Avengers: Endgame is mere weeks away, and if the many blessed memes of Marvel’s latest batch of character posters are any indication, people are hyped. That’s with good reason: Endgame is shaping up to be one of the biggest blockbuster events of this century. The Marvel Cinematic Universe has been leading up to this moment for more than 20 movies, billions of box office dollars, and dozens of superheroes played by A-list actors in silly costumes. While Endgame may not technically be the end of the MCU—you bet your ass Marvel is going to keep milking these movies until the well runs dry, which will not happen for a long time—for certain heroes and the actors who play them, it just might be.
This is hardly a bold prediction, but I feel confident in saying this: Folks are gonna die in Endgame. And not in the “Thanos snapped his fingers, but we’re going to somehow undo this rapture because we need to extend some franchises” kind of way, per the anticlimactic end of Infinity War. Some Endgame deaths will probably be permanent, and some of the deaths that occurred in Infinity War will be permanent. (Sorry, Vision, you might still be gone to the big jumble of zeroes and ones in the sky.)
Who’s got the best chance of coming out of Endgame unscathed, who’s coming back to life, and who’s actually going to die and stay dead? Let’s sift through the internal and external factors for our Marvel heroes and the actors who play them so we can best prepare ourselves for April.
Thor (Chris Hemsworth)
Post–Infinity War Status: Thor pierces Thanos’s chest with his new hammer, the epically named Stormbreaker, but the wound isn’t fatal and Thanos successfully completes his apocalyptic finger-snap. Thor had a chance to nail the buzzer-beater, but as with UCF against Duke, it just rimmed out. He’s probably quite despondent.
Threat Level: Moderate.
With Thor, you have to consider the mileage. The God of Thunder is one of the MCU’s old guards—alongside heroes like Captain America, Iron Man, Black Widow, and the Hulk—and it seems like the next “phase” of the MCU will usher those heroes out of the spotlight in place of new franchise-starters like Black Panther and Captain Marvel. Thor is probably on borrowed time; Hemsworth also confirmed Endgame is the end of his current Marvel contract. It remains to be seen whether that means actually killing the character or simply allowing him to retire and rebuild Asgard or something. (Reminder: Asgard was destroyed in Thor: Ragnarok, and presumably some of his people, including Tessa Thompson’s Valkyrie, are floating aimlessly somewhere in space.)
However, Thor’s exit isn’t set in stone: Hemsworth has expressed interest in doing a fourth Thor stand-alone movie if he can work with director Taika Waititi again, and given how much of a blast Ragnarok was, it’s certainly something Marvel should consider. Among the old guard, Thor holds some of the better odds to survive—and if the MCU really wants to make things interesting, it could extend this flirtatious exchange between Captain Marvel and Thor into a spicy new fling.
Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen)
Post–Infinity War Status: Scarlet Witch used her telekinetic powers to murder her lover, Vision, by destroying the Mind Stone that gave him life—which is traumatic in and of itself. But then Thanos used the Time Stone to turn back time and revive Vision, only to extract the Mind Stone from his head and kill him a second time. And then Scarlet Witch herself was raptured when Thanos snapped his fingers in front of her lover’s robot corpse. Jesus Christ.
Threat Level: Probably needs a hug and a spa trip.
Despite going through a horrific emotional experience and actually dying, Scarlet Witch is probably going to be fine. It seems like whatever rapture reversal the surviving Avengers conduct will bring everybody back, and thus, that includes her. If that’s not enough evidence, let’s consider some external sources: Olsen is reportedly going to star in a Scarlet Witch miniseries for Disney’s upcoming streaming service, Disney+. That series would have a hard time getting off the ground if its main character were dead.
Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan)
Post–Infinity War Status: Bucky maybe spoke three lines in the whole movie after T’Challa gave him a shiny new vibranium arm to fight with. Then he got disintegrated by Thanos.
Threat Level: Disney+ is his vibranium shield.
Stan famously signed a nine-picture contract with Marvel, so if that’s any indication, Bucky Barnes isn’t going anywhere. Bucky is also the ideal candidate to take up the Captain America mantle if Steve Rogers dies or retires from duty, for a simple reason: It’s exactly what happens in the comics.
Beyond that, Bucky is supposed to headline his own Disney+ miniseries alongside Anthony Mackie’s Falcon—another disintegrated hero. They’ve gotta come back to life and make their show, and perhaps star in a couple of more Avengers movies.
Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson)
Post–Infinity War Status: Having survived the Thanos snap, Black Widow has a score to settle with the villain. The latest Endgame trailer shows her flexing multiple haircuts—which may also hint at a time jump—and very intensely firing a handgun. She’s ready to avenge her fallen comrades—though, no offense, I’m not sure what bullets will do against a dude who can literally hurl a moon at someone.
Threat Level: Low.
Black Widow has been around since Iron Man 2, which was nearly a decade ago; it’d make sense if Marvel decided to put the character out to pasture. (Even though, again, that wouldn’t necessarily mean outright killing her.) But unlike other members of the MCU old guard, Black Widow has an official stand-alone project on the way. It seems like the Black Widow movie has been in development hell for eons, but it’s finally making some legitimate headway: Cate Shortland has signed on as the director, and Florence Pugh is going to costar.
Unless the Black Widow movie is intended to be a prequel, which seems unlikely—though you can bet on some flashbacks to Black Widow’s spy training, brought to you by the same creepy Russian folks from Red Sparrow—she’s gonna need to survive beyond Endgame to make this film happen.
Captain Marvel (Brie Larson)
Post–Infinity War Status: In Nick Fury’s final moments before disintegrating, he sends a distress beacon to Captain Marvel. Then (minor spoilers for Captain Marvel) a mid-credits scene in the heroine’s stand-alone movie shows Captain Marvel meeting the surviving Avengers and asking about Fury’s whereabouts. Thor flirtations aside, she’s gonna get brought up to speed on the Thanos situation and probably kick his ass.
Threat Level: LOL.
Captain Marvel starred in her own stand-alone movie last month, and now that she’s unlocked the full breadth of her preposterous powers, she’s about as indestructible as Superman—without a known weakness like Kryptonite. Not only is she best equipped to take out Thanos in single combat, but Marvel would never consider killing off the star of its first female stand-alone movie. That’d be the kind of PR nightmare that would turn a studio into a Thanos-induced wasteland. Bet your life savings that Captain Marvel will survive this movie.
Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner)
Post–Infinity War Status: Hawkeye never shows up in Infinity War, instead spending the movie off-screen with his family. Unfortunately, it’s implied that, because Thanos acquired all the Infinity Stones and did his thing, Hawkeye then lost his family. Now all he’s got is a bow and arrow, the rage of a thousand burning suns, and this mohawk:
Thanos, you don’t want this smoke.
Threat Level: Not as bad as Renner playing tag.
Hawkeye was and still is a complementary piece to the Avengers: a glue guy who helps out in all the little ways, an arrow-wielding mortal among super-powered gods. It’s obvious that Hawkeye won’t get anywhere near Thanos, otherwise he’d be dead with a single flick of the purple alien’s wrist. No, Hawkeye is going to mope and show off his questionable hairdo for most of the movie, and sit back and watch his super-powered peers do their thing at Endgame’s endgame. And, rest assured, Hawkeye’s definitely gonna live.
The second Endgame trailer briefly shows Hawkeye teaching his daughter how to use a bow and arrow; presumably right around the time she vanishes into dust. If Endgame is going to devote a bit of time to fleshing out Hawkeye’s family—after the MCU already did so in Age of Ultron—it’d be downright depraved to not allow the hero to reunite with his kin at the end of the film. You can’t kill off one of the only characters who’s got a family. The road map for Hawkeye is clear: cry about your dead family, make questionable grooming decisions, fire some arrows, reunite with your now-alive-again family, and formally retire to spend a peaceful life with Mrs. Hawkeye and the kids. As for Renner? The app needs some work.
M’Baku (Winston Duke)
Post–Infinity War Status: Fought against Thanos’s alien army in Wakanda and was not among those who were raptured. It’s hard to say much else, since M’Baku was in Infinity War for approximately 15 seconds—having dozens of heroes compressed into a single film was bound to result in a few screen time casualties!
Threat Level: He should be more concerned with the Tethered.
M’Baku is one of many important cogs in the Black Panther franchise, who became a fan favorite (and thirst trap, though the two designations tend to overlap) with his boisterous personality and uncanny ability to stop white people from talking out of turn. He’s not the Black Panther, but he’s integral to the future of that franchise. M’Baku isn’t going anywhere.
Ant-Man (Paul Rudd)
Post–Infinity War Status: While Ant-Man never showed up in Infinity War, last summer’s Ant-Man and the Wasp revealed he was making a trip to the Quantum Realm when Thanos’s snap went into effect, wiping out his entourage and trapping him in the process. However, both Endgame trailers reveal that he somehow makes his way back to Earth.
Threat Level: Tiny!
Setting aside the [clears throat] enterprising fan theory that Ant-Man will kill Thanos by shrinking, crawling into the alien’s anus, and then expanding to destroy the Mad Titan from the inside, Ant-Man should be an important part of Endgame in other ways. Most non-anus-related theories posit that the character’s knowledge of the Quantum Realm could be integral to reversing Thanos’s rapture, thereby bringing the many fallen heroes back to life.
Even if that doesn’t come to fruition—though it’s hard to think of other logical options for mass reincarnation—it would be awfully cruel of Endgame to kill off one of its best sources of comic relief and the only hero other than Hawkeye who appears to have an actual loving family. Assuming Zack Snyder didn’t secretly write this script, Ant-Man ought to come out safe.
Loki (Tom Hiddleston)
Post–Infinity War Status: Well, Thanos choked him to death at the beginning of Infinity War. Thanos also explicitly says, “No resurrections this time,” which implies he’s somehow watched all the other Marvel movies and the myriad times Loki cheated death. But anyway, he does seem super dead.
Threat Level: Hard to be threatened when you’re already a corpse, right?
This should be a foregone conclusion: Thanos killed Loki, and the “no resurrections” line seemed to be a tacit message to fans that Tumblr’s favorite trickster god wasn’t coming back again. However, now Loki’s supposed to get his own series on Disney+. Unless it’s going to be about the intergalactic adventures of Loki before, well, pretty much the entirety of the MCU, he’s gonna have to be revived. Or maybe Loki really did have one more trick up his sleeve, and he never died in the first place?
Either way, Loki heads, rejoice: Soon, this man will be suavely flipping knives on a streaming service near you.
Wong (Benedict Wong)
Post–Infinity War Status: Wong helps Iron Man, Bruce Banner, and Dr. Strange take out some of Thanos’s minions on Earth at the beginning of the movie, but then retreats to the Sanctum Sanctorum because it needs protecting. (This seemed like a lazy excuse by Marvel to get rid of one of dozens of heroes crowding the screen.) Per the latest Endgame character posters, Wong survived the snap.
Threat Level: Does Thanos even know who he is?
Wong is—respectfully—in the bottom tier of MCU heroes. While that would make him an easy casualty, in that people wouldn’t be mourning him too hard (no offense), it would leave Dr. Strange with no sidekicks for his sequel. And for a cinematic universe that spends roughly one-third of its screen time with characters trading one-liners, Dr. Strange still needs an able sparring partner. Wong lives.
Okoye (Danai Gurira)
Post–Infinity War Status: With Shuri and T’Challa vaporized, Okoye and M’Baku are the key Wakandans left to preside over their nation—and also help the Avengers stop what Thanos hath wrought. She also literally watches T’Challa evaporate before her eyes, as if she needed any more motivation.
Threat Level: Will Okoye survive? Without question.
The Black Panther franchise has a long life ahead of it. Okoye was one of the breakout characters of the film. Danai Gurira is leaving The Walking Dead in its 10th season, freeing up her schedule for other commitments, like, say, more Marvel movies. We can safely file Okoye as alive for the foreseeable future.
Vision (Paul Bettany)
Post–Infinity War Status: Thanos removed the Mind Stone from Vision’s head and killed him. It doesn’t get much worse than that.
Threat Level: 404 error page not found.
This should be the most straightforward death to resolve: Thanos needed the Infinity Stone that gave Vision life, and, by taking it, the paprika-loving A.I. has ceased to exist. Can you even revive a robot? Well, we may find out how, since Scarlet Witch’s Disney+ series will apparently include Vision as a costar.
Unless the show is about their extended pre–Infinity War galavanting across Europe—note: not a bad idea—that would imply Vision is also, somehow, coming back in Endgame. At this rate, Marvel is going full Oprah, asking all the Marvel heroes to look under their seats and be rewarded with additional projects.
Shuri (Letitia Wright)
Post–Infinity War Status: While we do not see what became of Shuri after the snap, the first Endgame trailer, as well as the new character posters, revealed that she did not survive.
Threat Level: Wakandans forever.
Shuri is everyone’s new favorite Disney princess. She’s T’Challa’s little sister and perhaps the greatest technological mind on the planet. Shuri has a long and bright future in the MCU; don’t let her current disintegrated state fool you. She has plenty more adventures ahead and perhaps a few more broken white boys to fix.
Falcon (Anthony Mackie)
Post–Infinity War Status: Falcon was among the Thanos-snap casualties. Weirdly, his mechanical wings were also disintegrated, and—not to overthink the minutiae of an alien-imposed rapture—I don’t see why material items need to disappear along with a person. Does this imply that the wings were a part of Falcon’s essence? Would the metal wings have disappeared if they weren’t attached to his body? Sorry, we’re getting off track.
Threat Level: Low.
If Falcon is going to make a Disney+ series with Bucky Barnes, he’s going to need to come back to life. And if Bucky Barnes isn’t the person who takes up the “Captain America” mantle after Steve Rogers makes his presumed exit, Falcon is the next-best bet. (Although I’m not sure the vibranium shield–giant metal wings combo would be as effective.)
The Guardians of the Galaxy
Post–Infinity War Status: The CGI raccoon is alive and wants revenge. Groot, Drax, Mantis, and Star-Lord were all taken out by the Thanos snap. Gamora was thrown off a cliff to her death by Thanos, who was effectively her adopted dad, so he could acquire the Soul Stone. (That is called bad parenting.) Technically, the only surviving Guardian at the moment is Jackson Maine.
Threat Level: Dave Bautista won’t be going on strike.
The future of the Guardians franchise was hanging in the air after Marvel fired James Gunn last year while he was working on the script for the third film. (You can peruse a recap of the whole mess here.) The Gunn firing left the Guardians future in doubt, as Bautista said he’d refuse to work on the third movie were Gunn’s script not used—and you generally got the impression the cast was gonna go through the motions with clenched teeth after a public show of support for their ousted auteur.
But Gunn was officially reinstated with the franchise in March, and a third Guardians movie is on the way. Obviously, a Guardians movie would be hard to manufacture with a single surviving member. Rest assured, Rocket Raccoon will probably be getting his buddies back in Endgame. The one X factor might be Gamora, since she died before the snap. Does undoing the Thanos rapture mean undoing him killing Gamora? That’s unclear, and while it would be a bold move if Marvel were to permanently kill off an essential member of one of its wackiest franchises, it seems like a decision the studio would reverse for the sake of Guardians 3. Gamora’s death was Thanos’s biggest regret—not saying you should sympathize with the genocidal alien!—so perhaps if he knows he’s on the losing side in Endgame, he’ll support whatever time-reversal action goes down so his adopted daughter can live a full life.
Nebula (Karen Gillan)
Post–Infinity War Status: Nebula is on Thanos’s desolate home planet, Titan, when the snap goes into effect. On Titan, the only characters who remain are her and Iron Man—a weird pairing, as I don’t think they’ve said a word to each other. Nebula spent the majority of the film on Thanos’s spaceship being tortured and just found out her adopted sister Gamora was murdered. Suffice to say: She’s gonna be pissed.
Threat Level: I’m beginning to think that nobody is going to die.
Nebula seems like a prime candidate for an Honorable Movie Death. She began the Guardians franchise as a villain, but has slowly evolved into a sympathetic antihero who was subjected to tons of physical abuse from Thanos. It feels like Nebula will have an important part to play in the fight against Thanos—if only because the two of them have the most intimate connection now that Gamora is (at least temporarily) dead—and what better way to honor the character’s evolution than an emotional sacrifice for the sake of the universe? Also, it seems like every Marvel hero has future franchise commitments, and I’m beginning to wonder whether anyone is actually going to die.
But apparently these commitments will also preclude Nebula from harm. Karen Gillan has discussed Guardians 3 with the impression that she will be involved with the film, effectively becoming a new member of the intergalactic crew. It would be a little too Galaxy Brain for Marvel PR to convince Gillan to discuss Guardians 3 as if she’s in it just to psych out fans from suspecting otherwise. If she’s discussing her future franchise plans, it’s probably legit, which means Nebula is likely coming out of Endgame unscathed. This is like the anti–Game of Thrones.
Spider-Man (Tom Holland)
Post-Infinity War Status: On the planet Titan, Peter Parker told Mr. Stark that he didn’t feel so good. And then we all cried.
Threat Level: My Spidey senses tell me he’s more likely to get food poisoning in Europe than stay dead.
Complicating matters for Endgame and Spider-Man’s tear-jerking death scene in Infinity War is the fact that he has his own stand-alone movie coming this summer. Granted, the first trailer for Spider-Man: Far From Home sneakily blurred out the date on Peter Parker’s passport for his Eurotrip, leaving open the possibility that the film takes place before Infinity War. But also: c’mon.
The new Spidey was only just introduced, and Holland has been arguably the best movie Spider-Man to date. (Tobey Maguire was also excellent, but you can’t deny that he looked like an actual adult pretending to be a teenager.) For the sake of the Spider-Man franchise—which Marvel has only just gotten its hands on after Sony fumbled the series with Andrew Garfield—and future Avengers adventures, Peter Parker is going to start feeling good again.
War Machine (Don Cheadle)
Post–Infinity War Status: He remains alive after fighting in Wakanda when the snap occurs.
Threat Level: [Checks Don Cheadle’s IMDb page.]
If you count Terrence Howard’s appearance, the character has been around since the first Iron Man movie in 2008. That’s a lot minutes in the MCU, and War Machine has been an able sidekick for more than a decade. But like the rest of the Marvel old guard, War Machine could be on his way out.
Don Cheadle has other things going for him, including the new comedy series Black Monday on Showtime, and there’s little use in War Machine sticking around without his best bud Tony Stark, who may also be leaving. He’s also not waiting in the wings for a stand-alone movie, like fellow MCU veteran Black Widow. Therefore, War Machine could be a low-risk character killed off in Endgame. It would be heartbreaking for Tony to lose his friend, but, considering all the other commitments from actors in the MCU, it wouldn’t have huge reverberative effects for other franchises. I’m not saying I want War Machine to die; for the sake of this film having a body count, he’s a rational choice whose death would still carry some emotional stakes. My only reservation is that the MCU already paralyzed the poor guy in Captain America: Civil War—he’s been through enough hardship already. But some hard decisions will presumably have to be made.
The Wasp (Evangeline Lilly)
Post–Infinity War Status: She skipped out on the Infinity War festivities for Ant-Man and the Wasp, becoming the first female hero to colead an MCU movie. Unfortunately, in the movie’s post-credits scene, it’s revealed she gets Thanos’d (real verb) along with her recently reunited parents.
Threat Level: As tiny as Ant-Man’s.
As Ant-Man goes, so should the Wasp. The Ant-Man franchise won’t ever be considered a Marvel centerpiece, but they’re fun movies that play well with critics and audiences—and most importantly, they still make bank. Though there hasn’t been an official word on a third Ant-Man movie, director Peyton Reed has expressed interest in making another. Nobody can speak in absolutes, and that’s most likely because Marvel is trying to keep the majority of its post-Endgame plans under lock and key. There’d be even less suspense if you knew the future franchise plans of every single hero, even the (literal) little guys.
But beyond the fact Marvel would be tempted to at least wrap up the Ant-Man movies into a trilogy, the importance of Ant-Man and the Quantum Realm bode well for the Wasp. Think of the negative response if Marvel allowed Ant-Man and the Wasp to colead their own sequel, only to kill off the female half of the equation after Ant-Man helped save the day against Thanos. Captain Marvel and the Wasp are a good start, but Marvel needs to be putting more female superheroes front and center before it decides to kill one of them off. And not for nothing, Lilly has been a delight playing the straight-(wo)man opposite of Rudd.
Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo)
Post–Infinity War Status: Bruce Banner is alive at the end of the movie, but after an opening tussle with Thanos, who beats the ever-living crap out of the Hulk, the viridescent alter ego has been hesitant to come out and fight. For the sake of Endgame being entertaining to watch, we’ll require a Hulk Smash or two.
Threat level: Medium.
Ruffalo reportedly has a six-movie deal with Marvel, and Endgame would technically be his fifth on-screen appearance. (Unless we’re counting his post-credits scene in Iron Man 3.) But every Hulk stand-alone movie with previous actors has been an abject failure, and Marvel has been more willing to plug Banner in as a quirky sidekick for other films (i.e., Thor: Ragnarok) than give him a solo project.
Does this mean the Hulk will tag along with another hero—or show up in yet another Thor movie—after Endgame? Yes and no. This could be Bruce Banner’s last stand, if it seems mutually beneficial to end Banner’s story after Endgame instead of slotting him alongside the newer batch of heroes. But if they want to give the Hulk a little more play, he could always be a complementary piece to Black Widow—if they want to do anything with that fleeting Bruce–Black Widow romance subplot—or pair him with Captain Marvel or the Guardians of the Galaxy, since all the fun Hulk shit from the comics happened in space. For the time being, though, the Hulk’s fate in Endgame and beyond hangs in the air. Considering how predictable some of the other characters’ futures are, however, this unpredictability is a positive development.
Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman)
Post–Infinity War Status: Black Panther got Thanos’d, and it was in that moment that it dawned on most of the viewing public that not everything that happened at the end of Infinity War would be permanent.
Threat Level: There is no threat.
He’s coming back. Black Panther 2 will be great.
Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch)
Post–Infinity War Status: Before getting vaporized, Doctor Strange tells Tony Stark that it was the “only way” to stop Thanos, having gone through millions of scenarios through the psychedelic properties of the Time Stone. So while he is dead, he clearly knows it’ll be reversed. I concur with the good doctor (not that one).
Threat Level: Safe, as long as his analytics are better than Nate Silver’s.
A Doctor Strange sequel has been “quietly finalized” for the next phase of the MCU—probably because, again, the studio wants to retain some Endgame suspense, which is becoming impossible—and killing off a relatively new character played by one of the franchise’s more famous actors would not sit well with the fervent online Cumberstans. And while the Time Stone is no longer in Doctor Strange’s hands, it could still play a crucial part in reversing Thanos’s finger-snap.
Trying to understand Doctor Strange’s trippy powers of time and space is an exercise best approached after ingesting ayahuasca, but you don’t need to be a Sorcerer Supreme to understand that the character’s got a bright future in the MCU. Future Sherlock seasons, however, are another matter.
Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson)
Post–Infinity War Status: Fury doesn’t show up in Infinity War proper, but appears in a post-credits scene sending a distress call to Captain Marvel before he disintegrates. Fury’s quick thinking with an old-timey pager might just be what saves the universe.
Threat Level: Should be more scared of Goose.
Fury’s slated to appear in the new Spidey movie—which, if it does end up taking place after Endgame, means the character will come out of this movie alive and well. He doesn’t have as integral a role as he did at the beginning of the MCU, when he pushed all of Earth’s mightiest heroes together, but his permanence might come down to how many more of these movies Jackson is content to do.
If the actor’s profile in The Hollywood Reporter from January—where he said he’d happily play Nick Fury into his 80s and become the “Alec Guinness of Marvel movies”—is any indication, he’s not going anywhere anytime soon.
Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.)
Post–Infinity War Status: Trapped on Titan, with only Nebula as company. The first Endgame teaser shows Tony Stark floating aimlessly through space in a beat-up spaceship; the second trailer, however, reveals that he’ll eventually make his way back to Earth.
Threat Level: Battery life low; needs a recharge.
There’s a moment in Infinity War when you think it’s all over for Iron Man: Thanos stabs him in the torso, and the music abruptly stops. (This is typically a cue for the audience to prepare themselves for something horrible.) Alas, Tony survives the blow, just in time to watch a teenager die in his arms. Iron Man’s seen better days.
Will things improve in Endgame? He’s still a prime candidate for a tragic hero’s death, if only because Downey Jr. has been at this for more than a decade. And though he could continue to pop in for future Avengers movies, that seems to be Jackson’s prerogative. (Not that the Older Guy Who Shows Up in Marvel Movies role can be filled by only one person.) But my gut check says that Iron Man will survive. The first Endgame trailer leans on his relationship with Pepper Potts and how badly he wants to settle down with her and live a normal, post–Iron Man life. The MCU is a lot of things; cruel isn’t one of them. Tony will get his happy ending, Pepper will begin investing in Goop, and these characters will live the rest of their lives off-screen. The audience will walk away knowing that they’re happy and fulfilled. But that doesn’t mean they won’t get a hero’s sacrifice.
Captain America (Chris Evans)
Post–Infinity War Status: Alive, and so dismayed by all the people that got Thanos’d that he went ahead and shaved his beard. It’s a tragedy for all involved.
Threat Level: It’s the end of the line, Cap.
Chris Evans has made it clear for years that he’s looking forward to moving on from Captain America at the end of his Marvel contract, which coincides with Endgame. This film is set to be Cap’s last stand, and it would be patriotically on-brand for the character to come full circle and give his life to save the world and a bunch of his friends. (That’s legit what he tried to do in Captain America: The First Avenger, when he got frozen in time!)
You can picture it now: Cap makes a heroic sacrifice; all the other OG Marvel heroes take turns commemorating their wholesome leader; Tony Stark gets the biggest emotional beat, since they became frenemies at the end of Civil War; perhaps Bucky Barnes finally admits that the two of them were in love, as Tumblr predicted. There will probably be a statue made in Captain America’s honor, which would double as a tribute to the swole physique of Chris Evans, always a welcome sight. If there is a single Marvel hero who has an “I’m going to die heroically, and you will all cry about it” moment waiting to happen, it’s Captain America.