2:00pm PT by Josh Wigler
'Game of Thrones' and 'Avengers' to Deliver a Deadly Pop Culture Weekend
What do the warriors of Westeros have in common with Earth's mightiest? Both armies boast prominent heroes named "Stark," for one thing. For another, both the Marvel Cinematic Universe and HBO's Game of Thrones stand on the edge of world-ending stakes — and they're both about to sustain significant, heartbreaking casualties as a result.
As Game of Thrones approaches the midpoint of its final season, Jon Snow (Kit Harington), Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke) and their allies are set to battle the White Walkers at Winterfell, the climactic confrontation first set in motion all the way back in 2011's series premiere; the April 28 episode stands to be the biggest action sequence in the Emmy-winning drama's history. For Marvel, the Disney-owned superhero juggernaut's long awaited Avengers: Endgame finally rolls into theaters on April 26, with Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), Captain America (Chris Evans) and their fellow superheroes finally getting a second shot at Thanos (Josh Brolin) after their brutal Infinity War defeat one year ago.
In both cases, it's widely expected that Avengers and Game of Thrones audiences will walk away from the coming events with less (or "fewer," as the late Stannis Baratheon would interject) fan-favorite figures fighting the good fight than ever before. Put another way, we are quite possibly on the verge of a pop culture bloodbath the likes of which has never been seen before. Imagine if the Red Wedding and the Infinity War dusting occurred simultaneously, and, well…this is that.
Who will live? Who will die? Fans of both franchises are debating those questions right now, and the calculus is somewhat different for each story. While Game of Thrones is in the thick of its endgame, it still has three episodes left after the Winterfell war. Main characters are about to die, but not the main characters; few people expect Jon Snow and Daenerys to die here. Tyrion Lannister (Peter Dinklage) may not be much in a fight, but there's more story material still ahead; it's a similar story for his brother, Jaime (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau), and estranged wife, Sansa Stark (Sophie Turner).
Instead, most Thrones fans are keeping tabs on characters whose stories are much closer to realizing a completed arc. For example: Brienne of Tarth (Gwendoline Christie), recently knighted in what was easily one of the series' happiest scenes ever, the perfect setup for a deadly counterpoint one episode later. Another main character seemingly destined to meet the God of Death: Theon Greyjoy (Alfie Allen), a fixture on Thrones since the very first episode, who has broken free from his cowardly past and has positioned himself right in the dreaded Night King's line of fire. Expect death to come for characters at similar places in their storylines: Unsullied captain Grey Worm (Jacob Anderson), political animal Varys (Conleth Hill) and all-powerful Bran (Isaac Hempstead Wright) are all strong picks for those looking to work the Game of Thrones death odds. To tie things back to Marvel, the Thrones universe's answer to Wolverine will almost certainly fall in the episode ahead: Beric Dondarrion (Richard Dormer), often killed but rarely for long. His veritable healing factor is about to give out.
As fans of the Marvel Cinematic Universe are getting excited for their very own Wolverine (though perhaps they shouldn't get too excited just yet), they're also preparing their goodbyes to some of the brand's most iconic characters. Jon Snow and Daenerys may leave Thrones, but not for another few weeks yet. Meanwhile, the Avengers series will very likely lose at least one founding member from its roster over the course of Endgame, if not more. Previously unimaginable situations like the deaths of Tony Stark and Steve Rogers, for instance, are all too feasible right now. Death is rarely permanent in Marvel Comics lore, with many of Thanos' Infinity War victims likely to return from their present state of nonexistence before Endgame ends; but even if they somehow recover from a fatal encounter with the Mad Titan, any and all soon-to-be deceased Avengers will likely move on from the MCU for at least the next several years of filmmaking.
Soon, Avengers: Endgame will screen for critics. The fate of Winterfell won't be known in the Thrones community until Sunday night, assuming no more leaks before then. With time running out before the official outcomes are known, here are The Hollywood Reporter's predictions for who will die in the coming weekend's pop culture culling:
• Beric Dondarrion, Game of Thrones
• Bran Stark, Game of Thrones
• Brienne of Tarth, Game of Thrones
• Captain America, Avengers: Endgame
• Dolorous Edd, Game of Thrones
• Grey Worm, Game of Thrones
• Ghost, Game of Thrones
• Hawkeye, Avengers: Endgame
• Iron Man, Avengers: Endgame
• Jorah Mormont, Game of Thrones
• Missandei, Game of Thrones
• Nebula, Avengers: Endgame
• Podrick Payne, Game of Thrones
• Thor, Avengers: Endgame
• Theon Greyjoy, Game of Thrones
• Varys, Game of Thrones
• War Machine, Avengers: Endgame