With Marvel Studios likely/possibly having shown what it’s going to show from Avengers: Endgame with the release of a short clip showing the Avengers and Captain Marvel planning to take the fight to Thanos, it might be time for a last round of speculation before we all promise not to spoil it for one another.
We do promise not to spoil it for one another, don’t we?
One question making the rounds on the Twitterverse is who is going to deliver the final blow to Thanos, with a lot of speculation surrounding Carol Danvers. One half of Twitter seems jazzed at the prospect of this powerful new female hero taking Thanos down.
The other half of Twitter seems concerned with her just debuting last month she hasn’t earned her place in the MCU to play such a pivotal role in the final act of the previous 22 films.
Yes, Twitter is divided, hard to believe, huh?
But we have our own ideas who is going to land the knockout punch, so totally recognizing the fact that Joe and Anthony Russo have probably been F-ing with our minds all along and NONE of us have any idea who will take down Thanos, or if Thanos will even be taken down at all, here’s our attempt at handicapping the odds.
Will it be Thor, with Stormbreaker, in the Library?
Yeah, it’s his life’s mission to kill Thanos now that Ronan is out of the picture, but no (and assuming he comes back to life sometime during Endgame), he’s going to have to find a new aspirational goal when someone else does the deed.
Maybe pursue that quirky flirtation with Mantis they got going on.
Captain Marvel: 100-1
Well, we don’t know about not having earned it, but we do think it might be a little too much too soon for Captain Marvel
It could come off as something of a deux ex machina if Carol swoops in having never been present in any Infinity Stones story leading up to Endgame to save the day.
Marvel Studios has assembled a pretty straightforward narrative here and there are any number of established themes and story arcs that make a lot more sense than letting the brand new Avenger do it.
She may be the future of the MCU, which we’re all for, but we don’t think she’s the present yet.
Thor or the Hulk: 50-1
Within the Big Six original Avengers are the Big Four - the solo stars and arguably biggest Marvel names that preceded the original gathering of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes.
Any one of them would be a worthy candidate, but Odinson already had his shot and didn’t go for the head. We don’t think he’s going to get another crack at it.
And the Hulk might get another shot at hand-to-hand with Thanos after getting his green ass kicked in Infinity War, but nothing up to this point equals him getting the honors.
Captain America: 25-1
You can never count the Sentinel of Liberty out, and Thanos’ slight indication of surprise and respect when Steve pushed back against Thanos’ fist in Wakanda sets up an interesting dynamic.
It would be something of poetic justice for a cosmic Titan to be taken down by a guy who only flirts with superhuman abilities and is considered the best leader and hero in whatever room he’s in, but Cap delivering a death blow solo doesn’t seem like his thing.
Here’s where things start getting interesting. There’s also some narrative poetry in Gamora somehow returning from the dead and getting a measure of bittersweet revenge upon her adopted dad.
Thanos, in fact, would likely want it to be her, given his warped sense of ethics, potentially turning what could be a typical superhero moment into a more layered one. And Gamora did kill Thanos recently in comic books.
But we still think Endgame is going to be decided by one of the main players.
Iron Man: 15-1
Yes, despite the prequels First Avenger and Captain Marvel, we all know Tony Stark is both the real first and the lynchpin hero of the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe. It would be totally fitting if Robert Downey Jr. gets to close out the first super-phase of the MCU as he began it, in what may be his final performance as Iron Man.
The first Endgame trailer mostly rests on his shoulders, and his quote “Part of the journey is the end” might be foreshadowing for that final, pivotal moment.
We seriously vacillated between making her the top choice. No, she’s never been a main player in any MCU film, but her surviving when all the other Guardians but Rocket were ‘Snapped’ seems to indicate Marvel Studios’ love for the character and a recognition of her place in the grand scheme of things.
There would be a total Shakespearean tragedy element to Thanos being felled by Nebula. Like many classic villains, he’d essentially be the architect of his own downfall, creating her but never loving her like he did Gamora - only torturing, abusing and ignoring her.
Nebula is seen ready to go into battle in the second trailer, and her delivering the shot would be a classic literary climax, giving Josh Brolin one hell of a death scene to play when he realizes who did it and why, and how he’s responsible for his own demise.
Thanos would probably appreciate the irony.
All the Avengers: 2.5-1 (updated: see below)
Marvel Studios films have a theme. Visually it’s writer/director Joss Whedon’s first shot panning around the team when they’re all together for the first time in the third act of Avengers.
He crafted a similar frame at the beginning Age of Ultron and staged an epic group shot at the end in the Sokovian church.
In words (also from Age of Ultron) the theme is that they do things “together”.
Live or die, fail or succeed - “together.”
This is what the Avengers films and Civil War have all set up.
Avengers formed the team. Age of Ultron showed some cracks. Civil War split them apart. Infinity War and Endgame are about them reuniting and accomplishing the impossible “together.”
We don’t know if or when we’ll ever see most of the original six again. It looks like we’ll get to see Scarlett Johansson again in Black Widow (and as a quick aside, Jeremy Renner makes a ton of sense for that film) but that’s likely a prequel.
It may or may not involve more than the original six, but we suspect whatever or whoever it is that ultimately stops or kills Thanos, it’ll be done mostly as a unit with the original six there for it.
That’s where this story has all been headed all along, if we’ve been watching and listening.
Update: The original six Avengers are now gracing individual variant covers of this week's Entertainment Weekly. No one else, just the original six.
We're bumping our odds down from 3-1 to 2.5 to 1.