I don’t know if the world is still bawling over the ending of Avengers: Infinity War, but I pretty much got over it after a day. If it’s one thing I’ve learned about superhero movies and comic books, it’s that no one actually dies… unless you’re Peter Parker’s uncle.
We’ve seen it countless of times this century, dating back to 2003’s X2 when Jean Grey perished underwater, leaving me reeling and speechless. Then she came back all fiery and mental in X-Men: The Last Stand, having survived by a “cocoon of telekinetic energy”. So much for dying.
No one cared when Superman died in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice two years ago. We all knew Henry Cavill would come back for Justice League. The Marvel Cinematic Universe itself is guilty of apparent, temporary deaths (what an oxymoron), including Bucky, Agent Coulson, Nick Fury and Groot.
Alas, wiping out half the universe’s population is a strategic way for Marvel to control its character count. As the film series approaches the end of a renaissance that culminated with Infinity War, it can’t possibly continue another decade with so many loose ends in the form of living, retired characters. Ending the lives of most of them, while devastating, is a way to resolve why a certain character doesn’t involved in a future conflict.
That said, here are my plausible predictions for who I think will return in the next Avengers film, slated for release in May next year, as well as guesses of what may unfold:
Black Panther will return
There’s no way the billion-dollar-grossing Black Panther isn’t getting a sequel. T’Challa will come back, otherwise keeping Okoye alive would be kinda pointless if we aren’t getting more of Wakanda in the future.
Gamora will return
Gamora’s death is unique because she wasn’t part of the finger-snapping genocide. Thanos killed her by pushing her off a cliff at Vormir, into the abyss that unlocked the Time Stone. Because her death is directly related to an Infinity Stone, it’s easy for writers to bring her back by coming up with some mystical reason to undo her demise.
Additionally, a third Guardians in the Galaxy film is in the works as Gamora is the trilogy’s female lead. Need I say more?
Loki will return
The guy’s “died” twice, and he’s a god after all. Bringing him back from the dead doesn’t sound difficult since he isn’t human to begin with. His appearance in Infinity War was surprisingly short, and fans adore Loki more than they do Thor. Tom Hiddleston will definitely return.
Spider-Man will return
Vision will stay dead
Most of Infinity War was about keeping Vision alive, something the purple guy ultimately failed at because another purple guy pulled the Mind Stone out of his forehead. I can’t imagine the next Avengers actually bringing the character back just like that when they’ve already dedicated so many scenes leading to his death.
Additionally, Avengers 4 will probably end with the destruction of at least some Infinity Stones in order to prevent another lethal finger snap from ever occurring. That diminishes this android’s chances of getting rebooted.
Nebula will avenge herself
For a non-leading character, Nebula actually survived the genocide. The character’s motivation has always been about killing her evil, adoptive father, so she being kept alive must mean that she’ll be integral in defeating Thanos.
Black Widow will stay alive
Talks are in place for a potential Black Widow movie, and I don’t foresee it being set in the past if the character’s already died in present day. It’s just not good for marketing. This means Natasha Romanoff will probably survive Avengers 4. Plus, Marvel needs more female-led movies if they want to properly wrestle away the cultural significance set by DC’s Wonder Woman. They have to keep her alive to do that.
Captain America will die
If it was one prediction I read for Infinity War that I was convinced would come true, it was that Captain America wouldn’t make it out of the film alive. And yet, we all saw Steve Rogers (and his fellow founding Avengers members) survived Thanos’s finger snap.
There’s just something about this character’s potential death that I think is very feasible for Marvel storytelling. He’s been alive (albeit in cryo-sleep) for nearly a century. Let the old man go in peace.
After all, at least one founding member has to take the fall next time around. If it’s not Steve Rogers, then it might be his polar opposite.
…or Iron Man will die
There’s no denying that the leading man of the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe will be instrumental to the defeat of Thanos in Avengers 4 (they are paying Robert Downey Jr. too much to not make Iron Man that important). It was already alluded to in Infinity War when Doctor Strange fricking sacrificed his Time Stone just to keep Tony Stark alive.
I somehow also interpreted it that Benedict Cumberbatch’s character did so to ensure Tony die at the correct time (aka eventually in Avengers 4). Besides, Iron Man has been a powerful force for the Avengers this past decade. The death of many major characters in Infinity War have shaken audiences, so Tony might very well die in the next Avengers to make the film equally impactful.
I’m guessing that Tony and Steve will kiss and make up before the climax of Avengers 4, only to have either die in the film’s final act and unleash the audience’s waterfalls.