Quick, name something truly shocking that happened in a Marvel Cinematic Universe movie. The two most common answers would probably be the “apparent” death of Agent Phil Coulson in the first Avengers movie. Or, I don’t know, maybe the death of Quicksilver in Avengers: Age of Ultron. Honestly, the most “shocking” moments in a given Marvel movie are usually tucked away in the post-credits scenes and often are used to introduce a new character. So the surprise comes from Nick Fury walking on screen or seeing Thanos smile, knowing that someday Thanos would be the villain in a Marvel movie. Well, six years after that post credit smile, Thanos is here for Avengers: Infinity War.
So here’s a little bit of inside baseball: Avengers: Infinity War comes out on April 23. With any other Marvel movie, a good number of media members would have seen it by now. Usually the first screenings start happening around three or four weeks before release, leading to a flurry of social media reactions, followed by full reviews the week after that. But at this point, basically nobody has seen Avengers: Infinity War.
And, yes, sometimes movies are hidden when they might not be good. But that’s not what’s going on here. (Since no one has seen it, there’s no guarantee that it is good, but Marvel’s point of view here isn’t “it’s bad so let’s hide it.”) What’s almost assuredly happening is that, unlike all the Marvel Cinematic Universe movies before it, some truly shocking things will happen. In other words: characters we’ve grown to know are probably going to die.
(What complicates this a little bit is the still-untitled Avengers film that’s scheduled for 2019. Pretty much everyone is said to be slated to appear in that one, too. But of course, people have to say that because it would be giving something away if all of a sudden an actor says, “Oh, I’m not in that one.” So let’s assume “being confirmed for Avengers 4” means nothing.)
So, before Avengers: Infinity War starts screening next week, let’s break down the odds of which Marvel heroes might die during the course of this movie. (Also, for the record, I will not be honoring these odds because I am not a bookie.)
Black Panther Or Any Major Character From Wakanda
Well, Black Panther dying would certainly be surprising! I’d sure give them that. But if anyone can safely fight Thanos without worrying about meeting his or her doom, it’s Black Panther. In two months, Black Panther has grossed $1.3 billion. As the direction of Marvel movies changes with Phase Four, Black Panther is the character Marvel will put front and center for the next decade.
Odds: 1,000,000/1 (Or, “LOL”)
So, yes, Marvel finally negotiated the rights back to use Spider-Man in their movie and then they kill him off in his third appearance. Now, of course, down the line, Peter could meet his doom and be replaced by Miles Morales, who was mentioned by Donald Glover’s character in Spider-Man: Homecoming, but that’s not going to happen in this movie.
It would be odd to set up Doctor Strange’s whole weird story, then just kill him off. It does seem like, as the Marvel movies become more cosmic, Doctor Strange will kind of be our tour guide through the whole thing, just like Tony Stark played that role with more Earth-bound technology over the last ten years. (Every Marvel movie from this point on will probably have a scene of someone saying, “This doesn’t make sense. I guess we need to visit Doctor Strange.” And they already kind of did this in Thor: Ragnarok.)
Ant-Man or Wasp
Are they even in this movie? The answer is “probably.” They aren’t on the poster, but their role will not be to show up in a cameo so that they can die three months before their new movie comes out.
Yes, we haven’t even seen this character yet, but keep in mind that her solo movie is set in the 1990s. So it’s possible she will make her grand debut, save the universe in some tragic way, then we find out where she came from in her own movie. This is extremely unlikely, but I decided to float it anyway because, if it happens, I can brag.