Why Steve Rogers Should Die in Avengers: Infinity War
Infinity War is the biggest thing Marvel has ever attempted. It will be the culmination of seventeen Marvel movies by the time it is released in May of 2018 with a reported cast of up to 67 established and new characters. This film will be breaking new ground not only for Marvel but for superhero films and film in general. For the movie to be effective there will need to be a masterful level of control by the writers and directors to ensure the film’s plot flows cleanly and logically while also being engaging and giving suitable time to all the members of its incredibly large cast. Most importantly, the film needs to be a departure from the Marvel mold. While it dwarfs all of its predecessors in size and budget, the plot needs turn the MCU on its head in a way that has not been seen before. An intergalactic war needs a big villain, it needs big stakes, and it needs big consequences.
Captain America: Civil War broke up the family and semi-established the Secret Avengers but didn’t really have the large scale consequences most people expected, especially in comparison to the much more bloody Civil War comic. Rhodey aka War Machine was the only one to suffer physical consequences which by the end of the movie were already being alleviated in some ways by Tony’s technology that was assisting him to walk again. This immediate resolution to the problem makes it feel as though this universe has no real stakes which removes all sense of urgency from the viewer. Not to mention a large part of the audience lacked any strong feelings for Rhodey in the first place making his injury less impactful. As the Walking Dead and Game of Thrones can attest, the death of characters people are invested in are what shake up a story. So to resolve this lack of stakes and reorient the Marvel universe, someone important needs to die in Infinity War. Following a major death, the sequel will not only have the expected “defeat Thanos, save the world(s)” message but one of avenging their fallen.
But why Steve? Well let’s look at the other options, considering the plot and what we know of the relationships between the actors and the studio.
The Original Avengers
Natasha Romanoff (Black Widow): For the last year we’ve been getting half-assurances and semi-confirmations of a Black Widow movie from Kevin Feige. The Marvel Universe suffers from a Iack of diversity in both race and gender. Black Widow is not only one of the only women, she’s a fan favorite. There would most certainly be a reaction to her death but it would be almost entirely negative. It would also mean Marvel is throwing away their opportunity for more money the fans have been clear they are willing to give.
Clint Barton (Hawkeye): Clint seems like a reasonable possible casualty as one of the few non-powered individuals in a battle against a cosmic power. However while his death would be reasonable it would also lack the emotional punch the movie requires. For multiple movies Clint lacked any real personality and the Age of Ultron established him as a family man who doesn’t truly want to be in the fight anyway. Since his introduction, people have expected him to die at any given moment as a mere human. Fulfilling expectations would be a boring move in a movie that ultimately seeks to surprise us.
Thor: While killing Thor would be an interesting and allow for the possible introduction of female Thor, Jane Foster, it’s highly unlikely. Thor is one of the strongest members of the Avengers team and his knowledge of the cosmos would be instrumental in defeating Thanos. Plus it’s extremely unlikely that Natalie Portman will return to the franchise as she is not slated to appear in Thor: Ragnarok.
Bruce Banner (Hulk): Hulk can’t be killed. That’s a large part of his entire storyline.
Tony Stark (Iron Man): I’m sure that someone will later say “all your arguments about Steve apply to Tony too”. Yeah, probably, but they would never do Tony the indignity of death. Robert Downey Junior has Marvel Studios wrapped around both pinky fingers and his toes. Plus we already know he’ll be showing up as the advisor to Tom Holland’s Spiderman. Aside from his large and well-reported paycheck, history has shown that Robert gets what he wants. This was exemplified by his aggressive negotiation with Marvel studios to get a much larger role in Civil War than was originally planned. And if Riri Williams gets as popular as I hope she does, it’s even more likely he’ll have the same advisory role to her possible cinematic counterpart before ultimately leaving the franchise of his own volition.
The New Avengers
James ‘Rhodey’ Rhodes (War Machine): They already shot him down in Civil War, killing him now would be overkill and frankly offensive targeting of one of the few black characters we have in the MCU. Additionally, Rhodes and Carol Danvers have comic book history so he makes a solid connection to the Captain Marvel storyline and her upcoming solo movie.
Wanda Maximoff (Scarlet Witch): Wanda has a ton of potential that was merely hinted at in Civil War. Most significantly, her demonstrated ability to manipulate Vision through her connection to the mind stone in his head has huge implications for the fight with Thanos. If he does acquire all the infinity stones, her powers may be able to at least counteract those of the mind stone. Killing her would make no sense.
Vision: Now in the expected first battle where the bad guy wins, there’s a good chance Vision goes down. For Thanos to assemble his complete infinity gauntlet, he’ll need to rip the Mind stone right out of Vision’s purple head. Unless a last minute replacement power source is found, it’s likely Vision will die. The problem is that over the course of two movies he hasn’t made much of an impression either with critics or fans. He’s a super powerful character who is hampered by the writers so as not to make the others feel redundant. Most would be pretty ambivalent to his death.
Sam Wilson (Falcon): Due to poor time management most people don’t really see him as anything other than Steve’s friend (or worse, sidekick) since he hasn’t really been presented as a full member of the Avengers. (Though there’s a nod to it with the opening fight scene of Civil War) Because of this, they probably wouldn’t get the fan heartbreak and emotional outpouring they want from IW. However the love from both critics, interviewers, and fans for the very brief scenes between Sam and Bucky in Civil War as well as Sam Wilson’s current comic book role as Captain America tells us there’s a well of potential for his character that Marvel could and has yet to take advantage of.
Other Non Affiliated Super-Persons
James “Bucky” Barnes (Winter Soldier): Bucky is another comic contender for the Captain America position and beloved by many fans (especially in the young and female demographic), so from a “break all the fans’ hearts” standpoint, he is an excellent choice. Plot-wise though, a rather boring (though suitably tragic) end to the Winter Soldier. However, Sebastian Stan has a comically large 9 picture movie contract with Marvel and with about 6 movies left to go, I don’t think he’s going anywhere.
T’Challa (Black Panther): The outcry Marvel would face for killing one of the most historic Black superheroes, and one of four black men in their entire roster, after only 1 and a half movie showings is too massive to contemplate. Aside from that however, T’Challa made an excellent and well-received first showing in Civil War and his solo movie being released in february of 2018 is widely anticipated. It has assembled such a star studded cast that #BlackPantherSoLit has trended on twitter for days at a time a full year before the film is slated to come out. And with the original Avengers expected to begin phasing out in the near future, Black Panther is an obvious choice for the new squad.
Carol Danvers (Captain Marvel): Captain Marvel will be making her first appearance in Infinity War with her scheduled solo movie to be released in March of 2019. It goes without saying her character will leave the war unscathed.
Peter Parker (Spider-Man): The negotiations for the rights to Spider-Man were years in the making and wars have likely been ended and peace treaties signed with less careful attention to detail. Spider-Man Homecoming comes out in July of this year and although Peter will be venturing out into space to fight Thanos it is inconceivable that he would not return to make all the money for Marvel and Sony that a Spider-Man trilogy promises.
Guardians (of the galaxy): There is a possibility that members of the Guardians could be killed but since they could feasibly get at least one more movie after their sequel in May, it’s doubtful. Plus who would you even kill? They already almost killed Groot then saved his life in the first film. Rocket is the second best part of the movie-funny, lethal, and a racoon. They won’t get rid of Pratt because he’s a huge household name now, and as Passengers made clear, studios want to capitalize on that star power. Marvel doesn’t have enough women to kill Gamora without the same massive blow back as the other previously listed women. Drax is the most likely option since he was created to kill Thanos. It’d be depressing to see him fail his most integral mission but not heartbreaking.
Scott Lang (Ant-Man): Ant-Man and the Wasp comes out July of 2018 so it’s already established that he will be leaving the film in one-piece.
Stephen Strange (Doctor Strange): Similar to Chris Pratt, Benedict Cumberbatch is a huge movie star. He brings in crowds and critical regard and they would never let go of him so lightly. Plot wise, Doctor Strange has control over the Time stone. Much like with Scarlet Witch, it stands to reason that those who can wield the Power Stones will play a huge part in defeating Thanos and his Infinity Gauntlet.
Any other characters introduced in Infinity War
If it’s their first MCU appearance they’re likely going to be ok. Any characters added to the MCU simply to die will just be Marvel Redshirts whom the audience won’t think twice about.
So we’re back to Steve Rogers. From the colder, money side of the issue, Steve Rogers has already put in his trilogy. With the example set by Iron Man, it appear we shouldn’t expect more than three movies for any one hero and Cap has paid his due.It also makes sense in terms of plot; superhuman though he is, his extraordinary running and jumping skills will probably not serve him well in space.Even other non-powered individuals like Hawkeye benefit from having long-distance based abilities. Steve’s close quarter fighting style is hardly going to be a deterrent against Thanos.
Additionally, he has a possible successor in Bucky and Sam. In the comics they both go on to wield the Shield and it’d be fascinating to see how other MCU characters responded to that transition. He’s a fan favorite so viewer heartbreak is guaranteed. It’s 12000% percent believable that everyone in the world (within the cinematic universe and outside of it) would want to destroy Thanos on a much more personal level if he was responsible for the death of Captain America. And simply put, it would kick Marvel into a new direction that way no other movie has before. One of the original Avengers dying? That’s how you move on to a new phase.
Armitage, Hugh, and Rosie Fletcher. “Avengers: Infinity War – Everything you need to know.” Digital Spy. N.p., 21 Feb. 2017. Web. 02 Mar. 2017.
“The Supposed Avengers: Infinity War Budget Is Almost Shocking.” CINEMABLEND. N.p., 09 Oct. 2015. Web. 02 Mar. 2017.
Opie, David. “Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow Will Finally Star in Her Own Movie After ‘Avengers:Infinity War’.” Movie Pilot. N.p., 28 Feb. 2017. Web. 2 Mar. 2017.
Graser, Marc. “Robert Downey Jr. to Join ‘Captain America 3’ (EXCLUSIVE).” Variety. N.p., 14 Oct. 2014. Web. 02 Mar. 2017.
Shaw-Williams, Hannah. “‘Captain America 2’ Actor Sebastian Stan Has 9-Picture Marvel Deal.” Screen Rant. N.p., 03 Apr. 2014. Web. 02 Mar. 2017.
What do you think? Leave a comment.
People seem to forget that during the press release for Civil War, Evans flat out stated he loved the role and wanted to play Cap as long as Marvel Studios wanted him to wield the shield. So really I think the ball is in their court if they want to continue Evans as Cap for at least a little longer.
He did say that,however recently he also stated that his appearance in Avengers 4 will “wrap everything up”. His contract was slated to end in Infinity War and due to his renewed excitement he did extend it to include at least one more movie. However, my article is my opinion on what character deaths I think would provide the most narrative progression combined with probability of their deaths. And I feel that Cap dying in Infinity War would have a lot more impact going into the next film and feel a bit less traumatic than many of the original avengers dying/retiring en masse at the end of Avengers 4 (another popular theory)
The reasons for killing major good characters in the comics do NOT exist in the films. There is NO really good reason to kill them in the films (and they are NOT going to do that and loose money for the comic book fans so moments can be recreated on film).
If Chris Evans still wants to do them, and Marvel/Disney feels that enough people still want to see him, then it would be a financially stupid decision to kill his character. It would be like, “Oh, a small portion of comic book fans (who are a smaller portion of the over-all audience) want him to die to recreate a moment, and we will loose millions in potential figure films, so…….NO.”
If Evans wants out, then killing him makes sense. If not, then NO. Too much to be lost.
As a fan of Chris and avengers, I would love to see him survive in the franchise.
You made several good points in analyzing the studio’s options based on fan base and likelihood from in-movie dynamics. I can’t wait to watch the movie and see how your theory plays out.
It would be sad to see Cap go, but I think you’re right. The avengers are starting to seem undefeatable, which removes a lot of the tension in the movies.
Red flags were raised for me at 67 new and recurring characters. Are we going to see a string of cameos that disconnect the plot and leave no time for character development?
I think we all share the same concerns about that. Infinity War is being written by Markus and McFeely who wrote Civil War and I think they managed a solid balance so I have a bit of faith on that front. I’m pretty sure though that the people with the most screen time will probably be Tony Stark, Stephen Strange, Peter Quill and possibly Thanos. (Which I’m not thrilled about to be quite honest and I’d love to be proven wrong)
Killing off a character in a comic that comes out regularly is one thing. You bring them back later. Killing off a movie character is a little different. That is why killing Superman in BvS was so much of a groaner. Everyone knew he was coming back.
It was previously heard that he wanted to quit playing cap because he can’t focus on directing and other films . But he has also stated that he loves acting no matter he direct it or not.
They sold out Steve Rogers to make Civil War and now they need to let him have his honeymoon with Bucky and rest the character.
It seems though most of Marvels cool characters are on the X-Men roster which may be a problem in keeping things fresh.
Just feels like some mistakes for the ongoing brand for the sake of the superhero brawl in Civil War. Antman used as comic relief idiot diluted that franchise. Rogers can’t go back to Captain Americas lawful good. Any future interaction with Stark and Rogers will be bogged down in politics. Sure it’s fun to smash and break something up but now the Avengers are broken.
Bucky and Falcon have taken the role of Captain America in the comics the past 10 years.
It would be fascinating to see how the MCU would develop if a POC character became the leader of the avengers (Falcon), however I sadly do not have very much faith in that becoming a reality.
What really bugged me about Civil War, was the Secretary of State, General Ross casually stating that he and the President had signed the Segovia Accords making them law. This is a violation of the Constitution since it is putting American citizens under the rule of Foreign governments. That would have to be an amendment to the Constitution and this would be an act of treason, which Steve Rogers would have known. So, why did he not just charge the Secretary of State with treason and arrest him? This is what has bugged me about Civil War from the git go. Don’t tell me this is comic book, which I already know. I am almost 65 and was reading Marvel back in the early 60’s. Don’t get me wrong though, I loved Civil War, This is just my pet peeve, that bugs me
Good point. Granted, the constitution is being thoroughly undermined IRL nowadays, but you’d think Cap would be the guy who would step up and put a stop to that sort of thing. Maybe Marvel thought that was ‘too patriotic’ (I.e. Controversial and not politically correct) for a Cap movie? 😛 Oh, irony.
I love fact checking. Good for you!
That is actually accurate to what will eventually happen. The Bible has a prophecy that, in a nutshell, states very soon the governments of the world are going to hand over power and authority to a global government of a sort. That government is going to be the United Nations. One of the first mandates of this newly minted UN will be to attack and destroy religion worldwide. ALL religions; or at least the most visible. The Vatican, Mosques, mega churches, Tibetan monasteries, to name a few. Governments and talking heads will provide a variety of reasons, from seizing their extreme wealth to stopping terrorism at its root. However, the underlying cause of this is simply divine retribution by God against religion for their bloodshed and for falsely teaching people who God is and what he requires.
We need Captain America more than ever now.
Unless The Heros get some powerful allies I can’t see them slowing down Thanos much less Killiung him! In the comics he practically destroys the universe!
They can still dance to distract him
It would be silly to not to have CA as a supporting role in the more-than-likely future Black Widow movie.
If anything, they’d probably have Bucky in a solo Black Widow movie considering their comic history
I love Captain America! But you have me convinced.
If CA could stand as a symbol of what is happening in American today, it would mean that the former notions of what American means (1940 and 50s CA) have died. Then CA’s death would show that American needs a new version of what it aspires to be with a new CA.
Does this make sense?
Kind felt like this was going to happen. Good by Rogers.
He had his run. Best avenger for me hands down. I so wish DCEU superman was more like him.
In some ways they mirror each other but not in Snyder’s dumb universe.
No actor has done a better job with a CBM role.
Cap’s arc has been amazing, and he has proven that a morally upstanding character with a strong code of beliefs at his core can resonate with contemporary audiences.
I’ll be sad to see him go, but what a great job he has done. You’ve earned it, Mr. Evans.
If he had stayed a little longer he could’ve been one of the greats. I mean Hugh Jackman level… sad day everyone.
I still think there is a high likelihood that Steve Rogers dies at the end of Phase 3. It makes story sense, Bucky has been set up to take over since First Avenger and Evans contract is up. Moving into Phase 4 it makes story sense to have that void and have an Avengers without Cap, or Thor for that matter.
have him pass the mantle to bucky and form the new avengers
eagerly waiting for the movie
Everything said, I love Steve Rogers and he is one of the few reasons I have stuck with Marvel for so long. The moment they kill him off, they should realise that they will be losing dedicated fans.
Frankly, I was expecting Steve to be killed off in Civil War but as you said the film didn’t seem to have any actual consequences for our heroes. There seems to be countless cases in these movies where a character ‘almost’ dies but doesn’t actually die (e.g. Nick Fury, Bucky, Pepper Potts, Loki, Groot, even Coulson for gods sake!). The only character that I can think of that has died, except the villains, is Pietro Maximoff which was an entirely stupid decision! Why would you kill off a character, in their first on-screen appearance, that has not been established to fans and who the studio just fought for the rights to use? Honestly, I thought that Clint would be the one to bite the metaphorical bullet(s) since it seemed like the logical choice.
When I was a student, a nun who didn’t like my already shady and disreputable love of Capt Marvel and other DC heroes or Mad, was truly horrored when saw me reading a as newapaper Spiderman collection, no wait, doctor strange, as this was 1973 and ten years of Stan making sure heroes met and carelessly slugged each other over misunderstanding was becoming passe as Capitan America then, she was aghast. Only juvenile delinquents read marvel comics, Anthony, she said horrified,and i have an inkling she was right.
It could be more controversial and full of suspense rather than eliminating one major member.
Killing cap will for sure reduce fan following of Avengers.
I love Cap, but I feel that’s what Marvel needs to spice their ever fading world up a little bit.
This is a fantastic article, even though it made me super upset at thinking that Vision could die… Paul Bettany is my favourite!
This headline truly caught my attention within the span of a second. You made some excellent arguments all throughout the article!
I think the main reason is, as you’ve said, raising the stakes. We’ve seen the world-threatening stakes before in Marvel movies and it doesn’t hit hard for the audience because on a meta level we know the world isn’t going to end and the titular character is going to survive. The problem is that Marvel movies often leave a lot to be desired in terms of emotional stakes for the characters. For the most part, everything that could strongly effect a Marvel hero’s character seems to be sort of reset between movies and that’s what makes the stakes feel inconsequential.
I really think that Steve should have died in Civil War. It made logical sense and it would have added any sort of stake or emotional engagement to that film. Paralyzing a supporting character and a short fight in a car park showed us that Marvel Studios care more about money than satisfying fan’s expectations.
A really in depth analysis of each of the characters. Interesting to read. And I agree that one of the original major Avengers should die to up the stakes of the movie. Will be interesting to see what Marvel actually does.
While the idea of Cap dying, and Chris Evans leaving the MCU along with him saddens me as team Cap and a fan, I actually wouldn’t mind seeing it happen, or have any of the original avengers die. I think it would humanize the characters in a sense, showing that even the strongest are still mortal, and bleed, and will eventually die. It would have been illogical to assume that once infinity war happened that no one would die, so when I went to see the movie opening weekend I kind of already expected the worst.
I really like your points and they make complete sense, Captain America is the Avenger that would move the universe forward if he died. Apart from the obvious Marvel producers not wanting to annoy fans, I think it makes sense for Captain America to die in the story too. He has been through so much evolution, from the war to being frozen then joining the Avengers. He has survived a lot, but Thanos is from another world and very powerful. I agree, great article!