Amid all the excitement surrounding Avengers: Infinity War—the beginning of the endgame of a decade of world-building in the Marvel Cinematic Universe that finally lets heroes like Iron Man and Star-Lord trade one-liners while a shirtless Dave Bautista stares blankly—there’s an overwhelming sense of dread. Most of that falls on the foreboding presence of Thanos (Josh Brolin), a towering purple alien who wants to destroy half the universe with the power of the infinity stones … for reasons unclear. (I guess when you’re powerful enough to destroy entire civilizations, you run out of things to keep yourself entertained.)
While the MCU has been largely hesitant about killing any of its heroes, Infinity War’s heightened stakes—as well as [cough] the fact the contracts of some of the franchise’s biggest actors are about to run out—make it clear that not everyone is going to survive the eponymous battle. That’s just how these things go: Han Solo met his end in The Force Awakens; Boromir in Lord of the Rings; Rachel (RACHAAAAAL!) in The Dark Knight; and so on.
But whose time is most likely to run out by the end of Infinity War? We’ve ranked the 10 heroes most likely to die, based on deductive reasoning, clues from the latest trailer that dropped Friday morning, and the general vibe surrounding certain characters heading into the April 27 release. Let’s start with the least likely candidate, and go from there.
10. Not Shuri
This is less of a prediction and more of a request: Shuri was one of the best parts of Black Panther, and her tech skills alone put Tony Stark to shame. Shuri is the most untouchable character in the MCU—just look how happy she is probably doing something that will stop Thanos in under five minutes!
Give this Wakandan princess all the good one-liners, have her fix a broken white boy or two, and don’t even tease us by putting her life in peril. Yes? Good.
9. Doctor Strange
Don’t ask me how, but in the latest Infinity War trailer Doctor Strange is ensnared by the evil cousin of Lord Voldemort!
That acupuncturist is getting the worst Yelp review. However, it’s still likely he’ll be known as the Doctor Who Lived, because Marvel only just introduced us to his psychedelic powers.
8. Pepper Potts
Pepper Potts will try to reason with Thanos about the wondrous health benefits of bee stings, and he will immediately obliterate her and say, “Seems like an overpriced gimmick.” (The rest of the Avengers will silently nod in agreement.)
Poor Thor: He just lost an eye in Thor: Ragnarok and now Thanos is using his head as a basketball.
Maybe a few Advils will do the trick, but that’s the most precarious position we’ve seen from any of the heroes in the Infinity War footage. Like, even Iron Man’s knockout punch doesn’t look as painful.
Of course, Thor’s death is definitely less likely than the other heroes’ because Marvel finally made a good Thor movie, and it’d be a waste to kill him off immediately after that. But still! Heads don’t like being crushed!
This guy is bringing a bow and arrow to a fight against Thanos. RIP, we love your family in the woods.
It feels like the MCU has really glossed over this, but Nebula and Gamora are Thanos’s adopted daughters! Imagine being raised by the guy who’s only happy when he’s destroying things 24/7. Nebula talks a bit about this in Guardians Vol. 2; how he used to force her and Gamora to fight, and when Nebula lost, he would mutilate her body, which made her resent Gamora.
That is … seriously messed up! Nebula became an antihero of sorts by the end of Guardians 2. A noble sacrifice—probably to save Gamora—could be in the cards.
Is Loki a hero or a villain in Infinity War? It’s quite unclear, but here’s my prediction: He teams up with Thanos, but at the sight of, say, his brother Thor almost being killed via skull-crushing, has a dramatic change of heart. It’s a valiant effort that’s enough to stop Thanos, but he somehow dies in the process.
At least, until the mid-credits scene … when he’s revealed to be alive, in disguise as someone else, à la The Dark World.
3. Captain America
Not that I’m complaining, but Captain America probably shouldn’t have made it this far if Civil War had stayed true to the comics. But his survival has blessed us with the sight of Bearded Chris Evans, which is very welcome and has possibly caused a seismic shift in the ever-evolving Chris Wars. Even elite-goatee-haver Thanos is like, “Wow, pretty good beard there.”
Nonetheless, going toe-to-toe with Thanos spells trouble. Captain America—an icon of another era, trapped in our time, and wholesome beyond belief—is the ultimate “tragic hero willing to sacrifice his life for the rest of humanity” kind of character. He jumped on a grenade in the first 30 minutes of Captain America: The First Avenger—my guy has been ready to die.
I don’t want to take away from the absolutely appropriate shipping of A.I. Paul Bettany and Elizabeth Olsen, but Vision isn’t long for the MCU world. Thanos wants the infinity stones; Vision is quite literally a melding of Tony’s J.A.R.V.I.S. computer system and the mind stone. Thanos is definitely going to get his hands on the mind stone, which, in effect, will also wipe out Vision.
(For what it’s worth, we basically see this happen in the first trailer, too.)
1. Tony Stark/Iron Man
“I hope they remember you,” Thanos tells Tony Stark in the latest trailer, which, combined with the absolute whooping he received from Thanos in the first Infinity Wars trailer, is a pretty worrying combination of foreshadowing.
The MCU started with Iron Man 10 years ago, at a time when it wasn’t totally clear superhero movies would be this big—it’s only fitting that Robert Downey Jr. gets a tear-jerking hero’s sendoff to let the new class of Marvel heroes (Black Panther, Spider-Man, Captain Marvel) flourish. Also, Downey Jr. is 52 now—he’s gotta be so tired, and so ready for his character to die.