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How Avengers: Endgame Could Bring Back These Dead MCU Characters

"Part of the journey is the end." It's an appropriate tagline for Avengers: Endgame, a movie primed to deal with the fallout of Infinity War. With half of all life in existence wiped out by the snap of a finger, death is guaranteed to be a major focus. But, in a world where all-powerful reality-bending stones have successfully been assembled, when is the end really the end?

We can feel relatively certain that most (if not all) of the unfortunate souls disintegrated by Thanos will be revived by Endgame's finale (at least those who have sequels on the horizon). But what about the heroes and villains we lost on the road to Infinity War? With some serious indications that the fourth Avengers movie will find Earth's Mightiest Heroes traveling through time to undo the devastation, there's no telling who they might encounter during its epic runtime. No character from the Marvel Cinematic Universe's rich history — living or dead — is completely off the table.

Let's take a look at the dearly departed Marvel characters most likely to return from the dead in Avengers: Endgame


The Asgardian God of Mischief has already spent so much of his time in the MCU dying and coming back. He drifted off to his apparent doom at the end of Thor, only to reappear in command of the Chitauri warriors in Avengers. Then, we actually watched him die when he seemingly sacrificed himself for the good of his people in The Dark World. That one didn't take, either. His fate hung in the balance briefly during Ragnarok, but he was eventually found to be living comfortably as a lapdog to the Grandmaster.

With all the times this greasy little possum has faked out his brother (and the audience), it's no surprise that Thanos felt the need to declare that Loki would get "no resurrections this time." It also means we're not entirely ready to believe him. Speculation about Loki's fate has already been so rampant that the Russo brothers have weighed in, seemingly shutting down Loki stans by stating, "Loki is dead."

Well, sure, but will he stay dead? 

Peggy Carter

In many ways, Captain America's Best Girl has been the backbone of the Marvel Cinematic Universe as we know it. Not only did she play a key role in the First Avenger's origin, but as a founding member of S.H.I.E.L.D., she was witness to countless world-changing events. Hayley Atwell's performance as Peggy has always been such a fan-favorite part of the MCU that they just keep finding more uses for her. Not only has she appeared at various ages throughout the Captain America movies, she also fought for the integrity of S.H.I.E.L.D. in the opening scene of Ant-Man, came to Steve Rogers in a Scarlet Witch-induced vision during Age of Ultron, and even headlined her own TV series.

Peggy's death was a turning point in Civil War, and her memory will clearly linger with Steve for the rest of his life. That's why the Endgame trailer finds him gazing wistfully at her picture in a pensive moment. But does this shot have even more significance to the plot? Maybe he's using her portrait to center himself emotionally for the battle ahead... or maybe he's saddling up for a journey into the past and a cosmically romantic reunion. 


Gamora's was the most impactful Infinity War death to happen before the last ten minutes of the movie. The adopted daughter of Thanos (the one he claims to love) was sacrificed by the Mad Titan in order to obtain the power of the Soul Stone. Later, in a surreal vision after his moment of victory, a younger version of her appeared to him to ask if he succeeded and what it cost him. "Everything," he replied.

It's an unusually cerebral moment for a Marvel movie, and we can't be entirely sure upon what level of reality this tiny Gamora ghost exists. We're also still in the dark about some of the Infinity Gauntlet's quirks, like why exactly it seemed to implode upon completion of its task. With Gamora's death so closely and mysteriously tied to the Gauntlet's power, it's impossible to guess what kind of dead she is, and whether her unwilling sacrifice might be somehow undone when Thanos' work is inevitably reversed. 


The Avengers' resident android was the last to fall before the Infinity Gauntlet achieved full power. In fact, he had already nobly sacrificed himself (with the help of his goth girlfriend, Scarlet Witch) to keep the Mind Stone out of Thanos' hands. The Purple One had to use his newly-acquired Time Stone to put his thing down, flip it, and reverse it, bringing back Vision and the rock in his head. Thanos then killed him all over again and took the final stone for himself.

So, Vision has already served as an example of how the very power that wiped out half the universe can be used to bring those lives back. He also has had a far more intimate relationship with the stones than most beings in the universe, having lived with one inside him from the moment he was brought online. Whatever resurrection quest our surviving heroes embark upon in Endgame, this silky-voiced lovebot will surely be a priority for them. He'll probably feel a little guilty about that enormous battle over his wellbeing, but he'll be fine.

The Ancient One

If there's one lesson to be learned from the ending of Infinity War, it's that Doctor Strange is going to be crucial to Thanos' undoing. If there's one lesson to be learned from 2018's Suspiria, it's that Tilda Swinton will pop up when you least expect her. Armed with these two facts, we must consider the possibility of the Ancient One's return in Endgame.

The good doctor may be dust in the wind, but his knowledge of the Avengers' one possible triumphant future means he will remain central to the plot regardless of how long he stays dead. When his mentor shuffled off her mortal coil during the events of Doctor Strange, her final astral-projected moments with her protégé made it clear this was less a death than an ascension to another plane. Her wisdom may yet find its way to our desperate heroes from beyond the veil.

Then again, considering the controversy they courted with the character, Marvel might do best to let sleeping sorcerers lie. 

The lost Asgardians

Thor has probably lost more than any other Avenger. In addition to seemingly having to watch his adopted brother die over and over again, both of his parents have passed away, his three best friends were slain by his sister, his homeworld exploded, and half of the refugees in his care (including his most trusted adviser) were mowed down by Thanos. And let's not forget that eye he gave up. Or the hammer. Look, it's been a rough few movies for Thor.

All of that sacrifice has moved the God of Thunder's story into surprisingly deep emotional territory and given him one of the most poignant character arcs in the MCU. Infinity War found him forging new bonds and harnessing new powers, but are his fallen friends truly behind him forever? The late Odin has already appeared to his son in a vision once before. Heimdall and the Warriors Three, meanwhile, were dispatched to Valhalla with so little fanfare that a proper goodbye would be appropriate, if nothing else. And while we're on the subject of lost Asgardians, where has Sif been all this time?

King T'Chaka

Black Panther raises some very intriguing questions about how Endgame might depict what's happened after all this death and resurrection. T'Challa's spiritual side has been explored more thoroughly than your average movie superhero. In fact, he has already visited his father in the Ancestral Plane. He's a character who has canonically had a specific place waiting for him after death, and presumably, he's there now.

There's no narrative reason to bring T'Chaka back from the dead. Peace has been restored to Wakanda and his son's reign is flourishing... at least, it was before T'Challa was vaporized by Thanos' finger snap. Though he won't return from the Ancestral Plane, he's one of the dead characters most likely to make an appearance in the movie. T'Challa's story is clearly far from over (Marvel isn't likely to let one of their most critically lauded and culturally significant characters stay dead for long), and if we see his return journey from the afterlife to the realm of the living, his father will surely be there as well.

The Guardians' family

"Everybody's got dead people," Rocket Raccoon said in the first Guardians of the Galaxy, bitterly and succinctly summing up a major theme of both that movie and its sequel. Lost loved ones have defined the Guardians characters throughout their time in the MCU, and now, Rocket's the only one of them left standing. If Endgame has any interest in exploring the many was in which its characters deal with loss, it might just do that by showing us all those dead people.

Imagine the bittersweet drama of catching up with Drax in the afterlife, finally reunited with his beloved wife and child, only to see him pulled away once more because his time among the living isn't done yet. Peter Quill has two dead dads, a dead mom, and an inability to let go. Gamora's lost family is the most relevant of all — mowed down by Thanos in a moment that defined her entire life, the ghosts of her real parents could provide a striking contrast to the kind of "love" that left her dashed upon the rocks of the planet Vormir.

Arnim Zola

The Red Skull's right-hand scientist is another MCU character who has already returned from the dead (sort of) and could do so again at any moment. Dr. Zola defected to S.H.I.E.L.D. after World War II, but secretly masterminded the ongoing dominance of Hydra, acting as puppetmaster and pulling strings throughout the entire Marvel Universe. Captain America: The Winter Soldier revealed that he had been living on as a mechanical consciousness embedded in an enormous bank of data tapes since his body died in the '70s.

Zola's brain sacrificed itself in an effort to destroy Captain America and Black Widow by launching a missile at the computer bunker. But we already know that other copies of his mind (or at least parts of it) existed on flash drives in Hydra's possession. There's never been any confirmation that every last trace of him was wiped out, and his enormous archive of secret history would be a valuable resource to the desperate Avengers. Maybe he'll finally take his classic "face in a robot tummy" form. We do know that Marvel's filmmakers have been trying to get him back into the picture — he almost appeared in Ant-Man's '80s flashback.


Brock Rumlow would never have made a shortlist of likely returns in Endgame. First appearing as a minor character in Captain America: The Winter Soldier, he didn't even take on the supervillain mantle of Crossbones until Civil War. Then, he was pretty quickly dispatched in that movie's opening action sequence, taunting Captain America about Bucky's pain before blowing himself up and serving as the last straw in the government's distrust of the Avengers' methods. A significant moment, to be sure, but the character himself was never one of the brightest stars in the MCU firmament. 

But then Frank Grillo, the man beneath Crossbones' DIY helmet, had to go and break Marvel's infamous code of secrecy and drop some hints. During an appearance on the podcast UFC Unfiltered, Grillo announced that Rumlow would indeed be seen one last time. "I'm allowed to say whatever I want because I'm never doing another Marvel movie," he jovially cracked, explaining that the scene in question would be a flashback. Not only is this unlikely face one of the few dead characters confirmed to be appearing in Endgame, we even know how.


James Spader's vocal/motion capture performance as the titular robot was unquestionably a highlight of the otherwise polarizing Avengers: Age of Ultron. Though the movie took great liberties with the character's comic book history, Spader brought a unique energy — simultaneously terrifying and hilarious — with his sinister inflections and bizarre vocal tics. If there's one element of that movie that Marvel fans would be happy to have back in the future, it's probably the Spader-bot.

Of course, Ultron's hundreds of metal bodies were destroyed in the Battle of Sokovia, their surviving parts scattered throughout the scientific black market we witnessed in Spider-Man: Homecoming. But was his essence fully terminated? In the somewhat convoluted plot of Age of Ultron, it was a little unclear just how the villain functioned and what he was up to at any given moment. Bits of his personality may linger in those spare parts or Vision's head or even Tony Stark's equipment. He would certainly be psyched about the half-extinction of the human race, and would be all too eager to taunt Stark about the failures that have left him stranded in space.


It got a little tough to keep track of everything that was happening in Age of Ultron. Remember Quicksilver? Scarlet Witch's brother, Pietro Maximoff? He ran really fast and died protecting Clint Barton from a hail of bullets as Sokovia fell from the sky. It's because of his sacrifice that Fox's X-Men movies get to go on using their own version of Quicksilver and the MCU gets to go on having Hawkeye. Thanks, Pietro.

Seriously, though, even his own sister hasn't brought up Pietro since he died so many movies ago. Marvel fans could be forgiven for forgetting that without him, Endgame wouldn't have Clint swinging around his super cool new sword. With everyone in the movies and the audience having so completely moved on, it doesn't seem terribly likely that Quicksilver will get any sort of resurrection or even flashback (unless he's crashing on Wanda and Vision's couch in the great beyond), but like we said, no one is completely off the table.

Howard and Maria Stark

It's becoming increasingly clear that Endgame will mark the end of the Marvel Cinematic Universe as we've known it since 2008. Contracts are ending, stars are saying goodbye, and the future of the franchise beyond 2019 is shrouded in mystery. The Avengers have (for now) been pared down to the original core team that fought the Battle of New York, and the indications that they'll be going back in time hint that the movie aims to bring the MCU full circle.

This whole sprawling enterprise began with Iron Man (the movie), and Iron Man (the character) began with the death of Tony Stark's parents. Though they were largely glossed over in the first film, Iron Man 2 began to delve into the ways in which Tony was shaped by his father's life and death. Civil War made Howard and Maria Stark an even more indelible thread in the fabric of the MCU, using their murder not only as ongoing motivation for Tony but as a catalyst for conflict between him and Steve Rogers. If Endgame is going to send Stark on a mission through his life's turning points, his parents are almost certain to be featured prominently. A popular fan theory even suggests that revisiting their death could be a major turning point in the undoing of Thanos.

The victims of the Snap

No matter what the Russo brothers tell us, we all know that not all of those deaths in the climax of Infinity War were permanent. Sure, they "mattered," in that the experience won't soon be forgotten by the characters (or fans) of the Marvel Universe. But they are definitely not gone for good — particularly the ones who have sequels and TV series of their very own on the horizon.

So, it's a safe bet that we'll be seeing the return of Spider-Man, Black Panther, Doctor Strange, and all the other disintegrated heroes. What we don't know is just how the survivors will bring about the biggest ctrl+Z in cinema history. The original Infinity Gauntlet comic event had the snap's damage undone after a cosmic game of keep-away involving Thanos, Nebula, and Adam Warlock (who, you may recall, was set up during the end credits of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2). But the movies have already strayed pretty far from the specifics of that original plot (for instance, Thanos' primary motivation is no longer his desire to make out with Death), so everything's up in the air at this point.

What we can guess, based on the first Avengers: Endgame trailer, is that there's still a long road ahead. To find out just where that road will lead — and what surprising faces from the past we might see along the way — we'll just have to wait until April 26.