As Doctor Strange told Tony Stark, the Avengers are in the endgame now.
Spoilers for Avengers: Infinity War are ahead.
With the snap of his fingers, the purple titan Thanos (Josh Brolin), succeeded in his mission of gathering the Infinity Stones and using its powers to restore “balance” to the universe. And in Thanos’s twisted view, that meant wiping out literally half of all known existence, including even our beloved heroes.
Truly, there was no superpower or Vibranium armor on Earth that could protect the Avengers or the Guardians of the Galaxy from Thanos’s random “but fair” Biblical-style judgement. It was an ending Marvel fans will remember for years to come, at least until Avengers 4 next year.
Like all good Marvel movies, the extinction mirrored the comics. In 1991’s The Infinity Gauntlet by Jim Starlin, Thanos wiped out half the universe’s population to win the affection of Lady Death. The genocide caused mass destruction on Earth while the survivors did their best to help and fight back.
Many of the survivors included heavy-hitters like Spider-Man, Captain America, Wolverine, Drax, and Namor the Sub-Mariner. But those who died because of Thanos included Luke Cage, Hawkeye, Hercules, Iceman, Beast, Archangel, Quicksilver, Daredevil, and even the Fantastic Four.
So who lived? And who died? And what does this mean for Avengers 4? In the aftermath of Avengers: Infinity War, here is a rundown of the MCU as it stands until next year, when the story concludes on May 3, 2019.
Killed in Action
Before Thanos actually used the Infinity Stones, the MCU killed off four Marvel heroes throughout the movie: Loki (Tom Hiddleston), Heimdall (Idris Elba), Gamora (Zoe Saldana), and Vision (Paul Bettany).
Heimdall died an undignified death when he was killed by one of Thanos’s henchman for transporting the Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) back to Earth. Vision died at the very end of the film, when Thanos crushed his head to rip out the Mind Stone, rendering the sentient A.I. offline. Gamora, of course, died as a sacrifice by Thanos, who had to pay “a soul for a soul” in order to obtain the Soul Stone.
But the death that surely broke everyone’s hearts was Loki. In the span of five minutes, Loki runs the full spectrum of feelings audiences have had towards the half-bred trickster: betrayal, anger, sympathy, shock, sorrow. Though his attempt to trick Thanos was his weakest effort of all time, it’s more poetic to think Loki knew he was outmatched and that it was better to die trying to trick the Mad Titan than to serve him as a coward.
It’s also safe to assume the Collector (Benecio Del Toro) was killed by Thanos before the Guardians arrived to stop him from obtaining the Reality Stone.
Disappeared via Infinity Stones
At the end of Infinity War, Thanos lived up to his promise and wiped out half of the entire universe. Of the characters we know, the genocide included:
- Star-Lord (Chris Pratt)
- Drax (Dave Bautista)
- Groot (Vin Diesel)
- Mantis (Pom Klementieff)
- Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch)
- Spider-Man (Tom Holland)
- Falcon (Anthony Mackie)
- Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman)
- Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan)
- Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen)
- Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson, post-credits)
- Maria Hill (Cobie Smulders, post-credits)
- And half of Wakanda’s army, who evaporated right on the battlefield.
Still in Action
Luckily, Thanos’s actions only wiped out half of the MCU. We still have some surviving heroes alive who can fight the good fight. They include, in essence, the original Avengers:
- Captain America (Chris Evans)
- Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.)
- The Hulk
- Thor (Chris Hemsworth)
- Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson)
- War Machine (Don Cheadle)
- Rocket (Bradley Cooper)
- Okoye (Danai Gurira)
- M’Baku (Winston Duke)
- Nebula (Karen Gillan)
There are a handful of MCU characters we got to see in Infinity War, as well as many more we didn’t. Regardless, these are the heroes whose whereabouts remain unknown. Prepare for all of these actors to field these questions until next year.
- Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner)
- Ant-Man (Paul Rudd)
- The Wasp (Evangeline Lilly)
- Wong (Benedict Wong)
- Ned (Jacob Batalon)
- Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson)
- Korg (Taika Waititi)
- Shuri (Letita Wright)
- The Defenders: Daredevil (Charlie Cox), Jessica Jones (Krysten Ritter), Luke Cage (Mike Colter), Iron Fist (Finn Jones)
- The Punisher (Jon Bernthal)
- Ghost Rider (Gabriel Luna)
- Everyone from Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Inhumans
Who Will Return?
You can bank on mostly everyone coming back for Avengers 4. Not just because many of them still have sequels to shoot — the sequel to Spider-Man: Homecoming begins shooting in London this summer — but because the storyline is headed towards the Avengers finding some way to reverse Thanos’s genocide (which will somehow involve Ant-Man). Remember, it’s not just the heroes who died; it’s half the universe.
The hardest one to guess is Gamora, whose sacrifice actually meant something to the story. However, Saldana has confirmed shooting scenes for Avengers 4 (though those could be in flashback). I also wouldn’t bet any money on Heimdall returning. He’s extremely donezo.
With apologies to Loki stans, it’s a safe bet Tom Hiddleston is done with the Marvel franchise as Infinity War was the last movie in his contract.
Avengers: Infinity War is in theaters now.