Unlike their superhero comics counterparts, the MCU has held strong respecting the permanence and impact of character death. With some obvious exceptions (*ahem* Winter Soldier *ahem*), dead means dead in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Across both Marvel and DC Comics, the afterlife has become a laughable revolving door, diminishing the tragedy of taking characters off the board. To date, the MCU hasn't suffered a similar fate. Of course, any time Infinity Stones are flying around, all bets are off. In Infinity Gauntlet, Thanos uses the six near omnipotent jewels to destroy and manipulate life, ensnaring Nebula in a grotesque state of living death. In general, assembling the infinity stones demolishes the standard balance of life and death, paving the way for all sorts of changes.
While we certainly appreciate the serious treatment of life in the MCU, the presence of such power, and the impending sense of significant changes to the cinematic tapestry suggest the possibility of resurrected characters. There are a surprising number of heroes and villains that could make appearances in Avengers: Infinity War. Some resurrected or reappearing characters would unquestionably boost the film and MCU as a whole, while others would simply distract or cause greater problems across the shared film universe.
15 HOPE COMES BACK: RED SKULL
Captain America's greatest enemy is the most obvious, and frankly most menacing threat for a surprise Infinity War return. There's much debate as to whether Johann Schmidt is even actually dead, or whether he was transported to another reality/planet/dimension by the power of the cosmic cube. The vast majority of fans believe the Red Skull is ready for his return; it's just a matter of when and where.
Given his obsession with the Infinity Gem powered cube, the Skull would make an obvious strained ally for Thanos. The return of a space super Skull would also restore the antithesis of righteousness to the world of Captain America, which is quite frankly devoid of a non-frenemesis. In short, expectations are high for the return of Marvel's purest evil.
14 DON'T NEED TO SEE AGAIN: KILLMONGER
There's a surprising amount of logic to the potential return of Michael B. Jordan's Erik Killmonger back on screen (and in a mere three months). For starters, Killmonger is Marvel's most popular villain since Loki, and we know from trailer footage that Thanos and his invading Black Order will threaten Wakanda's borders. Could this invasion lead to a revealed Infinity Stone resurrecting T'Challa's greatest foil?
As much as we'd want to see more of Killmonger (in literally any capacity), such a quick revival would greatly diminish the ending and conclusion of Black Panther. It's not unreasonable to take issue with the creative choice to let Killmonger die at the film's end, but given that direction, bringing him back so soon lessens the war for Wakanda too significantly.
13 HOPE COMES BACK: PEGGY CARTER
Despite roles in the first two Captain America movies, and two short seasons of ABC's Agent Carter, the possibilities of Peggy Carter as a leader of S.H.I.E.L.D. still feel enormous. Peggy, as played by the excellent Hayley Atwell, is still one of the best female heroes in the MCU, and deserving of a proper shot at S.H.I.E.L.D. leadership.
Plus, the MCU badly mishandled the living Agent Carter, with Sharon's appearances as Steve's (sudden, rushed, not-Bucky) romantic interest leaving no impact. Unless of course you count the number of theater-goers asking themselves why Captain America was dating his ex-girl's niece. While we like the character of Sharon Carter in Marvel Comics, the MCU's stronger version is clearly Peggy Carter. The entire MCU would be better off with more of her.
12 DON'T NEED TO SEE AGAIN: EGO
There's an argument to be made that Ego the Living Planet's status as a Marvel Cinematic Universe celestial puts him in prime position for a return in Marvel's most cosmic Avengers movie. Factor in the anticipated first meeting between the Avengers and Guardians of the Galaxy, and Ego's bonds to Star-Lord and the Guardians, and the planet fueled by the power of Kurt Russel's charm just might have a role to play.
This would be a mistake for a number of reasons. As much as we'd love to see the Black Order versus a mustached planet, there's no great way to capture the Avengers battling on that scale. More importantly, the reintroduction of Star-Lord's celestial connections can easily happen without Ego around. How about some more MCU celestial reveals around the likes of Infinity or Eternity?
11 HOPE COMES BACK: HELA
Hela's surprise debut as the lost daughter of Odin in Thor: Ragnarok was memorable for all the right reasons. We not only want her back in the MCU, we hella want her back (we're so, so sorry for that). With Loki's allegiances perpetually shifting, Hela stands as the most fearsome and notable threat to Thor and his new flying Asgard.
Perhaps most importantly, Marvel Comics have been building a relationship between Thanos and the goddess of death in the pages of books like Unworthy Thor. Thanos' comic book passions have always been directed towards Lady Death, the cosmic embodiment of death. Given the actual established presence of a charismatic (if entirely evil) goddess of death, we can easily see Thanos and Hela romantically entwined in the MCU.
10 DON'T NEED TO SEE AGAIN: RONAN
Ronan the Accuser was so thoroughly wasted in Guardians of the Galaxy it's tempting to want the Kree mini-Dredd to get a shot at redemption. Likewise, since Ronan was already established as a lackey of Thanos, it's not inconceivable that the mad Titan could bring him back and force him to account for his failures. Plus, apart from Guardians of the Galaxy in 2014, the MCU has not revealed much of the cosmic landscape involving the Kree. The return of a name like Ronan could help build out the universe as Thanos threatens it all.
We'd like to see Ronan back as the conflicted cosmic Annihilator we know from Marvel's cosmic comics. Unfortunately his blander than bland debut as a villain left way too sour a taste. Leave Ronan to his dance-off cosmic dust death in peace!
9 HOPE COMES BACK: JANET VAN DYNE
We know the Marvel Cinematic Universe is preparing for the proper debut of a Wasp in the follow-up to Infinity War. We also know from Ant-Man, that barring a miraculous Infinity Gem-infused resurrection, that Wasp won't be Janet Van Dyne, the comics own founding Avenger. In truth, Janet Van Dyne was gone from the MCU before she ever had a chance.
Janet doesn't necessarily need to be the active Wasp - Evangeline Lily's unquestioned competence is still the perfect foil for a bumbling Paul Rudd -- but she's too good of a personality to keep out of a proper Marvel Universe. Likewise, there's a lot of untapped "pre-Avengers" hero stories that Janet and Hank Pym can represent. Bring on Janet's winsome personality to balance out Hank's old crank routine, and give a founding Avenger her due!
8 DON'T NEED TO SEE AGAIN: THE DESTROYER
With Asgard ostensibly destroyed, and Thor and the survivors on the run in space, there's not much on-screen that suggests the survival of Odin's weapons room. Nonetheless, it would be awesome to see Thanos raiding the Marvel Cinematic Universe for all powerful weapons apart from the infinity gauntlet, including Asgard's own Destroyer armor.
Honestly, in its true form, possessing someone close to the God of War in the ultimate destructive armor seems like the sort of weapon Thanos would love. The armor was shoehorned in to the ending of the first Thor movie, and could be well served by a proper return. Nonetheless, Infinity War would likely become too bogged down in explanations surrounding the fate of Asgard if this direction were employed. As it stands, it's best to let the Destroyer plummet to the depth of Hel with the rest of realm.
7 HOPE COMES BACK: QUICKSILVER
The Marvel Cinematic Universe's Quicksilver faced one of the stranger uphill battles of any known character in the universe. Despite his status as an early Avengers adopter in the comics, Quicksilver entered Avengers 2: Age of Ultron as a potential villain, before his surprise heroic gesture saving the life of Hawkeye. Weirder still, the all-time great set pieces around the X-Men franchise's Quicksilver ensured Pietro Maximoff wouldn't even be the most interesting example of that hero on screen this decade.
That said, the MCU's Quicksilver was actually good! A resurrection (or apparent resurrection) seems like a great way to distract Scarlet Witch during Thanos and the Black Order's takeover of Earth. Quicksilver's moral ambiguity also allows for a convincing turn as a revived third party trying to talk Wanda into warping reality in order to stop Thanos.
6 DON'T NEED TO SEE AGAIN: WARRIORS THREE
It's hard to come up with more beloved Marvel Comics characters that met even close to the unceremonious end of Thor's Warriors Three. Fandral the Dashing and Volstagg the Voluminous were callously executed by Hela during her entrance to Asgard in Thor: Ragnarok. Hogan hung around slightly longer, but the film makes it abundantly clear: This is not the Warrior's story.
As much as we'd like to see a proper Warriors Three in the MCU (and let's face it: a properly voluminous Volstagg), we have no faith Marvel Studios knows what to do with these characters! There may come a future Thor movie that justifies the return of these true warriors of Asgard, but that time is very unlikely to be found in the upcoming Infinity War.
5 HOPE COMES BACK: TASERFACE
Ok hear us out: No, we're not looking for Taserface to take up a major role as an ally of Thanos. And no, Taserface is not going to ever take up any kind of high ranking on the Marvel villains power charts. Nonetheless, in a movie that will almost assuredly carry grave stakes and impending doom, the lightness of Taserface might be exactly what the movie needs.
Honestly, a brief Taserface cameo (and we mean brief) just seems like a good gag. Just picture the thrilled look of surprise on Taserface's, well, face when he returns from the dead. And then picture that look sinking into sudden fury when he realizes he's yet again face to face with Rocket Raccoon, laughing right in his tased face.
4 DON'T NEED TO SEE AGAIN: SURTUR
Although Thor: Ragnarok was one of the best movies in the MCU, there's little question that Surtur got the short end of the stick. The fiery lord of Muspelheim and enduring threat to Odin's Asgard is one of the most formidable villains in Thor comics. Indeed, Surtur was forever immortalized in Walt Simonson's iconic 1980's Thor story "Ragnarok N' Roll."
So couldn't Avengers: Infinity War serve as the perfect vehicle to restore Surtur's menacing godhood? While this is possible, Infinity War is already promised to Thanos, and the resurrection of Surtur as a mere ally would yet again diminish the DOOM! of his twilight sword. Surtur was an effective source of comedy in Thor: Ragnarok, but his potential as an ultimate big bad should remain for future Thor installments.
3 HOPE COMES BACK: CROSSBONES
Considering the MCU's Brock Rumlow was in his Crossbones armor for all of 13 seconds before igniting himself in the murderous start to Captain America: Civil War, it's only fair he get another shot at things. The return of Crossbones makes particular sense alongside a revival of the Red Skull, as he's served as the Skull's right hand man regularly in the comics.
Crossbones also feels like the sort of supporting villain who could return in Infinity War without stealing too much thunder. More importantly, the return of Rumlow ensures his place in future Captain America movies, no matter who's wielding the shield. With the likes of Baron Zemo still on the board, and the possibility of an MCU Masters of Evil on the horizon, Crossbones could fit seamlessly into Phase 4 plans and beyond.
2 DON'T NEED TO SEE AGAIN: ODIN
The death of Odin is always is a tricky proposition. How do you truly remove the ostensible "god" from the Asgardian landscape? Even when he's gone, is Odin truly dead? Remember, there's always the possibility that old one eye is simply taking the world's most rejuvenating power nap.
For us, his swan song in Thor: Ragnarok was executed efficiently enough, and drives a fascinating transition for Thor. Returning Odin to the fold would only confuse Thor's new status as the lord of spacegard. We want to see Thor attempt to lead the people of Asgard through this extreme period of recovery without the burden of his father lurking in the background. While the comics have certainly experimented with King Thor, Odin returns to the fold more often than not. The MCU is better off not retreading this familiar territory; So be it!
1 HOPE COMES BACK: ULTRON
Despite the fact that Avengers: Age of Ultron ended with the Vision wiping Ultron from the face of the earth, we're still not entirely convinced he's really gone. The Ultron AI is just that hard to truly kill. Complicating matters more, we know Vision used the mind stone to "wipe out" Ultron, already setting the stage for an infinity stone related return to the Marvel Universe.
While Thanos and Ultron might seem like an odd pairing at first, their missions statements actually overlap in many ways. You won't find many Avengers villains so black-heartedly set on the eradication of life. Ultron is also far too menacing as an antagonist to be one and done. The family connections are different than the comics, but Ultron's relationships with Iron Man and Vision ensure complicated emotions escalating the stakes.