Well, GUG readers. We’re now under a week away from what is billed as one of the most ambitious crossovers we’ve ever seen committed to camera. No, I’m not talking about the Supernatural meets Scooby Doo episode (unless you want me to, as that was pretty amazing)! Of course, we all know I’m referring to the gargantuan Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) and its upcoming flagship film, Avengers: Infinity War.
It may have one of the most obnoxious logo animations out of all the major studios, but interweaving the lore of 18 films is no easy feat–and that’s an even greater accomplishment once we consider the various television series. The events leading up to Thanos’ grand entrance have been teased for literally a decade, and now we’re at the precipice to see if it really does live up to all the hype. We’ve already given our verdicts regarding how we think the film will be received, but what about the finer details? Below are the predictions from several of GUG’s film critics. Will we fare better than what we did with Star Wars: The Last Jedi? Uh, one can only hope!
What characters do you believe will die?
Sarah Bennett: I believe my personal favorite, Captain America, will take the proverbial bullet in this Avengers film. There has already been a steady build up to introduce Bucky (the Winter Soldier) as his replacement. And it makes sense. The original comic books slide him into the Captain America roll after Steve Rogers is killed. I think Cap will make the ultimate sacrifice and exchange his life for either another or the entire planet Earth—because it’s the right thing to do.
Tyler Hummel: Vision is probably doomed… He has an infinity stone in his brain. Beyond that, the big question to me is whether Iron Man or Captain America is going out. Chris Evans and Robert Downey Jr. have been threatening to quit for years and they’re at the end of their current contracts and they’re ready to quit. If I had to guess however I’d assume Captain America is gonna make it to the next movie considering how important his character is to the ongoing Winter Soldier storyline that’s set to finish in Avengers 4.
Juliana Purnell: Given that Vision has an infinity stone planted firmly in the middle of his forehead, and the fact that the trailer shows the moment right before it’s potentially ripped out, I say he’s a safe bet. Elizabeth Olsen has also stated in interviews that Infinity War has provided the most emotional character journey she’s ever experienced within a role, which is something that would make sense in the advent of Vision’s passing.
As for the rest, any of the characters that have appeared in three or more films are potentially on the chopping block, just from a business standpoint. With Thor, Cap and Iron Man, there’s little left when it comes to character development, meaning that the cost of the actors may start to supersede their characters’ earning potential. That said, if Thor dies, then so does any further exploration into Asgardian culture; narratively speaking, it narrows the potential for future stories down too much.
Though Loki’s death could be an easy way to establish Thanos’ dominance in the narrative early on in the piece. Which leaves Captain America and Iron Man–both would be a huge blow if they were to die, but they reflect the story’s high stakes. We will say goodbye to one of them, and my bet is on Iron Man. His death will be foreshadowed by Vision (the creation dies then the creator) and will fuel Spider-Man and War Machine. Stark’s influence has also been made obsolete recently by Wakanda’s emergence. So it would be a timely and powerful exit from the franchise.
Who has plot armor?
Sarah Bennett: Contractually: Black Panther, Iron Man, Ant-Man (HURRAY!), Spider-Man, Thor (man, I hope they keep that short hair), Dr. Strange, all of the Guardians of the Galaxy (except Yondu *sniff), Loki, the Hulk, Black Widow.
Even though Chris Evans (Captain America) and Robert Downey Jr. (Iron Man) have reached their six-movie contract end, I think there will be some negotiations for RDJ for a majestic ending in the near future. Maybe in Avengers 4.
Tyler Hummel: Hulk! Nobody really talks about it but Mark Ruffalo essentially has to do half a performance in each of these movies and then he walks away with blockbuster movie money! He pretty much has no reason to want to leave, unlike the actors who have WAY more intensive roles.
Juliana Purnell: Black Panther. While Infinity War would’ve been in production before Black Panther’s theatrical release, therefore the choice to keep him alive purely for financial reasons isn’t in play, the character is simply too new and fresh to kill off so soon. Other characters hold more narrative weight when it comes to heavy, emotion-fuelled deaths. Doesn’t mean that one of his friends can’t die though. The same logic can be applied to Dr. Strange–I don’t think he’s going anywhere–whilst it would also be a weird choice to kill off Ant-Man right before his prequel movie.
I also feel that all female characters are safe. There aren’t many female Avengers, and none have had a standalone film. To cut them down before they’ve had a chance to properly develop will cause too much of a backlash within certain portions of the fandom. Nebula and Gamora’s plot armor is the thinnest, though I sense their character journey will continue through to Avengers 4.
How will this movie end? What will be left in store for Avengers 4?
Sarah Bennett: Open-ended, of course. A new villain will be hinted at. And the dedication will be to the man, myth, and legend: Stan Lee.
For the next film, the team will have to pick up the pieces of the destruction from Thanos and the loss of a team member (if it’s not Cap, someone else will bite it). So, I believe there will be a sense of both brokenness and revenge. If my first prediction is true, Tony Stark will feel personally responsible for Bucky, after he finds a message from Steve. I think there will be a video message that is counting for Chris Evans as “confirmed” casting for Avengers 4.
I think that Vision will stick around and lend to the damaged feeling. Ant-Man and Wasp will step in, albeit in small doses. And if the Marvel universe is smart, Black Panther’s sister Shuri will stick around.
Tyler Hummel: This movie is gonna end on a very dour note. Beyond what Comic book readers will tell you happens in the Infinity War storyline I think most people are at least a little bit morbidly fascinated to see what a fully powered Thanos would look like on screen. Since the ComicCon footage from last year involved him crushing the moon and throwing meteors at people I think we’re in for the bad guy winning. In terms of Avengers 4? Who knows? I could see everything from a straight up adaption of Infinity Gauntlet to a much riskier venture like a Secret Wars or Annihilation film.
Juliana Purnell: The ending will be bittersweet. Since the story is broken into two parts, it means it can’t be completely resolved; the Avengers will win the battle but the war is still ongoing. From the trailer, it seems the final stand will take place in Wakanda. It would be a gutsy choice to have the city fall, though I feel Ant-Man’s thievery of an infinity stone will save that from happening, along with Iron Man’s sacrifice (or Captain America’s–their role in the plot is essentially interchangeable at this point).
In the next film, the Avengers will need to regroup once again after the death of Iron Man (or Captain America). The underdog side characters will need to step up, like Bucky, Falcon, Hawkeye, and War Machine, with the latter getting treatment either in Wakanda or by Dr. Strange in Infinity War. Nebula and Gamora’s character journey will also come to a (deadly) end. There will certainly be a sense of a torch being passed on to the next generation, particularly since Captain America will die. He was the first Avenger, and his death will also mark the end of this chapter in the MCU, allowing a new narrative to begin.