The MCU is overstuffed and we might see a culling of characters in the upcoming team-up film, Infinity War.
As much as fans love the Marvel Cinematic Universe, it is safe to admit that the films are getting too crowded for their own good. With each new film, more characters are added. Though this adds richness to the universe, viewers can see directors and writers struggle to give each character enough screen time and a plausible enough arc within a limited time-frame. Now, unless Marvel want to churn out four-hour long epics, this is an impossible ask.
We are already seeing the effects of overcrowding in the MCU. Civil War, essentially a Captain America film, turned into half an Avengers film, putting the titular superhero and his friends on the sidelines.
Guardians of the Galaxy 2 introduced a new dynamic between Star-Lord and his father, thus shunting out the far more interesting Gamora-Nebula rivalry and reconciliation aside.
Thor: Ragnarok reduced the roles of the Warriors Three, abandoned Lady Sif and also completely eliminated Jane Foster and her Midgardian crew, because Natalie Portman didn’t want to return to the franchise. Had the film included the established Thor trilogy characters, no room would have remained for Valkyrie, Hulk and the Grandmaster, who were essential characters and components of the film. Thus, some characters just had to go.
Infinity War, to be released in May, will bring almost every character in the MCU together to fight Thanos. One wonders how directors Anthony and Joe Russo will accomplish this task with such a multitude of characters to showcase. As we saw in the recent massive DC crossover on television, some are bound to be side-lined, and others will most likely die.
If the MCU is to continue expanding, and it will, it needs to cull its existing stock. And Infinity War is the perfect opportunity to do so. As hard as it is to reconcile ourselves with this eventuality, here are the top five Avengers who need to die in Infinity War.
1 – Hawkeye
Look, Hawkeye was meant to die in Age of Ultron. The set up for his death was obvious. The heretofore solo Avenger was revealed to have a secret happy family – a loving wife, two children and a third on the way. He was even sharing his plans to remodel the kitchen. If that wasn’t foreshadowing his on-screen death, what else could it have been? But, alas, Hawkeye did not bite the bullet, because of studio intervention, apparently. That ignominy went to Quicksilver, who only lasted that one film.
Since then, Hawkeye has apparently retired to hang out with his children, only to end up joining Team Cap in order to keep his charge Wanda Maximoff safe. He was then defeated by Team Iron Man and stuffed in a shady prison before Captain America broke him and the other prisoners out.
Hawkeye doesn’t have much of an arc or any back-story. Surprisingly, he doesn’t seem to need it. Hawkeye is fine just the way he is and to embellish his character and personality further can only lead to disaster. Best to bow out at one’s peak. And, as far as we are concerned, Hawkeye is due a death. It will have to be a strong and meaningful one, of course. I picture him dying as he is reassuring his wife and children of his safety via comms while he is in space.
2 – Captain America
Chris Evans’ Captain America is definitively one of the best-written characters in the MCU. Despite the roster of directors in charge of the character, he has consistently been a goody two-shoes whose moral code defines him. His only break from this was in Civil War when his friend and only link to his former life, Bucky Barnes, was in danger, which led Cap to lose his cool with his new buddy, Tony Stark.
As amazing as the Civil War fight was to watch, the film failed to give audiences an important component of the comic book storyline – Cap’s death and Tony’s subsequent redemption. One of the most emotional moments of the Civil War comics was undoubtedly Civil War: Confession, an apt and shocking conclusion to the entire fight. The film lost much of its gravitas by not including this iconic moment.
Civil War ended a bit too safely, with everyone going their separate ways, a little bloody and bruised, but unscathed nonetheless (except, you know, Rhodey). This is where Infinity War needs to step in and finish what Civil War started; it needs to kill Cap. And Cap’s death must impact Tony in some way. We foresee Steve and Tony reconciling, putting their differences aside, Tony apologising to Bucky and Sam, and then, boom, Cap is killed right in front of them.
Evans has had his solo trilogy, and with Infinity War, he will have completed the Avengers trilogy as well. His extended contract will likely have come to a close. It is time for him to relinquish the shield. Most likely it will go to Sebastian Stan’s Bucky Barnes, as that is what happens in the comic books, but considering Sam Wilson is currently holding that mantle, it would be great to see the contemporary comics universe reflected on film.
3 – Vision
Paul Bettany’s Vision looks like he stepped out of the comics, and fans absolutely love him. So, why do I think Vision should die in Infinity War? Because he is expendable.
As arresting as Vision may be, he isn’t an established member of the Avengers, with little back story for the uninitiated to become attached to. We still know next to nothing about him, except that he is indestructible. So, what better way to terrify the world’s elite superhero team, other than by killing their seemingly immortal team member?
Plus, Vision has the Mind stone embedded in his forehead; Thanos is going to be mighty interested in that stone. Considering the Mind stone is what fuels Vision’s powers, we don’t know how precisely Vision is meant to use his powers, or even survive, without it. Also, one of the key characteristics of Vision’s story is his relationship with Scarlet Witch, which hasn’t yet been developed in the MCU. So there is the off-chance that Marvel do not want to explore that and will do away with him quickly.
I expect Vision to be the first to fall victim to Thanos and it is his death that will spark the ultimate battle in Infinity War.
4 – Hulk
Mark Ruffalo’s Bruce Banner was everything we could have hoped for – an intelligent man in terrifying circumstances, constantly fighting for control over the monster within. Despite many fans’ apprehension about his ability to portray a superhero, he quickly became a favourite following The Avengers in 2012. Age of Ultron failed to develop his character, choosing to focus on the poorly received Hulk-Black Widow romance, instead. But Thor: Ragnarok brought back the Bruce Banner fans loved and finally gave audiences a talking, thinking Hulk, instead of a wordless rage-monster.
Why does Hulk have to die? The aforementioned romance is a good enough reason, one would think. Black Widow could use his and Hawkeye’s deaths as impetus to carry out a suicidal plan that wins the Avengers a huge victory. Additionally, their deaths will free Widow of her burdensome male associations. Hey, it may even be the reason Marvel is finally developing that much-promised Black Widow film!
In addition, Hulk has served his purpose as an Avenger. His character has had little to no growth in the films he has appeared in and it is unlikely that he will get a solo film at this point. Plus, Mark Ruffalo is getting a bit old. The age difference between him and Scarlett Johansson borders on uncomfortable.
Hulk’s death in Infinity War should be a sacrificial act, something to spur on the others in a ‘Let’s do it for Banner’ kind of way. It will probably happen during the climactic battle.
5 – Spider-Man
This is slightly controversial but hear me out.
Marvel has greatly benefited from regaining Spider-Man from Sony. Spider-Man: Homecoming was hilarious and full of infectious, youthful energy; just what the MCU had been lacking. Tom Holland is amazing as Spider-Man; he has the physicality down pat, his comic timing is excellent, and he can definitely carry a film on his own – not an easy task for someone who is just 21.
But Spider-Man may just be the shock death that the MCU needs right now. Spidey’s death could pave the way for a Miles Morales Spider-Man to enter the MCU. Many fans did question why the current comics Spider-Man wasn’t in the MCU, and this will be the perfect way to introduce him.
Plus, Spidey’s death is just the jolt Tony will need to realise how reckless he has been with others’ lives. Look, Tony’s big sacrifice play in The Avengers was the last selfless act we saw from him. Since then, he has created a murder-bot and not apologised, sanctioned and signed accords without conferring with his team and not apologised, disbelieved Cap and hunted Bucky and not apologised, locked up his friends in a dodgy prison and not apol… you see where this is going, right? Not to mention, endangering Spidey’s life by bringing a 15-year-old into an adult fight and then subsequently abandoning him.
Various MCU writers have shared their takes on the character and thus, Tony is no longer a cohesive whole, but rather a sum of his jokes and actions. Thus, he never accepts his mistakes nor does he atone for them. Something needs to change in Tony, and it can only be brought about by the loss of someone he is directly responsible for. So, sorry, Spidey, you have got to go.
Non-Avengers on the Chopping Block
It isn’t only the Avengers who need to be culled. Some of the supporting cast from the MCU, especially the now-completed trilogies, need to go as well if Marvel wants to make room for the new films and characters.
1 – Loki. Undoubtedly, Loki is the best character in the MCU. Tom Hiddleston’s turn as the tragic villain captivated fans so much, he ended up being the biggest draw in The Avengers. Loki has developed through the Thor trilogy and it finally looks like he has had his redemption arc.
We predict Loki will die saving his brother Thor from Thanos. It will be the perfect tragic end to this love-hate relationship between the brothers. Thor has lost everyone else in his family, and this one final loss will complete his hero’s journey.
2 – Pepper Potts. From what we saw at the end of Spider-Man: Homecoming, it seems a big wedding is in the works for Tony and Pepper Potts, CEO of Stark Industries.
Pepper has gone from strength to strength in the MCU films, starting off as a beleaguered PA to Tony, moving on to CEO and finally to Extremis-powered hero who saved the day. She keeps Tony in check and without her he does stupid things; look at Civil War.
Along with losing Cap and Spidey, Infinity War might hammer in the final nail in Tony’s emotional coffin by having Pepper die while protecting a bunch of people.
3 – Nebula. Gamora’s sister is more machine than living being, thanks to their father Thanos’ attempts to ‘enhance’ her as a warrior. The primary reason for the Guardians of the Galaxy getting into the Infinity War fight should be because Gamora and Nebula want revenge against Thanos.
We expect that Nebula will be struck down in the climactic battle in Infinity War, perhaps as part of a montage of falling heroes. Presumably, Thanos will be defeated by the end of Infinity War, and in so doing, Gamora will have her revenge against him and be able to avenge her sister.
Additionally, despite being one of the protagonists in Guardians of the Galaxy, Gamora has had very little development. Hopefully Nebula’s death will add some personality to the badass hero.
Infinity War may be the ‘great culling’ but there are some heroes who will definitely survive the film.
1 – Black Panther and his crew. Black Panther is only now getting a solo film and it is highly unlikely that either he or his compatriots will end up being killed in Infinity War since their trilogy has only just begun. Whoever has to die will die in Black Panther, to enhance that film’s own story.
2 – Doctor Strange. The same can be said about Doctor Strange, who has one solo film under his belt, plus a cameo appearance in Thor: Ragnarok. He will be aided by Wong in Infinity War, and considering Wong is the only Asian character in the film to date, we doubt Marvel will kill him.
3 – The Guardians of the Galaxy. Save for Nebula, this superhero team should get through unscathed as well. They have already suffered the loss of a significant supporting character in their second film, that of Yondu, and I do not think Marvel are interested in making Star-Lord suffer any more by losing any of his essential team members until the team’s third solo outing.
4 – Iron Man. Iron Man will also most likely live through the film, if only to end it a broken man having suffered major losses. This can set up his final exit from the franchise, and may even herald the entrance of Ironheart, Riri Williams, in the MCU.
Alongside Iron Man, War Machine, who was severely injured in Civil War, should also be safe. There are too few characters of colour in the MCU as it is, and a wounded war veteran is just the kind of lasting consequence that the franchise needs.
5 – Thor and Valkyrie. Thor is another Avenger who should survive. Chris Hemsworth has expressed interest in continuing in his role as the God of Thunder following Avengers 4, and we see him and Valkyrie teaming up with the Guardians of the Galaxy in their third film for more hilarious escapades. Valkyrie will definitely drink Rocket and Drax under the table.
6 – Scarlet Witch and Black Widow. There are still too few female heroes in the franchise; curtailing them further would spark the ire of Marvel fans. Plus, Captain Marvel is on her way to join the MCU, and, if we are to get that all-female Marvel film that the female cast has been pushing for, we cannot afford to lose the existing heroes.
7 – Ant-Man and the Wasp. Ant-Man is the sole protagonist of his film and Wasp is another rare female superhero. Neither can be discarded without impacting the solo trilogy. As for Ant-Man’s crew, I doubt they will feature in Infinity War as they are scheduled to appear in Ant-Man and the Wasp later this year.
There we have it, the Avengers who must die in Infinity War, along with some of their companions. Whether or not any of this comes true, we will have to wait till May and see. Until then, happy speculating!
We’ve written a cheeky little piece about the most likely characters to join the MCU after Infinity War. Okay, we lied. It’s not that cheeky.