Well, Marvel fans, it’s finally here. The culmination of an expansive universe that has been unprecedented in its scope (currently spanning eighteen films and ten television shows, and counting), Avengers: Infinity War blasts into theaters this week. This film will be the first of its kind, a cinematic event that promises to pay off dozens of character arcs and storylines that have been a decade in the making, and when the dust settles, neither the characters we’ve grown to love nor the landscape of superhero films as a whole will ever be the same.
As you can probably imagine, we have some Feelings. All of the Feelings.
For the past couple months, we’ve been speculating on what we think will happen as the third act of the Marvel Cinematic Universe draws to a close, and below, we’ve outlined a few of our predictions. Our theories are based on official trailers and promotional material, official interviews with the cast and production team, social media posts by members of the cast and the directors, our familiarity with the comics, and the boundless limits of our own imaginations.
They are not based on spoiler sites, spoiler photos, rumors, unofficial film footage, set leaks, or anything else that has not been released by the film’s cast, directors, producers, or marketing team. We are all about combing every inch of the official promotional campaign for details, but try to actively avoid digging up details that the people who made the film don’t want us to have.
For the record, these are just our best guesses, and may be completely wrong – but they could also contain massive spoilers, so proceed at your own risk.
The Infinity Stones
Infinity War is all about Thanos collecting all six Infinity Stones, five of which we have already seen in the MCU. If Thanos gets all six, he will be unstoppable, so our guess is that he will end Infinity War with five stones (or possibly even four), making him almost invincible, but not quite.
The Space Stone (blue) is in the Tesseract, which we see Loki handing over to someone, presumably Thanos, in one trailer, and which we see Thanos insert into the gauntlet in another. This will definitely be one of the very first stones Thanos acquires.
The Power Stone (purple) is at Nova Corps Headquarters, which we expect Thanos to have acquired before the movie even starts. Infinity War already has a pretty packed cast list and a lot of ground to cover, so the odds of pulling in Glenn Close and John C. Reilly just to get blown up by Thanos don’t seem super high.
The Time Stone (green) is hanging around Doctor Strange’s neck, and he’s not afraid to use it. Currently, Doctor Strange is one of the MCU’s most powerful heroes, but the Time Stone also makes him a target. We expect to see a pretty massive battle for the Time Stone fairly early in the movie, as well as a concentrated effort by the Black Order to neutralize Strange as a threat. This will likely be the third or fourth stone Thanos acquires.
The Mind Stone (yellow) is… uh… in Vision’s face. Yeah. That doesn’t bode well for him, and while we love Vision, we’re fully expecting him to be one of Infinity War’s biggest and most heartbreaking casualties. Our prediction is that the entire Black Order will come for Vision sometime after targeting Strange, leading to another big battle, and that Corvus Glaive will be the one to land the killing blow.
The Reality Stone (red) was last seen in the Collector’s Museum. It seems really unlikely that Infinity War will spend a lot of screen time on the Collector, so either Thanos is going to acquire this rather quickly… or he’s not going to get it at all. (More on this in a bit.)
The Soul Stone (orange, probably) hasn’t been spotted yet, but let’s be real: it’s definitely in Wakanda, probably in the meteor that brought them all the vibranium. It’s highly likely that that’s why Wakanda is so heavily featured in the trailers, and why that battle is so massive. Not only is Thanos going to try to strip Wakanda of its main source of power, but it’s also going to be one of the last stones he needs to acquire before he’s invincible.
Wanda Maximoff/Scarlet Witch
While her powers have been a little downplayed so far in the MCU, we think Infinity War will make it clear that next to Doctor Strange, Wanda is actually the Avengers’ heaviest hitter. We’ve seen a few snippets of her in the trailers battling Proxima Midnight (which is going to be awesome) and trying to protect Vision (probably unsuccessfully), but if our suspicions are correct, Wanda is going to have a much bigger role to play than simply shooting red energy from her hands during battle sequences.
In the House of M storyline in the comics, Scarlet Witch suffers a mental breakdown and winds up creating an alternate version of reality. While we don’t expect Marvel to fully adapt House of M for the MCU, we won’t be surprised at all if Infinity War ends with a grief-stricken Wanda (likely reeling from the loss of Vision) using the Reality Stone to create an alternate universe or attempting to undo what was done.
What this alternate universe will look like will be highly dependent on what happens during the rest of Infinity War, as we expect this to be the very last scene in the movie, or possibly an end-credits scene, and we don’t think we will see all the repercussions of Wanda’s reset until the second Infinity War film. But if they take this route, we expect to see a pretty significant body count throughout the course of Infinity War, only to have some (not all; that would be too easy) of those deaths rolled back at the end. A reality reset also gives the franchise a way to write out all of the Phase 1 actors whose contracts are up after Infinity War without turning it into a massive bloodbath.
Which brings us to…
Ever since the first teaser trailer for Infinity War dropped, fans have been speculating about the fate of Clint Barton/Hawkeye. Jeremy Renner is a confirmed cast member for Infinity War, but he’s been conspicuously left off of every bit of promotional material, and isn’t even doing any press to promote the film. The Russos have made it clear that they didn’t simply forget about Hawkeye, nor did it slip their mind that he’s portrayed by an Oscar-winning actor, so our bet is that Hawkeye plays a pivotal role, but one that doesn’t involve much screen time.
Our best bet? His family is going to die. Ever since Joss Whedon surprised audiences by giving Hawkeye a family in Age of Ultron, we’ve been braced for the worst. There are several versions of Hawkeye’s family in the comics, but Whedon picked his family from Ultimates, and his Ultimates family dies.
We’re not sure exactly why Thanos would target Hawkeye’s family farm, but we’re pretty convinced that there’s no way the Bartons are making it through Infinity War intact. We also aren’t sure whether Clint will perish alongside his wife and kids (in which case, we expect for Wanda to bring him back at the end – but changed, opening the door for him to adopt his Ronin persona), or whether he’ll just be so emotionally wrecked by the tragedy that he’ll walk away, only to return at the end of the film (or early in the next one) as Ronin.
Either way, while we don’t expect to see much of the quippy archer in Infinity War, we think his presence will be felt throughout, and we anticipate him playing a much more integral role in the sequel.
Like Renner, Paul Rudd has been conspicuously absent from all of the Infinity War promotional materials, despite being confirmed as a member of the cast and headlining his own movie this summer. Unlike Hawkeye, though, we don’t think tragedy is what’s behind Scott’s absence.
The last we saw of Scott Lang, he’d been arrested for assisting Captain America, and the promos for Ant-Man and the Wasp show him under house arrest. Our best guess is that, not wanting to do anything else that may jeopardize his parental rights with his daughter, Cassie, Scott will turn down the chance to jump back into the super-powered fray.
However, we also suspect that Ant-Man and the Wasp doesn’t take place after Infinity War, but during it, and that the events of that film will explain how Scott decides to join the fight against Thanos after all. While we doubt that Infinity War will spoil any of Ant-Man and the Wasp in its stingers, we highly anticipate one of the stingers for Ant-Man and the Wasp showing Scott and Hope meeting with one or more of the Avengers (possibly in a scene that overlaps with the end of Infinity War), setting up their involvement in Part 2.
Steve Rogers/Captain America
The trailer sees Steve facing off against Thanos, and as Chris Evans’ contract with Marvel is almost up, this has led many fans to speculate that Steve Rogers will meet his tragic end in Infinity War. However, while this might make sense contractually and on a story level (and has the comic book precedence to back it up), we can’t entirely ignore the man behind the curtain. Disney owns Marvel Studios, is promoting this movie to kids who have grown up with this franchise, and is making bank off of Captain America toy sales. While we wouldn’t rule out Steve dying in Infinity War and then having his death reversed by Wanda, we don’t see them permanently killing off their cash cow, no matter how noble it would be.
Which means that Steve needs a non-lethal way to permanently exit the MCU after Infinity War, while being true to a character that, as written, would never turn his back on the good fight. In House of M, in the alternate reality Wanda creates, Steve Rogers is a retired WWII veteran who lives alone in his apartment in Brooklyn. While we don’t want that to be Steve’s fate in the MCU, we wouldn’t mind a version of reality where Steve got married to Peggy and they lived happily ever after.
Tony Stark/Iron Man
We are split on the fate of Iron Man. Sarah and Lauren are convinced that he falls under the same umbrella as Steve, and has to survive in order for Disney to keep moving merchandise. If he does die, we think we will see an alternate reality in which Tony also gets his happy ending, since we don’t think there’s any way that Marvel will let the last shot of Tony Stark in the MCU be a completely sad one. However, Teija feels that if a major character needs to be permanently sacrificed on the altar of Upping the Stakes, that Tony is the obvious candidate.
If he survives, we think it’s likely that someone close to him will die – either Pepper Potts or James Rhodes are the most likely candidates, with Happy Hogan as a dark horse – and he’ll walk away from the superhero gig permanently. But before he goes, we hope he’ll pass the Iron mantle to Shuri, paving the way for her to become Ironheart.
Of course, if Tony walks away, we’d need someone else to bankroll the Avengers. And while this is pure speculation, we have an off-the-wall theory that we kind of love.
Marvel Comics has recently unveiled new stories for the Fantastic Four, and while the First Family of Marvel has never made an appearance in the MCU due to Fox owning the movie rights, we are certain it’s only a matter of time before Marvel pulls a Spider-Man and manages to work them in. When Tony inevitably exits the MCU for good, we would love to see Stark Industries acquired by another person with deep pockets and heroic tendencies… someone like Reed Richards.
Poor Thor just lost his hair, his eye, and his hammer, and even though he just spent the entirety of Ragnarok fighting for the fate of the people of Asgard, we’re pretty sure he’s about to lose them too. Ragnarok ended with Thor, Loki, Bruce Banner, Heimdall, Valkyrie, and the survivors of the destruction of Asgard coming upon a massive spaceship that almost certainly belongs to Thanos. Kevin Feige (the head of Marvel Studios) has gone on the record saying that Thanos is going to do something during the first five minutes of Infinity War that establishes him as the most devastating villain the Avengers have ever faced, so our bet is on him wiping out Thor’s ship of Asgardian refugees.
Based on the various trailers that have been released, the aftermath of this encounter will have the Guardians of the Galaxy scraping Thor off their windshield like a piece of roadkill, Bruce hurtling to Earth like a meteor, Loki joining up with the Black Order (or so it would seem), and unfortunately, the vast majority of the Asgardians – probably including Heimdall, but we’re optimistic about Valkyrie – ruthlessly slaughtered.
After joining forces with the Guardians, we expect Thor to forge himself a new weapon. While Ragnarok established that Thor’s strength isn’t tied to his hammer, we can’t deny that it’s a powerful tool and he’d probably appreciate something to take its place. Our money is on Stormbreaker, an axe he forges in the comics after losing Mjolnir. If this is the case, count on someone else other than Thor being able to wield it (as foreshadowed in Age of Ultron) before the Infinity War comes to a close.
The trailers have really been trying to sell the narrative that Loki will betray his brother – again – to join the Black Order and hand over the Tesseract to Thanos, but we’re not buying it. Loki carries the distinction of being the only main MCU antagonist to get a character arc that spans as many films as many of the protagonists, and the last time we saw him in Ragnarok, he had just played a pivotal role in helping Thor defeat Hela and get the Asgardian refugees safely off of Asgard. Loki may be the Trickster God and thrive on chaos, but he’s also proved to legitimately care about both his brother and his people, and we don’t believe that he’d participate in a genocide against them just to save himself or shake things up.
Ever since the first Avengers film, we’ve believed that Loki wasn’t acting entirely autonomously, and that Thanos was the one secretly pulling his strings. We anticipate Infinity War being the film that finally confirms this theory, with Loki resisting Thanos alongside Thor at first, but being forced to comply by Ebony Maw, a member of the Black Order who possesses the ability to persuade people to do whatever he wishes.
Once Thanos has the Tesseract, we wouldn’t be surprised if Loki becomes the first major casualty of Infinity War. All of the shots of Loki in the trailers seem to take place on the Asgardian ship, which we expect to only be in the very beginning of the film. While it’s possible that Loki survives to either continue working with the Black Order or escape to fight alongside Thor, our money is on his death being used to establish the high stakes and the willingness of the writers to kill beloved characters right from the get-go.
The silver lining is that if we’re right and there’s an AU reset at the end of this film, we think Loki is a prime candidate to resurrect. And if we’re right about Thor forging Stormbreaker, we wouldn’t be surprised at all to see Loki wield it in Part 2.
Vision is totally going to die. Corvus Glaive is going to carve the Mind Stone out of his head, probably while a horrified Wanda is forced to look on, and it’s going to be heartbreaking and awful. We expect a pretty massive battle leading up to this, with a team of Avengers doing everything they can to keep Vision out of Thanos’ hands, and for their loss to be devastating.
However, if we’re right about Wanda’s grief over Vision’s death pushing her to alter reality by the end of the film, we fully expect Vision to eventually return, but without the Mind Stone this time, possibly stripped of his powers and forced to figure out how to navigate life as a human.
Stephen Strange is the MCU’s biggest gun and they know it. We anticipate Strange playing a huge role in Infinity War, and for Ebony Maw to do everything he can to get inside his head and bend him to Thanos’ will. However, we doubt Infinity War will pull an Avengers and turn one of their heroes into a mindless puppet (at least not for long), so while we think it’s likely Strange will lose the Time Stone, we think he’ll at least be able to hold on to his free will.
And if we’re right about Wanda’s reset at the end of the film, we think there’s a decent chance that Strange will be helping her, and that perhaps combining their formidable abilities will be what makes such a significant shift in reality possible.
Assorted Other Predictions
- Other than what we’ve mentioned above, we don’t predict any other permanent major Avenger deaths, although we think there’s a decent chance we might lose some beloved secondary characters, potentially including but not limited to: Wong, Nebula, Pepper, Happy, Selvig, Heimdall, Korg, and M’Baku.
- Nat and Bruce aren’t going to be a thing. They might discuss how they used to be a thing, but they won’t be a thing anymore.
- Natasha will be the one to kill Proxima Midnight, and it will be glorious.
- Wanda will take out Corvus Glaive.
- Peter Quill still has some latent Celestial powers, despite what Ego told him in Guardians of the Galaxy 2.
- Peter Parker is going to be awestruck by Shuri and it’s going to be adorable.
- Something will happen with either the Time Stone or the reality shift that will open the door for Captain Marvel to be brought into this timeline and join the fight in Part 2.
- Groundwork will be laid for either Sam Wilson or Bucky Barnes to become Captain America after Steve departs, and we’re betting on Sam.
- Even if Wanda does manage to reset reality, we’re not going to see a return of Quicksilver, as it’s been too long since his death.
How about you? Do you think we’re onto something with any of these, or do you think we’re way off base? Either way, we’ll find out this weekend, when Infinity War hits theaters.