What the 'Avengers: Infinity War' ending means for the future of the MCU

This image released by Marvel Studios shows, front row from left, Danai Gurira, Chadwick Boseman, Chris Evans, Scarlet Johansson and Sebastian Stan in a scene from “Avengers: Infinity War”. (Chuck Zlotnick/Marvel Studios via AP)

Avengers: Infinity War is finally here, so there’s a good chance you’ll have seen it by now.

Juuuust in case you haven’t, Thanos ordered us to stay silent, so we’re going to strap on our Infinity Gauntlet and hit you with a MASSIVE SPOILER WARNING.

Seriously, if you haven’t seen Infinity War, go away. We don’t want your enjoyment of a single second of this film to be ruined by accidentally seeing something you shouldn’t.

Still here? Great! Could you believe it when Batman showed up and used his magic wand to turn Harry Potter into Mickey Mouse? Man, what a sequence.

Okay, that was your final test before we get the real spoilers, so it’s your last chance to check out.


This image released by Disney shows Chadwick Boseman, center, in a scene from Marvel Studios’ “Avengers: Infinity War.” (Marvel Studios via AP)

Who survived Infinity War?

If you stumbled out of Infinity War in complete shock because you’ve just seen the heroes and stars of the Marvel Cinematic Universe decimated, and you’re so traumatised you can’t remember who actually survived, don’t worry, we’ve compiled a handy list for you.

Read more: Infinity War post-credit scene explained

Characters who were dead before Thanos clicks his fingers

Heimdall (Idris Elba)
Loki (Tom Hiddleston)
Gamora (Zoe Saldana)
The Collector (Benicio Del Toro)
Proxima Midnight (Carrie Coon)
Vision (Paul Bettany)
Ebony Maw (Tom Vaughan-Lawlor)
Corvus Glaive (Michael James Shaw)
Cull Obsidian (Terry Notary)

Characters who died after Thanos clicked his fingers

Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch)
Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman)
Spider-Man (Tom Holland)
Nick Fury (Samuel L Jackson)
Maria Hill (Cobie Smulders)
Bucky/The Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan)
Groot (Vin Diesel)
Star Lord (Chris Pratt)
Drax (Dave Bautista)
Mantis (Pom Klementieff)
Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen)
Falcon (Anthony Mackie)

The survivors

Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.)
Captain America (Chris Evans)
Thor (Chris Hemsworth)
Hulk/Dr. Banner (Mark Ruffalo)
War Machine (Don Cheadle)
Black Widow (Scarlet Johansson)
Rocket Raccoon (Bradley Cooper)
Thanos (Josh Brolin)
Okoye (Danai Gurira)
M’Baku (Winston Duke)
Nebula (Karen Gillan)

Fate unclear

Wong (Benedict Wong)
Shuri (Letitia Wright)
Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow)
Ned (Jacob Batalon)
Eitri the Dwarf (Peter Dinklage)
Thunderbolt Ross (William Hurt)

Fate unclear and not even in the film

Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner)
Ant-Man (Paul Rudd)
Wasp (Evangeline Lily)
Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson)

How does Infinity War affect future films?

So, what does all this death mean for where the MCU franchise goes from here? In the immediate future, nothing.

Ant-Man and the Wasp is set straight after Captain America: Civil War, so long before the events of Infinity War (though we’ll wager Ant-Man and the Wasp will see Scott Lang take the plea deal mentioned in Infinity War), so there’ll be no consequences there.

After that, it’s Captain Marvel, which takes place even further in the past – it’s been confirmed that it’s set in the 1990s, operating as a neat introduction to the character ahead of her appearance in Avengers 4.

All of a sudden, Marvel’s scheduling makes perfect sense.

Will the deaths be permanent?

This image released by Marvel Studios shows Tom Holland as Spider-Man in a scene from “Avengers: Infinity War.” (Marvel Studios via AP)

Sorry Loki, Heimdall, and The Collector – we think your time in the MCU is over, permanently.

The rest? We’re not so sure.

Marvel Studios’ decision to announce movies like the as-yet-untitled follow-up to Spider-Man: Homecoming, which will be released a few months after Avengers 4, has already taken the sting out of the shocking ending.

So, unless they’re taking the series in a bold new direction, Spider-Man’s death will definitely be undone.

The same goes for Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol 3, which has been officially announced, with James Gunn promising it will be an ‘epic conclusion’ to the story. That means it won’t be a prequel, but Gunn’s said that Mantis will be appearing in the film – so she’s coming back too.

Gunn’s known for being pretty blunt and honest on social media, so this doesn’t feel like a misdirect. Also, with the only surviving Guardian being Rocket, Vol 3 would be more of a solo movie than an official Guardians movie if Quill, Drax, Gamora, and Groot don’t also come back.

Add in a definitely happening Black Panther 2 (which is going to feel pretty weird without its title character) and it all adds up to one thing – we’re getting a retcon.

How will they resurrect the dead in Avengers 4?

We’ve heard that Avengers 4 is going to be a completely different genre to Infinity War, and it’s rumoured to involve time travel. We’d say this is almost certainly the case, with the surviving Avengers going on a mission to retrieve the Time Stone, to undo the events of Infinity War.

However, here’s where it gets interesting. One of the repeated lines in Infinity War is that heroes ‘don’t trade a life for a life’ – meanwhile, the Soul Stone requires a sacrifice based on love in order to be activated.

Could this be foreshadowing something for Avengers 4?

Coincidentally, the survivors include six characters played by actors whose contracts will be up by the time the credits role: Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, Hulk, War Machine, and Black Widow.

Meanwhile, there’s seven on the dead pile who we expect to come back: Black Panther, Doctor Strange, Groot, Star Lord, Spider-Man, Drax, and Mantis. Eight, if we include Bucky.

There’s potential for some kind of sacrificial swap, with the heroes who have no future movies taking the place of the ones who have loads.

That’s pretty dark though – our money’s on a Back To The Future II style scenario, with our heroes getting the Time Stone (Ant-Man performs an Infinity Gauntlet heist, maybe?) before heading back to the Battle Of New York, using the portal to defeat Thanos before he’s too powerful to kill.

One thing’s for sure: a large weight of responsibility will rest on Tony Stark’s shoulders – Doctor Strange went from saying he’ll sacrifice (there’s that word again) the lives of Tony Stark and Peter Parker to protect the Time Stone, to giving it up to save Stark’s life.

In between those events, Strange said that he watched over 14 million scenarios in which the Avengers only won against Thanos once – what’s the bet that Stark was the deciding factor in that one scenario?

We predict Tony Stark will honourably lay down his life (succeeded by his child, Pepper is probably pregnant as per the dream Stark discussed at the start of Infinity War) with Steve Rogers surviving to be sent back in time to go on his date with Peggy Carter.

If the last shot of Avengers 4 isn’t Steve dancing with Peggy, we’ll eat our shield.

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