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Who will die in Captain America: Civil War?

(Image credit: Marvel)

Which Civil War superhero won't make it?

Compared to the grimdark Batman v Superman, Captain America: Civil War looks to be a positively sunshine-y affair. And yet, a black cloud hovers over the movie; not all of The Avengers will pull through Cap's third adventure. Something we know thanks to the Russo brothers' generous spilling of the beans. It's safe to say the future of the Marvel Cinematic Universe is going to be a very different place once the death knell rings out over this epic battle. 

And so, to try and curb the inevitable pain and anguish of losing a beloved Avenger, we're attempting to figure out who might bite it in advance. No, it's not morbid. It's called being prepared. We've scoured the trailers. We've nitpicked interviews. We've analysed a lot of rumors. Here's the rundown on each of the main superheroes’ chances of survival, and just in case we're right on the money with these guesses - SPOILER ALERT!

Steve Rogers aka Captain America

Cap can't die, can he? This is a guy who was kept, literally, on ice for decades and then didn't really get in a bad mood afterwards. There's no-one like Steve Rogers in the MCU, which would make his death an even bigger shock to those who haven't read the original comics. In that storyline, Cap surrenders to the government, and is shot by Crossbones before a brainwashed Sharon Carter finishes him off. One cut of the movie is rumored to exist where Cap survives, while another ends with Crossbones killing him. The problem with Cap dying is... Chris Evans still has more movies left on his Marvel contract, including Infinity War.

Verdict: After what Zack Snyder pulled with Batman v Superman this is a toughie... 85% certain he'll live? 

Tony Stark aka Iron Man

Civil War finds Tony Stark in the unenviable position of fighting against a long-time comrade. It won't be easy. He'll probably get his heart broken, he could lose a friend to the horrors of war and he will come very close to getting shot in the face... but will he die? No. Robert Downey Jr. may have amassed a small fortune playing Tony Stark, but there'll always be room for another Maserati in the collection. Even though he's sworn off a potential Iron Man 4 on numerous occasions, he's still contracted for the two-part Infinity War. Oh, and he's just been confirmed for the Spider-Man spin-off. Need I go on?

Verdict: Iron Man? Dead? Nah.

Natasha Romanoff aka Black Widow

Because Scarlett Johansson's contractual obligations aren't out in the open like the other Avengers, we can't harness the power of legal documents to help with this one. Black Widow's been through the wringer, let's just say that. And she's still not got her own toy line. But anyway. We know she's not on good terms with Stark in the movie, and looks to be up to more death-defying stunts, so who knows, maybe she gets inadvertently offed in the end battle? Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige continues to get all cagey whenever talk of a potential Black Widow spin-off movie comes up. Is that perhaps because he knows something we don't? 

Verdict: Savor Scarlett, folks. There's a strong chance she might not survive.

Clint Barton aka Hawkeye

Age of Ultron threw us a curve ball when it dipped into Clint Barton's past. Uh-oh, a loving family and picturesque homestead? It was as if Joss Whedon was saying "Oh yeah, I'll show you his family, alright -- and THEN I'LL KILL HIM!" As evidenced by his inclusion on this list, that didn't happen. Still, there's a chance Hawkeye is up for the chop this time. He might possess skills - archery, spouting intertextual guff - but he's not a leader like Tony or Cap. If he perishes, Team Cap continues. This might be why Black Widow shows her anger towards Tony and is rumored to defect to Cap's team. To avenge Hawkeye's moidah.

Verdict: With Jeremy Renner's contract up in the air... it's not looking good is it?

James Rhodes aka War Machine

Iron Man's buddy hasn't had an easy go of it in the trailers. That shot of a helmetless Tony Stark cradling a severely injured James Rhodes is like watching a disbelieving Bambi staring at his mother's corpse. That's not to say Rhodey will actually meet a nasty end - there's talk that one Avenger will appear to be killed but it's later revealed that they only sustained a hideous injury. That seems much more likely. Showing him all beat up is too much of a red herring, there's no way Marvel's marketing team would chuck in a HUGE spoiler like that. Is there?

Verdict: Eh, unlikely.

Bucky Barnes aka The Winter Soldier

Introduced way back in The First Avenger, Bucky's mythology took time to establish. And with good reason, too. For any of Cap's angst to mean anything, we had to know what he'd lost. Bucky's purpose has been as a motivational carrot for Rogers - whether he's 'dead' or revived as an unstoppable killing machine. Civil War promises a return to some semblance of normality for him (i.e. he'll stop being a Terminator and be Bucky again), and it's possible that cinematic Bucky will follow in the footsteps of comic Bucky: and take up the Captain America mantle after Steve Rogers dies. He's still going to get the crap beaten out of him; and even lose an arm, by the looks of it.

Verdict: There's no way Bucky will die - Sebastian Stan is signed on for nine movies. 

Sam Wilson aka Falcon

Falcon is Cap's right-hand man. He's dependable, loyal... basically, he's like a flying labrador. The Avengers need a guy like this to carry on fighting the good fight, as a brand new line-up of Earth's Mightiest Heroes is introduced for Infinity War. Anthony Mackie, who's proven he can hold his own outside of the group in Ant-Man, is a solid choice to push on should someone like... oh, Cap, for instance, die at the end. Rumors persist that Mackie did indeed shoot a death scene in the film, so who knows?

Verdict: Probably about 50/50 on this one.

Peter Parker aka Spider-Man

This would really irk the fans. Introducing a new Peter Parker, one that's reportedly the finest ever big screen depiction of the webslinger, only to have him slain in his first Avengers battle. Seeing as Sony also has dibs on the little fella, it's unlikely that the studios went to all the trouble to locate a perfect actor in Tom Holland, only for him to play Spider-Man once. Besides, he's got a brand new trilogy to headline starting with next year's Spider-Man: Homecoming.

Verdict: Zero chance of Parker meeting his maker. This is only his first MCU movie.

T'Challa aka Black Panther

Much like Spidey, Black Panther makes his Marvel Cinematic Universe debut in Civil War. He's a much-loved character is T'Challa, the Wakandan Prince, and it's taken years to get him to the screen. He's set to do battle against Team Cap, and by the trailers alone, we know he's got major beef with Bucky. Will his vibranium costume save him from the Winter Soldier's frenzy of bullets? Well, yeah, actually. That's also in the trailer. However you slice it, it's just ridiculously unlikely that Black Panther will die now. In his first movie.

Verdict: Chadwick Boseman has a five-movie contract with Marvel, so this one's a no. 

Wanda Maximoff aka Scarlet Witch

The surviving Maximoff twin is a strong contender for the chop. She's believed to have a rather interesting dynamic with Vision in Civil War, which is all the more Romeo and Juliet-esque because she sides with Team Cap, while he sides with Team Iron Man. It definitely borrows from the comics, where the pair engage in a full-on romance. If that element carries on into the movie, that blissful union may get ruined as Scarlet Witch is rumored to die during a final tussle with Helmut Zemo. This syncs up with talk of The Vision joining Cap's crew and then jetting off into space. Presumably to get some. (Space, that is. He'd be too traumatised for nookie.)

Verdict: Say goodbye to your leetle weetch friend.

Scott Lang aka Ant-Man

There's barely any evidence to support a theory that Ant-Man will die in the movie. Perhaps the only idea worth briefly entertaining is his ability to shrink and expand. One fatal moment in the middle of the Civil War comic finds Goliath killed, a big guy in case you hadn't figured it out, and so Scott Lang could be his MCU ‘substitute’. Yeah, it's pushing it. Even though some folks think the MCU will be better without Scott Lang (fools!), if it does happen? It won't be for years.

Verdict: Ant-Man die? You've got a better chance putting toothpaste back into the tube. He's returning for his own sequel next year.

Vision aka The Vision

Now that Vision has discovered Urban Outfitters, there's no way he can die. The Russos confirm that he plays a pivotal role in the movie, and that comic fans might be able to guess what that is. Without going into details, it means he'll be around for the final Civil War battle. That 'pivotal' thing he does is thought to be a response to Scarlet Witch's demise, so, it's unlikely he'll die along with her. Besides witch (ahem), he's also rumored for otherworldly adventures in future Marvel movies. That Infinity Stone he's got embedded in his forehead might be of interest to a certain Mad Titan of the MCU as well. 

Verdict: Don't rule it out entirely, but it's looking unlikely.

Gem Seddon is GamesRadar+'s west coast Entertainment News Reporter, working to keep all of you updated on all of the latest and greatest movies and shows on streaming platforms like Netflix and Amazon Prime. Outside of entertainment journalism, Gem can frequently be found writing about the alternative health and wellness industry, and obsessing over all things Aliens and Terminator on Twitter.