Tom Hiddleton's Loki is arguably the greatest of the Marvel Cinematic Universe villains so far and we believe he needs to die. In the next two years the main story threading the 22-movie franchise crafted by Marvel Studios is coming to an end, and with it, potentially several important characters.
Phase 3, as it has become known as, concludes with what was originally announced as a two-part Avengers: Infinity War saga, with two additional films (Ant-Man and the Wasp and Captain Marvel) debuting in between. The third and fourth Avengers movies eventually became two separate stories, mostly shot separately as well due to massive scheduling needs for the record-setting ensembles.
They both however will feature Earth's Mightiest and their cosmic allies (the Guardians of the Galaxy) fighting Thanos and attempting to undo whatever damage he's done with the Infinity Gauntlet. In that respect, when it's all said and done, the conclusion of Avengers 4 may partially reset the story or at least lay a foundation for a new and different start.
This is the biggest story Marvel Studios will have ever told and it will feature real stakes this time. It needs to. Heroes will die. Villains will die too.
Loki Needs to Die to Justify Thanos
If there's one criticism that can be applied to the MCU as a whole it is its lack of worthy villains. Marvel Studios boss Kevin Feige has said in the past it is by design to focus on the heroes and fun of that, but there's no denying that several films have suffered from a lack of development of its antagonists. Inexplicable villain plans or an absence of justifiable motivations can't last forever and this is why we're starting to see characters that are more morally grey and no longer one-and-done villains.
The Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan) served as a Terminator-esque unstoppable force in the second Captain America film and is now a fan-fave hero. Doctor Strange's mentor Mordo (Chiwetel Ejiofor) was setup in that origin film as a future antagonist, but one who isn't truly evil, but rather, has justifiable reasons to do what he's doing. The same can be said for Zemo (Daniel Bruhl) in Captain America: Civil War and we suspect, next year for Black Panther's Erik Killmonger (Michael B. Jordan).
Some of these newer villains, like Loki, could have long-term arcs in the future of the MCU, sometimes even teaming up with heroes for bigger, more evil threats.
It's this villain problem though that is the biggest challenge the MCU must conquer in concluding Phase 3 and building the finale around Thanos, the purple Mad Titan who's only been briefly teased over the last few years via cameos in post-credits scenes (in Avengers 1 and 2) and in a few sparse scenes in the first Guardians of the Galaxy.
Related: About That Last Infinity Stone…
When we visited the set of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 early in 2016 Feige told us that Avengers: Infinity War is virtually a Thanos movie. He's the star. He gets a lot of screen time because he needs it for the obvious story reasons of collecting the Infinity Stones, but also to justify himself as the greatest and most deadly villain. When Thanos is introduced on screen, for real this time, he needs to make his mark and makeup for his past failures. We think he's going to do that early in the film in a big way.
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