To put it mildly, a lot of Marvel's biggest heroes weren't feeling too good after Avengers: Infinity War. After Thanos completed his collection of Infinity Stones and used the all-powerful Infinity Gauntlet, roughly half of the Marvel Cinematic Universe crumbled into dust. Even though that moment basically wiped out the Guardians of the Galaxy and a decent chunk of the Avengers, those heroes probably won't be gone for too long. While they might just be dust in the wind right now, many of those characters already have an appearance or two lined up in Avengers 4 or another upcoming MCU movie. With major Marvel icons like Spider-Man and Black Panther among the fallen, the effects of Infinity War's final moments were never going to be permanent, but that doesn't take away from the movie's jarring emotional impact. If nothing else, it was good preparation for Avengers 4, which will likely be the final film for several major Marvel heroes including Chris Evans' Captain America.
Now, CBR is taking a look at some of the Infinity War heroes who will definitely return, along with a handful that are probably gone for good. In this list, we'll be looking at heroes who had a meaningful presence in the events of Infinity War and looking at what their futures could hold. While some of the characters who won't return might appear on-screen again, we don't think they'll be anything like the MCU characters we know and love. We'll be factoring in what little we know about Avengers 4, along with anything else we learned about Infinity War and the MCU after that movie was released.
15 WILL RETURN: SPIDER-MAN
More than any other character, Spider-Man is Marvel's signature superhero. Ever since Tom Holland debuted as the wise-cracking web-slinger in Captain America: Civil War, he's been the emotional core of the MCU, and it's tough to imagine him being gone for long. After he crumbled into dust in Iron Man's arms, Tony Stark would probably do anything to bring him back in Avengers 4.
Even though Holland's already been Peter Parker in as many movies as Tobey Maguire, he still feels like a fresh new take on Spider-Man. His second solo Spidey movie, Spider-Man: Far From Home, is already well into production and will be released on July 5, 2019. It doesn't seem like it's a prequel, so Spidey will definitely return in Avengers 4.
14 WILL RETURN: BLACK PANTHER
Marvel Studios has a lot of reasons to bring Black Panther back. Specifically, it has 1.6 billion reasons. That's how many dollars Black Panther grossed worldwide during its incredibly successful theatrical run earlier in 2018. Chadwick Boseman's first solo outing as T'Challa was a legitimate cultural phenomenon that made Wakanda a household word.
While there's a lot of uncertainty about the future of the MCU, Black Panther will undoubtedly have a big part in it. After the success of his solo film, T'Challa is a cornerstone of the MCU and one of the only characters who could fill the leadership vacuum left in the wake of Chris Evans' last likely turn as Captain America.
13 WON'T RETURN: HEIMDALL
Heimdall was one of the first heroes to fall in Infinity War, and it doesn't look like he'll be getting up any time soon. After Infinity War premiered, Idris Elba, who portrayed the Asgardian since 2011's Thor, publicly confirmed that he was done with the role.
While the all-seeing Asgardian has a fairly prominent role in Thor's mythology, he never really played more than a supporting role in the MCU. With Asgard in ruins, there's no real need for its chief security guard to hang around. Even if the Avengers undo the effects of Thanos' snap, that wouldn't bring back Heimdall, who perished earlier in the film during Thanos' initial attack on Thor and the Asgardian refugees.
12 WILL RETURN: WINTER SOLDIER
Someone's going to pick up Captain America's shield after Chris Evans steps down, and that person will probably be Sebastian Stan's Bucky Barnes, the Winter Soldier. After spending most of the past century as a brainwashed secret agent, Bucky is finally feeling like himself again and looking for redemption. After his brainwashed days in comics, Bucky served as Captain America for several years while Steve Rogers was lost in the timestream, and Barnes could follow a similar path in the MCU.
On top of that, Sebastian Stan still has several films left on his nine-film contract with Marvel. He's already buddies with the Falcon, Captain America's other partner, and it's not hard to see their friendship continue to grow after Steve Rogers is gone.
11 WILL RETURN: FALCON
Sooner or later, Anthony Mackie's Falcon will probably pick up Captain America's shield too. While he might not have Steve Rogers' super-strength or Bucky's fancy metal arm, Sam Wilson could take Captain America to literal new heights with his hi-tech flight suit.
Like Bucky, Sam took over as Captain America in comics for a few years while Steve Rogers was out of commission. In the MCU, it's easy to see him fill a similar role while helping Bucky acclimate to modern society. While it's not clear how many movies Mackie has left on his contract, he's joked about the length of his contract in the past, which could mean that the Falcon still has some days to go before his wings get clipped for good.
10 WON'T RETURN: VISION
While Paul Bettany might suit up as the Vision again, he probably won't be the thoughtful robotic Avenger that the Scarlet Witch fell in love with. After Thanos ripped the Mind Stone out of his head, the Vision fell down as an all-gray shell of his former self. That moment could have set the stage for a colder, more distant Vision. After being disassembled in comics, he was rebuilt as an emotionless monochrome machine in the late 1980s.
Bettany has quietly been part of the MCU since 2008's Iron Man, where he voiced Iron Man's operating system J.A.R.V.I.S. Even though he's been the Vision since 2015's Avengers: Age of Ultron, this iconic Avenger has largely been relegated to a supporting player in the MCU.
9 WILL RETURN: SCARLET WITCH
Elizabeth Olsen's Scarlet Witch hasn't had it easy in the MCU. Since she joined the Avengers in Age of Ultron, Wanda Maximoff has lost her brother Quicksilver, accidentally leveled a building full of people and was forced to destroy her robot boyfriend in a failed attempt to stop Thanos.
As a consolation prize for having the worst luck in the MCU, Olsen's Scarlet Witch might be getting her own series on Disney Play, Disney's upcoming streaming service. Even if she doesn't, Wanda is still one of the strongest links between the worlds of the X-Men and the Avengers in comics, and she could fill a similar role as mutants arrive in the MCU over the next several years.
8 WILL RETURN: DOCTOR STRANGE
Doctor Strange has a plan to defeat Thanos. Unfortunately for him, that plan involved him getting turned into dust for a little while. With the possible exception of Thor, Benedict Cumberbatch's Doctor Strange was the only Avenger who was anywhere near Thanos' level of power. It's almost impossible imagining him not playing a key role in the ultimate defeat of Thanos in Avengers 4.
After that movie, Strange will probably have his hands full as the MCU's Sorcerer Supreme, especially once Doctor Strange 2 starts filming next year. This Master of the Mystic Arts is one of the only Avengers who understands the MCU on a cosmic scale, and his knowledge will probably be crucial in the Avengers' post-Thanos adventures.
7 WON'T RETURN: THE NOVA CORPS
While most of the MCU's fallen heroes got a teary farewell in Infinity War, the Nova Corps wasn't even decimated on-screen. As Thanos said, he ravaged Xandar and recovered the Power Stone that the Novas were protecting.
When the Nova Corps was introduced in Guardians of the Galaxy, it was the universe's premier intergalactic military force, and it's going to take a long time to rebuild it from the ground up. Even if Richard Rider or one of Earth's other Novas gets their own movie, the Nova Corps probably won't be anywhere near its full strength. Even if we do see someone like Glenn Close's Nova Prime or John C. Reilly's Rhomann Dey again, it might just to say good-bye.
6 WILL RETURN: NICK FURY
In his only scene during Infinity War, Nick Fury paged Captain Marvel on his intergalactic beeper. With that alone, he gave the Avengers the key to defeating Thanos. Fortunately for him, he'll probably get to see how the Avengers and Carol Danvers get along in person.
Since Samuel L. Jackson's Nick Fury will have a major role in Captain Marvel, he'll be the first Infinity War hero to return to the big screen. While Captain Marvel takes place in the 1990s, Fury will make another more modern appearance in Spider-Man: Far From Home. While the nature of his role in that movie hasn't been revealed, Fury and his fellow ex-S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Maria Hill will pop up for at least a cameo during Spidey's European vacation.
5 WILL RETURN: STAR-LORD
After Disney fired director James Gunn, the future of the Guardians of the Galaxy franchise has gotten a lot murkier. While Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 might be delayed for the time being, it's tough to imagine the kooky cosmic franchise disappearing forever. And when the Guardians inevitably return, Chris Pratt's Star-Lord will be part of the team.
More than any other character, Pratt's Star-Lord is the face of the Guardians of the Galaxy. While the Guardians' adventures might be full of cosmic weirdness, Pratt's Peter Quill grounds their intergalactic stories with his charming, deeply human heart. Plus, it would be a shame if he never got the chance to explore all of the new Earth music on his Zune on-screen.
4 WON'T RETURN: DRAX
Out of all of the Guardians of the Galaxy, Dave Bautista's Drax is the one who's most likely on the chopping block after Avengers 4. In the wake of James Gunn's dismissal, Bautista was one of Disney's most outspoken critics. He's openly talked about asking to be released from his contract with Marvel and taking a role in a DC movie so he could work with Gunn again.
While Drax has gotten some of the best jokes in the MCU, the alien brawler is arguably one of the Guardians' more expendable members. He's largely been relegated to being comic relief on a team that's already full of jokers, and the MCU already has one big, super-strong green guy running around with the Hulk.
3 WILL RETURN: LOKI
For a little while, it really seemed like Tom Hiddleston's Loki had taken his final bow. Like Heimdall, Loki apparently didn't survive Thanos' initial attack on the Asgardians at the start of Infinity War. Loki has seemingly perished plenty of times before, but Thanos even said that he wouldn't be resurrected "this time" as he finished him off.
However, Thanos' words lost some of their weight when reports of Loki getting his own show on Disney's streaming service surfaced. While that show could always be a prequel of some sort, Loki is an expert at maneuvering his way out of difficult situations. If anyone would be able to sneak out of the Infinity Gauntlet's grasp, it's Loki.
2 WON'T RETURN: EITRI
From what little concept art we've seen from Avengers 4, it doesn't look like Thor will be getting a new hammer any time soon. With that in mind, there's a pretty good chance that Eitri the Dwarf King of Nidavellir won't be making a return appearance in Avengers 4 either. While Peter Dinklage's Eitri forged Stormbreaker for Thor in Infinity War, the Avengers don't really have a compelling reason to visit him again unless they want to forge a second Infinity Gauntlet.
In Infinity War, Eitri played a necessary role that tied up some of the MCU's loose ends. Avengers 4 probably won't have the need for him again. Plus, Dinklage is probably pretty busy with the end of Game of Thrones quickly approaching.
1 WILL RETURN: GAMORA
To acquire the Soul Stone, Thanos seemingly had to sacrifice Zoe Saldana's Gamora, his adoptive daughter. While Gamora's fate seemed settled for a while, Infinity War directors Joe and Anthony Russo suggested that she might actually be trapped inside of the Soul Stone.
While they've since walked back that statement and clarified that they were talking more generally about Gamora's "spirit," Gamora will still return in some capacity. In comics, Gamora's spirit spent over a decade inside the Soul Gem before she was revived. Since Saldana has already confirmed that she appears in Avengers 4, Gamora won't have to wait anywhere near that long to break out of the Soul Gem in the MCU.