On the onset of the final days before [Captain America: Civil War](tag:994409), I as well as a number of fans have one question looming in their mind: Who's going to die?
Now, there has been article after article written on the subject of whether this character or that character will bite the big one in Civil War or, at least, in the Infinity War movies. I will try my best to not regurgitate the same tired information. No, my main question is whether Marvel/Disney has the guts to do what must be done in the coming Avengers movies. There are already spoilerific rumors rotating about there being a tragedy toward the end of Civil War. The speculative pieces are rampant. But, to make the impact they need to, Marvel needs to lead into the heroic death of one or more of their big three heroes; Captain America, Iron Man and Thor.
Now, first, the mundane part. Contracts are coming to an end. Early on in the phases of the Marvel movies, there was a lot of talk about how many movies each of the big three actors were on board for. Chris Evans, Robert Downey Jr. and Chris Hemsworth all have contracts coming to an end. What's funny is that Marvel, their Avengers cast and the handlers have all gone mum on the subject. It's like the calm before the storm and I couldn't be more excited.
You see, comics have a long and sordid history of killing off big characters for splash and attention. But the Marvel Cinematic Universe is still in its infancy. The loss of Quicksilver back in Avengers: Age of Ultron was quite shocking and had a bit of impact. But what's coming is four Avengers movies with the theme of war. And war means tragedy and loss.
CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR
You would be lying if you said you didn't halfway expect Steve Rogers to be said casualty in Captain America: Civil War. It's an easy write. It's how it was done in the comics and that always dictates Marvel movie reality, right? Yeah, not so much. Because we expect it, it usually means we won't get it, right? Once again, not so much. We could just as easily expect Tony Stark to be the one to die merely out of a sense of a coming plot twist. And, of course, they could easily take the coward's way and off a lesser character as they have hinted in the trailers with the attack on Jim 'Rhodey' Rhodes aka War Machine aka Iron Patriot aka whatever they're calling him now.
The bottom line is that this scenario demands a sacrifice. With war on the line, death is imminent. Otherwise, the story doesn't have the impact it deserves to. Only a tragic death with stop this war and bring them together or, better yet, drive them further apart. With the Infinity War looming, my money is on the two sides still being split and, therefore, nearly impossible to unite.
BIGGEST ODDS: STEVE ROGERS
Like I said, at this point, it would be a twist on a plot twist to have Rogers actually die like in the comics. In a way, it is the last thing we expect. And, to be honest, he is the easiest of the big three to replace both as an actor and character. In fact, Marvel has made quite a history of replacing Steve. I'm not going to go in depth here, but HERE'S an article on the MANY FACES of CAPTAIN AMERICA.
The movie odds for replacement are a bit slimmer. Both Sam Wilson aka the FALCON and Roger's best bud, Bucky Barnes aka The WINTER SOLDIER are at good odds for carrying on the shield. In fact, both could take turns in the next decade carrying on the image of Captain America and it would make for incredible movie magic. And, anyway, Evan's contracts are rolling to a close and he wants to move on to directing and producing his own films.
But, once again, do they have the guts to kill Steve Rogers?
BETWEEN CIVIL WAR AND INFINITY WAR
The long march from Captain America: Civil War to the Avengers: Infinity Wars include movies starring Doctor Strange, Guardians of the Galaxy, Black Panther and Spider-Man. Most of these are introductions and won't be including any tragic deaths of main characters unless we get some surprises in the second Guardian's movie. But the one movie between that might meet with fatal tragedy is THOR: Ragnarok.
The whole theme of Ragnarok is the final war of the Norse gods! In the myths is enough pathos and drama to fill a multitude of movies. But the one character on the hot seat will by Thor himself.
The Odin-son was essential in telling the origin of the Avengers as was Hulk and Ant-Man. But, as in the past history of the comics, Thor is expendable. He is continually switched out with other Avengers muscle which brings to mind a long list of fun replacements that would make great movie fun! (article coming)
BIGGEST ODDS: THOR
Obviously, this is true since it is his movie, he's coming to the end of his usefulness in the MCU and Hemsworth's contract future is a bit cloudy. Now, there is a myriad of other characters they could off. Odin or any of the Asgardians could be the sacrificial lamb. But to make an impact, the only other characters besides Thor WORTHY of such martyrdom would be Jane Foster or the evil step-brother, Loki (Now, that would get a rise out of the fans wouldn't it?).
Once again, does Marvel have the GUTS to off Thor?
AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR
The climactic battle is set in the Infinity War. Once again, it is WAR! There will be casualties. And the list of possible fodder just gets longer and longer with the addition of Doctor Strange, Spider-Man, Black Panther, Wasp, Captain Marvel and the whole cast of Guardians. But I keep coming back to the heroic sacrifice of a certain individual who keeps telling people he's not that kind of hero and, yet, seems to put himself more at risk than any of the Avengers. That character is Tony Stark aka Iron Man.
Ok, I hear a chorus of collective gasps from the fan-base. Surely the more serious fan has thought of this possibility. Of all the stars, Robert Downey Jr has more than emphasized that he is at the end of his run with the Avengers. He's repeatedly told people that there is no Iron Man 4 in the works and that he only has a few more movies in his contract. No, Downey's departure is inevitable. But the question of the day remains: Does Marvel/Disney have the GUTS to kill of Tony Stark.
Now, to be honest, of the big three, Tony Stark is the hardest to replace. Someone can always pick up the sheild. We can always shift the heavy work to the Hulk or, maybe, Captain Marvel. But as he is so fond of saying, Tony Stark and the Iron Man armor are one. Sure, you could pass down the legacy to Rhodey, but he has shown time and time again that he is forever locked into his place with the military. Maybe that would be the story that needs to be told or possibly there is a hidden heir in the Stark legacy? Could the person of Arno Stark be on the horizon to give us a younger Iron Man. Probably not.
BIGGEST ODDS: NOT TONY STARK
If they were to man up and killed off the character that started this comic movie revolution, it would be chronicled as the gutsiest move in comics history. I would applaud them quite literally. But I don't see it. For, although I think it insanity to try and recast Tony Stark, they have alluded to the fact that Stark is like James Bond and could be passed on to many different actors. NO, I don't see them doing it. They would much rather off several lesser characters or hold off until the Infinity Wars to kill off Steve Rogers or Thor than to murder the favorite son of Marvel. I mean, they're already talking about replacing Jackman as Wolverine for God's sake!! Nah, don't hold your breath on this one.
All in all, the odds are good that one of the big three has a death wish. With the insanity of war, the need to put a nail in the first big story arch and actors running off to other projects, I think it's inevitable. It's just a matter of who and when. Cause if we get to the end of this amazing story and have to watch another side character like Quicksilver bite it because Marvel/Disney doens't have the guts to bite the bullet (so to speak), there will be fan-boy HELL to pay.
NOTE: And, I swear to God, if you take the low road and kill off Black Widow, I and a virtual army of female fans will riot! Lol! I mean, she's finally getting an action figure, for God's sake!!!