Avengers: Endgame will bring about the end of the MCU as we know it. Being the end for the franchise, it is highly likely and anticipated that some, or many of the characters are going to die. Captain America, Iron Man and even Hawkeye have a huge probability to bite the dust, but what if no one is to die?
The Russos have confirmed that deaths will follow, and this film will be a big bag of emotions and sentiment, but we have to consider the fact that the Avengers could end up surviving, and the likes of Steve & Tony just get retirements for good.
Since the lead actors have all exhausted their contracts, some of them are not going to return, but that doesn’t mean that it is crucial for them to die. Paul Walker-esk retirements can also inflict some heartbreaking emotions, giving us some bitter-sweet moments. So let’s forget the assumption of deaths for a moment and think about how MCU would pursue if these characters were alive by the end. Reddit user RikrSkegg has posted a theory which gives us some nice ways in which the original Avengers could either be rested or continued in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Here’s how he proposes the story arcs to be:
“Black Widow – Goes back to working with Nick Fury as a special operative for S.H.I.E.L.D.
Hawkeye – Back to semi-retired; would still work with Nat on occasion or act as an advisor/mission planner, maybe even as a spec ops trainer for S.H.I.E.L.D.
Hulk – After Banner learns to co-exist with the Hulk, he leaves of his own accord to find a place where he can let Hulk “out” to do as he pleases from time to time…somewhere that he will not be a danger to others as part of the agreement to get Hulk to fight in Endgame. Just walks away (wasn’t there a set photo leak of Ruffalo in a mo-cap suit with a hobo looking bag? Might be mistaken), but this will be an homage to the 70s Hulk TV series outro with Banner hitchhiking to his next destination. He will leave a way for the others to track him though, in the event the world needs Hulk again.
Thor – Thor becomes the keeper/protector of the Aether (Reality Stone), which he uses to rebuild Asgard as a giant floating island off the coast of Norway (with the country’s approval since he helped save the world and all). Naturally, the rest of the surviving Asgardians, including Valkyrie, Korg, and Miek will join him.”
The Reddit user suggests that the reason why Thor gets to have the reality stone is not just because it would be of a great use for building Asgard, but also because it originated in the Thor franchise. Moving on, we have cool retirement schemes for Captain America and Iron Man:
“Iron Man – Retires from being a full time superhero and settles down with Pepper Potts to start a family. Tony Stark always needs something to keep himself busy and has been obsessed with keeping the world safe from extra-terrestrial threats since the Battle of New York. As such, he becomes the founder of S.W.O.R.D. We all know Marvel likes to cherry pick sometimes and alter the exact origins or workings of their stuff, so in the MCU, Tony creates it. S.W.O.R.D.’s main function will be like the comics which is to monitor and respond to extra-terrestrial threats against Earth, basically a space based counterpart to S.H.I.E.L.D. Captain Marvel will be the “leader” of the threat response team, which will include several other “newer” Avengers, like War Machine and Vision.
Captain America – Steve Rogers retires as Captain America, passes the shield to Bucky Barnes (precedence in the comics for this) and settles down with Sharon Carter. From there, he works as an advisor/mission director for S.H.I.E.L.D. (he was executive director of S.H.I.E.L.D. at one point in the comics) possibly overseeing Bucky, Falcon and others for the Disney+ show they will have.”
The Redditor bases Captain America’s survival solely on the fact that Joe Russo said that Chris Evans may not be done with the franchise yet. This will probably be great if it ends up happening, but even though we ourselves want everyone to survive, we will be the ones cursing Marvel for not killing them off if they actually did survive. MCU is already criticized for not killing off characters, and if none of the big name people died in the film.
So, character deaths are more or less a given, and we can bet big money on the fact that Cap will surely bite the dust!