It’s hard to believe that we’re less than a year away from the release of Avengers :Infinity War. Fans have been waiting to see the Avengers take on Thanos ever since the iconic Marvel villain was introduced at the end of the first Avengers film and even though we still know very little about it, Infinity War is sure to deliver an epic superhero clash for the ages. Anyone familiar with the Marvel Cinematic Universe knows that Marvel has so far been reluctant to kill off major characters, with even Captain America: Civil War sparing the lives of everyone involved. That being said, it would be ludicrous for Infinity War to not feature any character deaths given how much the previous films have built Thanos up as a nigh-unstoppable threat, so it’s safe to say that at least a few important characters aren’t going to survive.

While Marvel is absolutely not going to kill off every character on this list, these are the characters I feel are most in danger of being killed off in Infinity War or the untitled Avengers 4.

12. Nick Fury

Samuel L. Jackson’s Nick Fury has been a staple of the Marvel Cinematic Universe almost as long as Iron Man has and even though he was sidelined during the events of Civil War, he will no doubt return for Infinity War to help the Avengers defend Earth. Unfortunately, if even the likes of Thor and the Hulk have little hope of being able to go toe-to-toe with Thanos, it’s hard to imagine someone like Fury, who has no superpowers, being able to last long against the Mad Titan or his lackeys. Still, you don’t see many franchises killing someone like Samuel L. Jackson off very often, which is why I’m ranking Fury lower on this list.

Jackson’s nine film contract will be up with Avengers 4 and he has voiced his willingness to extend his contract, so he could very well be sticking around for the long term (well, longer than the near-decade he’s already spent with the franchise). That being said, killing off Nick Fury would strike a real blow to the Avengers and fans alike, and would show that Thanos means business (admittedly, this was never really in doubt).

Via idigitaltimes.com

11. Red Skull

Sure, nothing has actually been confirmed yet, but there’s good reason to believe that Captain America’s old nemesis Red Skull will make his return in Avengers: Infinity War. For one thing, actor Hugo Weaving technically still has a contractual obligation to return to the MCU; Marvel just hasn’t optioned him yet. His character’s fate was also left unknown at the end of Captain America: The First Avenger, having been transported to another realm by the Tesseract and some fans have theorized that he has been recruited by Thanos in the interim to help lead the Mad Titan’s forces.

So why would the Red Skull be a prime candidate to die in Infinity War? To put it simply, his death could come at the hands of any of the Avengers or even Thanos himself. As evidenced by his mistreatment of his own daughter Nebula, the Mad Titan does not take kindly to failure and, assuming Red Skull fails in whatever mission he’s given, he may end up paying with his life.

Source: Marvel Studios

10. Heimdall

Assuming Idris Elba’s Heimdall survives the events of Thor: Ragnarok, he may end up being an early casualty of Thanos’ galaxy-spanning quest to collect all six Infinity Stones. As the gatekeeper of Asgard, Heimdall is the first point of contact for anyone who travels on the Bifrost, which means that when Thanos inevitably pays Asgard a visit, he’s going to come face-to-face with the Mad Titan. We’ve seen previously that Heimdall doesn’t suffer fools to pass without permission, which means that he will defend the Bifrost with his life if necessary. Unfortunately, while Heimdall is an accomplished warrior in his own right, Thanos would be able to make quick work of him. On the bright side, at least Idris Elba isn’t hurting for work these days …

Source: Digital Trends

9. Drax

Honestly, I don’t think Marvel will kill off Drax the Destroyer in Infinity War. Dave Bautista is proving to be too much of a valuable player in the Guardians of the Galaxy franchise to exit this soon and the studio is probably eager to have him return for Guardians Vol. 3. Still, if we look at all of this from purely a narrative perspective, having Drax die makes a certain amount of sense. While every hero in the MCU has good reason to see Thanos fall, Drax also has a very personal score to settle with the Mad Titan, who is responsible for the death of Drax’s wife and daughter.

It’s fair to say that Drax probably won’t be able to hold back upon encountering Thanos for the first time and it’s this recklessness that may very well cause his downfall. However, I could also envision a different scenario in which Drax bravely sacrifices himself to spare the lives of his new “family” and ultimately falls to Thanos (but not before punching the Mad Titan’s heart out, which is something that actually happens in the comics). I definitely don’t want to see Drax go out so soon, but I think we have to at least acknowledge the very real possibility that Infinity War could be the end of his story.

Marvel Studios

8. Odin

There’s a very good chance that Thor: Ragnarok will be the last MCU film to feature Anthony Hopkins’ Odin. Not only is Hopkins getting up there in years, it felt like Odin’s arc really should have ended with Thor: The Dark World, so it’s actually surprising he’s still alive at this point. Assuming he does make it through Ragnarok, you have to think that Infinity War will be Odin’s final appearance, as it just really doesn’t make sense to keep him around anymore. However, that doesn’t mean that Odin can’t go out in a blaze of glory, which is absolutely what will happen if he crosses path with Thanos. Yes, their confrontation will ultimately end with Odin’s death and it will be sad and everything, but given how powerful both characters are, you have to figure that it will play out as an epic clash of titans. After spending much of his screen time up to this point incapacitated in some way, it’s only right that an actor of Hopkins’ caliber goes out properly.

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7. Hawkeye

I don’t think I’ll ever quite understand the adoration that’s out there for Jeremy Renner’s portrayal of Hawkeye, aka Clint Barton, as I’ve always been put off by the smugness with which he’s played the role (plus, I’m just a big fan of Matt Fraction’s interpretation of the character). Still, I’ll readily admit that Renner has had his moments with the character, particularly whenever he gets the chance to point out how ridiculous it is that he’s just a regular guy with a bow fighting alongside literal gods.

Unfortunately, it’s that specific character detail that may result in Hawkeye punching his ticket in Infinity War, as his lack of superhuman attributes could make him an early casualty in an attack on Earth by Thanos. It’s also important to remember that Hawkeye doesn’t have a self-titled film franchise to his name and is largely a secondary character in the MCU, meaning that he is more disposable than some of the bigger name characters. The only real hurdle here is that Renner is still under contract isn’t up until Avengers 4, so if his character makes it through Infinity War, he’s probably a lock to bite it in the sequel.

Source: comicvine.com

6. Scarlet Witch

Scarlet Witch falls into much the same category as Hawkeye when it comes to the heroes of the MCU, in that she’s a secondary character without any solo movies to her credit and thus, is more disposable than other characters. However, unlike Hawkeye, Scarlet Witch actually has legitimate superpowers and despite limited screen time in relation to some of her fellow Avengers, Elizabeth Olsen has made the character feel like a valuable player in the MCU.

Unfortunately, all of these characteristics arguably make her expendable, as Wanda’s power makes her one of the few Avengers who represents a legitimate threat to Thanos and taking her off the board early would not only make things easier for him to conquer Earth, but also establish his own strength by sending a message to the other Avengers that he is more powerful than any of them.

Marvel Studios

5. Iron Man

To say the MCU has expanded dramatically in the near decade since the original Iron Man movie was released would be a vast understatement, but even with the dozens of films and new characters that have been introduced over that span, Robert Downey Jr.’s Tony Stark remains one of, if not the, most popular character in the entire franchise. Downey has clearly relished his time with the franchise — helping revive his career probably has something to do with that — and has extended his contract no less than three times, with his run now set to end with Avengers 4.

That being said, at 52, Downey isn’t getting any younger and he has been rather noncommittal on the prospect of returning for an Iron Man 4, claiming that he would only consider it if there was a good story in place. While it would be said to see Downey go, that is exactly why his death needs to happen in Infinity War. Having Thanos kill the founding member of the Avengers and the MCU as a whole would not only help make the Mad Titan the most hated villain in the franchise to date, but would also open the door for a new character down the road to wear the Iron Man armor.

Marvel Studios

4. Captain America

Of all the heroes in the MCU, the death of Captain America would probably hit the hardest if it were to occur. Chris Evans has successfully portrayed the selfless, heroic Steve Rogers for years now and has helped turn the character into one of Marvel’s most popular and beloved. And that is why he needs to die in Avengers: Infinity War. Will Marvel actually go through with killing off one of its best characters? It’s hard to say, since the studio seems reluctant to kill any characters off, let alone the central hero of one of its most popular franchises. Still, it’s not like the previous movies in the MCU haven’t been hinting at the possibility of Steve Rogers’ death for some time now, with Avengers: Age of Ultron even including a vision scene in which Tony Stark sees Cap’s broken shield sitting alongside his dead teammates.

We also can easily look to the comics, which saw Steve’s buddy Sam Wilson, aka Falcon, take over as Captain America after Rogers is tragically assassinated, and there’s also speculation that Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan) will take over as Cap next given that Stan still has quite a few films left on his contract. Chris Evans has said that he would be willing to consider extending his contract after the next set of Avengers films, but he’s also voiced his desire on numerous occasions to step away from acting in order to focus on directing movies. Being killed off by Thanos could be Evans’ ticket out of the MCU, if he wants it.

Source: bustle.com

3. Loki

Tom Hiddleston’s contract is set to expire at the end of the next pair of Avengers movies and I personally don’t think he’ll be having any extension talks, as Loki is very likely going to die in Infinity War (or Avengers 4). After all, Thanos has a score to settle with the God of Mischief and you better believe the Mad Titan is coming to collect. Loki was a great antagonist in the first Avengers movie but in case you forgot, that movie ended with Loki failing to take earth for Thanos. That alone is likely grounds for execution in Thanos’ eyes, but what makes Loki’s failure even worse is that it ultimately made the Avengers and the earth as a whole stronger, as the planet is now on alert for threats from outer space.

Even if Loki somehow makes it back into Thanos’ good graces and is able to convince him to spare his life, we’ve seen time and again that Loki is only loyal to himself and will probably try to betray the Mad Titan as soon as possible. Either way, it’s looking very likely that we’ll be saying goodbye to Loki at the end of the MCU’s Phase Three.

Source: Blastr.com

2. Nebula

We still don’t know much about the plot of Infinity War or how closely it will adhere to the the original Infinity Gauntlet storyline, but one thing we do know for sure is that Nebula will play an important role. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 ended with Nebula setting out to find and kill her father Thanos, so it’s inevitable that the two will have a confrontation at some point during Infinity War.

As for how this will all go down, it’s difficult to say, but Marvel may end up sticking closely with the events from the comics, as Nebula plays an important role in Thanos’ ultimate downfall by stealing his Infinity Gauntlet and reversing his previous actions, thereby reviving the heroes Thanos had killed. This would bring Nebula’s arc full circle and make her officially one of the “good guys” and also represent an act of revenge against her abusive father. Unfortunately, her victory could prove to be short-lived, as Thanos isn’t exactly going to be a great mood after discovering his gauntlet has been stolen and will make sure that Nebula pays for her betrayal with her life.

Source: hitfix.com

1. The Vision

When it comes to potential character deaths in Avengers: Infinity War, there’s really only one that feels like it’s virtually guaranteed to happen. That would be the Vision, who currently stands as one of the most powerful beings in the MCU. Now, you would think that all that power would make him a great asset for the Avengers to have in their upcoming war with Thanos and while that is true, there’s just one major problem with all of it: the Vision has something Thanos wants and he is going to get it.

The Vision’s power is derived from the Infinity Stone in his head and since Thanos is looking to acquire all six of these stones, he is most certainly coming to take the one Vision holds in his possession. In other words, the Vision was doomed from the moment he came into being. The only positive takeaway from all of this is that Vision won’t go down without a fight but down he will go, and when Thanos is finished with him, he’ll be even more powerful than he was previously.

Source: Business Insider