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As we all know, Infinity War will mark the beginning of the end for the current iteration of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes. After comment after comment from people involved in the making of the next two 'Avengers' installments, it is pretty apparent that the Mad Titan himself, Thanos, played by the multi-Marvel character playing Josh Brolin, will be throwing some of the team six feet under.
So in honour of what the MCU has given us over the past decade, here is my five favourite theories as to who will be exiting, starting with...
5. Hawkeye (Clint Barton)
Although, through mind control (of course), this guy was partially a villain in the first 'Avengers' installment, Hawkeye has grown to be a fan favourite; he emanates comedy and was shown to be as human as anyone in Age Of Ultron when it was revealed he is a family man (a twist that is personally one of my favourites in the MCU).
But surely his life is a signal to his ending. In Age of Ultron, we have a scene of Barton and his wife discussing his place in the team, and eventually he decides to retire, only coming back into the fold to help Cap in Civil War, which ended up getting him in a jail cell (let’s hope the Mrs. didn’t want him at the dinner table by six to say grace).
It might seem out there, but the fact that the archer’s life is spelled to be out of the 'Avengers,' wouldn’t it be gut-wrenching to have him, after only wanting to return briefly, die in the line of duty? Not only would it be a fitting and heroic send off, but it could maybe give an interesting message to the rest of the team that they can never have both lives. They must either be alone and fight for the world or let it go and remain safe with their nearest and dearest.
4. Hulk (Bruce Banner)
Now, more than anything, believe me, I do not want to rank this one, but my gut has a feeling and by Odin’s beard I gotta lead with it!
Mark Ruffalo has been amazing as Bruce Banner, and as The Hulk. When I heard of his casting, like many others, I wasn’t too pleased, but boy did he prove us wrong.
Unfortunately, as confirmed by Ruffalo, another standalone film with his incarnation of the character will never see the light of day thanks to the big guys at Universal. Interestingly, Ruffalo has said that Thor: Ragnarok, Infinity War and the currently untitled Avengers 4 will serve as a sort of trilogy for the big, green rage monster.
Adding together the facts that a standalone film isn’t coming any time soon, and that Ruffalo speaks specifically as these three films serving as a trilogy for the character, it really wouldn’t surprise me if this was his last hoorah.
We can only hope that before his exit, we get to have the fan-pleasing moment of Banner and Hulk somehow separating and looking each other in the eye for the first time (insert gif of Loki cheering at Hulk thrashing Thor in Grandmaster’s arena).
3. Captain America (Steve Rogers)
He’s certainly one of the favourites to kick the bucket during the fight for the Infinity Stones. Rogers went underground after the events of Civil War, breaking his teammates out of the government’s grasp and going on the run, seemingly with the help of King T’Challa (that guy who runs around dressed as a cat, his name escapes me...)
With where old man Steve is at the moment in his life (he has seemingly stripped himself of the Captain America persona), it wouldn’t surprise me if he was shifted out of the way for someone else to take his place as the star spangled man with a plan.
In the comics, Bucky Barnes and Sam Wilson, both who have been introduced to the MCU previously, have taken on the Captain America identity. Wouldn’t it be suitable for Mr. Rogers to finally be laid to rest after a brutal battle and one of his two closest friends carrying on his legacy the way he’d of liked them to?
2. Iron Man (Tony Stark)
This one is interesting for a few reasons. Iron Man booted the MCU into action a decade ago, and the rest is history. His solo outing opened the floodgates for constant crossover and team-up films, and what a ride it has been! But now, nearing such an epic time in the universe, wouldn’t it make sense for his first and final appearances to bookend the first overall phase of the MCU? Plus, there’s something else...
Tony Stark has never been portrayed as a villain, but it is fair to say that he has had a number of dark turns; he was responsible for the creation of Ultron, he lashed out at Bucky Barnes and Cap for the former murdering his folks (although, he did it through brainwashed actions, so, give the guy a break), and then there’s Iron Man 3, but Shane Black was the true villain there.
Not only would it tie up the first decade of the Avengers’ timeline, but for Stark to have a sort of redemption arc (reactor) in, at the last moment, sacrificing himself to save not only his teammates, but the world...I think it would be a cool and well-deserved moment. Also it would be a cool nod to how he almost sacrificed himself at the end of the first Avengers film.
1. Cap and Anthony (Plot Twist)
This may sound just too much, and it’s probably my inner fan just having too much to say, but in my opinion if one of them has to go...they both go!
Since the first moment they met, Steve Rogers and Tony Stark have never seen eye to eye, but have always been prepared to do what was right in their eyes. At the end of this 'Avengers' double bill, it is inevitable there will be an ‘all is lost’ moment, and let's face it, these two have a habit of risking their lives for their mission (Tony at the end of Iron Man 1 and Avengers 1, Cap at the end of Captain America 1 & 2).
So picture this...
There’s, let’s say cause it is always a bog-standard plot device for impending doom, a portal open, and it needs to remain open long enough for everyone to get far enough away from when it closes and its blast goes haywire. Everyone looks at each other and who is missing...Iron Man. He’s arrived at the portal and with the power of his suit he is holding it open, and as you guessed, it’s not enough. He’s struggling, as from afar everyone watches knowing it's too late to help. Stark knows he can’t keep it open much longer, the portal is almost crushing in on him and moment’s later, the portal is loosening up again; Captain America is at his side helping to leave the portal open. He says something about not leaving a friend behind, and TOGETHER they keep the portal open for everyone to escape then BOOM...portal closes, they’re exits deserved as the two most outspoken and leaders of The Avengers are obliterated but die in heroic ways. It’s the sort of send off they should get and it opens up doors to the future of MCU. Kevin Feige has said that after these installments of The Avengers that the MCU will change forever...what more of a shake-up is there then to leave the team without the two guys who led them into battle so many times before?
Honourable Mention - Vision (Paul Bettany)
Vision was born of The Mind Stone, one of the Infinity Stones that Thanos so desires. Without it he is nothing...surely?
Whatever Marvel decide to do, I’m sure we’re in for some tragic losses in the early months of 2018 and 2019.
Avengers: Infinity War is released April 27 worldwide, April 26 in the UK.