Considering that it’s the finale of the main arc of the Marvel Cinematic Universe that has been set up since 2008, it is safe to say that a lot will change during the events of Avengers: Endgame. Phase 3 of the MCU has done a decent job of setting up new characters that will take the spotlight in Phase 4, while also paving the way for a number of its original heroes to go out with a bang.
With this in mind, it’s a safe bet that some of our favorite heroes may not make it out of Avengers: Endgame alive. Avengers: Infinity War saw the demise of about half of our favorite heroes after Thanos snapped his fingers, but it seems unlikely that those fatalities will be permanent, especially considering the fact that Spider-Man: Far From Home reportedly takes place minutes after Endgame and features both Spider-Man and Nick Fury alive and well.
Based on what we know about Phase 4 of the MCU, the individual arcs of the characters, and what the fans want, we have put together nearly every character who has been confirmed to appear in Avengers: Endgame and decided who should and should not make it out alive. It should also be noted that characters who have no confirmation to be in the movie yet, like Star-Lord and Doctor Strange, are not included in this list, but it does include actors who quite bit the dust in the last movie but have been confirmed to appear in the movie nonetheless.
With this in mind, here are the 13 Characters Who Should Survive Avengers: Endgame (And 13 Who Need To Go).
26 Should Survive: Captain America
Considering that he’s one of the “big three” original Avengers and has a long history of sacrificing himself, it would appear that Captain America would be the most likely Avenger to go. However, that’s exactly what the Russo brothers would think we’d conclude, which is why they would more than likely keep him on board, just to subvert our expectations.
In the end, Captain America is one of the most iconic members of the Avengers, and he may need to stick around in Phase 4 just to keep the team interesting, even if the appearances are only brief. Additionally, Chris Evans is one of the least expensive lead actors in the Avengers roster, so financially, Evans would be the actor Marvel would want to keep around.
25 Needs To Go: Wong
While Wong is occasionally a humorous character, he rarely adds anything important to the plot, even in the comics. Having Wong come back in Endgame just to lose his life would add a bit to his character, similarly to how Yondu was treated in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2.
Additionally, having Wong bite the dust could help pave the way for more opportunities for Doctor Strange going forward. Right now, there is no Sorcerer Supreme, with Wong and Strange being Earth’s primary mystic guardians. However, should something happen to Wong, Strange may need to take up the Sorcerer Supreme mantle just to keep Earth safe. However, if we are being honest, Wong will more than likely “dip” party way through Avengers: Endgame just like he did in Infinity War.
24 Should Survive: Mantis
Mantis is the newest member of the Guardians of the Galaxy, and we really haven’t had much of a chance to get to know her yet. While she did get a decent amount of screen time in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, it was primarily when she was still enslaved.
Four years have passed in the MCU since the events of that movie, so it’s safe to assume that Mantis is now a completely different character and, based on her few lines in Avengers: Infinity War, she’s actually really funny and goofy. Presumably, Mantis will be able to steal the spotlight in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, assuming she’s not written out this year in Endgame.
23 Needs To Go: Gamora
Gamora is perhaps one of the most beloved characters of Guardians of the Galaxy, with a tragic backstory and a clear motivation. While it would be great to see her return in Avengers: Endgame, it would ruin the stakes of Avengers: Infinity War.
Based on what we know, nearly ever demise in Infinity War is going to be reversed, including all of the characters who were “snapped,” and possibly even Loki. However, if Marvel reverses everyone’s demise in Infinity War, it’ll ultimately ruin the tragic passion of the movie. Because of this, Gamora should remain deceased going forward in the MCU.
22 Should Survive: Shuri
After her introduction last year in Black Panther, Shuri has proven herself to be one of the characters who the franchise may ride off of going forward in the MCU, much like Spider-Man. Plus, she was one of the most beloved characters in Black Panther, and fans surely will want to see more of her going forward.
In the comics, Shuri actually took up the mantle of Black Panther, which is something that fans have expressed interest in seeing on the big screen. Hopefully this is on Marvel’s agenda, but she needs to survive Endgame for this to happen.
21 Needs To Go: M’Baku
In the comics, M’Baku / Man-Ape was perhaps one of Black Panther’s greatest enemies, following an ancient vendetta between their two families. M’Baku was also a great character in the movie Black Panther, but actually went in a different direction from his comic-book counterpart.
In Black Panther, M’Baku went on a bit of an arc where he re-connected with T’Challa and the rest of Wakanda. This arc was completed in Infinity War when M’Baku and his army fought alongside the rest of Wakanda. There really seems to be no other place for M’Baku to go from here, so Endgame may be the perfect place for M’Baku to make a final sacrifice.
20 Should Survive: Rocket Raccoon
While he may not be the face of the team like Star-Lord or Groot, Rocket is arguably the heart of the Guardians of the Galaxy. His three previous appearances have barely scraped the surface of Rocket’s tragic backstory, leaving a lot of potential for his future adventures.
While the loss of Rocket in Avengers: Endgame could add a lot to the movie by being incredibly heartbreaking, especially if it was a sacrifice to bring back Groot, it would ultimately be disappointing given his untapped potential in the Guardians of the Galaxy franchise.
19 Needs To Go: Nebula
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 did a lot to further establish Nebula as a character, revealing more on her tragic origin and her troubled relationship with Gamora. It certainly proved that Nebula can be an interesting character, but the only things that really made her interesting were her relationships with Thanos and Gamora.
After Gamora lost her life in Avengers: Endgame, and considering that Thanos’ final appearance in the MCU will probably be in Avengers: Endgame, Nebula will be a lot less interesting of a character going forward. It’ll probably be better to see her sacrifice herself in Endgame rather than to over-stretch her character out going forward.
18 Should Survive: Black Widow
Though Black Widow has been in the Marvel Cinematic Universe since 2010, Marvel Studios has waited until just recently to finally bring her to her full potential. Marvel has recently announced that they intend to give the superhero her own solo movie, which is expected to release in May of next year.
While it’s possible that the Black Widow movie may be an origin story or take place before the events of Avengers: Endgame, giving Black Widow a movie focused on her backstory would feel utterly useless if she was already written out of the franchise. A great example of this going wrong is Solo, which featured the origin of a beloved hero, but suffered because the character had already been written out of his respective franchise, thus making the audience feel detached from its protagonist.
17 Needs To Go: War Machine
Though his actor changed after his first movie, War Machine is one of the few characters who has been a part of the MCU since 2008. In Iron Man 2, Rhodey finally took on the mantle of War Machine after taking Tony’s suit, but since then, he hasn’t really done much.
While he’s appeared in three movies since the end of the Iron Man franchise in 2013, he hasn’t really added much to the franchise, with the writers always putting him in the background. Don Cheadle is a fantastic actor, and it would be great to see him put his attention to other movies rather than continuing on as an Iron Man sidekick.
16 Should Survive: Harley
While it certainly had its issues, Iron Man 3 had quite a bit of emotion to it. One of the most emotional aspects of the movie was Tony Stark’s relationship with Harley Keener, a young, smart kid who gave Tony sanctuary after his suit broke down.
Surprisingly, Harley has been revealed to return in Avengers: Endgame, which actually shows a bit of promise for his future in the franchise. Perhaps Marvel is setting up Harley as the next Iron Man, possibly giving him a part in the rumored Young Avengers movie. All in all, Harley has a lot of potential, and seeing him written off would ultimately be a waste of his character.
15 Needs To Go: Pepper
While Pepper is one of the most important characters in Tony Stark’s life, often providing him with motivation and emotional consequence, there’s no denying that she is one of the most disliked characters in the franchise.
Maybe it’s because of her actress, or how she was written, but there’s no denying that Pepper is not the most compelling character in the franchise. All things considered, Avengers: Endgame may be the best place to see Pepper go, whether she loses her life or is ultimately retired alongside Iron Man’s story arc.
14 Should Survive: Hulk
While Hulk is yet another character who has been part of the MCU since the beginning, he’s still one of the most exciting, stealing the spotlight in the first two Avengers movies and in Thor: Ragnarok. However, though Hulk has been part of the MCU for 11 years, he still has a lot of potential.
Thor: Ragnarok started a long arc about Hulk, with Hulk and Bruce Banner struggling over who gets to take control at different times. This conflict has led to some exciting content in the comics, including World War Hulk, which would be exciting to see adapted in Phase 4 or 5.
13 Needs To Go: Hawkeye
While Hawkeye hasn’t really been the spotlight of any of the movies he has been in so far, he has had a rather deep arc of his own that Avengers Endgame looks like it will be wrapping up. Avengers: Age of Ultron introduced fans to Hawkeye’s family, with Hawkeye retiring at the end of it to be with him. Captain America: Civil War featured Hawkeye returning, against his family’s wishes, with his primary motivation still being his wife and kids.
Avengers: Endgame appears to feature Hawkeye following the demise of his family, with Clint becoming a merciless fighter. Endgame looks to be the perfect finale for Hawkeye’s arc, either featuring him retiring for good at the end or losing his life to bring his loved ones back.
12 Should Survive: Black Panther
To put it simply, last year, Black Panther was the highest grossing movie in the United States, earning more than Avengers: Infinity War at the domestic box office, which is absolutely wild. While Infinity War did feature Black Panther losing his life to Thanos’ snap, he is almost definitely going to return in Avengers: Endgame, and will more than likely stick around going forward.
Also, as a character, Black Panther still has a long way to go on his arc. T’Challa only recently became the King of Wakanda, and thus will likely have a lot more conflict ahead of him, much like in the comics.
11 Needs To Go: Bucky
While Bucky has certainly become a fan-favorite character in recent years, it was primarily due to his relationship with Steve. The height of Bucky’s entertainment value was in Captain America: The Winter Soldier, where he was a conflicted villain who raised the stakes of the movie.
Since his return in The Winter Soldier, he’s really only been a side character whose primary reason for being in the movies was to give motivation to Captain America. The Russo brothers were the directors who first made Bucky really interesting, and since Avengers: Endgame is the last Marvel movie for this pair of directors, it should also be the last movie for Bucky.
10 Should Survive: Spider-Man
Much like Black Panther, it seems incredibly unlikely that Spider-Man won’t survive Avengers: Endgame. Though he lost his life in Avengers: Infinity War, Endgame looks like it will reverse that damage in order to bring him back, becoming another important member of the MCU going into Phase 4.
Spider-Man is essentially the only character officially confirmed to survive Avengers: Endgame (outside of Nick Fury), seeing as Spider-Man: Far From Home has been confirmed to take place after Endgame. However, honestly, did we really expect Marvel Studios to go through all of that work to let Spider-Man into the MCU just to permanently write him out a couple years later?
9 Needs To Go: Thor
Thor has certainly improved as a character in recent years, with Thor: Ragnarok changing the tone of his character drastically, arguably for the better. However, even though Thor is now more exciting than ever, it is unfortunately time to see Thor off.
This isn’t because he’s become a bad character, but more so because his arc is coming to an end. Thor started out as an optimistic prince, and has now become a King who has lost his kingdom and every one of his family members. Really, there doesn’t seem to be any place that Thor can go after Avengers: Endgame, with a final sacrifice looking like the best way to end his character arc.
8 Should Survive: The Wasp
In the comics, the Wasp was one of the most compelling superheroes, at times being the heart and soul of the Avengers team. Considering that Hope Pym only became the Wasp last year, it would be a real shame to see her go during the events of Avengers: Endgame, before she even had the chance to interact with any of the other Avengers.
Kevin Feige has stated interest in having a larger number of female superheroes entering Phase 4, and it’s very possible that Wasp is one of these heroes he is considering to lead the Avengers going forward.
7 Needs To Go: Ant-Man
Paul Rudd’s performance as Ant-Man was genuinely the best part of the two Ant-Man movies, and he even stole the show in his brief appearance in Captain America: Civil War. That being said, it’s quite possible that Scott Lang’s time in the MCU could be ending soon.
It’s already been hinted at that Ant-Man and the Wasp will be the last Ant-Man movie, which means that Scott and Hope will only really appear in ensemble movies going forward. While this works well for Wasp, Ant-Man may not fit in with the rest of the Avengers, seeing as his motivation is more family-based rather than to protect the greater good. Plus, Paul Rudd may not be interested in sticking around if his only roles going forward are essentially background bits.
6 Should Survive: Scarlet Witch
While Scarlet Witch hasn’t really been a central focus in any of the movies she’s appeared in so far in the MCU, she certainly has a lot of potential. Disney is currently developing a TV series dedicated solely to her, which could hint that Marvel plans on going deeper into her character going forward.
Scarlet Witch’s abilities are perhaps her most intriguing aspect, considering that she still doesn’t know everything that she can do. In the comics, she was capable of mass destruction, sometimes beyond levels that she could even control. It would be great to see more of this side of Scarlet Witch in Phase 4, possibly leading up to a House of M story arc.
5 Needs To Go: Drax
Though Drax has surprisingly become one of the most entertaining members of the Guardians of the Galaxy, his time in the movies should be just about up. Much like Nebula, his primary motivation is linked directly to Thanos, seeing as it was because of Thanos that Drax lost his wife and daughter. With Thanos gone, Drax’s importance as a character may disappear.
From a production stand point, Drax’s actor Dave Bautista has stated that he doesn’t want to return to the franchise after director James Gunn was fired. If Bautista really refuses to return, Avengers: Endgame may end up being the last appearance of Drax whether he loses his life or not.
4 Should Survive: Thanos
While it’s more than likely that Thanos will be permanently defeated in Avengers: Endgame, given that he seems to be the main villain again and the only being standing in the way between the Avengers and their end goal, it would actually be a great idea by Marvel to keep Thanos alive going forward.
One of the aspects that helped raise the stakes of Phase 2 and 3 of the MCU was the presence of Thanos as a distant, yet powerful threat. Should the Avengers not be able to end the life of Thanos, it would be great if Marvel kept the Mad Titan in the distance, as an ever-present threat that could return at any time, much like his presence in the comics.
3 Needs To Go: Okoye
Okoye was one of the highlights of Black Panther, as she was a compelling and active hero who many viewers actually liked more than T’Challa. That being said, even though it would be great to see Okoye again in Black Panther 2, it may be for the best for her character if Okoye departs in Avengers: Endgame.
Okoye’s primary motivation is her devotion to her king, whom she would do anything for. The ending of Infinity War featured an incredibly traumatizing moment for Okoye as she watched T’Challa turn to ash before her eyes. Endgame now has the perfect set-up to give Okoye a beautiful arc where she ultimately loses her life in order to save her King and half of Wakanda.
2 Should Survive: Captain Marvel
Captain Marvel is the newest hero on this list, so she is surely the least likely character to lose her life in Avengers: Endgame. Even if Endgame does feature Captain Marvel sacrificing herself in some way, Marvel will surely have a way to bring her back, similarly to Captain America or Nick Fury.
Kevin Feige has stated that they plan on Captain Marvel leading the franchise going into Phase 4. Avengers: Endgame won’t be the swan song of Captain Marvel, but instead will be the first time we see her interact with the rest of the ensemble cast, which is something that we should certainly get used to.
1 Needs To Go: Iron Man
While Tony Stark has been the face of the Marvel Cinematic Universe since the very beginning, it seems very likely that Avengers: Endgame will be his final appearance in the franchise, outside of possible cameos in the future.
From a financial perspective, it’s unlikely that Marvel will keep Robert Downey Jr. around, as he is by far their most expensive actor, costing Marvel an estimated $40 million per movie, with that price going up every time. Additionally, Tony Stark’s main arc in the MCU since 2012 has been building up to his confrontation in Avengers: Infinity War. With his primary motivation out of the picture, it may be for the best that Tony leaves the picture as well, preferably with a happily-ever-after retirement.
Are there any other characters who should stay or go in Avengers: Endgame? Let us know in the comments!