When it comes to Avengers: Endgame, some character deaths were inevitable. After all, even before the film opened in theaters fans knew that the remaining Avengers would be doing something that sent them up against Thanos once again. Having seen Avengers: Infinity War, fans knew that wouldn't be an easy fight. There would be deaths -- on one side or another and that's not a spoiler. It's just facts. Now that Endgame is in theaters, though, and has shown audiences how it all plays out and whose stories came to an end there's still a lingering question: could they still have a place in the Marvel Cinematic Universe?
Now, before we get too deep into the character deaths, be warned: there are HUGE SPOILERS for Avengers: Endgame beyond this point. Read on only if you really want to know.
People die in Endgame, and we're not necessarily talking about those lost in Infinity War's Snap. One of the things that the movie does an interesting job of establishing is that there are those who were only "sort of" dead -- those who vanished in the Snap -- and those who were really gone. Those genuinely dead include anyone who met their end in some other act other than the Snap, such as Gamora being sacrificed for the Soul Stone and Loki being murdered by Thanos in Infinity War.
With that in mind, some of the deaths in Endgame should feel permanent. Endgame starts with the heroes tracking Thanos down on his farm and, when it's discovered that he destroyed the Infinity Stones, Thor kills the Mad Titan by cutting off his head. The heroes later end up using time travel to go into the past to retrieve the Stones and end up doing battle with 2014 Thanos in the film's "present" -- five years after Infinity War. While the heroes are ultimately successful, they don't come out unscathed. Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow, 2014 Nebula, and even Tony Stark/Iron Man all end up dead by film's end, along with "present" Thanos. These are deaths that can't, apparently be undone. Specifically in the case of Black Widow, who sacrificed herself in order to get the Soul Stone.
But, can those characters still return to the MCU? The answer to that is yes, sort of. First and foremost, any of the dead characters could return if future MCU projects are prequels. Want more Black Widow? There is a movie in the works, one that could very well be centered around the character's adventures before she became part of S.H.I.E.L.D. or even her early missions with them. We've heard teases about her and Hawkeye's Budapest mission, after all.
There's also the idea that Endgame's time travel created new realities that also offer options for "dead" characters to return. We see this most clearly with Loki. When the heroes go back to 2012 in an attempt to collect the Space, Time, and Mind Stones in New York, things go a little off the rails and Loki -- who is very much alive and well in 2012 -- ends up making off with the Space Stone. With the established rules of time travel for Endgame indicating that messing with the Infinity Stones creates alternate realities, Loki now has a whole new world to play in. Future MCU projects may explore that reality. There's even the possibility that someone ends up figuring out the same things the heroes do and ends up time traveling themselves. That would be an interesting twist, a "dead" character from an alternate timeline popping up in the main timeline.
And, of course, the MCU is based on comic books. Anything is honestly possible.
So, technically, it is possible that dead Endgame characters could still appear in the MCU, but for some of them it's not likely. Bringing Thanos back into play probably isn't an option as it would, in a sense, weaken the heroic victory of Endgame. Tony coming back in some fashion is unlikely because that character's story had a full arc. His journey is done and, for the dead in Endgame, maybe that's how it should be.
What do you think? Let us know in the comments below.
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