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‘Endgame’: Which Avenger is most likely to kill Thanos?

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Spoiler alert: This article includes information from trailers and teasers for “Endgame” along with the other Avengers movies, including “Infinity War” and “Captain Marvel.” If you are not up to date with those movies and don’t wish to have those plot points revealed, then it’s time to leave this article.

Thanos has to die.

Right?

After decimating the universe’s population in “Infinity War,” he seemed only to begin to tap into the power of the gauntlet, jeweled with six Infinity Gems that control space, mind, reality, power time and soul. In essence, he has infinite power when wielding those stones properly. He will only get better at using their full power while the Avengers, who are regrouping after losing roughly half their members, determine a new plan to kill the Titan.

The assumption is that they’ll figure out how to take down Thanos, largely because this is a superhero series and good always trumps evil. But how will the Avengers defeat Thanos? And who will do it? Here are some thoughts.

8. Nebula

She’s worth including on this list because of her backstory — she’s fueled by emotion. Thanos tortured her for years by “upgrading” her with new parts to increase her abilities as a warrior (and creating an inferiority complex in the process). Then the Mad Titan killed Nebula’s sister Gamora in “Avengers: Infinity War” in order to get the Soul Stone. But Nebula has always been a fringe Avenger, which lessens her chances of killing her adopted father.

7. The Hulk

He’s powerful physically, of course. In theory, he has the brawn to defeat Thanos. But this fight might just be about brains. The Gauntlet allows Thanos to bypass the physical abilities of the Avengers. And Hulk’s powers reside almost exclusively in his physical power. He’s got an outside chance at delivering the final punch, but he’s hardly the most likely Avenger to kill Thanos.

6. Captain America

Chuck Zlotnick, Marvel Studios

His fighting style isn’t amendable to killing people. He has a shield, which is great for parrying and throwing. But it doesn’t seem like the kind of weapon that could do damage to Thanos. The one way it could hurt the Titan is by reflecting some sort of power from Thanos’ gauntlet back at him. But if that power is enough to kill Thanos, wouldn’t it be enough to destroy Captain America’s shield?

Cap will definitely have a major role in defeating Thanos. But his shield (or fist) probably won’t deliver the fatal blow.

5. Thor

In “Avengers: Infinity War,” Thor managed to get his hammer into Thanos, which apparently injured the him. Thanos was maimed at the end of the movie — Thor came away from the fight unharmed.

Thor’s a god. Thanos is a Titan. This seems like a fitting clash, and Thor’s fighting credentials are better than almost everyone else in the multiverse.

4. All of them

Film Frame, Marvel Studios

They’re a team. It would make sense that the whole team plays some part in killing the Mad Titan. This answer is a bit of a copout — because it’s otherwise a list of exploring which individuals could beat Thanos — but it’s also a realistic option.

3. Captain Marvel

With her fighter-pilot cockiness, she’ll probably try and fail to take on Thanos by herself — kind of like Anikan Skywalker tried and failed to take on Count Dooku. For those unfamiliar with Star Wars, Anikan’s master Obi Wan cautions: “We’ll take him together.” Anikan doesn’t heed the advice, trying to fight the Count on his own. Due to that arrogance, Anikan loses his hand, and puts Obi Wan’s life in danger.

Captain Marvel seems to underestimate Thanos from the moment she joins the Avengers, as shown in one of the trailers. In battle, she might do the same. But this movie is over three hours long. There’s opportunity to stage two different battles against Thanos. Perhaps she loses the first, and comes away wiser for the second bout, when she succeeds in killing Thanos.

Captain Marvel ranks above Thor, because she seems to be getting groomed to lead next generation of Avengers. Killing Thanos would help Avengers-in-training rally behind her.

2. Ant Man

Ben Rothstein, Marvel Studios

The quantum realm, an unexplored and magical dimension, is filled with infinite possibility. That realm could prove to be the solution to Thanos’ power. And Ant Man has access to it by shrinking to subatomic size.

The thing about the quantum realm, however, is that we don’t know much about it. Doctor Hank Pym, a scientist in the Ant Man movies, says it is “a reality where all concepts of time and space become irrelevant as you shrink for all eternity.” But there’s more to it. What exactly, we don’t know.

As mentioned, the Avengers might end up in more than one bout with Thanos during “Avengers: Endgame.” One of those fights could be physical, where they will probably lose. One of those fights could be metaphysical. Perhaps Ant Man can navigate the quantum realm to manipulate time and space to give the Avengers a fighting chance. Maybe he’ll go back in time to stop “The Snap” from happening. Maybe he’ll recruit Avengers from the past or future. Maybe he’ll find some sort of weaponized particle.

But Ant Man’s appearance in the credit scenes seems to hold major significance for the coming Avengers movie.

1. Iron Man

Iron Man seems like the kind of character who is burdened by survival and feels he needs to die to save the rest. Tony Stark’s conscience is heavy — you can see it every time he tries to keep Spiderman from joining the Avengers. Stark doesn’t wish this life upon anyone, in part because of what it does to relationships (see: Pepper Potts) and in part because of the mortality involved in this line of work (see: half the galaxy’s death, including that of Spiderman).

Because of Stark’s protectiveness for the younger generation, he strikes me as the man who might be willing to give his life in the act of killing Thanos. A sacrifice to bring back Peter Parker, who died telling Stark, “I don’t want to go.” It would also be thematically compelling if Stark and Captain America somehow joined forces — setting aside their differences — and finished off the vicious and powerful Titan, Thanos.

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