Stone, but last we saw, only Wong really knows its background and lore. For being able to provide needed exposition, and as a faithful sidekick, he’s probably equally as safe as Peter Parker’s friend Ned.
Bruce Banner / The Hulk: Can you kill The Hulk? Like, really, can you? Even if Thanos and his army could, why would Marvel do this? If character deaths are a way to up the stakes, you still need some heavy hitters hanging around to eventually give Thanos his comeuppance. The Hulk seems most likely to be able to give him some smackdown.
Rocket Raccoon: If you’re joined at the hip with the aforementioned, nigh-unkillable Groot, and you’re endlessly popular with kids and adults alike, chances are pretty dang high you’ll make it to the next Guardians of the Galaxy movie. Also, your ability to make bombs and high-powered guns out of pretty much anything will come in handy in a climactic fight against Thanos.
50 to 1
Wanda Maximoff: Speaking of needing heavy hitters, Wanda’s powers are basically limitless, being powered by an Infinity Stone themselves. The Avengers are going to need a next generation, and if anyone is going to make it, this mainstay of the comics Avengers is a good bet. Plus, can you imagine what happens when they try to rip the Mind Stone from Vision’s head? Potentially apocalyptic is how I would characterize Scarlet Witch’s potential. She’s in it.
Mantis: Considering her connection to Ego, (therefore her ability to deal with Celestials) and the announced Guardians sequel, it’s likely she’ll make it through. Same rule as with Wong– it’s good to be a supporting character sometimes.
Sam Wilson / Bucky Barnes: I’m going to deal with these guys as one, because it’s the same reason. (Spoiler Alert!) I’m putting even money on Steve Rogers not making it to the sequel. When that happens, someone will need to take up the mantle of Captain America. Since both of them have done this in the comics, it’s fairly likely they’ll need to make it to the next movie. And with Bucky also being given the moniker “White Wolf,” expect him to maybe cameo in the next Black Panther movie, too.
25 to 1
Peter Quill: As leader of the Guardians and part Celestial, he’s both more hearty than most of our human characters AND the leader of his piece of the franchise. Star Lord will almost certainly make it to Guardians 3, and fans will have to celebrate all the music Tony Stark shares with Peter.
Dr. Stephen Strange: He’s the Sorcerer Supreme of Earth, can wield an Infinity Stone, and already faced off with Dormammu. Chances are good he’ll survive, but considering he does stand between Thanos and collecting all of the gems, he’s higher on the kill list than most.
10 to 1
Natasha Romanoff: And here’s where I introduce my “Phase 1” rule. If you starred in a Marvel Phase 1 movie, you are probably dead. And the reason has more to do with capitalism and contracts than comics: Marvel Studios was initially so successful because their model was to sign relatively unknown stars to long-term contracts– stars who now command huge sums to star in your movies. And most of them have run out of runway to tell their stories. So, why is Black Widow not down with the rest of the boys? Well, unlike all of them, Natasha has not had a trilogy of movies about her despite being co-star in many of their sequels. Marvel should have given us a Black Widow movie years ago, but they can correct this now. Still, with no superpowers, going up against The Mad Titan is still a daunting prospect, but I bet she pulls through.
James Rhodes: Similar story to Black Widow– always a sidekick, never a main character. And just like her, there’s untapped potential. Also? Someone’s going to need to take over as Iron Man. While Shuri is my top choice, War Machine already knows his way around the rig. But, having just faced his own mortality recently, he seems likely to buy the farm in a fight with Thanos.
Gamora / Drax: If any of the original Guradians aren’t going to make it to the sequel, it’s these two. They both have serious business with Thanos and won’t rest until he’s dead. No matter how powerful they are, putting themselves in his path is bad news.
5 to 1
Vision: Thanos is coming for that Infinity Stone in his head. And from what was happening in the trailers, it looks like his minions are about to take it. That doesn’t look good for Vision, whose death, as mentioned before, would likely seriously unhinge Scarlet Witch.
Nebula: She’s even more angry at Thanos as her sister Gamora and five times as reckless. Nebula played a huge role in defeating Thanos in the Infinity Gauntlet comics. Let’s see if she can survive long enough to live up to that.
2 to 1
Heimdall: Asgardians are now an endangered species, and I doubt Heimdall would bend the knee to Thanos. Indeed, any aggressive move towards Thor or Loki would likely elicit a very aggressive response. Also, I’m hanging on to that fan theory that his all-seeing eyes tinged with orange are, in fact, powered by the Soul Stone.
Stan Lee: This is painful, but true– our Generalissimo is not going to be with us forever. It might not be bad to give him a proper send-off. Much in the same way Desmond Llewelyn said goodbye to the role of Q in the James Bond movies, it might be good to plan to wrap up Smilin’ Stan’s cameos. If this one doesn’t have some sense of finality to it, let’s hope he has already pre-filmed his parts for the rest of Marvel Phase 3. But if you have to go, it wouldn’t be a bad way to go out– with the culmination of ten years and 18 films.
(These guys are toast. Sorry.)
Clint Barton: “Why isn’t Hawkeye in any of the movie posters or trailers?” Because Hawkeye is always the guy who gets killed off in these movies. And since we were never going to get the Matt Fraction “My Life as a Weapon” movie with Jeremy Renner in the role, it’s best to say goodbye to him now. Also even money? He’s just plain not in the movie at all. He and his wife and kids moved to another farm and are gone. Either way, we’re not seeing much of Hawkeye in this movie.
The Collector: The only other person we know if actively trying to collect Infinity Stones who knows their value, Thanos will have to go through Tanaleer Tivan to get to The Reality Stone. My money’s on Thanos, and according to footage shown to audiences at Comic Con? The Collector wasn’t looking so hot.
Steve Rogers / Thor / Tony Stark: Sorry, Marvel’s Big Three are probably not appearing in the next movies. Again, blame capitalism and contracts, but I’m stocking up on tissues already, because even as much as I tell myself it’s going to happen, I’m not going to be ready.
Loki: Sorry, friends. He failed Thanos. Even giving him the Space Stone isn’t likely enough to get back in his good graces. If Thanos is smart, he’ll take The Tesseract, extract the Space Stone, and kill Loki where he stands. Leaving him alive will only lead to him eventually betraying you. He’s dead. I’m not going to be ready for this one, either.
There you have it. Disagree? Someone I missed? Let us know in the comments. One thing you can bet on 100% — Marvel is going to make bank at the box office, and you should bring tissues to the theater.