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Marvel Characters Who Probably Won't Survive Phase 5

Phase 5 of the MCU is almost upon us. Following the conclusion of the Infinity Saga and the defeat of Thanos, the Marvel heroes are going to face a number of new threats in a series of movies and television shows. Kicking things off with "Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania" in early 2023, fans are going to be introduced properly to Kang the Conqueror as the Multiverse Saga really gets into gear following the events of "Spider-Man: No Way Home" and "Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness."

With so many projects to be excited about, there's also plenty of danger on the horizon for the cast of heroes that make up the franchise. Familiar faces and new characters will all equally be in the firing lines of Kang, while other villains might also prove deadly. Amid all the swirling questions that fans want answers to as Phase 5 approaches, the identities of those who might be killed are chief among them—especially after the high-profile MCU deaths in recent years.

Here we will delve into the MCU characters who have a good chance of not making it through Phase 5 so you can be prepared for those emotional farewells that may be approaching.


Hulk, and by extension Bruce Banner, is one of the MCU's oldest characters. He first made his debut in the 2008 film "The Incredible Hulk," which came out just a month after "Iron Man," and had a starring role in 2012's "The Avengers." Outside of a select few superheroes, such as Thor and Hawkeye, that also makes him one of the only characters who has survived up until this point. With most of his fellow heroes from Phase 1 of the MCU gone, it could be that Hulk's story is near an end.

Of course, the timing would make some sense as Bruce has essentially reached a balance in his life. Both of his personalities have effectively merged into one individual, giving birth to the Professor Hulk figure we see in "Avengers: Endgame." This character combines the strength of the Hulk with the intelligence of Banner and sees an end to the internal struggle the hero has been fighting for several years (via Polygon). Now that his story has come full circle, it could be a good time for him to leave the MCU, especially since he has helped train She-Hulk as a potential replacement.

There's also a rights issue that looms over the Hulk, stopping Disney and Marvel Studios from being able to create a standalone movie. Actor Mark Ruffalo explained in a Variety interview that Universal owns the rights to any film focusing entirely on the Hulk, meaning Disney is limited in what it can do with him.


Vision has had something of a rough ride in the MCU so far. Created in part by Ultron, Tony Stark, and Bruce Banner, the synthezoid was brought to life with the help of the Mind Stone. Having battled with the Avengers against Ultron in Sokovia, he and his fellow heroes eventually decided to destroy the Mind Stone in an attempt to stop Thanos from capturing it — a process that led to his own death at the hands of his lover Wanda Maximoff. Unfortunately, Thanos reversed time and brought Vision back to life only to kill him a second time by forcibly removing the Mind Stone from his head.

A recreation of the character was brought into existence by Wanda using Chaos Magic in "WandaVision," while S.W.O.R.D. developed their own version, known as White Vision, by reassembling his parts following the Battle of Wakanda. Considering how the character has seemingly been killed multiple times already, a more final death sooner rather than later seems on the cards.

At the moment, it still isn't clear what the future holds for Vision. White Vision, now believing itself to be the true version of the hero, is the only remaining Vision, and his whereabouts are unknown following the events of "WandaVision." Paul Bettany also confirmed in 2022 that he doesn't have a contract with Marvel Studios, so his character's days appear numbered (via The Playlist), although Deadline suggests a show featuring White Vision is in the works.

Hank Pym

Although he hasn't been as important to the wider MCU as some of his counterparts, Hank Pym is a significant player in the "Ant-Man" films. He is set to appear in the third entry in the series, "Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania," in early 2023 when he explores the Quantum Realm with Scott Lang, Hope van Dyne, and Janet van Dyne. Trailers have revealed that the group will encounter Kang the Conqueror in the Quantum Realm, which might not be good news for Pym.

After all, Kang was first introduced in "Loki" in 2021 as the next big villain in the form of He Who Remains, a variant that dedicated his own life to stopping his different versions from being able to take over the whole of existence. Marvel Studios revealed Phase 6 will conclude with two "Avengers" movies, with the first being "Avengers: The Kang Dynasty." This suggests that Kang the Conqueror will be similar to Thanos and prove to be a major villain going forward.

If that is the case, there would be no better way to introduce him to movie-going audiences as a huge threat than if he killed a major character. Pym would fit the bill in that sense. He is already an older figure and has passed on most of his knowledge to Scott, Hope, and Janet so could provide plenty of motivation to the heroes of the MCU to battle against Kang the Conqueror through his death.

War Machine

James Rhodes, aka War Machine, is one of the most senior members of the Avengers. He made his debut in the 2008 film "Iron Man," where he was portrayed by Terrence Howard before being replaced by Don Cheadle for every subsequent appearance. While he has played a somewhat significant role in the franchise, he has never had a standalone film or been the main focus and has largely been absent since "Avengers: Endgame" except for a small role in "The Falcon and The Winter Soldier."

A close associate of Tony Stark, War Machine will take on an important part in Phase 5. Samuel L. Jackson confirmed that Cheadle would appear in the upcoming Disney+ series "Secret Invasion" (via The Playlist). Meanwhile, the character has been confirmed to star in the television series-turned-movie "Armor Wars" according to The Hollywood Reporter. So James Rhodes certainly has a future in the MCU; it's just unclear for how much longer.

The actor has confirmed he is no longer under contract with Marvel, which might well be a hint that his future in the series is in doubt (via Variety). War Machine has also faced death before, most notably during the airport battle scene in "Captain America: Civil War," and he may not have that many lucky escapes left in him. His death would certainly be a major event, especially following the passing of his close friend Iron Man.


"Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3" has something of a finale feeling to it, and fans have been speculating for some time that it could see the deaths of several key characters. That's mainly because this will be director James Gunn's last MCU project for the foreseeable future as he is now in charge of the DC film universe for Warner Bros. (via ET Online). Chief among them is Rocket Raccoon, the cynical sentient animal that has been at the center of the ragtag team of mercenaries throughout all of their appearances in the MCU.

In a separate interview with ET Online, Gunn spoke about the new film acting as a way of wrapping up Rocket's story and exploring his origins. A trailer for the film that debuted in early December appears to show a young Rocket and features the hero saying that he is "done running." Combine that with the fact that Gunn has previously said that he would explore Rocket's gruesome origin story, which he described as "a little bit more horrible than what it is in the comics when you come down to it" (via MCU Exchange).

All this focus on Rocket and the fact that "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3" appears to have a more somber tone might mean that fans should get the tissues ready. At the very least, seeing Rocket's full story unfold won't be easy viewing.


Nebula is another member of the Guardians of the Galaxy who could see their time in the MCU come to an end during Phase 5. You could argue that the adoptive daughter of Thanos and former villain has had one of the most redemptive story arcs of any character in the series, having gone from a single-minded antagonist who wanted nothing more than revenge on her stepsister to reconciling with Gamora and joining the heroes in their fight against the Mad Titan.

Exactly what actor Karen Gillan's situation is in terms of her contract with Disney for the MCU hasn't been made public. However, she has spoken about how much she enjoys playing the character in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, saying, "I really like playing her, so I'm not eager to finish." However, that doesn't mean she will get to continue portraying Nebula in the future, and Gillan has even suggested in an Instagram post that "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3" could be the final outing for Nebula.

Considering everything that has gone on between the two sisters, it might be a fitting way to have one of them sacrifice themselves for the other. If that were the case, the sensible bet would be Nebula taking the fall as it would best suit her overall narrative as someone who has changed over the course of the last decade.


Drax is another longtime member of the Guardians of the Galaxy and a familiar face in the MCU. He has one of the more tragic backstories of any hero in the franchise. That's primarily because his beef with Thanos was far more personal than many others, as Ronan the Accuser had killed his wife and daughter as part of his alliance with the Mad Titan. That means that his entire motivation and everything he has done in the "Guardians of the Galaxy" films has been tinged with sorrow.

Despite finding a new family in the form of his friends, Drax the Destroyer clearly still mourns the loss of his family, and it seems almost certain that he will reunite with them at some point. Having that happen at the conclusion of "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3" would be a fitting end for a warrior who has stood against some of the biggest threats the universe has seen. It would also give him the chance to perhaps save his new family in some sort of heroic act before reuniting with his wife and daughter in the afterlife.

Throw in the fact that actor Dave Bautista has been very clear about the next film being his last in the MCU, and it seems almost certain that Drax will meet his end. According to Variety, Bautista feels that his character's story has come to a natural conclusion, and he is ready to end his time within the franchise.


Thor is somewhat unique in the MCU. Not only is he one of the few characters who has been around since "The Avengers" in 2012, but he has also had four solo movies, with the most recent being "Thor: Love and Thunder." Yet, he still hasn't had a defining moment to say goodbye like his counterparts Captain America and Iron Man. That could well change in the future, though, with Chris Hemsworth telling Vanity Fair that any future appearances in the MCU would "probably be the finale" for the Norse god.

The ending of "Thor: Love and Thunder" finally provided some closure to a character who has been on a constant search for meaning since his first appearance. Now a father to his adoptive daughter Love, he may have found his true place in the universe and be able to settle down. Although, having his arc come to an end might also mean he could die and his spirit would live on in those he considers part of his family, including Korg and Love.

His story will have to come to an end at some point, and having him involved in a battle with Kang the Conqueror would be a perfect way to do it. The actor has also announced he is taking a step back from acting following his recent discovery that he carries an increased risk of developing Alzheimer's disease later in life (via GQ).

Nick Fury

At the beginning of the MCU, Nick Fury was a staple that helped hold all of the various films and television series together. He has been involved in 11 MCU movies and was responsible for creating the Avengers Initiative. Yet, Fury has largely been absent from the franchise in recent years outside of brief appearances or cameos. All that is about to change with the release of the television series "Secret Invasion" and the movie "The Marvels," which will see Samuel L. Jackson reprise the character in starring roles.

While Fury will no doubt have an important part to play in those two projects, his influence over events in Phase 5 still isn't clear. And with his significance seemingly waning, it may be time for the former S.H.I.E.L.D. director to meet his maker. After all, he has already come close to death on a number of occasions and could provide a lot of inspiration to the heroes left behind — many of whom he has close relationships with — if he was killed. It would be appropriate to have Fury fall now that he has such a legacy built up that will last long after his own demise.


Few people would have thought that Loki would become the popular character he has since his introduction, having now developed a reputation as a fan favorite (via Collider). Yet, his story in the MCU is a bit hard to follow, mainly due to his complicated timeline within the franchise. The character has gone from villain to anti-hero and even a devoted ally of Thor in his fight against Thanos. Yet, he has also been killed by the Mad Titan and lives on in the form of a variant that starred in the Disney+ series "Loki."

The God of Mischief's story is set to continue in "Loki" Season 2, although it's unclear how much of a role he will play in the rest of Phase 5 as Marvel Studios hasn't confirmed that the character will appear in any other projects. That's despite the fact that Tom Hiddleston has confirmed he would like to keep playing Loki for as long as possible in a Tumblr Q&A.

Taking into account the fact that Loki has already been killed and will no doubt have to confront Kang the Conqueror, who he and Sylvie unleashed upon the world after discovering the true identity of He Who Remains, then it seems likely he could die. Of course, there wouldn't be anything stopping other potential variants from continuing.


Spider-Man is one of the MCU's biggest and most successful heroes, with films based on the character bringing in huge sums at the box office (via Box Office Mojo). The character has also become a significant figure in the franchise, working alongside Iron Man, Doctor Strange, and the rest of the Avengers on multiple occasions.

Yet, the ending of "Spider-Man: No Way Home" effectively made everyone forget that Peter Parker is Spider-Man. This not only gave the hero the anonymity to now operate as an independent hero outside of the Avengers but gives Sony the opportunity to remove him from the MCU altogether. That might seem like something that wouldn't happen given the film's huge success and Tom Holland's integral part in the franchise so far, but Sony and Disney have had difficulty working together and only struck a last-minute deal to keep Holland in the MCU in 2019 (via Forbes).

It's plausible that Peter's Spider-Man could depart the MCU at some point, but there are others who could fill his shoes. Apart from a brief Easter egg reference in "Spider-Man: No Way Home," Miles Morales has been entirely absent from the MCU. But the latest movie did introduce the idea of different versions of the web-slinging hero, so it is entirely possible Miles could show up. He could even be a potential replacement for the MCU's Peter Parker in the event that he dies.

Bucky Barnes

The Winter Soldier, otherwise known as Bucky Barnes, has gone through one of the biggest transformations of any character within the MCU. He was once a friend and ally of Steve Rogers before being turned into a super-soldier assassin by H.Y.D.R.A. However, he was eventually able to overcome his programming with the help of Captain America and King T'Challa in Wakanda. Now a hero in his own right, he has most recently fought against the Flag Smashers alongside Sam Wilson in "The Falcon and the Winter Soldier."

Speaking to Uproxx, Stan revealed that he feels Bucky has earned himself a comfortable death. He said, "Hopefully at this point, it would be in a nice warm bed as a 200-year-old man with a family. That's his way now, I think he's earned that." Of course, that doesn't mean that's how it will go down, and with the character confirmed to be part of the "Thunderbolts" movie, his team-up with the likes of Taskmaster, Red Guardian, and U.S. Agent in 2024 may not be plain sailing (via Polygon).

Exactly what is in store for Bucky following his redemption isn't immediately obvious, so he may end up dying as a way of passing the torch onto a new group of heroes now that his story has been told.