So we're a day away from Infinity War and I wanted to put out my few predictions of the overall end game that Marvel could be going with before I see the movie just to test and see how well I know the MCU's schtick at this point.
I'm going to mark the rest of this post as SPOILERS, even though I haven't seen the movie yet...but still read at your own risk! Also, let's keep those comments spoiler free too, ok? Thanks.
TURN BACK NOW!
OKAY SERIOUSLY, HERE WE GO!
I call this the "It Ain't Happening" scenario. The Avengers and Guardians, despite the odds, pull everything together and beat Thanos, but in a last ditch effort, Thanos gets the Time Gem and resets everything (save for his gem count) and prepares for a re-match in the next film.
This isn't going to happen, at all, no way in hell. But it'd still be cool to see our heroes actually show off their collective strength and teamwork to pull off a miracle right out of the gate.
Let's call this one the "New Kids On The Block" scenario. Very simple. Despite their best efforts, Thanos wins, everyone dies. I mean everyone. No Thor, No Cap, No Iron Man, nobody. Everyone is gone...except the ones unaccounted for that we've seen: Captain Marvel and Adam Warlock. Setting up the next film to introduce an unusual (but not unheard of) team-up for these two to warp reality and bring the heroes back for a re-match.
Way more possible, but still pretty unlikely. Adam Warlock was originally going to show up in Infinity War, so him showing up in the next film isn't out of the cards, but still going to say a "Probably Not" to this one.
Similar to the last one, but let's call this the "Reboot it!" scenario. Heroes lose, Thanos wins. Everyone dies. But that's -our- reality. In another reality we have a similar set of heroes -WIN-, but Doctor Strange sees that this is only one outcome and the Alternate Universe heroes set out to fix our reality.
REALLY cool idea, but NEVER going to happen. Re-casting or "side-casting" Captain America, Thor, Iron Man, etc as some of their alternate incarnations (Bucky or Falcon as Cap, Jane Foster as Thor, Riri Williams as Iron Heart, Ben Reilly or Gwen Stacy as Scarlet Spider/Spider Woman, etc) would be a ridiculously well kept secret that I don't think even Marvel could get away with at this point. I'd still love to see it though.
Alright, this is a "Two Sides of the Same Coin" sort of scenario, so let's call this version "Cap's Coin". Everyone dies except Captain America, Thanos kills everyone and leaves Cap to suffer. Thanos destroys half the universe, gets what he wants, and takes time to torment the MCU's "Good Boy" with the loss of all his friends, including for a second time, Bucky. But again, half the universe is still around, and we know Marvel is ramping up Captain Marvel, so we'd launch right into "Part 2" with a Captain America/Captain Marvel team up (maybe Adam Warlock too?).
I think, of the two "Same Coin" theories, this one is the less likely of them. Cap has gone through a lot, and while it would be awesome to see him be the last one standing and be the cause of the re-birth of the MCU (which he, in this incarnation, will not be a part of) would be a great sendoff for Steve...but...
All that leads us here, with the final of my scenarios, which I call "Tony's Coin". Here we see Thanos kill everyone again, but this time, Tony Stark is the last one standing. Thanos lets him live because of...reasons? Maybe they argue and it's punishment, maybe he gets lucky and isn't part of half the universe that's destroyed, or maybe he (or anyone) makes a deal with Thanos to save one hero from destruction and Thanos just chooses Tony out of spite (these could also be possible for the "Cap's Coin" scenario). No matter the outcome, the result stays the same just with a hero swap, in "Part 2" we'd have Iron Man teaming up with Captain Marvel (still have some hopes for Adam Warlock to show up, but that's a long shot) to save the MCU.
Iron Man started the MCU, he'll be the one the end it...well, this part anyway. While Captain America makes a logical choice here too, Tony is my bet. He's taken to mentoring Peter, dealt with his demons, and even went to "war" against his fellow heroes. He's done it all and is still standing. So to see him kneel to Thanos and have his ability to save anyone taken away in the last moments would be an incredible finale to this "Part 1".
Not to mention Tony Stark and Carol Danvers have a bit of a history in the comics, and having this relationship be the bridge of this era of MCU into the next, with Carol taking over Tony's role as the leader would be pretty appropriate since she's lead more than a couple variations of "Avengers" in her time.
All in all, "Tony's Coin" is my bet. We've got the most invested in him, screen-time wise, but it really is a toss up between "Cap's Coin" and "Tony's Coin" for me, with how Marvel makes their movies.
Those are my theories, I have a few others, but these are my "Most Likely" of them because of how they'd make sense in the MCU.
Either way, I'll see you all on the otherside after we've all seen Infinity War!