One of the most entertaining ways fans engage with superhero comics or films is by talking with their friends about what they think the future holds for their favorite heroes. There is a limitless wonder that fans have and an appetite for the next chapter that have them on forums typing away their speculation. In 2018, there are so many comic books and films to talk about that fans are left wondering about the fates of some of the heroes involved. With the release of Avengers: Infinity War, X-Men: Dark Phoenix, and so many more, the number of theories proposed every day become an endless discussion.
Over at DC Comics Dark Nights: Metal may change the DC Universe forever while X-Men: Dark Phoenix looks to shake up the Merry Mutants’ lives irrevocably. These are the theories that most believe will mark the end for some pretty widely-beloved characters. We love to dig deep into these theories because of our love and admiration for these characters. Comics tell the stories of larger than life heroes and villains, but eventually they will be claimed by the most malignant force of their respective universes; their collective ultimate nemesis — Death.
15 JEAN GREY
When most fans heard that there would be a major character death occurring in X-Men: Dark Phoenix, they simply reacted with an audible, “Duh!” The comic storyline follows the possession and corruption of young psychic Jean Grey, who is an omega-level mutant possessed by the Phoenix Force. She ends up destroying a planet inhabited by life and goes crazy in the process.
Eventually, Grey ends up sacrificing herself to stop the Phoenix Force from inflicting any more harm on the universe. This seems like the direction the story will follow as an image popped recently showing Professor X, Nightcrawler, Cyclops and Storm visiting a grave. Fans have already guessed that Jean Grey would be the big death that occurs if it remains faithful to the source material.
Nebula has had one of the most interesting character arcs throughout the Marvel Cinematic Universe. She is a daughter of Thanos, of course, which comes with a brutal and tortuous past, along with being the sister of the now-heroic Gamora. It is that very odd, but now-loving relationship that could potentially mean Nebula’s death in Avengers: Infinity War at the hands of their father Thanos or one of his generals.
The fan theory explains that the emotional arc between Gamora and Nebula will be the latter’s sacrifice to protect her sister against Thanos. This would give Gamora a more significant purpose to join the fight to kill Thanos and protect a planet she has no affiliation with other than that it’s Star-Lord’s home planet. The sacrifice would be a fitting end to her character and would give Marvel it much needed larger stakes.
13 THE COLLECTOR
Benicio Del Toro’s The Collector was a delightful surprise in the original Guardians of the Galaxy. His character, as his name implies, is known for his collection of the rarest items, species, you-name-it of the entire universe. He is in possession of the Aether, better known as the Infinity Stone of Reality, after being entrusted with it by the Asgardians following the events of Thor: The Dark World.
While Thanos doesn’t have the Reality Stone in his gauntlet during the trailer for Avengers: Infinity War, that doesn’t mean he won’t eventually find the Collector to take what he feels is rightfully his. Even though the Collector is a powerful being on his own, he will be no match for when the Mad Titan raises his gigantic fists against everyone in the cosmos.
It has been a while since Dream has appeared in a major DC Comics story, but Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo are pulling out all the stops for their currently ongoing Dark Nights: Metal event. There’s a fan theory that the big bad Barbatos is actually the Dark Multiverse version of Dream, the main continuity version of which famously showed up early in the events. Since Dream, an Endless of the main universe, is involved in Metal then his opposite could be the one orchestrating the eradication of our heroes and the universe they seek to protect.
Fans have started to call this possible evil Endless “Nightmare” after Snyder alluded in Metal #4 that, "Impossible stories [are] destined to happen in dream, or in nightmare." It is a possible hint to Barbatos' true identity? If Barbatos wants to destroy the DCU, he must face off against Dream to do so, which is perhaps why he showed up out of the blue and after such a long absence. This may spell the death of Dream before Metal's finale -- but could that also mean the return of the original Dream, Morpheus?
When Guardians of the Galaxy was introduced, it was a gamble for the tone and shape of what people thought of in Marvel films. It gave us a talking raccoon, a humanoid tree, an alien assassin, and a young smuggler. These characters were all, in some way, tragically flawed with traumatic pasts, and Drax the Destroyer was no exception. Thanos killed his wife and daughter in the comics, which made him vow to find and kill the Mad Titan.
While this antagonist role was taken by Ronan in the first film, movie Drax still isn’t one to strategize when his emotions get the best of him, which could lead to him jumping the gun and being killed by Thanos in the films. Some fans have stated that the Guardians team has gotten pretty big with the additions of Mantis, Nebula, and others, so death from a prominent member may be inevitable. While his death may be sad, it is ultimately one of the best ways to put his character to peace and be reunited with his family.
10 THE JOKER (BATMAN: WHITE KNIGHT)
Sean Gordon Murphy’s Batman: White Knight is a reimagining of the Joker if he became sane and decided to wage a political war against Batman. It’s a great twist on the Dark Knight’s arch-nemesis. With a clear mind, Joker, who now goes by Jack Napier, finds new ways to trap Batman from inflicting any damage on the city and causing any danger for its citizens.
This isn’t a Batman we’ve seen before and fans have begun to speculate that it is a universe where the caped crusader may just kill Jack Napier. Murphy curated a reckless and harmful characterization of Batman that’s unhinged enough to finally put the Joker out of his misery once and for all. Some fans have linked it to the Dark Multiverse featured in DC Comic’s Metal by thinking of it as an origin that leads to the Batman Who Laughs, though that appears to have been disproven in that character's one-shot story.
9 NOVA CORPS
The Nova Corps is a space police force that protects an interstellar empire, so it was no question that when the Guardians of the Galaxy retrieved the Power Stone from Ronan the Accuser, they gave it to them. While they are currently protecting it, the Mad Titan Thanos is looking to collect every stone for his gauntlet to achieve universal domination.
The Nova Corps in the cinematic universe may not be able to withstand the attacks from the Mad Titan and fans are afraid that they all may be a casualty in the coming war; although still others think this might be a way for the more comics-accurate, cosmically-powered Corps to step up. In the Avengers: Infinity War trailer, it seems that Thanos has taken the Power Stone already since it is positioned on his gauntlet. This may mean that he has confronted the Nova Corps and they were no match for his might.
There was a photo released recently by Entertainment Weekly that shows a beaten and battered Magneto set during the events of X-Men: Dark Phoenix. This had fans wondering about the fate of the fan favorite anti-hero that Michael Fassbender has played for the past few years. If the photo of Magneto left bloody over cracked asphalt with guns pointed at his face wasn't enough, a new image surfaced that have fans believing his life might be ending.
The image is of four people surrounding a grave while wearing attire appropriate for a funeral. The mutants in the frame are Professor X, Nightcrawler, and Storm with a clearly absent Jean Grey. Some believe it might be Jean Grey who is in the grave, but it could be a red herring for the true loss of the film, the hero-turned-villain-turned-hero-turned-villain, Magneto.
Loki has been a seminal character of the on-screen Marvel mythos by being the Avenger’s first major antagonist in 2012’s Marvel’s The Avengers. Loki was tasked by Thanos to retrieve the Tesseract/Space Stone for the Mad Titan with the help of a Chitauri Army and a scepter infused with the Mind Stone. As we now know, he failed to accomplish his mission. This could mean that Thanos is coming to collect that which we’ve already witnessed in the trailer to Avengers: Infinity War.
Loki, of course, has often used his trickery to fake his own death, but there has to come a point where those illusions will eventually fail, and he will fall. Many fans have pointed to the recent Thor: Ragnarok as a great culmination of his character arc, and that bouncing back into a villain role would be a literal step backward. They go on to argue that his death -- hopefully a self-sacrificing one that sticks -- would be the perfect cap.
We’ve been given glimpses of the larger story at work in the MCU through its highly anticipated after-credits scenes in the Avengers films. As Thanos searches for the Infinity Stones, fans have speculated where the final missing Soul Stone actually is. They have speculated that Heimdall is currently in possession of this Infinity Stone, pointing to his orange eyes, which bear a striking resemblance to the stone’s own color.
The biggest piece of evidence is something Loki mentioned in Thor that Heimdall possesses a power unlike anyone else in Asgard and that is why he keeps guard of the nine realms. Also, in Thor: The Dark World, Heimdall tells Thor he has the ability to look over 10 trillion souls throughout the nine realms. If Heimdall, in fact, has the stone, then the Mad Titan is sure to kill him for it.
5 TONY STARK/IRON MAN
Robert Downey Jr.’s portrayal as the eccentric billionaire-turned-superhero known as Iron Man was the catalyst for the Marvel Cinematic Universe we all know and love. With Downey Jr.’s contract coming to a close after the fourth Avengers film, fans have speculated that Tony Stark will go out with a bang in the culmination of a story he started.
The Avengers: Infinity War trailer also gave us a glimpse into Tony Stark getting pummeled by the Mad Titan. Spider-Man was also seen receiving a similar beating and fans have imagined a scenario where Tony gives Peter Parker his suit to save him. The theory has some credence because fans have noticed Tony’s hand was injured in a place where later in the trailer he had his armor on. It wouldn’t be out of character for Tony to sacrifice himself for the next generation of Marvel’s heroes.
4 SYD BARRETT (LEGION)
FX’s Legion struck audiences with its originality and captured their attention with its mystery centered around one of the most powerful mutants, Professor X’s son, David Haller. A fan has proposed a theory about how his girlfriend may not exactly die, but how she may be lost forever because of Haller’s powers. The theory states that since her name came from the famous musician Syd Barrett, a founding member of Pink Floyd, who liberally used LSD and composed songs under the influence, eventually becoming disconnected from the real world.
With this in mind, plus Barrett’s power to switch consciousness with whomever she touches, the fan theory is that her mind will be trapped in the astral plane without any way to return to reality. As her consciousness is disconnected from her body, she may not survive the long absence in the astral plane as some powerful psychics could.
Marvel Studios has had a hard time with Hulk’s solo outings, but Mark Ruffalo’s Hulk has had huge success as a supporting character to Marvel’s The Avengers and most recently Thor: Ragnorok. The latter featured the Hulk’s most popular story set outside of any Avengers business. This has fans wondering what else could they look forward to in the green giant’s future.
So far, there are no films scheduled to feature the Hulk, which makes fans believe this might be his last appearance. Some have speculated that Thanos, in Avengers Infinity War, will use the Mind Stone to take control of the Incredible Hulk, which will put the other Avengers in a place where they might have to take him out of the picture. With a lack of film appearances and this theory, it may give us one of the biggest deaths of Avengers: Infinity War.
Vision was born out of the events of Avengers: Age of Ultron thanks to Tony Stark using the Mind Stone to enhance an artificial intelligence. Now that Thanos is coming to Earth looking to collect every Infinity Stone for his reality-manipulating gauntlet, fans have realized it’s only a matter of time until the synthezoid must come face to face with the Mad Titan.
The trailer released for the film has shown that the Mind Stone that rests on Vision’s forehead is being ripped out by a member of Thanos' crew, the Black Order. Vision screams in pain and leaves fans wondering just how significant it is to the life of the Vision. It has fans believing his life will be taken, so Thanos can claim the gem for his own nefarious agenda.
1 STEVE ROGERS/CAPTAIN AMERICA
The biggest hit to the Avengers would be the loss of their leader, Steve Rogers. Fans have speculated Captain America’s death since Captain America: Winter Soldier, where a scene showed Bucky “Winter Soldier” Barnes holding the famous shield in a fight between the two long lost friends. Fans have also suggested that Bucky would take up the mantle following Rogers’ death.
Another allusion was in Avengers: Age of Ultron when Scarlet Witch shows Tony Stark a vision of the future where all his fellow Avengers and friends are dead. The closest fallen Avenger to Stark was Steve Rogers, with his shield cracked down the middle. That ominous image coupled with Chris Evans' contract running out has had fans fearing the end for the leader of the Avengers.