Black Panther has already come and gone, and the movie is still busy breaking box-office records all over the world. And yet, this massively popular movie marks only the beginning of all the superhero goodness that is coming throughout 2018. From countless comic books, to an increasing amount of superhero television shows and giant tentpole movies, there has never been a better time to be a fan of comics and the characters that have leaped from their pages. This year alone will see the Marvel Cinematic Universe reach a milestone with Avengers: Infinity War, while DC will bring fan-favorite Atlantean king Aquaman to the screen in his own solo film.
But with so many big events on the horizon, from the arrival of Thanos on Earth to the impeding "Flash War" brewing in DC Comics, many characters have come to have a proverbial target on their backs. Sadly, this is the reality that comes with being a superhero. Engaging the most dangerous and versatile of threats means that a heroic sacrifice is always around the corner. Here, CBR travels the world of superhero entertainment, from Marvel to DC, comics and television to movies, to list 15 superheroes who fans believe might make the ultimate sacrifice in 2018.
15 OLD MAN LOGAN
Fans of Wolverine got dealt a stunning blow when the seemingly immortal mutant died in the 2014 Death of Wolverine storyline. But fans of the raging mutant with razor-sharp claws didn't have to wallow in sorrow too long, because another version of the character later made his grand entrance in the Marvel Universe: Old Man Logan, who came from a dystopian future where every hero was effectively dead.
Finding himself in the present, Old Man Logan essentially replaced Wolverine among the X-Men.
He participated in the big events, and he even became just as recognizable as his younger namesake. However, thanks to the return of the Infinity Stones, the real Wolverine is now back among the living, and he has a very clear mission. To many, this return signifies that Old Man Logan's days are all but numbered.
14 DRAX THE DESTROYER
In the most recent issues of the Guardians of the Galaxy comic series, Drax the Destroyer has become a changed man. After having enough of a life filled with killing, Drax has taken a vow not to kill anymore. This decision has prompted him to leave the ranks of Marvel's foremost cosmic team, but his mission is still important: he is standing guard in front of the mountain-sized Power Stone.
Seeking a life of peace and quiet, Drax believes that his mission is secret, and that no one will come for the Stone. What he doesn't know, however, is that the Stone's location was leaked, and all manner of evil space empires are heading his way; in fact, they just landed right on top of him in Infinity Countdown #1. As the events of Marvel's latest event heat up, don't be surprised to see Drax have to break his vow, and possibly make the ultimate sacrifice to keep the universe safe.
13 CAPTAIN AMERICA
In the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Captain America has become one of... if not the most important character. He's been living a life on borrowed time ever since he was woken up from the ice, and Avengers: Age of Ultron began to wonder if the character had a life — a future — outside of his fight for freedom, and outside of the Avengers. With Thanos coming for Earth in Avengers: Infinity War, Steve Rogers will be leading the charge.
But this has also led many fans to believe that Steve will not walk away from this battle.
Captain America famously died in the comics to see his trusted friend James “Bucky” Barnes pick up his shield, which is something that we could easily see happen through Infinity War and Avengers 4. The Winter Solider is on a road to redemption, and Steve's sacrifice may be the next step in this story.
12 RICK GRIMES
On AMC's The Walking Dead, Rick Grimes has been through hell and back. He's lost his wife, countless friends, he's had the weight of the world and the hope for mankind on his shoulders for the better part of eight years and now, the one character whom every fan believed to be safe, Carl, has just died. Now, Rick finds himself without a son, and humanity's future without one of its building blocks.
Carl was always believed to be the crux of the show's future, the reason for Rick to fight on, to make a better world for him and his sister to live in. However, now Rick finds himself all alone. Before, most fans assumed that Rick was the most protected character on the series, considering it all revolved around him. Now, however, with the death of Carl, many wonder if Rick might not be so safe anymore.
11 HANK PYM
Hank Pym had an important role in the MCU's first Ant-Man film. We saw a little bit of his superhero antics while he was the Ant-Man, but the movie focused more on Scott Lang. Now, Hank is set to return in Ant-Man and the Wasp, a movie that will see his daughter Hope suit up as Scott's partner in crime-fighting. Already, it seems like Hope will have a very important role in the film.
This has led some to theorize that Ant-Man and the Wasp may see the death of Hank Pym.
After all, Scott and Hope will be the ones to join the Avengers in their fight against Thanos, meaning there won't be all that much for Hank to do. What's more, the death of Hank Pym might be all the motivation Hope needs to suit up and take the fight to the villainous, and quite mysterious, Ghost.
10 PEPPER POTTS
Many fans assume that Avengers: Infinity War will be a movie that features the death of quite a few fan-favorite MCU characters. After all, while some heroes are only embarking on their superhero careers, others have been a part of this world for a decade. Fan speculation has been running rampant, and Pepper Potts is one that many believe may die in the ensemble film.
This theory gained traction thanks to the movie's first trailer, which gave us a glimpse of a distraught Tony Stark holding what appears to be a lifeless hand. Tony appears broken, and no death would hit him harder than Pepper's. With Thanos involved, Infinity War will have to be a film with consequences. Death is coming to the MCU, and Pepper could only be the start.
On The CW's Supergirl, Mon-El has been a divisive character ever since his introduction in the series' second season. It was clear that the character was being introduced as Kara Zor-El's newest love interest, yet some fans didn't take to the character, or his relationship with Supergirl. His departure at the end of season 2 was met with cheers by some, but his return in season 3 put a stop to them.
Mon-El has become a hero and a beacon for hope...
Now, Mon-El has returned from the future, with his wife and the rest of the Legion of Super-Heroes in tow. Supergirl is facing her toughest opponent yet, which means she will need all the help she can get. In his absence, Mon-El has become a hero and a beacon for hope, meaning that the stage seems all but set for the character to make a heroic sacrifice before the end of the season.
8 WILD DOG
Arrow is currently going through a bit of a little civil war of its own. While Oliver Queen brought a new bunch of recruits to his team in season 5, the team has essentially become divided into two factions: Oliver's original team of Felicity and Diggle, and the new members, Mister Terrific, Wild Dog and Dinah “Black Canary” Lance.
While both teams want what’s best for Star City, there is mistrust and bad blood between the two, and it just might reach a boiling point. All of this fracture started when it was revealed that Wild Dog had been turned into a mole because of his daughter, which has led many to believe that the only way the character can be redeemed is by some sort of sacrifice. Besides, the cast of Arrow is already quite large – the series could really afford to lose one cast member or two.
7 JEAN GREY
The next entry in Fox's X-Men movie franchise may not be on everyone's radar yet, but this summer will truly bring the heat in the form of X-Men: Dark Phoenix. The movie is set to put Sophie Turner's Jean Grey front and center as the young mutant telepath becomes the host for the destructive cosmic force known as the Phoenix. While we have yet to see a trailer for the film, we already know it will take heavy inspiration from the comics.
Speaking of the comics, the original “Dark Phoenix Saga” was a tale of mutants, aliens and fire.
The Phoenix is an eternal force that unfortunately led to the infamous death of Jean Grey. For that reason, fans believe that, to do the comic book storyline justice, the latest X-Men film will feature Jean Grey sacrificing herself to protect the X-Men, as well as the entire universe.
The first Deadpool movie was very much a love story, in its own crazy, twisted and bloody way. At the heart of the film was Wade and Vanessa, whose relationship helped give the film much of its emotional weight. Things were cranked up to eleven when Vanessa was kidnapped, and Wade had no choice but to kill his way through an entire army to save her.
Now, with Deadpool 2 just around the corner, many have begun to theorize that Vanessa, who has been confirmed to return in the film, might die in the sequel. In fact, trailers have shown us an angry Wade Wilson running through the rain, and we can't imagine anything else affecting him this badly. The death of Vanessa might be what propels Wade on the next step of his mercenary adventures.
5 WALLY WEST
In the world of DC Comics, the various Flashes are heading on a collision course. In fact, readers will soon be thrust into a new story titled “ Flash War,” which will somehow involve Barry Allen, the original Wally West, Jay Garrick, Max Mercury and the New 52 Wally West. Details are pretty scarce, but what little we actually know doesn't bode well for the Flash family, who seem all but set to throw down.
Such a story's implications can only be massive, and with such a title, fans are expecting at least one casualty.
So far, the most likely candidate seems to be the New 52 version of Wally West, who was made tangentially obsolete when the original Wally West returned to life at the start of DC Rebirth. This Flash's run might have reached its end.
4 HAWKEYE'S FAMILY
Not much is known about Avengers: Infinity War, save for the broad strokes. In the movie's trailer, we saw most of the big players involved in the film: Hulk, Black Widow, Captain America, Iron Man, Thor, the Guardians of the Galaxy... but so far, we have yet to see even one second of footage of Clint Barton, aka Hawkeye. This is quite curious, considering how large a role the character had in Avengers: Age of Ultron.
After the reveal of a mysterious haircut and the hints at a new costume, the rumor mill has been churning where it concerns Hawkeye. Many have come to subscribe to the theory that Clint's entire family will be wiped out by Thanos' attack on Earth, and that will send the character in a downward spiral. This could explain why we haven't seen the character at all, considering how massive a development this would be.
3 MARY JANE WATSON
Writer Dan Slott is wrapping up a 10-year run on Amazing Spider-Man. With only a few issues left before the milestone #800, the scribe is concocting a massive story that involves Norman Osborne forming an alliance with the Carnage symbiote to become the Red Goblin. Surely, this new version of the villain will be equally scary and dangerous, and there is no telling what lengths his villainy will reach.
With rumors of Slott ending his run with a big and shocking death, Spider-Man fans are bracing for the worst.
Although some believe that Aunt May might be the one to die, others think that Mary Jane Watson, who has just made a recent return in the title, might have a target on her back. Slott has had a successful run filled with shocks, so we wouldn't put it past him to end his tenure with a heartbreaking twist.
The bad news for fans of Fox's Gotham series is that, while he was all but a shoe-in to turn into the Joker, it was confirmed that Cameron Monaghan's Jerome Valeska is surprisingly not Gotham City's future Clown Prince of Crime. In fact, the character will only be a stepping stone to the real deal, who, it's rumored, will make an appearance before the series' current season concludes.
If the real Joker is Gotham City-bound, then that can only mean one thing: Jerome is on his way out. We are certain that the character will wreak havoc upon the city before all is said and done and, as he inches closer and closer to being the true Joker, expect Gotham to pull a surprising and deadly twist. Sadly, Monaghan's perfect take on (not the) Joker will be dropped in favor of another take on the character.
Ever since his first appearance in the MCU's Thor, Loki has been a character with a fantastic and enthralling story. He started off as a sympathetic villain, and he grew to become a frenemy of sorts to his brother Thor. In Thor: Ragnarok, the character delivered his most heroic turn yet, and it just so happens that we might see this story come full circle in Avengers: Infinity War.
Most fans believe that this is where Loki will tragically die.
In the movie's trailer, we have already seen Loki, with a broken expression on his face, hand the Tesseract over in his hand, presumably to Thanos. Since we know that Thanos later has the blue gem on his gauntlet, and since we know that Loki failed to honor his bargain with Thanos, most fans believe that this is where Loki will tragically die at the hands of the Mad Titan —setting the events of the cosmic film in motion.