Avengers: Endgame is now literally days away, which leaves us with one last chance to forecast the fates of our favourite Marvel heroes.
Some will live. Some will die. Some will continue on into a bold new MCU while others will be irreparably changed forever.
So for the last time before everything ‘ends’, let’s make some predictions.
Starting with the God of Thunder, himself…
THOR (Chris Hemsworth).
Alongside Tony Stark (Robert Downey, Jr.) and Steve Rogers (Chris Evans), Thor has had the most detailed character arc in the MCU so far. When we first met him way back in 2011’s Thor, he was a brazen, overconfident braggart, only interested in personal glory and hoping to follow in his father, Odin’s (Anthony Hopkins) footsteps to rule the kingdom of Asgard.
After learning humility and proving himself worthy, he joined the Avengers to save Earth (twice) before travelling into the cosmos to learn the secrets of the Infinity Stones. When that mission took a wrong turn at Sakaar in Ragnarok, not to mention watching every member of his family die, Thor has now become a vastly different person.
Armed with Stormbreaker, his mission to avenge his brother, Loki (Tom Hiddleston) and save the universe from Thanos (Josh Brolin) looked to be a success as he impaled the Mad Titan with his newfound weapon at the end of Infinity War. Unfortunately, he should have gone for the head, and ‘arrogant Thor’ returned at the most inopportune moment.
How does knowing he could have prevented the Snap affect Thor going forward? How does he live with the death of billions plaguing his thoughts? I imagine that in Endgame, we’ll likely see a rather-forlorn Thor early on, only to watch his resolve intensity as the possibility of undoing Thanos’ deeds becomes a legitimate prospect.
Thor’s fate is the hardest for me to predict, because there are so many viable options. Before Infinity War, I assumed he would be the most likely to die, for two reasons. First, for a while there, it appeared as though Hemsworth was a little over playing the God of Thunder, seemingly eager to hang up his cape and hammer and move on.
Secondly, if you ever wanted to kill a Marvel character that could be brought back to life at a later date, it makes sense story-wise to kill off an Asgardian, right? Being that they are essentially Gods, any number of magical, soul-restoring incantations or plot-devices could be written up to bring Thor back much more ‘believably’ than resurrecting someone like, say… Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner).
It’s why watching an alien like Superman return to life in the comics was easier to stomach than trying to accept Batman’s ‘death’ (and subsequent Omega Sanctioned trip through time). Like Superman, the character of Thor has that fantastical element about him, which would make his death (and possible return) a storyline worthy of Mjolnir, itself.
However, I think Thor lives through Endgame.
Ever since Taika Waititi breathed new life into the Thor franchise with Ragnarok, Chris Hemsworth has become more-than-enthusiastic about the character. He has publicly stated that both he and Waititi are interested in doing another movie together, and if you were Marvel, why wouldn’t you let them?
So Thor lives. But what does he do?
Well, Thanos only killed half of the Asgardians travelling with Thor in the beginning of Infinity War. And yes, another half of those that survived would have vanished during the Snap. But if the Avengers are successful in their attempts to undo the Snap, where does that leave the refugees of Asgard? Put simply: they’ll need a home and they’ll need a leader.
Once Thanos is defeated and the Snap undone, my feelings lean towards seeing a battle-weary Thor leaving the Avengers behind to return to his people and a Reality-Stone-restored Asgard.
That’s right. If the Avengers manage to get their hands on the Infinity Stones, I can very easily see Thor restoring his mother country (in some fashion) with the Reality Stone to provide a home for his people, before ‘retiring’ from active Avenging. For now.
This will free up the character to still exist in the MCU, whether that be in a new film with Waititi or a return to the Avengers at a later date, or both.
PREDICTION: Thor lives, but retires to lead his people in a newly-restored Asgard.
Speaking of the Asgardians, whatever happened to…?
VALKIRIE (Tessa Thompson).
The last we saw this warrior goddess, she was standing alongside Thor, Loki, Heimdall (Idris Elba) and Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) with the remaining Asgardians as they began their journey throughout the stars.
Unfortunately, she was nowhere to be found in Infinity War, meaning she either left the Asgardian ship before Thanos turned up, or she was still in the other half of the ship (along with my boy, Korg) that Thanos didn’t destroy. Thanks to some early marketing for Endgame, we know Valkyrie survived both the original Thanos attack and the Snap, so where is she and how will she appear in the new movie?
I’m pretty sure that with the Avengers busy on Earth dealing with their attempts to undo what Thanos did, we’ll see some secondary threat appear to throw a spanner in the works. Probably in the form of some intergalactic antagonists. Thor now has the power to wield the Bifrost thanks to Stormbreaker, so I’m confident we’ll get to see him travel the cosmos at some stage in Endgame, and no doubt run across or meet up with Valkyrie.
She’ll be a much-needed ally in these dark days where many heroes are taking a dirt nap, so get ready Veronica Mars fans, because it’s pretty much a given that we’ll see some more kick-ass action from Tessa Thompson.
Who knows, moving further into the future of the MCU, it’s not out of the realm of possibility to see Valkyrie mix it up with the Guardians of the Galaxy, or perhaps even join the ranks of the much-rumoured all-female Marvel heroes film with Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen), Okoye (Danai Gurira), Shuri (Letitia Wright) and new-kid-on-the-block, Captain Marvel (Brie Larson).
PREDICTION: Valkyrie returns to add some much needed muscle to the decimated Avengers, setting up her future in the MCU.
If we’re talking about firepower, then we can’t go past that other hero in the iron suit…
JAMES RHODES / WAR MACHINE (Don Cheadle).
Rhodey has been there from the very beginning. Yes, he was originally played by Terence Howard in the first Iron Man film, but ever since, Don Cheadle has made the role his own in his appearances in Iron Man 2 and 3, Age of Ultron, Civil War and finally, Infinity War. Now, as we head into Endgame, what does the future look like for War Machine?
In my opinion, it doesn’t look good.
Having already survived both a brush with death at the (accidental) hands of Vision (Paul Bettany) in Civil War, and managing to avoid the perils of the Snap, Rhodey has managed to overcome more than his fair share in the MCU.
Unfortunately for him, I fear that fate will finally catch up with him in Endgame.
Let’s face it, Cheadle isn’t getting younger, and with an already-stellar acting career at his disposal, his best Avenging days may well be behind him. Endgame is going to indeed have its fair share of character deaths, and I believe Rhodey will be one of them. If I stick to my earlier predictions that Tony Stark will retire and Shuri will take up the mantle of Ironheart, I’m afraid that spells curtains for our favourite lieutenant colonel.
Another reason I don’t think War Machine is long for this world, is that the Russos like to show their audience how the MCU is about balance. In Civil War, Steve Rogers finally manages to reconcile with one best friend in Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan), while all-but destroying his friendship with Tony Stark. And who can forget Thanos, whose entire mantra for the universe is based on balance, no matter how harsh.
So, if the universe is about balance, let’s look at it from Tony Stark’s point-of-view. If (as I again speculated in Part Two of this series) Peter Parker (Tom Holland) returns to life, I can see the Marvel Universe balancing itself out by robbing Tony of Rhodey. Seeing Rhodey die could also push Tony further into the mindset I predicted for him, and increase his desire to leave the superhero life behind.
Watching a character like Rhodey, who, like I said, has been in the MCU from the start, die in a blaze of glory in Endgame would certainly leave fans with a bittersweet sentiment.
And that’s why I think it’ll happen.
PREDICTION: Rhodey dies to preserve the cosmic balance.
Well, if Rhodey is a goner, surely that doesn’t bode well for…
CLINT BARTON / HAWKEYE (Jeremy Renner).
He’s done for, right? I mean, people have been predicting Hawkeye’s death since before the very first Avengers movie. There’s no way he lives through Endgame, right?
I’m pretty sure Hawkeye will once again defy the odds and lived through yet another danger-filled mission he has no right to even be involved with. Why? Because like the Hulk in The Avengers or Dr. Strange in Infinity War, Endgame is going to make us love Hawkeye.
Every man and his dog has already surmised that Hawkeye’s family were no doubt taken from him via the Snap, and his dour, downright Batman-esque appearance in the Endgame trailers pretty much all-but-confirmed it.
So as we sit down to watch the film, be prepared to be heartbroken for Marvel’s greatest archer, as we watch (probably through flashback) as the Barton family are removed from existence, leaving behind its broken patriarch.
With nothing to lose, Hawkeye becomes all the more dangerous. And that makes him interesting. No longer will he be the wise-cracking, easy-going smart-ass with a quip for everything and everyone (thanks, Joss Whedon). Instead, I think we’re about to see the most badass version of Hawkeye ever, and yes, I really did just use all those words in the same sentence.
Hawkeye’s journey will come full circle in Endgame, and when our fallen heroes return thanks to the shenanigans of their fellow team members, be ready to cry (with joy) as the Barton Family reunites to live happily ever after in their little Ninja Turtle farm house.
PREDICTION: Hawkeye survives to live out his days with his resurrected family.
Before we continue with another hero, we’d better take a glance at the movie’s villain…
Thanos (Josh Brolin).
What can I say about Thanos? Seven years ago, only the die-hard comic readers even knew his name, yet nowadays he occupies almost everyone’s list of best-ever-villains; a testament to the incredible, decade worth of work undertaken by Kevin Feige and Marvel Studios.
Despite his victory in Infinity War, Thanos must surely be facing some kind of comeuppance in Endgame, right? Is there any chance he wins twice in a row?
No. I’m not that bold in my predictions to state that Thanos will have the same success he did in Infinity War. Of course he’ll (somehow) be beaten by our heroes, but will his fate be the all-encompassing defeat he deserves?
I’m not so sure.
While I absolutely believe Thanos will be utterly defeated by the time the Endgame credits roll, I have a sneaky suspicion that he’ll live. Before Infinity War, I assumed his death would be a certainty in Endgame, but now, after the massive impact the character (and his Snap) has had on pop-culture, plus Brolin’s incredible performance and the uncertainty that clouds the future of the MCU, I think Marvel Studios may very well tuck the Thanos card deep within its vest as an “in case of emergency” backup plan.
Like another amazing comic book villain in The Walking Dead‘s Negan, I think there are far too many interesting story beats left to tell with Thanos to snuff him out just yet.
So yes, I’m sure Thanos will receive a very satisfying-to-watch recompense, one that decimates him beyond belief. But although it may seem as though the MCU’s greatest villain will appear dead, be prepared see some kind of subtle seed planted that could be used to ensure his return, perhaps in a post-credits scene.
PREDICTION: Thanos is thoroughly defeated, yet (unbeknownst to anyone) survives in some form or another.
And now, finally, we look at the greatest Avenger of them all…
Steve Rogers / Captain America (Chris Evans).
Let me begin my saying that before the MCU, I was never a Captain America fan. As a comic lover, I obviously knew who he was and was aware of the character’s history and various adventures, but besides seeing him in the occasional crossover, I never really got into the story of Steve Rogers.
The First Avenger was a solid entry into the MCU and while not an outstanding film by any stretch, it did its job by introducing Evans as Rogers and setting up the character.
I thought The Avengers greatly-improved the character and made me care a lot more about him. But when The Winter Solider came out, not only did it jump towards the top of my personal comic book movie favourites list, it also made me a Captain America fan.
So much so, that I ended up championing the #TeamCap side of Civil War to my friends (and fellow UNT podcasters), a stance I maintain to this day.
Steve Rogers has always been the moral compass of the MCU. Even Mjolnir almost deemed him worthy in Age of Ultron, and as a man out-of-time, in today’s day-and-age, his old-fashioned sense of right-and-wrong is refreshing to watch in the current comic book movie climate where even Batman outright murders people.
(Sorry, Mr. Snyder, I should “grow the f**k up”, right?)
Anyway, Steve Rogers has proven himself time and time again in the MCU, and after all is said and done, yes… I am one of the many that believe the stage has been set for Captain America to save the day, defeat Thanos and lay down his life in the process.
What? Why? How?
There are a few reasons.
First, the what. To make this eleven-year, twenty-two film series truly epic, someone big has to die. In fact, not just someone big, someone huge. A main player. An A-lister. Every major comic book crossover event since the beginning of crossover events has involved the death of a major character. It helps drive home the point that the story is truly epic, cannot be missed, and everything going forward will be referred to as pre said event / post said event.
Well, what could be bigger than the ending of Endgame?
Nothing, that’s what. Endgame is the culmination of a filmmaking project unprecedented in the history of movie making, and I don’t say that lightly.
So a big name has to go. I’ve already saved Thor and Iron Man from death, so it’s got to be Cap.
Secondly, we’ll deal with the why…
The greatest heroes tend to make the greatest sacrifices. Hence, the MCU’s greatest hero will do just that. We already know how Steve is forever willing to ‘lay on the wire’ to save those in need. Being a part of the Greatest Generation is a trait heavily imprinted on Steve, a man willing to do ‘whatever it takes’ to make things right.
But what about Iron Man?
Well, if my earlier prediction about Tony Stark holds true, then he’ll survive Endgame, but that doesn’t mean he won’t attempt to also sacrifice himself to save the universe. I honestly think we’ll see a scene in which Tony stands tall to finally ‘lay on the wire’, only to be saved (from himself) and beaten to the punch by a heroic Captain America.
Not to mention, Steve dying to save not only Tony, but the entire universe recalls two of the larger story points from his MCU past. We’ve already seen his willingness to die for others in the end of The First Avenger, so that’s nothing new. But as far as dying in place of Tony, well… Steve owes him.
The ending of Civil War made it clear that although Steve felt he needed to fight Tony to save Bucky, he knew he was still (kind of) in the wrong, essentially saving, and siding with, the man who brutally murdered Tony’s parents.
If Steve sacrifices himself in place of Tony, that evens things up. The score is settled. The debt is paid.
And finally, let’s investigate the how.
Everyone, me included, was excited to see from the trailer (what we assume is) Steve reclaiming the moniker of Captain America and tightening his iconic shield to his hand.
Unfortunately, the Russos have burned us before with fake trailer images. Remember that trailer for Infinity War that showed the Hulk charging into battle with the Avengers in Wakanda? Not only did Hulk not appear in Wakanda, but that shot wasn’t even in the movie at all.
I don’t think for one second that Steve Rogers won’t be Captain America in Endgame, but what if that shot we “saw” in the trailer is nothing but two separate moments spliced together? What if, instead of his shield, Steve is struggling to lift, say… Stormbreaker?
We know that regular mortals cannot wield Thor’s new weapon. He told Star-Lord (Chris Pratt) that should he try, his body and mind would collapse. But Captain America isn’t a regular mortal, is he? (And yes, I know neither is Star-Lord, but Thor didn’t know that, did he?)
We know from that scene in Age of Ultron that Cap was almost deemed worthy by Mjolnir, budging the mighty hammer ever-so-slightly with a tease that sent long-term Marvel fans into fits of giddiness. I always assumed that the reason that scene existed was to plant the seed for the future, where Captain America would lift Thor’s hammer to smite Thanos. Then Mjolnir was destroyed and that theory seemed defunct. But now that Thor has a new weapon, one we’ve seen is very much capable of killing Thanos (if you aim for the head), I think that play is still up for grabs.
Another theory I have, is perhaps that shot of Steve in the trailer is not him pulling on the shield, but rather, securing the INFINITY GAUNTLET?
Once again, the seeds have been planted. In the final rush to defeat Thanos, all of the Avengers were flicked away like insects. Except for Captain America. For the briefest of moments, he held Thanos at bay, eliciting a “how are you doing this?” expression from the all-powerful villain.
My theory is: Steve will be able to summon everything he’s got to wield either Stormbreaker or the Infinity Gauntlet long enough to defeat Thanos and save the day. Unfortunately, the effort will kill him.
It certainly explains the pained expression on Steve’s face in the trailer, and his ‘this is it’ / ‘do-or-die’ attitude. It would be amazing. It would be epic. It would be tragic.
And it would be perfect.
PREDICTION: Captain America dies a hero, defeating Thanos, saving the universe and settling the score with Tony Stark.
Well, that’s it. I hope you’ve enjoyed these predictions that in all honestly, are probably so far off the mark, it’s laughable.
But more so, I hope you enjoy Endgame.
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