Warning: The following contains major spoilers for Avengers: Infinity War. If you have yet to see the film and are looking to steer spoiler-free, turn around this instant. If you do decide to read on, bring tissues because we’re unpacking a few pretty surprising deaths.
It’s been a few days since Avengers: Infinity War landed in theaters, and chances are everyone who’s seen it is still digesting that cliffhanger of an ending. Given that the majority of Infinity War viewers are either fluent or relatively well-versed in the ever-expanding Marvel Cinematic Universe, the film doesn’t beat around the bush introducing us to big bad Thanos or his mission to collect the six Infinity Stones and wipe out half of humanity. At this point, we should all be familiar with the purple space thumb and his goals.
So, viewers spend two-and-a-half hours watching heroes from all over the MCU come together in new, often-charming groups, as they try to stop Thanos once and for all. And what an attempt it was! But in the end, Thanos completed his Infinity Gauntlet and snapped his fingers. Naturally, in a culmination film of this magnitude — or at least half of one — it was clear that not everyone was going to make it out alive. But man, that final five minutes was a doozy as, dumbfounded, we watched half the cast fade from existence.
Absolutely nothing could have prepared us for the devastating deaths of T’Challa and Peter Parker.
Despite being dubbed the safest characters by a billion internet predictions, the two — along with Sam Wilson, Wanda Maximoff, Bucky Barnes, Groot, Peter Quill, Mantis, Drax, Doctor Strange (and in the end credits Nick Fury and Maria Hill) — were all added to the death count as they vaporized into nothing. While watching each member of the expanded team fade away one by one was pretty harrowing, none were quite as affecting as T’Challa and Peter Parker.
While, sure, Avengers 4 — which the Russo brothers have maintained is not a direct Part 2 but 100% seems like a Part 2 — will likely see a majority of the final deaths undone, via the Time Stone or some other complicated-but-also-very-simple device, even the most cynical of viewers has to admit that seeing two of the most popular new heroes turned to dust was crushing power move.
Naturally, people were not thrilled with Infinity War killing Black Panther off just after proving just how important he is to the future of the MCU. Just a month and a half after raking in over a billion dollars, T’Challa was saying to Okoye, “This isn’t the place to die…” and went to help her up when he disappeared into nothing. Yes, the King of Wakanda didn’t even get to finish his sentence before biting the dust, and seeing Okoye’s devastated reaction will haunt us until we see his return in Avengers 4. Making his demise even more tragic was that he’d earlier said that the battle will end in nothing but “dust and blood.”
It was especially cruel to see T’Challa killed off at the end of Infinity War because he didn’t really have much to do during the film itself. The character didn’t appear on screen until the final third of the film, when the plot moved to Wakanda and he and Steve Rogers led the Avengers and Wakandan forces into battle. While a few of the other Avenger mainstays including Steve and Natasha Romanoff, aka Black Widow, had surprisingly little to do for most of the film, they’ll at least stick around to see the beginning of Avengers 4.
Considering Black Panther 2 is quickly on its way, we’re holding out hope that next year’s follow-up sees quickly sees the return of T’Challa. But until then, it would be criminal to not give the remaining Wakandan leaders — Okoye, Shuri, and M’Baku — some serious screen time in Avengers 4.
But while T’Challa’s death signaled the imminent devastation, Peter Parker’s death packed the most punch.
As many top Avenger sidekicks and the next generation of Avengers began fading from Wakanda, we bounced back up to Titan, where the Guardians of the Galaxy were starting to go — and quickly. Unlike everyone else fading away, likely thanks to his heightened spidey senses, Peter Parker knew the moment his death was coming, leading to one of the most surprisingly emotional scenes of the film. Telling Tony Stark that he doesn’t feel good, he collapses and repeatedly says, “I don’t want to go,” as Tony helplessly sits with him. Peter’s helpless “sir” to his surrogate dad is BRUTAL.
Tom Holland has been widely praised for his performance as Spider-Man since making his debut in Captain America: Civil War, and his performance in Infinity War may be the catalyst for those still playing the “who is the best Spider-Man” game. MCU’s Spider-Man is a capable budding superhero who still very much feels like a teen — as he should. But while being a generally lighthearted member of the team just trying to be one of the big guys, every so often, there’s a moment that reminds us how young and vulnerable Peter is.
The added layer of devastation was that he died in the arms of his mentor and father figure. Seeing Tony sitting in anguish after Peter vanishes invokes a callback to Spider-Man: Homecoming where Tony, explaining the dangers of being a superhero to Peter, says“…And if you died, I feel like that’s on me.” While the last ten years of MCU films have shown us how Tony has grown since Iron Man, that devastating scene showed just how far he’s come.
While we likely haven’t seen the last of Peter Parker, as more Spider-Man sequels are certainly on the way, Peter’s death will likely sit with us — and certainly make us cry — for a while.
Avengers 4 is slated for release May 2019, so we have a full year to plot our fan theories about how our beloved dead characters are going to make a comeback — and who will die for real.