I'm not often faced with my own mortality when writing about superhero movies. So when I was asked in a stranger's apartment last week why I was "so afraid to die," I have to admit, it threw me.
My response: "Uh, could we please just talk about Loki?"
In the end, astrologer Michael Lutin graciously assured me I wasn't going to die — at least not imminently. (After drawing a picture of the Grim Reaper, he instead prophesied that I was "cursed with life".) But too bad for the Avengers, because, as Lutin and others foretold, they won't all be so lucky.
"Avengers: Infinity War", the latest instalment in the perpetual motion machine that is Marvel, hits theatre this Friday. Starring just about every superhero in the comic universe, it's bound to contain a particularly eventful ― and violent ― storyline. Ahead of the premiere, fans have been circling the internet in search of the answer to one vital question: who's going to die this time?
Disney has been especially paranoid about spoilers of late, so I knew no one from the "Infinity War" cast or crew would help me answer this crucial question, or even discuss it after the movie's release. With this in mind, I turned to another group of experts ― a diverse group of skilled individuals not unlike the Avengers who could decipher the deathly twists and turns of the upcoming film.
"Psychics? Wait a minute, for real?" "Infinity War" writers Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely said when I later confronted them with the results of my weeklong quest for truth.
I don't have much experience with psychics, but right away, I learned they don't normally weigh in on matters of the Marvel universe. After calling more than 30 psychics, astrologers, mediums and tarot card readers around New York, emailing others around the country, getting denied time and time again, and waiting on doorsteps in the rain for longer than I'd like to admit, I finally scraped together my team.
Some I had to meet in secret locations; others were across the street from Taco Bell. Some communicated sparsely via email, and others made me question my own existence (and later apologised via text message). But in the end, they included tarot card reader Angela Lucy, celebrity psychic Jesse Bravo, former Vanity Fair astrologer Lutin, the Mystical Empress Brenda Renee, psychic-astrologer Amira Celon, Raphael aka "The World's Medium", and Anthony Carr, who bills himself as "the world's most documented psychic".
These were the terms: I gave each participant a list of major "Infinity War" heroes and asked which names, if any, were marked for death. To aid them, I brought along a bag of relevant items specially plucked from the Hasbro toy chest that is my desk: a Civil War Blaster Reveal Shield (for Captain America), an Infinity War Hero Vision mask (for Iron Man) and a Marvel Avengers Power Hammer (for Thor).
Sure, most of these experts were unfamiliar with the Marvel movies. Nonetheless, after getting my results, I presented some of the most shocking to the actual writers of "Infinity War" in a shameless interview on Sunday ― days before I'd actually see the movie.
So, here's who dies in "Avengers: Infinity War", according to psychics, astrologers, mediums and tarot card readers. And here's what the creators of the movie think about the undoubtedly spot-on predictions.
HIGHEST CHANCE OF DEATH: HULK
I know! What!? Hulk wasn't even on my radar as a possibility, but he turned out to be the character most often predicted to kick the bucket.
His death was foreshadowed by celebrity psychic Jesse Bravo, whom I met in a secret location in New York that was basically just an office he doesn't list online in an effort to avoid unforeseen people randomly showing up at his place of work unannounced. There, we sequestered ourselves in a small, windowless room (aka a closet), and he broke the news swiftly: Hulk's going to die.
Earlier in the day, I attended my first tarot card reading ever at Angela Lucy's apartment, where she, too, foresaw Hulk's death. She was just as shocked as I was when she a drew a card that doomed him to an 80 percent chance of dying.
"Whoa! That's a little more scary. I didn't expect Hulk to go. He's always the big green guy," she said.
Two other experts who emailed me agreed with Bravo and Lucy. Colorado-based Mystical Empress Brenda Renee specialises in shamanic healing, psychic readings, quantum life-coaching sessions and feng shui, among other things. She didn't even know the title of the movie we were talking about, so she relied on "imagination and psychic senses" to guide her way. Raphael, who was once based in Los Angeles and now just travels the world "like a digital nomad", used his "gift of mediumship," a bronze pendulum, a set of crystals and "The Golden Tarot Of The Tsar" to deduce the outcome.
Both came to the same conclusion: Hulk's time may be up.
Going into this, I thought Gamora, if anyone, would be the green character to bite the dust. She's the daughter of the main villain, Thanos, and provides an ominous voice-over on various versions of the "Infinity War" trailer. However, Lucy only gave her a measly 10 percent chance of death. She even consulted the archangel Michael to reassure me of Gamora's fate, adding, "I can't believe I'm taking in the archangels to find out about 'Avengers'."
She concluded that "something bad" happens to Gamora. "Maybe she's trapped or captured at the end and they have to go get her or something like that. She's like out of the picture ― kind of a death. It's a weak death, so maybe she's in a cage or something. She's kind of waiting in the background, so maybe she's a damsel in distress, which she's so not."
LIKELY TO DIE: IRON MAN
Robert Downey Jr.'s contract with Marvel is reportedly up after "Avengers 4", which is the sequel to "Infinity War" expected in 2019, but if these predictions are right, it might be ending as early as the upcoming film.
After drawing a chariot card during our session, Lucy gave Iron Man a 70 percent chance to die. She said he's likely on the way out and "will make quite the exit".
"Say goodbye to Iron Man. He's done," Bravo reiterated after picking up the Iron Man mask I brought him.
I laughed, thinking he was joking at first. "Wait, really?"
Bravo explained that his conclusion was just based on the feeling he got after seeing the names on the list. Sadly, Raphael also suggested in his predictions that Iron Man "could die".
LIKELY TO DIE: WAR MACHINE
He's been in bad shape since "Captain America: Civil War", but just hang in there, buddy. According to the psychics, you won't have to suffer much longer.
Bravo actually predicted that Iron Man and War Machine would exit the movie together, which makes sense since they've been side by side since the first "Iron Man" in 2008. Raphael agreed that it's "very, very" likely that War Machine won't make it, as did Renee.
LIKELY TO DIE: HAWKEYE
We didn't see Hawkeye in the "Infinity War" trailers, which is one indication that he might be gone for good soon.
Another indication: three of the psychics, mediums and astrologers I spoke to predicted he'd bite the dust. First, psychic-astrologer Amira Celon, based in Los Angeles, California, told me over email that his name, as well as that of Drax and Loki, immediately "jumped out" to her "on a psychic level." Then Bravo identified Hawkeye as one of the characters to go during our closet session. Finally, Raphael called his death "likely".
We were introduced to Hawkeye's family back in "Avengers: Age of Ultron", so his death, if it comes, would pack a bigger emotional punch in the latest film. Ultimately, though, haven't we always seen this one coming? Hawkeye's power is basically just shooting arrows really well, so ... yeah, he could die.
LIKELY TO DIE: SCARLET WITCH
No amount of magic hand-waving can save Elizabeth Olsen's character from psychic predictions. It doesn't make sense that Marvel would off Scarlet Witch so soon. After all, she's only been in a few movies so far. But Raphael, Bravo and Renee all listed her among the potential victims. Witch is one of the most powerful characters in the Marvel movies, so losing her could be an insurmountable blow to the Avengers. It doesn't make a ton of sense, but sure. Why not?
MOST SHOCKING CHARACTER TO SURVIVE: CAPTAIN AMERICA
Outside of psychics and other extrasensory perceivers, most critics and fans are predicting that Captain America will die in "Infinity War".
In a recent interview with the New York Times, Chris Evans heavily hinted that he was close to leaving the shield for good. That's why it's surprising that only one psychic, Bravo, deemed the Cap a dead man walking.
As far as the other participants, Lucy gave him a 50 percent chance of dying, suggesting he might "get into some scrapes". Raphael said Captain America will be "lost." "Where does he belong? What is the point? It is a moment for some training with a mentor and a successful relaunch of his skills and mission," Raphael said, refraining from dooming Captain America to death.
Bravo, on the other hand, picked up the items I brought him ― the shield, the mask and the hammer ― and said two of the three related characters would die: Captain America and Iron Man (Thor, he explained, would have a chance at life, because he is a god). Here is Bravo's final list of supposed goners:
MOST CONFUSING RESULT: LOKI
Early on in the trailer, we see Loki handing an infinity stone over to Thanos, and then he's just gone. This has led many to theorise that the lack of screen time means it's Loki's only scene; he's probably going to die in "Infinity War".
Three psychics — Celon, Renee and Raphael — did predict his death, but, surprisingly, three others — Bravo, former Vanity Fair astrologer Michael Lutin and Lucy — stated that he'd survive.
This was Lutin's only prediction. He said he didn't really know the characters and described my request as "an example of someone's death anxiety", but after seeing Tom Hiddleston's birthdate (listed as February 9, 1981), he said Loki would live because "he's Aquarius", and the "north node is in Leo" and the "south node is in Aquarius."
"He'll have outside help. I don't even know the characters, but I think that's going to happen. He's going to be severely weakened and wounded, and somebody will come to help," he said.
Lucy admitted that she didn't know who Loki is, but explained that the high priestess card she drew during our conversation meant he might do something mystical "behind-the-scenes or in secret" ― i.e., betray someone or become a double agent.
MOST SHOCKING POSSIBLE DEATH: ANT-MAN
Yes, Ant-Man has a movie coming up after "Avengers: Infinity War", but I'm just reporting what the psychics said.
"For some reason, I see him dying," Raphael said, "even though I know there is a new movie scheduled. I see him completely defeated in the movie, I see him dead. I can be wrong, of course."
As you can see from Bravo's list above, he also predicted Ant-Man would die, as did Renee, who by the way, sees a ton of destruction in general.
"As I was musing on the movie, without knowing a title, I saw a lot of catastrophic disaster in the movie. Lots of characters dying. It will be an epic bloody battle, and as the dust settles, a new system will be put in place to restructure the environment/world these characters inhabit," she said.
Don't give up on Ant-Man quite yet, though. While three others picked him for death, Lucy drew a tarot card that suggests there's something coming for Ant-Man in the future ― perhaps, in her words, another movie. It was only then I informed her "Ant-Man And The Wasp" was out later this year.
WEIRDEST PREDICTION: TRUMP
Anthony Carr likes to do his own thing, and rather than make a death prediction, he gave me an equally crazy prophecy involving the Avengers and an "even greater evil" — Donald Trump:
This new superhero movie ― "The Avengers" ― will create more wealth than Disney has ever known! All of the superheroes are joining forces to defeat an incredibly evil monster! But even after it's been destroyed, they will then marshal all their combined forces in a last-ditch attempt to overcome an even greater evil, one who has already set in motion the possible destruction and annihilation of not only the human race, but this (late?) great planet Earth!... TRUMP!!!! The world will never ever be the same!
What do you think about that result, Donald?
Well, there you have it. Other characters appearing on at least two death lists include Nebula (predicted by Lucy and Renee), Valkyrie (predicted by Renee and Raphael), Starlord (predicted by Renee and Raphael), Mantis (predicted by Bravo and Lucy), Falcon (predicted by Bravo and Raphael) and Heimdall (predicted by Bravo and Raphael).
Somehow Vision wasn't listed at all, which is weird considering the marketing for "Infinity War" that shows him constantly screaming in pain. So congratulations, Vision.
So, what did the creators think?
Regarding some of the more shocking results, "Infinity War" writer McFeely told me, "You are putting us in an awkward spot, Bill. I would have to be commenting one way or another on the powers of psychics."
His co-writer Christopher Markus, on the other hand, speculated that on the astral plane, there are an "infinite number of versions of the movie", so "all the predictions are right in some universe".
Sounds like an endorsement to me.