It's time for Marvel to admit the truth: there's no way the deaths in Avengers: Infinity War will be permanent. The movie's cliffhanger ending saw Thanos emerge triumphant, achieving his insane goal of erasing half the life in the universe. The deaths included some of Marvel's most notable heroes: Doctor Strange, Black Panther, most of the Guardians of the Galaxy, and even Tom Holland's Spider-Man. The wall-crawler's farewell was heartbreaking, an improv scene in which he begged his mentor Tony Stark that he didn't want to go.
And those weren't the only deaths, of course. Infinity War started with Thanos, the Mad Titan, slaughtering the survivors of Asgard. Notable deaths there included both Heimdall and Loki (although Valkyrie was apparently spared off-camera), and later he sacrificed favorite daughter Gamora in order to acquire the Soul Stone.
But here's the catch; Marvel Studios is well known for its "fake deaths." Given that's the case, nobody is expecting these to last - especially with sequels on the cards. So why is everyone involved acting like it's permanent? The Russo brothers recently suggested that characters having an upcoming solo movie doesn't mean a return by nature of a non-linear narrative, but do they realize nobody believes them?
- This Page: All the Dead Avengers Who Are Returning
- Page 2: How Marvel's Trying To Trick Fans
All the Dead Avengers Who Are Returning
The fundamental problem for Marvel is that Avengers: Infinity War kills off characters we know are returning. Take Spider-Man. The Spider-Man: Homecoming sequel will release just two months after Avengers 4, meaning he's really got to return next year. What's more, while doing interviews in 2017, both Marvel's Kevin Feige and Sony's Amy Pascal stressed that the film would follow on from Avengers 4; in fact, Pascal said it would "start a few minutes after Avengers 4 wraps as a story." Feige stressed that the sequel would relate to Avengers 4 "in the way that the events of Civil War directly inform the opening of Homecoming and [Spider-Man's] state of mind as he goes back to high school." According to Feige, Spider-Man's sequel was deliberately chosen to "hold your hand and lead you into the next incarnation of the MCU" after Avengers 4.
Clearly, Spider-Man's emotional death scene isn't going to stick; hardly surprising given the expectation for the entire "snap" will either be undone or else averted through use of time-travel. And that makes sense, when you consider that Marvel has clear plans for both a Black Panther and a Doctor Strange sequel too. It's true that even Marvel didn't expect Black Panther to be quite the success story it turned out to be, but no studio simply kills off a massive franchise just when it's launched. Meanwhile, Avengers: Infinity War gave Doctor Strange a major role, perfect setup for a sequel featuring Mordo and Nightmare.
Even moving away from the franchise leads, it's seriously unlikely Marvel would kill off popular secondary characters like Falcon and Bucky. For one thing, Avengers 4 is expected to bid a fond farewell to Chris Evans's Captain America, and that sort of ending is completely undermined if his dearest friends aren't there to mourn him. And replace him. Those characters have the potential to continue the Captain America brand once Evans has left the MCU; in the comics, both have wielded the shield as a version of Captain America.
Finally, the Guardians of the Galaxy are confirmed to return as well. Dave Bautista has clearly been somewhat bemused by the outpouring of grief after Drax's death during the "snap." "They were really like heartbroken," he noted, "and I was like 'I'm gonna be in four. I'm gonna be in Guardians 3.' I don't know how they're bringing me back, yeah but somehow I'm going to make it because, as far as I know, I am going to be in Guardians 3, so I have to be back." Bautista clearly didn't get the memo about keeping his resurrection a secret; nor, for that matter, did Zoe Saldana. She unwittingly admitted that, to her, Gamora's death was a "TBC." As she explained, the whole team have to head back to Atlanta for Avengers 4 reshoots in Fall 2018. Presumably, as in the comics, Gamora isn't actually dead; she's instead been consumed by the Soul Stone, and in the comics it's entirely possible to escape the Soul Stone's realm. And if she can survive, then any of the pre-snap casualties - like Vision - are also sure to make a return.
The reality of the situation is that we all know these characters are coming back. That's not a problem in and of itself - the deaths serve their purpose for the narrative, creating a sense of scale and reducing the cast for a tighter, more focused Avengers 4 - but there is when Marvel starts pretending otherwise.
Page 2 of 2: How Marvel's Trying To Trick Fans
- Ant-Man & The Wasp (2018) release date: Jul 06, 2018
- Captain Marvel (2019) release date: Mar 08, 2019
- The Avengers 4 / Avengers: Endgame (2019) release date: Apr 26, 2019
- Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019) release date: Jul 02, 2019