Edit: This post was first composed after watching Avengers: Infinity War. It now includes content following the releases of Ant-Man and the Wasp and Captain Marvel, respectively.
Edit 2: We now have more “information” regarding the status of characters who’s fate were left ambiguous thanks to new Endgame posters released in March, but treat it with grains of salt.
Edit 3: This post now includes characters confirmed deceased during Avengers: Endgame, but does not edit so heavily to remove speculation of survivors/losses given prior to that film. For that complete list, see here.
I AM ABOUT TO PUBLISH A HELL OF A LOT OF SPOILERS.
If you do not understand what “spoiler” means, it is the fact that I am about to talk about the characters in Avengers: Infinity War, Ant-Man and the Wasp, Captain Marvel, and Avengers: Endgame, before you have likely seen those films. You are now reading past this point of your own accord.
By the time I walked into my very packed local cinema complex, I’d spent the previous night watching Avengers, Captain America: Civil War, and Iron Man. I had one demand of Infinity War – that was that Robert Downey Jr’s Tony Stark/Iron Man live through the film. Retire him, send him away ALA Clint Barton-style to live happily ever after with Pepper Potts – I don’t care. He’s my favourite character, I wanted him to live.
Remember this when you continue reading, because I don’t believe what I got was a fair trade.
In Avengers: Age of Ultron, we were treated to a quick scene of horrors in which Stark was the last one standing among a pile of dead or dying Avengers. This led to his creating Ultron (and by consequence, Vision).
That particular scene of horrors didn’t translate exactly, but the connection between a particular line given by Doctor Strange and the ultimate outcome of Infinity War came as close to recreating the emotion behind that scene as anyone could. Of those around immediately surrounding him, Stark was just one of two left standing.
The film split into three areas that it had to cover – Nidavellir (led by Thor), Wakanda, Earth (led by Captain America/Black Panther) and Titan (led by Iron Man/Doctor Strange). The Guardians are ultimately separated between these, Gamora singled out moreso since she’s a daughter of Thanos. This is not like the first Avengers, where every defeat is followed by a win. It is a couple of wins, followed by constant defeat. Gamora is the centre stone – once she is lost, there is no stopping the trainwreck of death in this film. And it’s not people dying in battle, either. Only four perish by someone’s physical hand – but as you’ll soon see, that doesn’t mean many are spared.
On-screen Victims of Infinity War:
You know, Thanos was determined to wipe out half the universe – so if for a second you thought that exactly half of the heroes would live, you were wrong. EDIT: This list now includes characters from other films relating to “the snap”.
- “Half of Asgard” – estimation by Thor
- Vision (on Earth)
- Wanda Maximoff/Scarlet Witch (on Earth)
- Bucky Barnes/Winter Soldier/White Wolf (on Earth)
- Sam Wilson/Falcon (on Earth)
- T’Challa/Black Panther (on Earth)
- Peter Parker/Spider-man (on Titan)
- Dr. Stephen Strange (on Titan)
Guardians of the Galaxy
- Mantis (on Titan)
- Drax (on Titan)
- Peter Quill/Star Lord (on Titan)
- Groot (on Earth)
- Most of of the surprisingly nameless children of Thanos (on Earth, one lost in space)
- Nick Fury (on Earth, Atlanta)
- Maria Hill (on Earth, Atlanta)
- EDIT: Hank Pym (on Earth, San Francisco)
- Janet van Dyne/Wasp-1 (on Earth, San Francisco)
- Hope van Dyne/Wasp-2 (on Earth, San Francisco)
- EDIT: Laura Barton (on Earth, Barton home)
- Lila Barton (on Earth, Barton home)
- Cooper Barton (on Earth, Barton home)
- Nate Barton (on Earth, Barton home)
The irony here is that most of those on this list are somewhat new to the franchise. The original Avengers are left standing whilst everyone else are utterly decimated. Go figure.
- Nova Corps (Xandar is said to have been decimated, and the stone they were protecting stolen by Thanos)
- The Collector (presumably located on Knowhere, which was also decimated)
Those whom live to fight another day (for now)
There are many characters in this film that show up briefly and then disappear without mention again. Some are mentioned continuously through promotion of the film, but don’t actually show up at all. I got what I wanted – Iron Man survived. Except everybody else was killed instead.
- Tony Stark/Iron Man
- Steve Rogers/Captain America/Nomad
- Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow
- Bruce Banner
- James Rhodes/War Machine
- Rocket Racoon
- EDIT: Scott Lang/Ant-Man
- EDIT: Carol Danvers/Captain Marvel
It’s . . . not a long list.
- All supporting cast seen in Black Panther that join Infinity War
- Minus Black Panther himself – this will have marked the second time he has died in the span of a year.
- Red Skull (chances that he’ll return for Avengers 4 seems fairly slim, however)
Seen onscreen, fate unknown
Given that this can’t possibly be left on a cliffhanger for the rest of the franchise, there are a few wildcard characters whose fates have been left up in the air, either because they were absent entirely for the film, or because their demise wasn’t specified by the film’s end – such as half of the Asgardians left behind in Thanos’ wake. Whether or not these select few were turned into space dust is unknown.
New York City
- Pepper Potts (last heard in distress over a phone call to Tony Stark following his ascent to space — EDIT: Suggested alive by Endgame posters)
- Wong (left Bruce Banner to protect New York Sanctum Sanctorum following Dr Strange’s ascent to space — EDIT: Suggested alive by Endgame posters)
- Peter Parker’s classmates (all on their bus which was headed back towards Queens(?) – while their brief appearance was cool, it’s ultimately doubtful they’d be capable of providing assistance in the next film)
- Shuri (incapacitated in her lab — EDIT: suggested to have been killed by Endgame posters)
Not seen at all
These guys were either mentioned in passing or not seen at all in Infinity War. They could potentially appear in Avengers 4. EDIT: This list now also includes characters supposedly set to appear in Avengers: Infinity War as stated by IMDb. It does not, however, include characters we already saw in Infinity War (dead or otherwise).
- Everett Ross (last seen in Black Panther – no mention)
- Nakia (last seen in Black Panther – no mention)
- Happy Hogan (last seen in Spider-man: Homecoming – featured in Infinity War deleted scene in which he appeared with Tony and Pepper as they were jogging and discussing kids, slated to appear in Avengers: Endgame)
- Aunt May (last seen in Spider-man: Homecoming – quick, off-hand reference between Tony Stark & Peter Parker)
- Harley Keener (last seen in Iron Man 3, slated to appear in Avengers 4 – no mention)
- Sharon Carter/Agent 13 (last seen in Captain America: Civil War – no mention)
- Jane Foster (last mentioned in Thor: Ragnarok – no mention here. Given Natalie Portman’s current relationship with Marvel, however, I find it doubtful Jane Foster is about to pull fem!Thor in the MCU)
- Lady Sif (last seen in Thor: The Dark World/Agents of SHIELD, confirmed alive during Thor: Ragnarok events by Kevin Feige – no mention)
- Valkyrie (last seen in Thor: Ragnarok – no mention. EDIT: Suggested alive by Endgame posters)
- Christine Palmer (last seen in Doctor Strange – no mention)
- Kraglin (last seen in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 as an new member of the Guardians, but fails to appear in Infinity War and doesn’t seem to be missed by his team)
- Stakar Ogord & co (last seen in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 – no mention)
- Clint Barton/Hawkeye (last seen in Captain America: Civil War – mentioned as having taken a plea deal post-Civil War to be with his family and is considered under house arrest) EDIT: Suggested alive by Endgame trailer and poster content.
- Scott Lang/Ant-Man (last seen in Captain America: Civil War – also mentioned to have taken a plea deal to be with his family and is also supposedly on house arrest (but this is Scott Lang we’re talking about)) EDIT: Following the release of Ant-man and the Wasp, we now know that Scott is trapped in the quantum realm during the events of Infinity War.
- Erik Selvig (last seen in Avengers: Age of Ultron – no mention)
- Phil Coulson (last seen in Avengers/Agents of SHIELD – Avengers still likely believe he’s dead)
- Helen Cho (last seen in Avengers: Age of Ultron – no mention)
- Luis & co (last seen in Ant-Man and the Wasp – no mention)
- Ava Starr/Ghost (last seen in Ant-Man and the Wasp – no mention)
- Brock Rumlow/Crossbones (deceased in Captain America: Civil War, slated to appear in Avengers: Endgame)
- The Ancient One (deceased in Doctor Strange, slated to appear in Avengers: Endgame)
- Yon-Rogg (last seen in Captain Marvel – no mention (however, it was suggested by Ryan Fleck that an original plan for a Captain Marvel post-credits scene included the character ending up on Sakaar, setting him up to be forced to compete in the Grand Master’s Contest of Champions (though this never occurred))
- Talos & co (last seen in Captain Marvel – no mention (chances for his appearance are low, however))
- Maria & Monica Rambeau (last seen in Captain Marvel – no mention)
The future Avengers film
I’ve spent the last five hours coming up with the potential cast of characters and cameos we might see for Avengers 4, including ‘dream characters’, as well as debating characters whom, before they’re likely resurrected in the sequel, are potentially still alive in some manner. These guys could make a huge impact and bring about a few victories for the ‘good’ side of this fight.
Characters potentially not-dead
- It’s hard to be convinced Loki’s truly dead when he’s “died” at least twice so far in this franchise. Even Thor debates this during the film – and while most of us were waiting for Loki to show up somewhere at some point with a smile singing “surprise!”, it simply didn’t happen. However, the potential that Loki was biding his time and waiting for the perfect avenue of escape (Thanos being thousands of lightyears away) is still there.
- Doctor Strange
- Out of thousands of potential scenarios, Stephen Strange only saw one future where they win the fight against Thanos. He then chose to give him the freaking time stone. Strange has courted death a couple of times now and has shown back up perfectly fine – and even becoming space dust seemed like a minor inconvenience to him as he spoke his last words to Tony.
- This one is a bit more of a stretch compared to the two above, especially since we do see her corpse. I’m of firm belief Gamora will not return to the Guardians of the Galaxy following the Infinity War arc and that she’s permanently dead. However, being taken as payment by an infinity stone may give her enough influence over Thanos that she could potentially undo his work from the inside.
Characters who could step up to the plate
Our own heroes are devastated. Two of them are stuck up on Titan, and assuming they can pilot the Milano out of there, chances are they won’t be joining Steve Rogers on Earth any time soon. This is a good time for some allies to come crawling out of the woodwork.
- Hawkeye and Ant-Man
- Entirely absent from this film, minus a single mention, seems a little convenient. The Russo brothers have hinted to Hawkeye having a ‘long story’ underneath Infinity War – could it be he’s recruiting?
- Ant-Man and The Wasp has yet to be released, so the extent of Scott Lang’s involvement in Infinity War can’t really be assumed until we have a good idea as to what he got up to post-Civil War.
- EDIT: With the release of Ant-Man and The Wasp, we now know that he’s trapped in the quantum realm, which the original Wasp (Janet van Dyne) warned him about potentially getting lost in temporal areas . . . which explains those ‘back in time’ pics that came out a while back.
- Pepper Potts
- This looks like a good time for a Rescue. It’s not like Tony didn’t leave any suits behind, after all.
- EDIT: Gwenyth Paltrow snapped a pic potentially featuring the top part of a Rescue armour, further suggesting that we may be getting a Rescue appearance.
- We didn’t see nor hear about what happened to Valkyrie or if she got away in time – she’s not mentioned and we don’t see her body. It’s possible Thor sent her packing the minute Thanos showed up. Valkyrie knows the back-alleys of the universe like the back of her hand at this point – if someone could recruit a quick army to take to the Mad Titan, it could be her.
- EDIT: Given her appearance in the Endgame posters (the coloured ones, no less) could it be that Valkyrie is the Asgardian saving grace?
- Captain Marvel.
The entire end credits sequence is dedicated to Nick Fury and Maria Hill reacting to news that Wakanda is under attack. When Hill starts to disintegrate, Fury goes after a small device – a distress signal, maybe – and manages to get it pressed just as he, too, turns into space dust. On that device is the trademark icon and colours of one Captain Marvel.
Captain Marvel is slated for release in March, 2019, and is supposedly set in the 90s. While bringing Black Panther and Spider-man into Civil War worked well given the two characters reputations, introducing Carol Danvers in her own film before bringing her into this mess is a smart move – it’ll get audiences acquainted with what she can do. Is she on Earth? Given how unusual the device Fury used looked, it seems more like a long-range transceiver – I get the sense that she’s far away by the time Thanos hits Wakanda.
Edit: And she is far away when it all goes down, having begun her journey by escorting the Skrulls to a new homeworld. The theory now is that she’d been protecting other worlds, who don’t have heroes like the Avengers for themselves–hence why she had yet to return home. How “the snap” affected her remains to be seen.
After watching Captain Marvel, I firmly believe that Thanos is in deep trouble.
Don’t take too much stock in this list – this is just brainstorming the MCU as a whole and which aspects could do what.
- Miles Morales
- Peter Parker is a little space-dusty right now, and another kid who could take his place at the drop of a hat, whom has already once been referred to in Spider-man: Homecoming, could potentially lend a hand. There’s been little talk about bringing Morales in, but hey. I can dream.
- Dormammu is a being of the Dark Dimension, where time simply doesn’t exist. He is not dead, he wasn’t incapacitated, he was simply so incredibly irritated with Doctor Strange’s time loop that he did as Strange requested. Thanos is stuck in time, even with the time stone – without the time stone’s interference, Dormammu is not. It’s a match made in heaven. It is also a ridiculous notion that a being such as Dormammu would involve himself, but maybe Strange is up for making another bargain.
- Mordo is currently out and about, possibly killing sorcerers, and was failed to be mentioned – for obvious reasons. He is not all-powerful and he might not even match Strange’s ability, but the potential for him to level the playing field a little. Given his character motivations, however, it seems more likely he’d welcome Thanos with open arms and join him, rather than fight.
- Marvel Television/Netflix characters–EDIT: As of February 2019, all the Netflix shows have since been cancelled.
- The Defenders
- Netflix seems to have a love/hate relationship with the MCU films. They acknowledge their existence, but that seems to be the extent of it. However, you can’t deny that someone with Danny Rand/Iron Fist’s abilities (minus the Danny Rand part) would be of great use right about now. In fact, what were the Defenders doing when a giant donut started breaking down New York? With Matt Murdock/Daredevil currently out of commission, Luke Cage presumably back in Harlem, and who knows wtf Danny Rand is doing, the only person I can truly account for is Jessica Jones – and in her current state, I highly doubt she’s “in the mood” to go evacuating civilians from scary aliens.
- According to Krysten Ritter (Jessica Jones), The Defenders was a one-off thing. However, should Marvel Studios decide to play ball with these guys, we may have just found some extra foot soldiers to keep swarms of flesh-eating animals at bay. If Black Widow can do it, Daredevil probably could, too.
- The Punisher
- Frank Castle is a brutal SOB. Initially, the rumour was that Castle drove the trucks that saved Nick Fury and hit Jasper Sitwell in Captain America: The Winter Soldier – if that’s the case, Fury might just be in the know about Castle. Again, given the hectic relationship between Netflix and the greater MCU, this would be a long shot.
- The Agents of SHIELD/Phil Coulson
- I don’t generally keep up with Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD, but the last I heard, they were supposedly stuck in space and/or time. I can guarantee you that most audiences know Phil Coulson is alive even after Avengers, and it is not that hard for him to do a quick introduction of Quake. Given that half of the universe has just faded away, this seems like a good time for him to get re-acquainted with some old friends.
- The Defenders
- Ex-Fox characters
- Here’s where things get a little complicated thanks to Marvel re-acquiring the 20th Century Fox characters.
- James Gunn almost threw in a nifty little reference to Deadpool with his Stan Lee cameo on Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 – and Deadpool has referenced the MCU on numerous occasions, especially as that Josh Brolin (Thanos) is playing Cable. Now that he’s technically owned by Disney, and Deadpool 2 comes out in May, there is still time to shove him into Avengers 4 – due to the short time limit, perhaps more likely as a cameo, rather than a fulfilling roles. That means, while his appearance would be a cool sight to see, he’d have next to no impact on the plot of Avengers 4.
- The X-Men
- Again, with Deadpool’s references to and almost-from the MCU, and now having been re-acquired by the studio, it’d be nice to have some mutant help against the Mad Titan. Rumor is the last X-Men film Fox will release is X-Men: Dark Phoenix – but we don’t actually need those specific characters. If you’re a mutant, and you’re part of the X-Men, the Avengers could use some help.
- The Fantastic Four
- Fantastic Four seems to be the Spider-man of 20th Century Fox – they struggled to get them off the ground, and then the reboot was a complete disaster. Having all these characters show up in the middle of a battle is not how I’d picture their introduction to the MCU – if they were slated to appear, I find it more likely just one (Reed Richards?) would be relegated to a cameo appearance until such time Marvel Studios had a good idea of what to do with them. Once again, not something over-all helpful to the film’s plot.
- Harley Keener
- Tony Stark’s youngest associate next to Peter Parker, Harley was introduced in Iron Man 3 – some considered him a throwaway character for that single film. And then he was slated to return in Avengers 4. He might not have been bitten by a spider, but Harley is just as intellectual, if not a little more due to potential tutoring by Stark, as Peter Parker. If there was a time to bring in a new Iron Man, or at least someone donning new armor, now would definitely be the time to do it. If Harley’s appearance in Avengers 4 pans out to just be a cameo, I’m gonna be thoroughly disappointed.
- Tony’s introduction to the film was a discussion with Pepper about them having kids. I’m not trying to insinuate anything, but Tony seems to get quickly attached as a mentor to Harley and Peter. If Stark were to die, who exactly is supposed to inherit his wealth (other than Pepper Potts)?