Ever since its humble beginnings with the first Iron Man movie, the Marvel Cinematic Universe has introduced a veritable gauntlet of characters, superheroes, sidekicks and villains alike, all of whom have become household names, fan-favorites and generally revered the world over. With each new movie, the universe grew; that, along with its cast who continuously appeared in a series of inter-connected films, helped turn the MCU into one of the most ambitious and successful cinematic endeavors. Its inception was almost 10 years ago, and now we are about the reach the culmination of all its threads.
We went from World War II to the other side of the galaxy, from the arrival of Spider-Man to the formation of the Defenders, and now we stand on the cusp, at the end of the third phase of Marvel's movies, as well as the start of the second phase on the side of Netflix. As the universe reaches this impressive milestone, it stands to reason that dangers will come in many shapes and sizes, and that characters that have been established a long time ago are likely to meet their demise. Today, CBR looks to the future of the MCU, and lists the 15 characters who are most likely to die next.
The Vision's creation came with an unmistakable caveat. As a product of both the Avengers' powers and Ultron's ambition, the use of the Mind Stone created a sentient being that fought on the side of good, a powerful new Avenger with nearly unlimited power. However, there is someone else out there, someone who is actively hunting those stones down, hoping to collect and unify them.
Yes, Thanos is coming, and if he ever hopes to fully assemble his Infinity Gauntlet -- the most powerful weapon in the universe which houses all six Infinity Stones -- it means that he will have no choice but to rip the Mind Stone from the Vision's forehead. Such a confrontation will no doubt leave the Vision ripped to shreds and left without the piece of his soul that made him who he was.
14 CAPTAIN AMERICA
As much as we hate to say it, Captain America's days might be numbered. It's not only the fact that Chris Evans agreed to add one more movie to his contract to appear in Avengers 4 because it “wraps everything up." If the MCU is to move forward with its fourth phase of movies, it simply can't go on without having people wonder where Captain America is.
Therefore, it would be easy to see Cap make the ultimate sacrifice when battling Thanos, just as he did in the comics. Besides, this would also open the door for Bucky Barnes to pick up the shield and take on a leading role in the next phase of Marvel movies as a different kind of Captain America – one just as hopeful, but in much need of redemption.
Loki is a character who has cheated death more than once. Somehow, the trickster always seems to find a way out. As Marvel's phase three comes to a close, it would make sense for Loki's luck to run out. It's already been confirmed that he will have a role to play in Avengers: Infinity War, though in what capacity, we don't yet know. He could just as easily take his brother's side as Thanos'.
But somehow, Loki has always proven that there is a bit of good within him. We wouldn't put it past the character to find redemption while standing up to Thanos. Besides, Loki's death wouldn't necessarily mean the character's end. He could always return as a woman or a child, just like he has in the comics, to be played by a different actor for Marvel's phase four.
Sam Wilson has proven to be a valuable secondary character in the MCU. As Captain America's partner and wing man, the Falcon has more than proven his stripes. But the truth of the matter is, when Thanos and his forces will come knocking, Sam may prove to be out of his depth. His costume is one that leaves him exposed, and as he has said, he is a soldier -- one who fights other soldiers.
He doesn't have much experience when it comes to fighting aliens, and as the threat to the Avengers increase, he could be one of the first to fall, something to make all the various team members realize just how grave this threat is. While the character does go on to wear the mantle of Captain America in the comics, on the movie side of things, it's more likely that this honor will fall on Bucky.
Thanks to the mid-credits scene in Doctor Strange, we know that Thor: Ragnarok will start with the god of Thunder searching for his missing father on Midgard along with his brother Loki. We are not entirely sure what the trickster god did to his adoptive father, but we do know the two brothers will find him... although he won't be the only one they find on Earth.
In fact, thanks to the Ragnarok trailers, we know that Hela also makes her presence known on Earth, as she proceeds to destroy Mjolnir. Considering that we don't know what will come of Odin after this fateful encounter, its entirely possible that the goddess of Death will kill the Allfather, leaving Thor broken, and primed to assume the role as monarch of Asgard going into Infinity War.
10 CLAIRE TEMPLE
The Avengers' respective phase one movies mostly shared a common character in S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Phil Coulson, a character who would appear every now and again as part of the connective tissue between movies. Similarly, for Netflix's various Defenders series, Claire Temple fulfilled a similar role, appearing in every series from Daredevil to the team-up series The Defenders, while proving to have an arc of her own.
But for the Avengers to work, for the superheroes to assemble, Phil Coulson had to die. We got worried when Claire was present for the final confrontation between the Defenders and the Hand, and we were quite surprised to see her make it out alive. But that doesn't change the fact that as the character is connected to all others, she proves to be the one in the most danger, seeing as her death could be big enough to reunite them all once more.
9 HAWKEYE'S FAMILY
It came as quite the surprise in Avengers: Age of Ultron to find out that skilled marksman, S.H.I.E.L.D. agent and superhero Clint Barton actually secretly had a wife and three children to go home to. While Clint momentarily retired to stay home, he had no choice but to pick up his bow once again to take part in the Civil War between Captain America and Iron Man, something that led to the archer being incarcerated.
With Clint now on the run from the government, it's possible that he can't go home, leaving his family exposed to outside dangers. If Thanos and his children come knocking, looking for the Avengers, Hawkeye's family will be at the alien tyrant's mercy. Considering that Clint's family was murdered at one time in the comic books, it's entirely possible that such a tragic turn could occur in Infinity War.
8 AGENT 13
Agent 13 never had the biggest of roles, but she was an important peripheral character in Captain America's cast. Their burgeoning romance always seemed to come too late, and at the worst of times, and it seems like these two may be fated to remain star-crossed lovers. Sharon was last seen fleeing from the authorities after having helped a fugitive Steve Rogers -- which might not bode well for her future.
As neither an Avenger nor a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent, Sharon could prove expendable. We don't even know if she has a confirmed role in Infinity War yet, so it might just be that she has a small but pivotal presence in the film. With Steve acting outside of the law, her tragic death could be something that draws Steve out, and actively pushes him to make amends with Stark.
Diamondback's presence surprised everyone in the first season of Luke Cage, since his introduction came at the cost of a great character and villain in Cottomouth. Willis proved to be a different kind of villain, one who was less serious and more cartoonish. But the character had a long history with Luke Cage, and he proved to be his opposite when the two faced off for the fate of Harlem.
The season ended with Diamondback badly beaten but also in the care of doctor Burstein, the man responsible for giving Luke his powers. When Diamondback surfaces in season two, he will probably be different, and much more dangerous. He may not come to die at Luke's own hand, but his demise would allow Luke to close that chapter of his life for good and move forward. Always forward.
The relationship between Gamora and Nebula was given a whole other dimension when it was revealed that Gamora -- not Nebula -- was in fact the “evil” sister in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. The movie saw Nebula join ranks with the Guardians (kinda), and the character made a bit of progress towards reconciling with her estranged sister. But she left the movie leaving for parts unknown, looking to kill her father Thanos.
Putting herself directly in her father's crosshairs might prove dangerous, considering that he is responsible for turning her into what she is. Now that she is an unofficial member of the team, Nebula has already evolved from villain to hero. Therefore, a heroic sacrifice could fully underline her redemption, which in turn could have a devastating effect on Gamora.
5 HANK PYM
As the original Ant-Man, Hank Pym went on many adventures and had a long (secret) superhero career. Now that Scott Lang has taken on his mantle, we know that the Ant-Man technology is in good hands. And now, Hank's daughter Hope is set to become a superhero all her own, just as his wife Janet is set to return to life from the Quantum Realm in 2018's Ant-Man And The Wasp.
With all of these things happening in the upcoming sequel, we wouldn't put it past Marvel to somehow have Hank Pym put own the Ant-Man suit for one final mission – a mission which, this time around, would allow him to repay his wife's sacrifice, all those years ago. Such a tragic turn of events could have a lasting effect on both Scott and Hope as they head into Avengers 4.
4 FOGGY NELSON
Foggy Nelson has been an important part of Matt Murdock's life, through both seasons of Daredevil as well as The Defenders. As his closest (and only) friend, he is a rock where there isn't much stability. To have Foggy die would sent Matt's world in even more of an upheaval, something that has become sort of a tradition for Daredevil in the comic books.
In fact, in the comics, Foggy was believed dead for a time, after being attacked in prison when Matt was incarcerated for being outed as Daredevil. Such a storyline could prove to be a great source of inspiration as we head into the third season of Daredevil, especially as we might be looking at a "Born Again" direction for the show. Something like that that would even pave the way for the return of both Wilson Fisk and Frank Castle.
3 THE NOVA CORPS
The Nova Corps have proven to be the ultimate peace-keeping police force of the galaxy, but even they proved vulnerable to a great attack by Ronan. But, thanks to the Guardians of the Galaxy, they survived, and came into the possession of the Power Stone as well -- a Stone that now paints a very large target on their backs. With Thanos actively searching for the Infinity Stones, he could turn his attention to Xandar.
An invasion of this scale would be catastrophic, and not only would it show us the raw, awesome powers of Thanos as he annihilates the Nova Corps, it could also set up the future of the cosmic side of the MCU. In fact, were all the Nova members killed, it could open the door for its lone survivor, Richard Rider, to pick up the pieces and become one of the galaxy's protectors.
Thanos. That's who, and what, all of this has been building to. Ever since the first Avengers movie, a confrontation with the Mad Titan has been inevitable. As one of the most dangerous creatures in the universe, Thanos will undoubtedly leave his mark on Earth's Mightiest Heroes. Set to be the main villain for both Infinity War and Avengers 4, Thanos will finally have a starring role.
With that in mind, it's a safe bet that, by the time Avengers 4 comes to a close, the villain will be no more. Thanos isn't the type to turn good and seek redemption. He is all-out evil, and he will stop at nothing to get what he wants. And what he wants is death. The only way to stop him for good will be to destroy him. Besides, it's unlikely that the villain would survive to become the antagonist of yet another movie.
1 IRON MAN
Iron Man is the character that started it all. After a single movie, an entire cinematic universe was born, with Robert Downey Jr. as its leading man. Now, everything that has been established ever since his first appearance as Tony Stark is coming to a close. He may not have had his own movie in a while, but his presence in Captain America: Civil War and Spider-Man: Homecoming was just as important.
The actor has stated that he plans on leaving the Marvel universe at some point, before it turns into something that is laughable, so Avengers 4 could signal the end. Stark already tried riding off into the sunset, and that didn't work out too well, because he simply doesn't want to stop. The MCU will move forward, but it just might have to do so without the charisma of its main star.
Which MCU character do you think is most likely to die next? Let us know in the comments!