Thanos' Snap Has a Statistics Problem: Why Did Those Avengers Survive?

The two-part Avengers story of Infinity War and Endgame is truly an epic undertaking for the Marvel Cinematic Universe. When Thanos’ snap wiped out half of the universe last May, it launched a full year of speculation, prodding interview questions and a deliberately slow drip of answers.

With Tuesday’s massive drop of character posters confirming 16 living and 16 dead characters, we finally know where (almost) every major player in the MCU stands. There’s just one little problem -- given who actually survives the movie, it all just seems a little too convenient, doesn’t it?

First, let’s recap to see the status of all the major characters who factor into this climactic chapter in the series. By our count, we’re looking at 37 total characters: 17 who survived the snap, 16 culled by the gauntlet and 4 who were killed in Infinity War before Thanos even had a chance to snap.

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There are other characters whose fates have been “revealed” in interviews with the cast and directors Joe and Anthony Russo, but given that Angela Basset confirmed Shuri’s survival in one of these interviews, we’re only going to work with official reveals from the studio and the movies themselves. These characters, like Thor: Ragnarok’s Korg and Spider-Man: Homecoming’s Aunt May, could very well cameo in Endgame, but we’re not going to count them because their fates are unconfirmed.

So, the ones who survived are all of the ones who got their own color posters last Tuesday, as well as M’Baku, who was seen living at the end of Infinity War and may just be absent for its sequel. The dead are a bit more tricky than that, because the poster drop included Loki, Vision and Gamora among its count, but they were killed by Thanos himself. The dusted characters that the poster drop left out include original Ant-Man Hank Pym, original Wasp Janet Van Dyne and S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Maria Hill. It also left out Heimdall, who was also killed by Thanos.

Okay, I know you came to a website called Comic Book Resources, but now it's time to get really nerdy -- let's do the math. Statically, if Thanos believes in true entropy (randomness), each person in the universe will have their own 50/50 chance of surviving the snap. This means that the odds reset for each person, and what has happened so far doesn’t affect anyone’s individual odds. With 33 Avengers subject to the snap, the percentage chance that the split would be 17/16, basically right down the middle, was 13.58 percent. Though this is obviously the highest probability among all possible outcomes, it may seem like a low number. There were a wealth of other possibilities that each had their own, lower chance of occurring, but the snap ended up splitting the Avengers right down the middle.

RELATED: Avengers: Endgame Posters Confirm Another of Thanos' Victims

But here’s the issue -- if 17 Avengers were going to survive, how likely was it all of the original six Avengers would survive? Among those who survived there's also Ant-Man, with his access to the Quantum Realm; Nebula, who boasts deep knowledge of Thanos; and Captain Marvel, who is presently the most powerful being in the universe. Thus, the three non-Avengers who can actually prove instrumental lived through the snap, as well.

NEXT PAGE: There's a Very Plausible Reason Why Those Heroes Survived Thanos' Snap

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