After 10 years of build up, heroes have teamed up with their new allies in the battle for the Universe. The Battle of New York, the Battle for Sokovia and a Civil War that ripped our heroes apart have brought us to this time and this place.
Thanos has finally arrived and is wreaking havoc not only on Earth but all across the universe. For those who thought they knew what this story was going to bring us, boy were there curveballs and twists that just reached down and ripped you apart from the inside out.
“If we can’t protect the Earth, you can be damned well sure we’ll avenge it!”
~ Tony Stark, Avengers 2012
When last we saw our heroes, the Avengers had splintered, Wakanda had just announced that they were going to begin to reveal themselves to the world, and Asgard had been destroyed in Ragnarok. Thor, Loki, Heimdall, Hulk, and the Valkaryie were on a shop with the last remaining Asgardian people, headed for somewhere new and safe when Thanos’ warship appears.
By the end of this film, there are so many things that happened, that it takes some time to process it. I think the first thing we need to look at is who is left alive at the end of this film, to do that, we should probably look at the list of the people who are dead or were dusted away.
Loki - Loki’s death is one of the first two deaths at the beginning of the film. He has handed over the Tesseract to Thanos to save Thor’s life and in a brilliant moment tells Thanos “We have a Hulk” which leads to the Hulk landing a really nice punch to the Mad Titan’s face. Sadly the Hulk gets knocked out by Thanos. While that redeeming moment for Loki was great, Thanos then chokes Loki to death and as his body hits what is left of the floor of the Asgardian Vessel, Thanos simply says “No More Resurrection”
Heimdall - The Asgardian gatekeeper is the second to go, but what he does in the final moments before his death is really important to the story. Before he dies, he asks the dark forces to grant him the power to summon the bi-frost one last time. He does this and sends the Hulk hurdling through time and space to crash land at Dr. Strange’s Sactom. Shortly after the teleportation, Heimdall is killed by Thanos.
Gamora - Adopted daughter of Thanos, Gamora is the only person who knows the location of the Soul Stone. When Gamora reveals that she knows the location of the Soul Stone she makes Peter promise that if Thanos captures her, he will kill her to keep Thanos from learning the location of the Soul Stone. While on Knowhere trying to retrieve the Aether from the collector, Gamora is captured by Thanos. When Quill tries to kill her, Thanos changes his bullets into bubbles and forces Gamora to take him to the Soul Stone. When Thanos and Gamora arrive at Vormir they are greeted by Red Skull, who was last seen in Captain America: The First Avenger. He has been deemed unworthy to possess any of the infinity stones and his punishment is that he must guard the soul stone. To possess the Soul Stone Thanos must sacrifice the things he loves most in the world. While we believe that Thanos loves nothing and no one, it turns out he truly loves his adopted daughter Gamora. His love is only strong enough for him to throw her off the cliff and sacrifice her. Once Gamora is dead, Thanos finds that he now possesses the Soul Stone.
Vision - Vision is the next to die, during the battle of Wakanda. Scarlet Witch is forced to destroy the Mind Stone in Vision’s head in order to keep it from Thanos’ grasp. Her pain in having to kill the man she loves to protect the universe is all for nothing though. While battling on Titan, Doctor Strange bargains with Thanos and trades the Time Stone for Tony Stark’s life. With the Time Stone in his control, Thanos turns back time bring Vision back to life and ripping the mind stone from his head, leaving his lifeless body on the ground.
These were the people whose deaths led us to that deadly moment when Thanos simply snapped his fingers. When that snap occurred half of the universe population, including most of our heroes, disintegrated and vanished from view. So, who disintegrated and what effect will that leave on those left behind.
We know that T’Challa, Peter Parker, Doctor Strange, Bucky Barnes, Sam Wilson, Wanda Maximoff, The Guardians of the Galaxy (Peter Quil, Groot, Drax, Mantis), and thanks to the end credit scene, Nick Fury, & Maria Hill also disintegrated.
These losses will undoubtedly take their toll on those who we know survived. Okoye and M’Baku had to watch their king vanish before their eyes. Tony literally held Peter as he disintegrated. For Steve Rogers, he not only lost his new friend and compatriot Sam, he watched as his best friend Bucky was taken from him for the second time in their long life and there wasn’t anything he could do to stop it. Rocket had to watch Groot disappeared.
Each of these people bear a significance to those that have been left behind, and it will be interesting to see how these losses will affect our heroes in the long run. Obviously right now, the losses are devastating, the best example of this is Quill’s reaction on Titan to finding out that Thanos killed Gamora to attain the Soul Stone.
However, there is another group of characters we haven’t thought about yet, and that is the characters who are missing in action. They are the customers who we do not know if they are alive or dead – some we can assume they are alive based on end credit scenes and movies coming out before the conclusion of the war, others, well there is a sliver of doubt about whether they are alive or not. Can you guess those characters? Don’t bother, we’ve made the list for you already – the current characters who are MIA in the aftermath of Infinity war are - Shuri, Nakia, Pepper Potts, Captain Marvel/Carol Danvers, Clint Barton, Scott Lang, The Collector, Valkyrie, Wong, and Ned.
We know that with the movies Ant Man and the Wasp as well as Captain Marvel that are coming out later this year and early next year, not only are Scott Lang and Carol Danvers aka Captain Marvel still alive, but Hank Pim, Hope Van Dyne and Lang’s daughter are still alive.
So, what difference could the events of the two movies to come and the time between Infinity War and Avengers #4 change the course and outcome of the MCU? We can speculate lots of things, but only time will tell, and with the anticipation of Ant-Man and the Wasp and Captain Marvel, it will be very interesting to watch the theories grow. The other clues we may have for potential outcome of the War for the Universe are in the easter eggs hidden throughout the entire film! Check back and find out which ones you might have missed