The following is spoiler-free, as it is based on the comic book storylines, not on “Avengers: Infinity War.” For all the great things the films of the Marvel Cinematic Universe has accomplished, one it has always struggled with is making the audience feel concerned for the hero’s safety.
In the 18 released films only Quicksilver (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) has died — in the final moments of “Age of Ultron” — and that wasn’t exactly a crushing loss. Even when “The Avengers” tried having a meaningful death by killing Agent Coulson (Clark Gregg) — a character we’d gotten to know through multiple of the Phase 1 films — it was immediately undone thanks to ABC’s “Agents of SHIELD.” “Infinity War” has a real chance to shake things up by killing off a big character for good.
Through the last 10 years, the MCU has created a massive stable of characters. Perhaps some of them would be best utilized by making the ultimate sacrifice in the battle against Thanos (Josh Brolin). These characters are in the most danger of falling in “Infinity War.”
Up until “Infinity War,” hardly any character in the MCU has enjoyed face time with Thanos. In fact, it’s pretty much just his two daughters Gamora (Zoe Saldana) and Nebula (Karen Gillan). Both have a lot of solid reasons to hate dear old Dad, but if one of the two has had it worse it was probably Nebula. Thanos at least seems to have some respect for Gamora, where he just slowly tore Nebula apart and replaced her with cybernetics.
It’s likely one, if not both, of these sisters confront the Mad Titan in the film. If money needed to be put down on which one falls to Thanos it’s easy money on Nebula. It would certainly give Gamora one more reason to hate her father.
Vision (Paul Bettany) is in some serious danger going into “Infinity War” largely due to why he exists. He came into being back in “Age of Ultron,” when the body Ultron and Helen Cho were building was combined with the Mind Stone. Thanos is looking for all the Infinity Stones so he can bedazzle his Infinity Gauntlet.
“Infinity War” could possibly end with Thanos acquiring all the stones — a la Voldemort finding the Elder Wand at the end of “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1” — which would set the stage for “Avengers 4.” If that’s the case, Vision we hardly knew you.
3. Iron Man
Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) is the grandfather of the MCU. He was there from the start, and nearly every character respects him. If he were to fall to Thanos, it would be a thunderous message to the remaining heroes — and the audience — that Thanos — and Marvel — aren’t messing around. The character hasn’t starred in his own film since “Iron Man 3” in 2013, instead popping up in other films like “Spider-Man: Homecoming” and “Captain America: Civil War.” Perhaps the stories Tony Stark had to tell are coming to an end.
Plus, Downey Jr. essentially gets paid in battleships of cash. Even though Marvel basically prints money these days, it might be nice to allocate that money elsewhere.
Between the time the first “Infinity War” trailer dropped and now, there have been approximately eight million think pieces on where Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) is and why he isn’t in any posters or clips. This could mean one of two things. Either we’ve got a Luke Skywalker/”The Force Awakens” situation where he doesn’t show up until the very end of film, or nearly all of Hawkeye’s scenes are important enough to keep under wraps.
“Age of Ultron” spent a decent chunk of the film developing Hawkeye — revealing he had a wife and kids, and lived on a farm — and ended with him deciding to retire from the superhero life. “Civil War” made the point to bring him out of retirement and make him a fugitive. This much focus on a character who was initially mostly a throw-away character (looking at you “The Avengers”) is never a great sign for that character’s lifespan.
1. Captain America
The MCU films haven’t exactly been subtle about the fact that Captain America (Chris Evans) is the heart of the Avengers. Having him fall at the end of “Infinity War” would be a massive blow to the team. Story-wise this also opens the door for a lot of interesting films going forward. Unlike other characters, Captain America — or Steve Rogers more accurately — dying doesn’t mean the franchise has to end. There are plenty of great stories from the comics when both Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan) and Falcon (Anthony Mackie) spent time wielding the shield.
Logistically, this makes the most sense as well since Evans has stated that he’ll be done with the character after “Avengers 4.”