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Here's Who Lives, Dies and Comes Back to Life in Avengers: Endgame

Eliana Dockterman
Here's Who Lives, Dies and Comes Back to Life in Avengers: Endgame

Warning: This post contains spoilers for Avengers: Endgame.

When Thanos gathered the Infinity Stones so he could snap his fingers and destroy half of all life in the universe in Avengers: Infinity War, many superheroes disappeared. Despite the initial shock, few fans thought they were actually gone for good. After all, characters like Black Panther and Spider-Man had to return for scheduled solo sequels — and the future of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

And indeed, when Avengers: Endgame jumps forward five years after the events of Infinity War, the Avengers have to come up with a way to bring their friends back to life. They figure out how to travel back through time and collect the Infinity Stones for themselves. Hulk uses them to bring back everyone who disappeared half a decade prior just as Thanos jumps forward in time himself and attacks Avengers headquarters. Luckily, all of their dusted compatriots have returned and the group defeats Thanos and his minions.

Their heroics, which are complicated by the mechanics of time travel, mess with the already confusing Marvel timeline: As the Avengers change the past, new, parallel universes branch off, creating new spinoff possibilities for once-dead characters. And, of course, their mission involves some sacrifice — real sacrifice. Several of the original Avengers die in their mission to bring back their disappeared fellow heroes.

Here’s everyone who is dead — like, really dead — alive, and resurrected at the end of Avengers: Endgame.

Here’s who died — for real this time — in Avengers: Endgame

Tony Stark: Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) sacrificed himself in order to save the universe at the end of Avengers: Endgame. He uses all the Infinity Stones to wish Thanos (Josh Brolin) and his army out of existence, but exerts so much strength that he dies in the process. The movie ends with Tony Stark’s funeral, and Captain America (Chris Evans) returns all the Infinity Stones to the places in the timeline where the Avengers stole them from. Nobody will be using the stones to bring Tony back.

Black Widow: When Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) and Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) go to Voramir, they learn from Red Skull that they will have to sacrifice something they love in order to attain the Soul Stone. After an extended fight over which one of them will make the big sacrifice, Black Widow jumps to her death. When Hawkeye returns to Earth, Thor (Chris Hemsworth) suggests they use the Time Stone to bring her back. However, Red Skull told Hawkeye that Black Widow’s death is permanent. Later, the Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) says that he tried to wish Black Widow back into existence when he held the Infinity Stones, but that it wasn’t possible because, as Red Skull confirmed, the magic of the Soul Stone requires a permanent sacrifice. So yes, it seems like she’s gone for good even though Black Widow is finally getting her own spinoff movie; presumably it will be a prequel.

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2014 Nebula: When Nebula (Karen Gillan) and War Machine (Don Cheadle) travel from 2023 to 2014 to retrieve the power stone, 2023 Nebula accidentally sends a message to her 2014 self revealing their mission. Thanos (Josh Brolin) sees this transmission and enlists 2014 Nebula to kidnap 2023 Nebula and replace her. 2014 Nebula then travels back to 2023, masquerading as 2023 Nebula, and pulls Thanos and his army forward in time to attack the Avengers. During the battle with Thanos, 2023 Nebula confronts 2014 Nebula and shoots her. 2014 Nebula dies but 2023 Nebula survives (more on that later).

Here’s who remained dead in Avengers: Endgame

Vision: It seems like the actual deaths — not dustings — that occurred in Avengers: Infinity War are permanent. Thanos crushed Vision’s (Paul Bettany) skull in order to gain the Mind Stone in that movie, and Vision does not return to Avengers: Endgame. Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen) suggests that Vision is permanently dead at the end of the film when she and Hawkeye reminisce over the loss of Vision and Black Widow, respectively. In theory, someone could build a new Vision using the Mind Stone and Jarvis. That’s complicated by the fact that Captain America returned the Mind Stone to its original timeline, and Tony Stark (who is now dead) is probably the only person who could understand how to recreate Vision’s mind.

2018 Gamora: This death, one of the most emotionally resonant from Avengers: Infinity War, turns out to be a bit more complicated. As a refresher: Thanos sacrificed Gamora (Zoe Saldana) during that movie in order to attain the Soul Stone. And that version of Gamora, from 2018, remains dead in this film. However, Thanos travels from 2014 to the future — 2023, to be exact — with Gamora to stop the Avengers from executing their plan. The 2014 Gamora helps to stop Thanos and his minions. It’s unclear, however, if she survives the encounter.

At the end of that battle, Tony Stark wishes all of Thanos’ allies away. Considering that Gamora was fighting on the side of the Avengers, that means that she is probably still alive. She is nowhere to be seen after the battle, but Star Lord (Chris Pratt) begins to search for her once he returns to his ship. Presumably the events of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 will center on the Guardians’ hunt for this old Gamora — and Star-Lord starting up a romance with her, again.

2018 Loki: In the opening scenes of Avengers: Infinity War, Thanos killed Loki (Tom Hiddleston), promising “no resurrections this time.” (The trickster god has a tendency to “die” only to reveal later he faked his death.) Loki fans shouldn’t fret though: When the Avengers travel back to the Battle of New York in 2012, they encounter a 2012 version of Loki. In that timeline, Loki steals the Tesseract and escapes with it. According to an April announcement, we know now that Tom Hiddleston will reprise his role on an upcoming Disney+ show about Loki. The series will likely follow this 2012 version of the character after he escapes the Avengers.

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Heimdall: Thanos and his children murder Thor’s friend Heimdall (Idris Elba) when they invade Thor’s ship. Like other characters who were murdered by Thanos, he does not reappear when Hulk uses the Infinity Stones to bring back those who disappeared.

The Ancient One: The Ancient One (Tilda Swinton) died during Doctor Strange. Though Hulk talked to her when he traveled back to 2012 to retrieve the Time Stone, she did not travel back with him — nor did she come back to life at the end of the film.

Peggy Carter: Peggy Carter (Hayley Atwell) died in Captain America: Civil War before Thanos ever snapped his fingers in Infinity War. She remained dead at the end of Endgame, though Steve Rogers traveled back in time to rekindle their romance and grow old with her.

Here’s who came back to life in Avengers: Endgame

Black Panther/T’Challa: Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman) makes a regal reappearance right when Captain America looks like he’s about to face Thanos alone. Last we saw T’Challa, he was looking over Wakanda with Shuri Letitia Wright) and his mother, Ramonda (Angela Bassett).

Spider-Man/Peter Parker: Spider-Man (Tom Holland) swoops in to help keep the Infinity Stones away from Thanos. He tells Tony Stark that he woke up on the planet where he disappeared, and that Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) helped bring them back to Earth. Later, after Tony Stark’s funeral, we see Peter return to school and wave to his friend Ned. (Ned seems not to have aged five years, which probably means he also disappeared. But half their schoolmates would have stayed on earth, grown up and graduated.)

Doctor Strange/Stephen Strange: Doctor Strange uses his ability to create holes in the space-time continuum to bring all the Marvel characters who once disappeared back in the fight against Thanos after Thanos jumps forward in time to attack the Avengers. We last see Doctor Strange at Tony Stark’s funeral.

Winter Soldier/Bucky Barnes and Falcon/Sam Wilson: Captain America hears Falcon (Anthony Mackie) call “on your left” over his earpiece before all the disappeared Avengers return to help in the fight against Thanos. After the fight, Bucky (Sebastian Stan) and Sam watch as Steve Rogers travels back in time to return the Infinity Stones to previous moments in time. They then spot an old Steve on a bench: He decided to stay in the past and live out his life with Peggy. Steve hands his shield — and Captain America duties — to Sam, as Bucky looks on. Sam and Bucky will reportedly star together in a Disney+ TV series.

Scarlet Witch/Wanda Maximoff: Scarlet Witch takes out her anger on Thanos for killing her boyfriend, Vision, after she returns. She and Hawkeye later reminisce about Black Widow and Vision during Tony’s funeral. Scarlet Witch is set to star in her own television series with Vision on Disney+. Presumably it will be a prequel.

Guardians of the Galaxy: Rocket (Bradley Cooper) was the only Guardian left after Thanos’ snap. All the other Guardians — Star-Lord (Chris Pratt), Groot (Vin Diesel), Drax (Dave Bautista) and Mantis (Pom Klementieff) — return for the final battle against Thanos. Star-Lord tries to embrace the 2014 Gamora who has traveled into the future, but she knees him in the crotch. Remember, this version of Gamora has never met Star-Lord before. Toward the end of the movie all the Guardians board their ship, as does Thor, and Star-Lord tries to search the galaxy for Gamora, who may or may not have survived Tony’s snap.

Nick Fury and Maria Hill: S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Maria Hill (Cobie Smulders) shows up for the battle against Thanos and Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) appears later at Tony Stark’s funeral.

Hope Pym, Hank Pym and Janet Van Dyne: Hope Pym, a.k.a. the Wasp (Evangeline Lilly), returns for the final battle to fight alongside Ant-Man (Paul Rudd). We see her parents, Janet (Michelle Pfeiffer) and Hank (Michael Douglas), returned to life at Tony Stark’s funeral.

Shuri: Shuri (Letitia Wright) returns alongside Black Panther and is flanked by the Wakandan army for the final battle.

Here’s who survived the events of Avengers: Endgame

Captain America/Steve Rogers: After the final fight with Thanos is over, Captain America travels back in time to return the Infinity Stones to the spots where the Avengers stole them from. (E.g. he returns the Time Stone to the Sanctum Sanctorum in 2012.) He decides to stay back in time and live out a quiet life with Peggy. This presumably means that there are two Steve Rogers in this universe: The one who was frozen in the lake, woke up and fights with the Avengers, and the time-traveling one who assumes a secret identity and spends his life with Peggy. It also means that Steve Rogers was married to Peggy all along in a time travel loop — though time travel loops confusingly don’t exist in the rest of the movie. (She mentions a husband in Captain America: Civil War but never by name.) Captain America grows into an old man by 2023 and hands his mantle to Sam.

Thor: Thor decides he no longer wants to rule the Asgardians and passes his former duties to Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson). Presumably, Valkyrie will take Thor’s place in any future superhero team-up movies. Thor then boards the Guardians of the Galaxy’s ship and prepares to take off with them. We can probably expect to see Thor in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3.

Hulk/Bruce Banner: During Endgame, Bruce revealed that he has finally reconciled his two halves — the scientist and the big, green superhero — to create a medium-sized, smart Hulk. It’s unclear if Bruce can or would return to his human form, but we see him at Tony Stark’s funeral, arm in a sling after suffering an injury from using the Infinity Stones, still in his half-Hulk-half-human form. Ruffalo still has two movies left on his Marvel contract. The actor has said he won’t be making a Hulk solo movie, but he could show up in some of Marvel’s unannounced projects.

War Machine/James Rhodes: We get our last shot of War Machine (Don Cheadle) at Tony’s funeral. It’s unclear whether Rhodes would return in the movies as War Machine or even take on the name Iron Man himself.

Rocket: Rocket, the only one of the Guardians who lived through the snap, is reunited with his compatriots on their ship at the end of the movie.

2023 Nebula: 2023 Nebula (Karen Gillan) kills the 2014 version of herself. This has no effect on her 2023 self: Tony Stark explains earlier in the movie that changing actions in the past doesn’t have a butterfly effect in the present but rather creates a new, totally separate timeline. When 2014 Nebula jumped forward in time, she created a new parallel timeline. So 2023 Nebula is killing a parallel version of herself, not an earlier version of herself. Afterwards, Nebula survives the fight against her father and presumably will play some role in the Guardians’ future adventures.

Okoye: Okoye (Danai Gurira) took responsibility for the safety of Wakanda in the five years while T’Challa was gone. She will likely have a major role to play in Black Panther 2.

Ant-Man/Scott Lang: We see Ant-Man reunited with the Wasp and his daughter Cassie, now five years older, at the end of the film. Ant-Man and the Wasp will probably continue to fight crime in a third film based on their story.

Hawkeye/Clint Barton: Hawkeye is back in action — sort of. Clint had gone into retirement during Avengers: Infinity War but became a vigilante warrior after his entire family disappeared during the Snapture. Now that his family is back, he’ll probably return to a relatively peaceful life with them — though he’ll briefly star in a Disney+ television series in which he trains a new Hawkeye and passes on the name to an aspiring hero.

Captain Marvel/Carol Danvers: Captain Marvel (Brie Larson) returns from space to fight against Thanos and easily destroys his ship. We see her at Tony Stark’s funeral with her old pal, Nick Fury, standing behind her. Likely, he’ll try to convince her to stay there. (N.B. the movie never explains how Carol Danvers has seemingly not aged between the 1990s and 2018.)

Pepper Potts: Pepper (Gwyneth Paltrow) sits with Tony as he dies. After the funeral, she’s left to raise their daughter alone. She does have an Iron Man suit though if she wants to use it.

Valkyrie: Thor passes the Asgardian crown to Valkyrie. It’s possible that if another major threat hits Earth, she would take up Thor’s old mantle to protect her people.

Wong: Wong (Benedict Wong) and Doctor Strange reunite during the battle against Thanos. They likely return to the Sanctum Sanctorum.

Happy Hogan: Happy Hogan (Jon Favreau) will probably play a mentorship role to Tony Stark and Pepper Potts’ daughter. (He promises her all the cheeseburgers during the funeral.) He also will appear in Spider-Man: Far From Home, probably as Spider-Man’s liaison to the rest of the superhero world.

Ned: Peter Parker spots his best friend Ned (Jacob Batalon) during his first day back at school. Since it looks as if Ned has not aged, he probably was caught up in the Snapture too, and now has returned.

Here’s who disappeared in Avengers: Endgame

Thanos and all his henchman: Iron Man turns the tables on Thanos: When Tony snaps his fingers, he uses the Infinity Stones to wish Thanos and his minions out of existence.

Here’s who still unaccounted for after Avengers: Endgame

2014 Gamora: The Gamora who traveled with Thanos from 2014 to 2023 helps defeat her father. When Tony snaps his fingers at the end of that battle, Thanos and all his henchman disappear. Since Gamora fought alongside the good guys, she presumably survived. But it’s unclear where she is at the end of the film. Star-Lord tries to look for her on his ship’s navigation system, and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 will probably follow his quest to find her.

The Collector: It’s unclear what happened to the Collector (Benicio del Toro), who possessed the Reality Stone back in Avengers: Infinity War. Thanos took the stone from him, but we don’t know if Thanos killed the Collector or left him alive. He still may play a role in future Guardians movies.

Still from 'Avengers: Endgame' featuring Tony Stark/Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.). | Film Frame—Marvel Studios 2019
Still from 'Avengers: Endgame' featuring Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) and Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner). | Film Frame—Marvel Studios 2019
Still from 'Avengers: Endgame' featuring Rocket (voiced by Bradley Cooper). | Film Frame—Marvel Studios 2019
Still from 'Avengers: Endgame' featuring Black Widow/Natasha Romanoff (Scarlett Johansson) and Captain America/Steve Rogers (Chris Evans). | Film Frame—Marvel Studios 2019
Still from 'Avengers: Endgame' featuring Thor (Chris Hemsworth). | Film Frame—Marvel Studios 2019
Still from 'Avengers: Endgame' featuring War Machine/James Rhodey (Don Cheadle) and Hawkeye/Clint Barton (Jeremy Renner). | Film Frame—Marvel Studios 2019
Still from 'Avengers: Endgame' featuring Nebula (Karen Gillan). | Film Frame—Marvel Studios 2019
Still from 'Avengers: Endgame' featuring Ant-Man/Scott Lang (Paul Rudd). | Film Frame—Marvel Studios 2019
Still from 'Avengers: Endgame' featuring Black Widow/Natasha Romanoff (Scarlett Johansson), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Captain Marvel/Carol Danvers (Brie Larson) and War Machine/James Rhodey (Don Cheadle). | Film Frame—Marvel Studios 2019