After the dust batch of Avengers: Infinity War, it’s impossible not to go into Avengers: Endgame believing at least few of our favorite characters had to come back. And hoping Cap and friends would somehow find the only way — the 1 out of 14 million way — to save the day and make things right again.
If you haven’t watched Endgame and you’re still reading, I’m going to assume you really don’t care about spoilers. Otherwise, consider yourself warned. I’m going to go through all the deaths, the deaths we hope may end up being something less definitive, and the actual resurrections in the latest MCU movie.
Clint Barton’s family vanishes
Endgame starts right where Infinity War left off. Instead of seeing countless people vanishing, we get a devastatingly intimate view of what the Snap does to loved ones as Clint Barton (Jeremy Renner) heartbreakingly loses his wife and children.
The next victim of the movie is Captain America’s beard. We knew this major spoiler from trailers and posters, but that doesn’t make it any easier to lose Chris Evans‘ heroic hirsuteness. Hair is a major symbol of how characters change during the time jump, and Cap’s clean-shaven chin represents his optimism for a clean slate.
The Psycho twist
Surprise! Next to die is none other than Thanos himself (Josh Brolin). Captain Marvel (Brie Larson) cuts him down to size, and then a frustrated Thor (Chris Hemsworth) does what he wishes he’d done in Infinity War. This had me thinking Endgame might pay homage to Psycho with a bold plot twist that the movie’s main bad guy wasn’t actually the main bad guy after all. Alas, time travel came to the rescue and Endgame proved not to be a Hitchcock movie.
The Infinity Stones
Before his head was separated from his body, Thanos destroyed all the Infinity Stones.
A rat saves the day
Cut to five years later, which puts us in 2023. A random rat flicks a switch and brings Ant-Man (Paul Rudd) back from the Quantum Realm. I know, he wasn’t dead, just stranded, but it’s good to have him back. Especially because he pitches the whole time heist idea to Cap and the Avengers, setting the plot in motion and ultimately saving the universe. All thanks to that rat!
Valkyrie: Yasss queen
We already knew from posters showing the living in color and the dead in black and white that Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson) was probably OK. But it’s great to have it confirmed — and she even winds up taking Thor’s throne as leader of the Asgardians.
Thanos didn’t get Korg or Miek
Thor’s pals from his days on Sakaar survived Thanos — although we don’t say that name. Both Korg (Taika Waititi) and Miek share the pizza, beer and video games that fill the Big Lebowski-inspired Thor’s days.
Hawkeye/Ronin gets Akihiko
Natasha Romanoff (Scarlett Johansson) is too stressed to cook herself a proper dinner as she searches the world for her old friend Clint Barton. Enraged by grief, he’s killing criminals who were lucky enough to survive the Snap. Natasha finds Clint just as he finishes off Akihiko (Hiroyuki Sanada), who in the comics is a member of the Yakuza’s science division the Shogun Reapers.
Loki makes more than a cameo
This is a confusing one. We see glimpses of the god of mischief in 2012, when he was keeping the Avengers busy for the first time. Then we see him snoozing in Asgard in 2013, during the events of The Dark World. Technically, Loki was killed by Thanos before the Snap so his death shouldn’t be remedied by the second snap. But his escape from Endgame’s 2012 timeline with the Tesseract gives us some hope. And provides a possible explanation as to how Disney Plus might pull off that Loki show with Tom Hiddleston. Look, being dead has never stopped him before.
Mjölnir hammers home
I know this is technically an object. But for Thor, it has a lot of sentimental value. The hammer of the gods even has a name! Thor’s sister, Hela, destroyed Mjölnir in Thor: Ragnarok, but Thor takes the opportunity to reclaim it during his trip to 2013 Asgard. Arriving back in the present, Thor lends Mjölnir to someone worthy, but that’s another story.
Close friends Ronin and Black Widow slug it out to be the one who self-sacrifices for the Soul Stone. In the end it’s Natasha who falls to her death. Which leaves us with a burning question: What’s happening with the solo Black Widow movie? I mean, it has a director and a cast but it’ll be a pretty short movie if the lead character is pushing up the daisies.
Which brings us to the previous character who died so someone could claim the Soul Stone…
Gamora’s not a goner
When Thanos jumps from the time of Guardians of the Galaxy to the present, his daughter Gamora comes along for the ride. Unlike Infinity War, Gamora winds up surviving this version of the timeline — but she’s actually 2014 Gamora so she hasn’t even met her lover Peter Quill yet. Luckily her sister Nebula explains how she fell for him because it was either that or a tree.
Nebula takes care of herself
Redeemed and atoned 2023 Nebula kills still-faithful-to-Thanos 2014 Nebula. But since time travel in Avengers: Endgame has a tricky way of working, it’s all good. This ain’t Back to the Future — the past version of a person dying doesn’t mean the present one has to be dead.
As Hulk dons the new infinity gauntlet, Thanos’ snap is reversed. Ronin receives a call from his wife, indicating she’s back among the living… and half the universe along with her.
2014 Thanos tries to spoil the reunion, but resurrected Doctor Strange manages to get the revived heroes where they’re needed. Survivors Okoye, Rocket, Potts, Valkyrie and M’Baku are joined by the Snapped who just came back to life: Black Panther, Shuri, Falcon, Drax, the chick with the antenna, Groot, Quill, Bucky, Peter Parker, Hope van Dyne and her parents, and a very pissed-off Wanda.
Wanda may be furious about the death of her lover, the ardent android Vision, but at least she’s restored when the Snap is undone. Vision never made it back, as he was killed separately. But Disney Plus has confirmed a TV show about the couple called WandaVision, so it looks like the romantic robot will be rebuilt somehow.
I am Iron Man
Wizardly Doctor Strange warns Tony Stark that if he told him what happened, it wouldn’t happen. So Tony employs some magic of his own to switch the Infinity Stones from Thanos’ gauntlet to Iron Man’s glove. Tony’s snap frees humanity from Thanos and his minions, but costs Tony his life.
Cap takes a detour
While on a time travel mission getting back the stones, Captain America decides to finally take a break and start living. It only takes five seconds in 2023, but judging by Steve’s face upon his return he’s had a lifetime of carpe diem with old flame Peggy Carter.
Avengers: Endgame is a thrilling sequel to every MCU…
So who have we lost?
Bottom line: Tony Stark and Steve Rogers are gone for good.
Natasha Romanoff and Vision are dead, but we suspect they’ll be back. And Loki is… well, he’s Loki.
Endgame has no postcredits sequence, so we don’t know what’s next for those who survived the first decade of the MCU. Here’s to absent friends…