MCU deaths in order: Every major Marvel character who has died (so far)

Sometimes saving the world comes at a great price. Here is every major character who has died in the MCU so far.

Marvel's Captain America: Civil War..Iron Man/Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.)..Photo Credit: Film Frame..© Marvel 2016
Marvel's Captain America: Civil War..Iron Man/Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.)..Photo Credit: Film Frame..© Marvel 2016 /

Superhero stories are known for featuring iconic characters, fast-paced action sequences, and a few touches of humor. However, we often forget there's a tragic nature intrinsic to them as well. Almost every origin story is tied to loss and suffering, proving that becoming a hero requires big sacrifices. That has been showcased time and time again throughout the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Audiences have seen many important characters bite the dust on the big screen. Whether they are the people closest to the characters we know and love, recurring villains who want to take over the world, or even the heroes of the story themselves. No one is truly safe in a world where gods, witches, and powerful beings often clash with each other. So it's time to look at all the major MCU deaths we've witnessed in order so far.

MARVEL'S AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D. - ABC's "Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." stars Clark Gregg as Director Phil Coulson. (ABC/Kurt Iswarienkio ) /

1. Phil Coulson

Before the premiere of the first Avengers movie, audiences had already seen a couple of minor characters bite the dust on the MCU. Ho Yensen - the man who saved Tony Stark's life in a cave - was the first in a long list of people who would meet their fate sooner rather than later. But it wasn't until 2012 that the first key Marvel character would suffer from a terrible fate.

What would bring Earth's Mightiest Heroes together if not a tragic event? Phil Coulson's death at the hands of Loki needed to happen so that the Avengers could unite in the MCU's first big crossover. Granted, he would be later resurrected to appear as a recurring character in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. But that doesn't take away from the fact Phil Coulson's life was the price to be paid in order to save the world from a dreadful alien invasion.

Marvel's Guardians Of The Galaxy..Groot (voiced by Vin Diesel)..Ph: Film Frame..©Marvel 2014 /

2. Groot

The MCU always seems to come up with clever ways to keep using important characters who died at an earlier point in history. The first (and perhaps best) example of that is the death and re-appearance of Groot.

Back in 2014 when The Guardians of the Galaxy premiered, audiences witnessed a heart-breaking event when the beloved hero paid the ultimate price to save his friends. Before the impending explosion of Ronan The Accuser's ship - the Dark Aster - Groot used himself as a shield to protect the rest of the guardians from the blast. While his plan worked, that decision unfortunately cost him his life.

Not everything was grim, however, as Rocket was able to rescue one of Groot's twigs, plant it, and subsequently grow another version of the branched hero. So, yes, Groot is technically still alive and well in the MCU. Just not the original Groot, that is, who remains dead to this very date.

Marvel's Avengers: Age Of Ultron..Quicksilver/Pietro Maximoff (Aaron Taylor-Johnson)..Ph: Film Frame..©Marvel 2015 /

3. Quicksilver

The MCU is well-known for giving its titular heroes multiple projects and sequels to appear in. But there's one big exception in the form of Quicksilver, who did not overstay his welcome in the slightest.

When Avengers: Age of Ultron premiered in 2015, we were treated to a relentless version of Ultron who wanted to start the world anew in his image. Fortunately, Earth's Mightiest Heroes were able to stop him before that happened, even if that meant Pietro Maximoff had to pay the ultimate price to do so. The speedster sacrificed himself without hesitation to save the lives of Hawkeye and a defenseless kid from being shot, proving he was really a hero even if the beginning of the movie indicated otherwise.

Not only was that a tragic event itself, but it also had huge ramifications for Wanda Maximoff who would later take a complete town hostage as a result of her many losses (Quicksilver included). Perhaps Pietro didn't have enough screen time to become a fan favorite for MCU fans, but his death still has repercussions to this very date without a doubt.

MARVEL’S AGENT CARTER – “Pilot” – It’s 1946 and peace has dealt Agent Peggy Carter (Hayley Atwell), a serious blow as she finds herself marginalized when the men return home from fighting abroad. Working for the covert SSR (Strategic Scientific Reserve), Peggy finds herself stuck doing administrative work when she would rather be back out in the field, putting her vast skills into play and taking down the bad guys. But she is also trying to navigate life as a single woman in America, in the wake /

4. Peggy Carter

By losing sixty years of his life trapped under the ice, Steve Rogers had to endure the pain of realizing everybody close to him during the war was either dead or incredibly old once he finally woke up in the present. The latter was the case for the love of his life - Peggy Carter - who shared a short time with him in the modern day before passing away in 2016's Captain America: Civil War.

Even if Peggy's funeral was incredibly painful for Steve, it also gave him the strength to stand his ground and fight against the whole world to protect his best friend Bucky Barnes. Better yet, Peggy would still have a prominent role in subsequent MCU projects following her death. Such was the case for Avengers: Endgame, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, and What If...?

5. Howard Stark

Audiences got to know Tony Stark as an orphan from the very first moment he was introduced on the big screen. But even if his parents died long before the events of the first Iron Man movie, that didn't stop Howard Stark from having a prominent role in many MCU projects. After all, he aided in giving Captain America his powers in Captain America: The First Avenger and also came at odds with Hank Pym in the first Ant-Man movie. Besides, we can't forget how much of an important figure he was through the entire Iron Man trilogy.

So when 2016 came and Captain America: Civil War premiered, it was an unpleasant surprise to see how Howard's death came to be. Audiences were shocked to learn that Bucky Barnes - the Winter Soldier himself - was brainwashed into killing Tony's parents. Worst yet, Steve knew about that horrifying truth but kept it a secret from Iron Man for who knows how many years (No wonder Tony proceeded to beat both of them afterward). Still, it wouldn't be the last we ever saw of Howard Stark on the big screen since he would later appear in Avengers: Endgame to help bring Tony's arc to an end (but more on that later).

Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2..Yondu (Michael Rooker)..Ph: Chuck Zlotnick..©Marvel Studios 2017 /

6. Yondu

When Yondu was first introduced in Guardians of The Galaxy, he wasn't a nice guy per se. In fact, he was one of the reasons Star Lords's backstory proved to be so tragic. Peter Quill was just a small child when he lost his mother and later his home planet after being abducted by aliens. To make matters worse, he was raised by Yondu, who just so happened to be a manipulative paternal figure. A background like that is terrible enough to turn anyone into a superhero.

What we didn't know, however, is that Yondu was just trying to save that little kid's life. So it made it all the way more tragic when audiences finally got to see a different side to him - a better and kinder side - just for his life to be taken away. Many MCU characters had died prior to the release of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 in 2017, but this one felt like the first big loss we had in the interconnected universe of heroes. At least he went out with a bang, earning the definite title of Mary Poppins along the way.

7. Odin

Let's face it, superheroes need to have tragic backstories. That's kind of their thing. But who in the MCU has suffered the most? Well, there are many potential candidates. Peter Quill was forced out of his home world, Iron Man lost both of his parents, and Scarlett Witch had to keep living without her brother, making them all great choices. However, Thor lost all of those things and more, proving he's one of the clear winners (or at least within the top 3) without a doubt.

Thor: Ragnarok stripped its titular character away from everything he held near and dear starting with Odin. On the bright side, the All-Father was surrounded by his two sons before his death, making for a peaceful and somewhat beautiful passing. But even then he was such a key figure in previous Thor movies that it was heart-wrenching to see him go. And even if death was a low blow, the worst for the God of Thunder was still yet to come.

Thor: Ragnarok
Marvel Studios' THOR: RAGNAROK..Heimdall (Idris Elba)..Ph: Teaser Film Frame..©Marvel Studios 2017 /

8. Heimdall

Before 2018 came, many fans felt like the MCU lacked a sense of true danger or impending doom. Granted, there were already seven "major" deaths by that point, but none of them were impactful aside from Yondu's. Agent Coulson was brought back to life in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., another version of Groot was born to take his place within the Guardians of The Galaxy, and Howard Stark was already dead before the events of Iron Man 1. However, that all changed when Avengers: Infinity War premiered and broke our collective hearts in more ways than one.

From the very beginning of the movie, Thanos made it clear he was a force to be reckoned with. The ruthless supervillain took out two major MCU characters in less than five minutes, the first of which was Heimdall. Fortunately (or unfortunately, depending on how you choose to see it) deaths in Marvel movies are rarely permanent. As a result, Heimdall returned once again in the post-credits scene of Thor: Love and Thunder. Granted, that sequence took place in Valhalla which technically means he's still dead. But it wouldn't surprise us if it isn't the last we see of Heimdall on the big screen.

LOKI Season 2 ending
Tom Hiddleston as Loki in Marvel Studios' LOKI, Season 2, exclusively on Disney+. Photo courtesy of Marvel Studios. © 2023 MARVEL. /

9. Loki

How do you make audiences fear a new villain? Well, one common way to do it is by having him kill an established bud guy to prove his superiority. And wouldn't you know it, but that's exactly what happened at the beginning of Avengers: Infinity War.

Thanos snapped Loki's neck right in front of Thor, bringing the God of Mischief's story to an end (at least for a while). That moment alone let everyone in the movie theater know their favorite MCU characters were not safe anymore. Anyone could meet his end, and that sense of uneasiness is what made Infinity War one of the most memorable Marvel movies ever.

It can be argued that the third Avengers installment didn't prove to be so tragic after all, as only two major deaths in it were "permanent". Every hero who turned to dust from the blip was eventually brought back to life, Heimdall is still roaming somewhere within Valhalla, White Vision replaced its predecessor, and Gamora had an alternate version of herself take her place. That later scenario also applied to Loki, who would go on to have a series of his own in Disney+. Still, we had no way of knowing any of those things would happen when first watching the movie and, for a brief moment, the MCU seemed like a really dangerous place.

Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2..Gamora (Zoe Saldana)..Ph: Film Frame..©Marvel Studios 2017 /

10. Gamora

Retrieving the Soul Stone comes at a great price."A soul for a soul", as the movie would put it. In order to earn it, you'd need to sacrifice that which you love the most. And for Thanos' case, that was his adoptive daughter Gamora.

While the MCU's version of The Deadliest Woman in the Galaxy did permanently die, we need to remember there are many different galaxies scattered across the multiverse. As a result, another version of Gamora ended up taking her place in our world after the events of Avengers: Endgame. That allowed for a pretty interesting plot in Guardians of The Galaxy Vol. 3, where Peter Quill tried to earn her love again but couldn't do so since she was a completely different person. It was a deep arc that wouldn't have happened if Thanos hadn't taken her daughter out of the picture ever so briefly.

Paul Bettany as Vision in Marvel Studios’ WANDAVISION. Photo courtesy of Marvel Studios. ©Marvel Studios 2021. All Rights Reserved. /

11. Vision

So far, we've talked about how Thanos was behind three major deaths in the MCU. So let's make it four, shall we? The Mad Titan had one major problem to overcome on his quest to obtain all six Infinity Stones. Unfortunately for him, one of them was under Vision's protection.

The Mind Stone was infused in the android's forehead since his creation in Avengers: Age of Ultron. Removing it would also mean putting an end to his life, and Earth's Mightiest Heroes knew it. Unfortunately, it was also their only viable option to stop Thanos in his mission to erase half of the universe's life. So when the time came and Thanos arrived at Wakanda in his pursuit of the Infinity Stone, the Scarlet Witch was forced to destroy it along with the love of her life.

Unfortunately, things did not go as planned. The Mad Titan used the Time Stone to rewind time and undo Vision's death only to remove the gem from his forehead and kill him once again. But even if his death proved to be permanent afterward, a new version of the android called White Vision took his place after the events of Wandavision. Now the only question remaining is when will we get to see him next?

Marvel Studios' BLACK WIDOW..Black Widow/Natasha Romanoff (Scarlett Johansson)..Photo: Film Frame..©Marvel Studios 2020 /

12. Black Widow

This is were the list really starts to hurt.

Vision, Gamora, Loki, Heimdall, Peggy Carter, Groot, and Phil Coulson all appeared in other MCU projects after meeting their demise. Some of them were revived and others saw an alternate version of themselves take their place and continue their legacy. But the first big superhero to permanently die on the big screen was none other than one of the first to be introduced in the MCU. Black Widow's passing came during the events of Avengers: Endgame in 2019, and five years later we haven't recovered from it.

Natasha Romanoff joined Gamora in the list of heroes who had to be sacrificed in order to obtain the Soul Stone. Unlike Gamora, however, Black Widow gave away her life willingly. Not only did that decision allow for half of the life in the universe to be restored, but it also saved Hawkey along the way. She died just like she lived; as a hero who wasn't afraid of the unknown even with no superpowers under her belt. The MCU has not been the same (for better or worse) after her and Tony's passing. But more on him later.

Marvel Studios' Avengers: Endgame
Marvel Studios' AVENGERS: ENDGAME..Thanos (Josh Brolin)..Photo: Film Frame..©Marvel Studios 2019 /

13. Thanos

This is perhaps the first time audiences were relieved after a villain died in the MCU just because of how much of a menace they proved to be. Granted, other antagonists such as Loki and Hela still were a big threat at some point, but no one has been on the same level as Thanos. (Personally, I'd say not even Kang has proved to be such a dangerous character).

Audiences were first introduced to the Mad Titan in the Avengers post-credits scene back in 2012. That means his arc was seven years in the making when it finally concluded in Avengers: Endgame. After all, two versions of his character died at the hands of Earth's Mightiest Heroes.

Thanos' first demise came when Thor decapitated him during the opening minutes of the movie. As the God of Thunder himself would put it: he went for his head. However, when the Avengers time-traveled to the past to collect the Infinity Stones they unknowingly opened a door for a past version of the Mad Titan to enter the scene once again. So after a great climatic battle between the supervillain and almost all MCU heroes came to be, it was Iron Man the one who saved the day.

Tony Stark got ahold of the Infinity Stones and snapped Thanos out of existence. The Marvel universe was finally safe again as his biggest threat was stopped once and for all. However, that victory came at a great price; one that still haunts us to this very date.

Marvel Studios' AVENGERS: ENDGAME..Tony Stark/Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.)..Photo: Film Frame..©Marvel Studios 2019 /

14. Iron Man

As great as all MCU characters are, perhaps no one managed to be so beloved as Iron Man. So when Avengers: Endgame came and put Tony in a place where he needed to sacrifice himself to save the universe, audiences couldn't help but feel heartbroken.

It all started with him. A simple man with a suit of armor and no powers in sight. We watched Iron Man evolve from being an egotistical and narcissistic billionaire to a true superhero willing to pay with his life to give the world another chance. Tony's sacrifice was one of the most selfless acts of hope we've ever seen in the MCU, right next to Black Widow's death. His version of the snap turned Thanos and his troops to dust, while also bringing Marvel's Infinity Saga to an end. Even if we all suspected his story was about to conclude in Avengers: Endgame, it was tragic to watch it unfold.

Let's just hope we see a multiversal version of Iron Man once again on the big screen for Avengers: Secret Wars.

Marvel Studios' AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR Scarlet Witch/Wanda Maximoff (Elizabeth Olsen) Photo: Film Frame ©Marvel Studios 2018 /

15. Scarlet Witch

After the premiere of Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, many questions were lingering about the fate of Wanda Maximoff. However, Marvel officially confirmed she died after being crushed and buried under a big pile of rocks.

Now, to be fair, I really doubt that was the last we saw of the Scarlet Witch on the big screen. After all, it wouldn't be the first time Marvel has tried to mislead us only to surprise us afterward. But while we wait and see if Wanda makes a big comeback, we'll have to assume she's really out of the picture.

Her quest to find the kids she once lost not only saw her turn into a villain but also die along the way. Fortunately, the Scarlet Witch broke out of the spell of the Darkhold near the end of her life and saved the day one last time. Now let's just hope we get to know more about what really happened to her in the upcoming Agatha: Darkhold Diaries series on Disney+.

Natalie Portman as The Mighty Thor in Marvel Studios' THOR: LOVE AND THUNDER. Photo by Jasin Boland. ©Marvel Studios 2022. All Rights Reserved. /

16. Jane Foster

While Jane's battle with cancer was the reason she turned into a mighty hero in the first place, it was also the reason her life ended afterward. Mighty Thor made her introduction in 2022's Thor: Love and Thunder and she was portrayed by none other than Natalie Portman - who many assumed was done with the MCU for good. Fortunately, that wasn't the case and audiences saw her save the day by facing Gorr the God Butcher.

While Mighty Thor had a short-lived appearance before meeting her end, the post-credits scene in Thor: Love and Thunder makes us believe it won't be the last we'll ever see of her. Just like Heimdall, they are both now in Valhalla, which is a heaven for Nordic warriors who fall in battle. Perhaps Thor can bring her back to life just like in comic book pages. After all, Natalie Portman made it clear she would love to portray the iconic hero once again in the MCU if given the opportunity. So please, Marvel, give her the chance to do so.

Marvel Studios' BLACK PANTHER
Marvel Studios' BLACK PANTHER..T'Challa/Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman)..Photo: Matt Kennedy..©Marvel Studios 2018 /

17. T'Challa

Unlike other MCU deaths, T'Challa's is unfortunately rooted in a real-world tragedy. Chadwick Boseman, the actor who portrayed Black Panther in two Avengers movies, Captain America: Civil War, What If...?, and Black Panther, passed away on August 28, 2020.

Chadwick found out he had stage 3 Colon Cancer back in 2016. But even when he was undergoing a severe battle for his life, he still portrayed the iconic Marvel character on the big screen without letting the media know what was going on behind the scenes. His interpretation of Black Panther inspired many fans around the world and gave the MCU a leading character just as iconic as Captain America or Iron Man.

At just 43 years of age, Chadwick Boseman passed away a lot sooner than expected. He still had many stories to be told within the MCU and outside of it as well. However, his legacy is now being carried by Letitia Wright who took on the Black Panther mantle during the events of Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. Now it's Shuri the one to save the day in the MCU much like its brother before her.

You'll always be missed, Chadwick.

Marvel's Avengers: Age Of Ultron..Maria Hill (Cobie Smulders)..Ph: Jay Maidment..©Marvel 2015 /

18. Maria Hill

Last but not least, we need to talk about Maria Hill.

Maria has been a recurring face in the MCU since its early days. Her character was introduced in the first Avengers movie and there seemed to be no stop ever since. The S.H.I.E.L.D. agent would go on to appear in multiple projects such as Spider-Man: Far From Home, What If…?, various Avengers movies, and the Disney+ series Secret Invasion. Unfortunately, the latter shockingly brought her story to an end in the pilot episode.

Maria Hill was shot by the Skrull leader Gravik who happened to be disguised as Nick Fury. While it was a devastating moment for sure, Cobie Smulders isn't sure that is the last we'll ever see of her character alluding to a possible multiversal appearance. So right now, it's just a matter of waiting and seeing if she makes a big return in the MCU. Let's just hope that's the case!

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