You can run but you can't hide. Thanos is coming in Avengers: Infinity War and with his impending arrival, we expect death to be accompanying him. We're also very sure anyone or any place housing an Infinity Stone will be slated for demolition as he tries to fill his Infinity Gauntlet and consolidate his rule on the galaxy, starting firmly with Earth. Casualties are very much expected, which could see the MCU shift to a darker tone, and after seeing Quicksilver fall in the likes of Avengers: Age of Ultron and Yondu in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, civilians won't be the only ones on the line.
Death doesn't mean heroes can't return like in the comics because the Gauntlet holds the power to readjust reality, but when it comes to this first strike, no one's safe. Thanos has to lay the law down and the only way the Russos can do this is by allowing his army to run rampant on the cosmos. The MCU has always been seen as campy but with the stakes raised, CBR decided to look at 15 characters who should expire when Infinity War brings its storm to cinemas.
SPOILER WARNING: Major spoilers ahead for all MCU movies
16 IRON MAN
Robert Downey Jr. has killed it as Tony Stark in the MCU, so what better way to make his contribution stand out than by making him a martyr? If you're currently up to speed on Marvel's recent comics, Stark entered a coma after Civil War II and has been aiding his successor, Ironheart, as a hologram while fighting off Steve Rogers' HYDRA empire.
This gives us a way of keeping him alive in the MCU should he die. As to why, well we've gotten a lot of Iron Man since he kickstarted things through his 2008 solo outing, and it seems Kevin Feige and company want him as the poster-boy of everything, including Spider-Man: Homecoming. What better way to show he isn't a conceited narcissist than via a sacrifice against Thanos? It would make amends for his Civil War film actions, wouldn't it?
15 NICK FURY
Nick Fury also has some redemption to garner, especially after Cap called him out on how S.H.I.E.L.D. was something closer to a terrorist organization than one of freedom. Things fell apart in The Winter Soldier, with Fury faking his death to go underground like in the comics, as he didn't know who to trust after HYDRA's infiltration.
He offered a hand in Age of Ultron but was surprisingly out of the mix when Stark and Rogers collided in Civil War, more or less undoing the work he put together with the Avengers Initiative. When Thanos invades, hopefully he comes out like he did in Secret Invasion to help defend Earth. However, with Thaddeus Ross and Everett Ross guiding the Sokovia Accords, it's likely all Fury will be is a rogue vigilante. Fury hasn't been the best leader but his sacrifice is one that could unite Earth's mightiest once more.
14 THE COLLECTOR
The Collector was given the Aether (Reality Stone) by the Asgardians, as they were already storing the Tesseract (Space Stone) in Odin's vault. However, he should be worried when Thanos comes for it because he's not a superhero and one has to wonder if he has a bodyguard contingent. Chances are the Black Order or Thanos himself will make an example out of this eccentric character.
The Collector's a sneaky chap so maybe he has a couple aces up his sleeve. Then again, seeing that, so far, only Howard the Duck's been buddying up with him, it's likely he'll die... but not before sending word to Asgard or the Guardians that war is coming. It would be best if he meets up with Thor before perishing, though, because after the Odinson's AoU visions, it seems that he knows a bit more about the Stones and may be seeking that final nugget of information.
Wong and Doctor Strange will have a tough job ahead of them as they try to guard the Kamar-Taj library from the threat of Thanos. They have the Eye of Agamotto after all, which houses the Time Stone, and as seen in Strange's solo film, it will be a crucial asset in the battle to come.
The potential it has can definitely shape the outcome of the war, especially if Thanos loses, as he can manipulate time and maybe try again. With it being so valuable, and the Black Order rumored to be sent as a hunting pack to Earth, Wong might just end up in their crosshairs. The mystical world could be rocked by this clandestine cosmic cadre of killers and it would also push Strange out of his laid-back and negotiating mode, and into one of aggression.
12 MARIA HILL
Maria Hill stood by Stark's side when he fought Team Cap in the Civil War comics, but in the MCU she's the right-hand of Nick Fury. However, outside of The Winter Soldier, we're yet to see her really be anything of relevance. In the books, she often opposed the big names in the Avengers, lobbying for what she sees as justice; but in the MCU, Hill is nothing more than a lackey who's yet to make an impact.
In other words, she's expendable. She and Fury became obsolete the moment S.H.I.E.L.D. did, and unless she's going to flip and align herself with Stark in the MCU, build a protective coating around Earth as with the current Secret Empire event, or try to assassinate those who are oppressing heroes, then the best bet to add importance to her would be a shocking death, like how they treated Agent Coulson.
Rumors have it that the other siblings Nebula mentioned when she took Gamora to task were none other than the Black Order. This may well pit both women as key figures when Thanos' minions come to Earth as they would all have battled before for his approval. Nebula has made it clear, especially at the end of GotG Vol. 2, that even though she's no hero, she still wants Thanos dead.
She seemed to reconcile with Gamora but is still reluctant to show her affection so maybe the best way of doing so would be to save the Guardian and take the hit for her when Thanos confronts the traitorous duo. Chances are he'll want to make an example out of a daughter and this could send Gamora over the edge. She's too big a face to kill off so Nebula fits the death mark. This would also be a nice way to fold in the comic book lore, as Nebula was an undead monstrosity during the beginning of the original Infinity Gauntlet book.
10 THE NOVA CORPS
Wiping out the entire Nova Corps would be quite a bold statement of intent from Thanos' army. Imagine seeing him lay waste to what's considered the universe's main police force? It would send shockwaves down to the Guardians and also, prove to the other realms that death is surely encroaching. The Corps are soldiers who use weapons and spaceships so it is feasible, and actually could lead to the birth of a more clasic-looking Nova!
This scenario works because it would gift Thanos the Orb (Power Stone), and it would also allow the MCU to rebuild them as a force in the future, allowing cosmic exploration to other planets. We could even see the likes of Richard Rider, Sam Alexander and Darkhawk woven in to replenish the official protectors of the galaxy. Xandar under siege has a lot of cinematic spectacle to it and is much more expendable than say, Earth!
If the MCU treats Hawkeye like Marvel Comics' writer Brian Michael Bendis does, then he'll be dead in no time! Bendis shocked fans by killing off the archer in Avengers: Disassembled in the face of a Kree armada so maybe the Russos are gearing up to undo all that family warmth we saw in AoU and end Clint Barton's life. That would be very heartbreaking as he's one of the MCU's most human and relatable characters.
Also, it would really test the mettle of the Avengers as Barton went underground with Cap's resistance at the end of Civil War. Could this be the death that unites Team Cap and Team Stark? He was saved when Quicksilver died protecting the hero and civilians, so if anything, Hawkeye knows a thing or two about collateral damage. It would definitely be an emotional trip for Black Widow to experience, too.
Drax has been watered down from the Destroyer comic fans know him into something of an action-loving joker in the MCU. That said, we still love him, even though he could cut back on the jokes. That aside, we're pretty sure that when Thanos comes, he'll be the first to attempt to take the Mad Titan's head off.
Drax loves a challenge and simply put, he wants to be the big dog. He always jumps face first into adversity and he owes Thanos a death after his family perished, so maybe we'll see the prophecy from the books about him slaying Thanos being retconned into a pursuit of revenge where Drax wants nothing more but Thanos' heart in his hands. This could backfire and if we see Drax dying, it would be accepted as he embodies the adage of no guts, no glory. It would be a fine warrior's death indeed.
7 THADDEUS ROSS
Thaddeus Ross could well be seen as the new Nick Fury on the block, especially after how he strong-armed the Avengers into registering with the Sokovia Accords. That said, he can't be trusted. Stark may not know this but Bruce Banner does, and we've seen it time and time again with how he goes against the Hulk. The Abomination issue shows he's very loose with WMDs, so what's to stop him from making a similar mistake against Thanos?
This time, actions are sure to have consequences and nothing's worse than the world seeing one of their most senior military personnel killed. Ross' death would show the population that humans are first on the food chain and they should be ducking for cover while the powered-up individuals try to fight the good fight. A fallen Ross would also prove that Earth is indeed there for the taking.
Loki has been a thorn in the MCU's side since the first Thor film and then we got his scheming in Joss Whedon's first movie. With two more Thor movies now under his belt, we think it's time to wrap this character. It's overkill and honestly, there's only so much redemption and second chances one can offer this villain.
Loki lost the Mind Stone after Thanos' loan so it would be pretty dark if he decided to teach Loki, Thor and all of Asgard a lesson. Rewarding failure by killing Loki would be just comeuppance. If he does align himself once more with Thanos, maybe it's an Avenger or Asgardian who will have to put an end to him. Thor should step up and teach his brother that final lesson he deserves to learn because his reign of chaos and lies has to come to a swift end.
Vision is housing the Mind Stone, so there's definitely a huge possibility he'll be facing the reaper when Thanos comes to Earth. He's shown how powerful he is since coming to life but if the MCU takes its queue from the Infinity Gauntlet #4 comic, then expect Thanos to be ripping him to death.
Vision is a character we like but he's still relatively new as we didn't see too much of him in AoU and Civil War. However, in the little we witnessed, we know he is a big power player and could be ready to tussle with the Mad Titan. His death, however, would show the Avengers that even their mightiest can fall, and also, it would push close acquaintances such as Stark and Scarlet Witch over the edge, crafting that tear-jerking moment where we see an android bleed.
Thor would be a massive casualty but it would prove that not even Asgardian gods can avoid the gaze of death from Thanos. His visions from AoU should land him front and center against Thanos, fighting for control of the Gauntlet, but what would make his death so acceptable would be that, as in the comics, it's easy for a god to return to life.
Apart from shaking Asgard, it would also allow the MCU to explore others who are worthy to wield Mjolnir. Beta Ray Bill could make his entrance, but another interesting direction would be if they go the Lady Thor route. Jane Foster's unlikely so they could look at Sif or even Angela (Odin's daughter) after she came over to Marvel Comics. Plus, removing a heavy-hitter like Thor would set the Avengers back and really make them dig deep to fight off genocide.
Terraxia was key when Thanos used the Gauntlet to decimate the heroes of Earth. He created her to help him on this conquest and she took out Iron Man as part of their onslaught. In addition to that, she mercilessly beat Spidey to death with a rock, which has potential to be the biggest swerve in the MCU to date. Having Peter Parker die would be super crushing because we were introduced to him just recently.
If the MCU is that brave, taking the youngster off the table could easily relegate him to dealing with Sony films alone, or in an even bolder move, it would allow the entrance of Miles Morales as the new Ultimate Spider-Man. Parker's webhead persona can even be brought back in in the Infinity War sequel but if it's one thing we can agree on, it's that watching this youth die may well be the inspirational catalyst that Team Cap and Team Stark need.
2 CAPTAIN AMERICA
Even though Chris Evans has signed on for the sequel to Infinity War, that doesn't mean that he will evade death in Thanos' first missive. Given that the sequel's title is still being kept mum offers a plethora of possibilities, if his Steve Rogers symbol dies, in the follow-up he could be lodged in the afterlife, another realm, another planet or an alternate universe.
As with the comics, death doesn't mean you're gone for good. Maybe he'll be sent through time like his death in the comics in Civil War. What's clear is that by taking out the Sentinel of Liberty, breaking his shield and perhaps, making Stark's vision a reality from AoU, Thanos would have truly landed an exclamation point on Earth. The star-spangled Avenger would be the most mouth-watering victim, paralyzing all challengers and opposition to the Mad Titan.
Now, we know there's an immediate sequel to Infinity War to come, so wouldn't it knock the wind out of the Avengers to see that after this first outing, after so many casualties, that even if Thanos dies, he implemented a fail-safe via the Infinity Gauntlet to come back to life. Watching the main villain die is always a good thing but seeing a godlike entity fall and then resurrected, could be super intimidating and exasperating.
The Avengers ought to tread lightly because Thanos feasts on hope and this could be a finger to them, reminding the heroes that he owns Mistress Death. Annihilating mankind will be high on Thanos' agenda, so after exhausting Earth's heroes only to return for a second outing, let's just say that this could scare the Avengers into realizing that their backs are up against the biggest wall in the universe.
Let us know in the comments who you think should die in Avengers: Infinity War!