Major spoilers ahead, obviously.
In every piece of art, there comes a point when you must eventually kill your darlings—even in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. In its biggest and baddest tentpole, Avengers: Infinity War, Marvel decided to just straight up murder a bunch of characters. We'll eulogize them here and send them on their way out of the franchise that feels like its own kind of infinity war for our time.
But first let's get this out of the way: The plot. Just about every superhero introduced in the 18 (!) prior MCU movies is here. Their goal? Try and stop Thanos, the lilac-hued alien villain from the planet Titan played by Josh Brolin in motion capture, from retrieving all of the Infinity Stones. These incredibly powerful jewels—which allow their possessors to manipulate time, minds, and more—have been been discussed at length in this saga. The gist is that if Thanos gets them all, he can accomplish his goal of making the universe a better place by just doing away with half of the people, in it in what in his murderous mind amounts to a kindly genocide. So Infinity War finds the likes of Doctor Strange joining forces with Spider-Man and Iron Man, while Thor gets together with Rocket Raccoon, all in the effort of stopping this madness.
But Thanos is ruthless and lives are lost. Given that this genre has a habit of bringing heroes back from beyond the grave, we're not getting too misty-eyed just yet. However, some seem more dead than others.
Here, our obituaries for the Avengers characters who have (likely) fought their last war.
Loki (2011 - 2018)
Adopted son of Odin and brother of Thor Loki tried one last act of deception before being strangled by Thanos. Despite his repeated treachery and constantly over-the-top dialogue—"mewling quim," really?—Loki will be mourned by many.
Because he just couldn't help himself, Loki pirated away with the Space Stone before Asgard was obliterated in the fight with Thor's secret sister Hela. His actions thus lead Thanos straight to the Asgardian refugee ships. Mind you, this is the same blue gem that Loki tried to use to conquer Earth in 2012, also at the behest of the big purple guy. Still, our pale friend died heroically, making a well-intentioned but fruitless attempt to trap Thanos by pledging his allegiance.
Loki's life was defined by his constant desire for power and the fact that he never figured out a product that would make his black hair less greasy and Tommy Wiseau-like. He is technically a Frost Giant, but called his home Asgard for many years. He tried to gain control of that planet to no avail before going after Earth. After he couldn't reign over humans, his allegiances began to shift, and he teamed up with his old pal Thor at times to help stop other world-ending threats.
He has died—or at least appeared to die—before. In this instance, however, it seems like he may be actually really truly dead, but who the hell knows.
In another universe he briefly dated Taylor Swift, but, like many endeavors in his life, that was also doomed to fail.
He is survived by his adoptive brother Thor.
Cause of death: Strangled by Thanos after trying to trick him.
Appearances: Thor, The Avengers, Thor: The Dark World, Thor: Ragnarok, Avengers: Infinity War
Gamora (2014 - 2018)
Green Guardian of the Galaxy Gamora was sacrificed by her father, Thanos, in his quest to retrieve the Soul Stone. He was apparently sad about it, but not sad enough to actually not kill Zoe Saldana.
Gamora was adopted by the Titan after he destroyed her people. Throughout her life he forced her to compete for his favor with fher sister Nebula. The two women had a rocky relationship, to say the least. They, in fact, tried to kill each other a bunch, but were on the path to making amends at the time of Gamora's death.
Gamora linked up with her fellow members of the group that would come to be known as the Guardians of the Galaxy while attempting to steal an orb containing the Power Stone in an effort to betray Ronan the Accuser. A serious-minded alien, she was at times frustrated by the '70s rock- and Footloose-loving antics of fellow Guardian Peter Quill, a.k.a. Star-Lord, but their mutual attraction was also incredibly obvious.
She is survived by her true love Chris Pratt and her sister, Nebula, who also has daddy issues.
Cause of death: Pushed over a cliff by Thanos to get the Soul Stone.
Appearances: Guardians of the Galaxy, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Avengers: Infinity War
Vision (2015 - 2018)
Vision—whose body was initially designed for super-villain AI Ultron but eventually turned out to be a rather lovely British android—was killed twice in battle. First, his lover Wanda Maximoff destroyed the Infinity Stone in his head to prevent Thanos from retrieving it, thereby allowing him to sacrifice himself. But, unfortunately, Thanos then turned back time and plucked it out mercilessly, so all that emotional trauma was for zip.
A smooth red synthetic being intended for world domination, Vision became himself (via Paul Bettany) when The Avengers re-engineered him, giving him the consciousness of Iron Man's old computer butler J.A.R.V.I.S. Vision became a useful ally, and developed a special bond with Wanda, making her paprikash when Tony Stark forbade her leave the Avengers mansion. He doesn't actually eat food but his taste of her home won Wanda's approval.
The couple jetted off to Scotland to see if they could make their relationship work despite the fact that he is not actually a real person and that they have less chemistry than Captain America and Bucky Barnes. (Also, Vision's anatomical features remain very much in question.) Apparently it was going well when Thanos's lackeys came to retrieve the Mind Stone.
He is survived by Wanda and, we guess, by the Mind stone itself?
Cause of death: Well, he kind of died twice. First, after his girlfriend Scarlet Witch destroyed his infinity stone. Then, after Thanos took it from him.
Appearances: Avengers: Age of Ultron, Captain America: Civil War, Avengers: Infinity War
Heimdall (2011 - 2018)
Asgard's first line of defense Heimdall, prophetic loyal friend of god of thunder Thor, was rudely murdered by one of Thanos's minions. After having just played a pivotal role in protecting his citizens during their recent conflict with Hela, Heimdall was one of the victims when the angry multiple-butt-chin came to claim the Tesseract, which unfortunately was in Loki's possession. In a valiant last act, Heimdall opened the bifrost and sent Hulk plummeting back to Earth, and then was promptly slaughtered. It frankly seems unfair, but, to be honest, this character was almost always an afterthought and a true waste of Idris Elba.
He is survived by Idris Elba, a real life superhero.
Cause of death: Opened the bifrost to send Hulk back to Earth. Promptly stabbed by one of Thanos' henchmen.
Appearances: Thor, Thor: The Dark World, Avengers: Age of Ultron, Thor: Ragnarok, Avengers: Infinity War
Black Panther, Bucky Barnes, Star-Lord, Groot, Scarlet Witch, Falcon, Spider-Man, Mantis, Drax, Doctor Strange, Nick Fury, Maria Hill
(But not really.)
Some of the galaxy's greatest heroes evaporated when Thanos decided to wipe out half of the population in an homage to The Leftovers, with a flick of his King Arthur glove. Among them were T'Challa, aka Black Panther, who recently started an outreach program for his technologically advanced nation, Wakanda; a friendly neighborhood Spider-Man hailing from Queens; Most of the ragtag group known as the Guardians of the Galaxy, including beloved tree teen Groot; surgeon-turned-wizard Doctor Strange; formerly brainwashed WWII veteran Bucky Barnes; Wanda Maximoff a.k.a. Scarlet Witch; and winged Avenger Falcon. S.H.I.E.L.D. veterans Nick Fury and Maria Hill also disappeared.
Let's take a brief moment to wallow in sadness, and then get over it because it's easy to assume that most of these guys and gals are going to be back soon enough. (Announced sequels for some of their films are a pretty good clue.)
Cause of death: Dissolving into nothingness.
Appearances: Too many.