Marvel studios must be awash with nervous creatives, terrified of losing what's been built up over the last seven years. There's a reason DC is able to go all out with everything they have. They're playing with a short stack, and have everything to gain. Meanwhile, Marvel are looking to the future, having to decide whether to stick or twist, and yes I know I just made analogies to two different card games!
Killing off beloved characters is a sure way to make things interesting for a faithful audience. Marvel could be looking to shake up their own formula, and there's two particular projects that would be ripe for that move. Captain America: Civil War, and [Thor: Ragnarok](tag:956858).
The success Marvel has had at propelling a consistent universe is very nearly unparalleled. The only big comparisons I could think of are the likes of James Bond and Godzilla, and even the MCU exists in a time where audiences expect huge plot twists and need shocking character deaths in order to stay interested. The idea of killing off Godzilla or James Bond always seemed silly in the long run, because hey, people want more James Bond and Godzilla, or in my case, want them together in the same movie!
Marvel are then faced with a dilemma with the prospect of killing off Captain America or Thor. Either play it safe, and keep them around, risking audiences deeming their characters stale, or play a wild card, killing one of them off and having to build everything up again. So why am I naming Captain America and Thor as possible victims for Marvel's merciless reinvention? Well, their upcoming stories facilitate it!
It's not surprising to suspect that a character might die when the movie he's starring in is literally about the destruction of his entire world. Ragnarok is certainly one of the most abrasive storylines in Marvel comics, as well as, yknow, actual Norse mythology. This story would theoretically end with Thor himself destroying the Bifrost in an effort to banish the flame god Surtur from Asgard, dying in the progress. This ending is suitable for a heroic movie ending. It actually would mirror Loki's fate in the first Thor movie, yet it took an entire credits sequence for him to be resurrected.
I've decided to go by Game of Thrones logic with the deaths of Marvel characters. Unless I actually see their head removed from their body, they're not dead. What's that? The Ragnarok storyline actually sees Loki live on as a talking disembodied head? Forget it then.
[Captain America: Civil War](tag:994409)
Let's clear this up from the start. Captain America does not die in the Civil War comics. I found myself going back to check my trade paperback after all the fuss went up over his alleged death at the end. Alas, Cap exits the Civil War storyline a little worse for wear, and with his pride hurt, but very much alive. Now he is apparently assassinated by Crossbones in a continuation of the Civil War canon, but he's kept around with notions of alternate dimensions because comics.
This occurrence seems more likely than Thor 3 ending in a main character death, as it has an air of "oh god we took it too far", which suits Civil War nicely. Plus, Chris Evans is very tired man. I can imagine the Russo's would have some trouble stopping him from smiling on set if his character is killed off.
It's just Marvel!
So which way will Marvel go with either Thor 3 or Captain America: Civil War? I could imagine it would be a slight tonal shift for these movies to suddenly start killing off such recognizable faces. Think about it. Thor and Thor: The Dark World are such fun, the prospect of killing Chris Hemsworth off in Thor 3 risks being less tragic finale and more just confusing. There's also one detail that renders this whole dilemma kind of moot. Comics are perhaps the least final of any medium.
It's become almost an adage for fans to say that no one really dies in Marvel. No one except Uncle Ben, and now Marvel have acquired the rights to Spider-Man, perhaps he'll be back somehow too! My point is that, in a world full of infinitely advanced technology, parallel universes and straight up magic, it's easier for Marvel to resurrect characters like Thor than it is for them to kill them off in the first place. Don't believe me? Boy I sure am missing agent Phil Coulson right about now!
Killing off characters like Thor and Captain America would mean a major reworking of the Avengers team by the time we reach [The Avengers: Infinity War](tag:738027), and despite some allusions to that at the end of [The Avengers: Age Of Ultron](tag:293035), I'm not sure if Marvel has such an overhaul in them. Would you like to see Marvel clean up their house, and completely rework the Avengers line up by killing off our favorite characters? Write a post about it, or leave a comment below!