As excited as we all are about Avengers 4, we also know that it will likely rip our hearts out. Marvel Studios boss Kevin Feige has said that the film is the culmination of the original 22 movie plan. This means that all The Avengers, heroes of Wakanda and Guardians of the Galaxy won’t make it to Phase Four, it’s just a question of how they will leave the franchise. Considering the behind the scenes news we’ve heard about contracts and how heartbreaking Infinity War was, we have to assume a couple of those exits will be the permanent kind. All of these heroes have been established as self sacrificing, so we wouldn’t be surprised to see someone make the choice to save the world, instead of themselves.
We love all the heroes of the MCU, but if we’re being honest, there are obviously some that we love more than the others. We haven’t met the person yet who doesn’t love Chris Evans as Steve Rogers. Every fan has a list ranking their top characters. It’s really a short jump from there to figuring out which ones you could live without. This doesn’t mean we don’t like certain characters, it’s just that their absence won’t crush our spirits the way some others will. After 22 movies and 11 years we’ve become personally attached to all these people, so, it is with a heavy heart that we discuss the 10 MCU characters we couldn’t survive losing in Avengers 4 and 10 that we wouldn’t mind to see go away.
20 COULDN’T SURVIVE: STEVE ROGERS
We freely admit that Tony Stark is the star of The Avengers. Though, even he would admit there is no Avengers without Captain America, Steve Rogers. You would never know it based on his stoic demeanor, but Steve has one of the saddest origins in all of comics.
Waking up in a completely new world, realizing everyone you’ve known is gone and now you’re thrust into a new life as a superhero. Chris Evans has confirmed his exit following Avengers 4, but that doesn’t mean we have to like it. We’re not sure how we will emotionally prepare ourselves for an MCU without Steve Rogers.
19 WOULDN’T MIND: MARIA HILL
Don’t get us wrong, we love Maria Hill. She’s a perfect sidekick to Nick Fury, For awhile, she and Black Widow were the only female heroes in the franchise. Cobie Smulders is great as a woman who knows she’s smarter than the men she works for, but has to play the game.
Here’s the thing, we know the remaining Avengers will figure out a way to put the world right and defeat Thanos. However, there needs to be some lasting consequences for all their battles. Losing a friend like Maria would not only have a huge impact on Nick Fury and The Avengers, but also on Coulson and all of S.H.I.E.L.D.
18 COULDN’T SURVIVE: ROCKET AND GROOT
One of the things that sets the MCU apart from other comic book franchises is its comedy. Phase One was filled with funny moments in between the action, but it wasn’t until Guardians of the Galaxy that we truly doubled over with laughter.
We expect Avengers 4 to be very emotional. There’s no way we can get through the movie and its aftermath without Rocket and Groot’s comedy partnership. Starting over with Baby Groot gave us an even more hilarious insight into their relationship. They can make even the saddest moments bearable, therefore we are not ready for an MCU that doesn’t feature them.
17 WOULDN’T MIND: PETER QUILL
Don’t get us wrong, we love Chris Pratt. However, we can’t deny Star-Lord’s schtick was very annoying when he was standing next to the other heroes. Seriously, they almost had the Gauntlet off Thanos’ hand. In a perfect world, we would never want to see Peter Quill go, but the hard facts are that there are other characters we want to keep more.
One of Infinity War’s best moments was seeing Peter and Gamora finally profess their love for one another. This makes us think that Peter would be willing to offer his life to save Gamora from the Soul Stone.
16 COULDN’T SURVIVE: BUCKY BARNES
Poor Bucky Barnes has had such a tragic life, it was great to see him finally find peace in Wakanda. His mind was once again his own and he was reunited with his best friend. Unfortunately, it didn’t last long and he was among those turned to dust. Even worse, it happened right in front of Steve’s eyes.
While he has been healed and has control over his actions, we know he still carries an immense amount of guilt over his time as a HYDRA assassin. The prevailing fan theory seems to be that some sort of sacrifice will need to be made to use the Soul Stone. We will be devastated if, after everything he’s done to get his life back, Bucky volunteers himself.
15 WOULDN’T MIND: THE VISION
The introduction of The Vision was one of the highlights of Age of Ultron. The franchise got a fascinating new hero and despite his discomfort, we got to finally see Paul Bettany on-screen. As part-Jarvis, part-Ultron, The Vision added a new perspective to the team.
Unfortunately, we haven’t really had a chance to spend much time with him. The closest we came were his scenes with Wanda in Infinity War. Though, because their romance happened off-screen, we’re not that invested in it. If the solution is to destroy the Stones, then that means we may have to say goodbye to The Vision. A pragmatic individual, Vision has already proven that he’s ready to make the ultimate sacrifice for the greater good.
14 COULDN’T SURVIVE: GAMORA
Every moviegoer has their own choice for most heartbreaking moment in Infinity War. However, we can all agree that Thanos sacrificing the only person he loved, Gamora, was devastating. Despite her life as a living weapon and tough exterior, Gamora is the heart and soul of the Guardians if the Galaxy.
She is the first one to figure out what Thanos is up to and the first one to say do whatever it takes to keep him from finding out what she knows. Once she’s gone, the Guardians, and Star-Lord in particularly, are completely lost without her. A feeling fans can empathize with, as we would also be lost without her coming back to help save everyone.
13 WOULDN’T MIND: JAMES RHODES
It’s not that we want Tony Stark to lose another best friend -- it’s just that in a franchise with this many characters, some of them are going to be less important than others. Sadly, Rhodey falls into this category. What makes him so great is that he knows he’s the guy that has to hold things down in the real world while everyone else flies off to be extra heroic.
Knowing that he’s a loyal soldier who genuinely just wants to help people is why his loss would be so much worse. Losing Rhodey would break Tony more than losing Cap. He would carry that guilt through multiple movies, giving his character new stories to explore.
12 COULDN’T SURVIVE: THOR
Thor has had a roller coaster journey through the MCU. His first two solo movies didn’t portray him properly, but he always had fun moments in the team up films. Chris Hemsworth has also been able to showcase his comedic chops in extras like his series with new roommate Darryl.
Fortunately, Ragnarok course corrected everything and we finally got the Thor we were waiting for. That continued into Infinity War and now we love the character and not just the actor who plays him. It would be such a shame if we lose the God of Thunder just when his life was getting interesting.
11 WOULDN’T MIND: BLACK WIDOW
Basically, for most of Phases One and Two, Natasha Romanoff was the major female hero of The Avengers. A disappointment many fans were critical of, considering all of Marvel’s great female heroes. You would think that in all that time we would’ve learned more about her story.
While the films have made her a little more powerful than she normally is, she’s still just human. Without any superpowers, it’s certainly believable that Black Widow could become a major loss for The Avengers. With rumors that the Black Widow movie may be a prequel, it’s a possibility that Natasha is done in the MCU.
10 COULDN’T SURVIVE: PETER PARKER
We waited so long to get Spider-Man in the MCU and it turned out to totally be worth the wait. Though he didn’t join the movies until Phase Three, Peter Parker very quickly became an integral part of the franchise. Tom Holland was instantly likeable, bringing Peter’s charming innocence to life.
As gut-wrenching as it was to watch all our favorite characters turned into dust, arguably the most devastating moment came when Peter collapsed in Tony’s arms -- we’re still in recovery. Though we’ve only seen him in three movies and Marvel Studios’ deal with Sony could be coming to an end, we aren’t ready to say goodbye.
9 WOULDN’T MIND: PEPPER POTTS
We know how important Pepper is to Tony and we understand that he can’t really function without her. However, in the overall arc of the franchise, her presence isn’t really crucial. As a matter of fact, when she didn’t appear for a few movies, it was only noticeable because other characters mentioned it to Tony.
If they wanted to make Tony feel the full impact of his life choices, then losing the love of his life would be the way to go. Let’s be honest, we would be sad for Tony and Happy, but not really sad to see the character go.
8 COULDN’T SURVIVE: SHURI
Though the movie is called Black Panther, we all know the real star was Shuri. T’Challa’s sister stole every scene she was in and saved the day on more than one occasion. She then proceeded to school Bruce Banner in Infinity War -- in a world full of super smart people, she’s been confirmed as the smartest.
Following the success of Black Panther, there is no world where Shuri doesn’t return. We know that there will be a Black Panther sequel, so she has to come back. We’ve also heard rumors that she survived Thanos’ snap. This has led to fan theories that she actually becomes the new Black Panther. Honestly, we don’t want to go back to Wakanda if Shuri isn’t there.
7 WOULDN’T MIND: MANTIS
We met Mantis in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. She’s an emotional empath whose power seems somewhat uninteresting compared to others. As the newest member of the team we can’t say we’re very invested in her story. Plus, Marvel is known for sacrificing less important characters in order to show consequences.
Of all the characters who were turned to dust at the end of Infinity War, Mantis was the one we were the least broken up over. We’re still trying to figure out her place in the team. This is not a knock against Mantis, we just aren’t as emotionally attached to her as we are to the other heroes.
6 COULDN’T SURVIVE: T’CHALLA
We waited years to finally get a Black Panther movie and it exceeded all expectations. It was the perfect introduction to Wakanda, its people and traditions. Chadwick Boseman balanced T’Challa’s regal personality with his everyman values.
We got to see him fully embrace his role as king in Infinity War when he unflinchingly led his people in a victory against Thanos’ army. He’s not just the hero we were waiting for, he’s the hero we needed, when we needed him most. If it’s true that the original heroes are leaving the franchise after Avengers 4, then T’Challa is the perfect choice to take over as the new leader of The Avengers.
5 WOULDN’T MIND: SCARLET WITCH
As essential as she is to the Marvel Comics Universe, Wanda Maximoff hasn’t really been given a chance to show what she’s capable of. Until Infinity War, the character often seemed like an afterthought. Even in Infinity War, being the only one capable of destroying an Infinity Stone was treated like a footnote of information.
If the X-Men are really introduced into the MCU, we assume she may have a bigger role to play. The character has plenty of interesting stories left to tell. However, based on what we’ve seen so far losing Scarlet Witch wouldn’t have an adverse effect in the franchise or its fans.
4 COULDN’T SURVIVE: HOPE VAN DYNE
When The Wasp wasn’t immediately included in the MCU, many fans wondered why, considering she was an original member of the team. It took awhile to get to Ant-Man, where we met Hank and Janet’s daughter, Hope. She’s an independent woman who’s a scientific genius/expert martial artist, who’s unapologetic about taking care of herself.
In Ant-Man and the Wasp she got to be in the spotlight and show that she’s clearly a better superhero than Scott. After getting to see everything that she’s really capable of, we were truly sad to see her turned to dust. Of all the franchise’s new heroes she’s one that is absolutely needed to stick around and keep the team on task and grounded.
3 WOULDN’T MIND: HAWKEYE
We know that Hawkeye gets a bad rap, but that’s because he’s a guy who uses a bow and arrow to fight aliens and robots. Clint Barton is a good guy and a good Avenger. He’s not in it to be idolized, he’s just there to do the right thing. He’s a very low-key guy surrounded by big personalities, so he doesn’t really stand out. Finding out he had a family in Age of Ultron was the most detail we’ve ever gotten about the character.
Unfortunately, for Clint his absence in Infinity War was only noticeable because people wondered where he was. It was the mystery that made it interesting, not necessarily Hawkeye.
2 COULDN’T SURVIVE: TONY STARK
Iron Man set up this franchise that would spawn 21 other movies and become bigger than anyone was expecting. Without Robert Downey Jr.’s pitch perfect portrayal of Tony Stark, none of these other characters would have been given a chance -- Downey is the unquestioned star of the MCU.
He’s been the familiar touchstone throughout this entire journey. He’s the one who introduces us to the new heroes and supplies everyone with their gear. Simply put, there’s no Marvel Cinematic Universe as we know it without Tony Stark. Logically we know it can’t last forever, but we’re not ready for Tony to leave us yet.
1 WOULDN’T MIND: DRAX
Confession time. If there’s a member of the overall hero team that we could lose and honestly not really care, it’s Drax. We know that he’s a big, strong fighter, who is completely loyal to his friends and family. He’s basically a giant very deadly teddy bear.
However, in a world with like 20 heroes, Drax just isn’t that important. Compared to other characters who have at least a few standout moments, in the movies, Drax has been a little one note. If he didn’t make it back from the snap, we would be sad for the Guardians, but we don’t think it would crush us.