Without question, 2017 will go down as the year of the superhero. Every major cinematic universe is going to come out of the gates with guns blazing, and there are already a ton of awesome comic book movies slated to hit theaters over the course of the next 12 months. The stakes have never been higher, and the creative forces behind these major franchises seem to have figured that out. A total of 22 superheroes will appear on the silver screen between now and December 31, 2017, but not all of them will live to see 2018. To help make sense of their odds, we have gone through all 22 comic book icons and rated them based on how likely they are to kick the bucket this year. Without any further delay, let's get started with relatively safe heroes:
20. Doctor Strange
15. Iron Man
11. Wonder Woman
Ultimately no one is actually safe in a discussion such as this, but the above names are the Marvel, DC, and X-Men heroes who seem to have the best shots at surviving this year's dead pool. Why? Mainly because they have already announced sequels in their futures, so killing them off makes little sense. Still, we think some heroes are going down, and they are going down hard. Now it's time for the fun part. Let's kick off the top ten list with an adorable little hero who has already proven that he's willing to lay his life down for his fellow good guys.
10. Baby Groot
This is where things start to get interesting. Guardians of the Galaxy's Groot proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that he has the gumption to sacrifice himself for his friends, and we expect Vol. 2's Baby Groot to act no differently. However, this diminutive (and more adorable) version of Groot seems to have the added bonus of immaturity on his side, as he is clearly not afraid to run headfirst into danger. Although he will probably grow back again, we wouldn't be surprised if this version of Groot similarly sacrifices himself for the greater good at some point.
9. The Flash
Anyone who knows anything about The Scarlet Speedster knows that he's always willing to lay his life down for the other members of the Justice League -- sometimes almost infuriatingly so. The marketing campaign for Justice League has thus far depicted Ezra Miller's Barry Allen as an incredibly enthusiastic soldier who is completely prepared to sign on to the League at a moment's notice. If someone is going to die in the upcoming DC team-up movie, it seems very feasible that Barry will do anything and everything possible to make sure that it is not one of his new friends. Plus, Zack Snyder loves killing people off.
The conclusion of Batman V Superman made one thing quite clear for audiences: Bruce Wayne felt inspired by Superman's sacrifice against Doomsday. For The Dark Knight to perform a similar sacrifice when Steppenwolf (and possibly Darkseid?) show up on Earth in Justice League would provide an immense sense of dramatic symmetry. If Final Crisis is any indication, Batman doesn't have the best track record when it comes to taking on bad guys from Apokolips face to face, so we could very easily see The Caped Crusader go out in a blaze of glory on November 17. Remember, Wonder Woman proves that solo movies don't have to take place after Justice League.
7. Rocket Raccoon
If any member of the Guardians of the Galaxy team is going to die in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, we are betting on Bradley Cooper's Rocket Raccoon. He is not the main protagonist like Star-Lord (Chris Pratt), and unlike Gamora (Zoe Saldana) or Drax (Dave Bautista) his character arc is not explicitly linked to the impending conflict with Josh Brolin's Thanos. More importantly, the character is an absolute fan-favorite among Marvel enthusiasts, so his dramatic demise would have a very clear and emotional impact on audiences.
Of the core members of the Justice League set to debut in 2017, Cyborg (Ray Fisher) seems like the easiest member to kill to serve the plot of the movie. His powers are derived from a Mother Box, which makes him explicitly linked Steppenwolf, Darkseid, and the forces of Apokolips -- which instantly puts a target on his metal back. Beyond that, we haven't heard much about the Cyborg solo movie in quite some time. Given DC's current tendency to shuffle things around, that film seems like it could very easily receive the ax in the process of setting up a better DC slate.
Few concrete details have been confirmed about Stephen Merchant's Caliban in Logan, but all evidence seems to point to him as an ally of Charles and Wolverine. After all, mutants need to band together in this dystopian future. Given the incredibly somber tone of the film, as well as the fact that this incarnation of the character has never appeared in any other X-Men movie, he is a perfect candidate to go out in grisly fashion while helping Wolverine and Professor X evade Donald Pierce (Boyd Holbrook) and his Reavers.
4. A Green Lantern
Rumors have started to swirl that at least one member of the Green Lantern Corps may pop up during the events of Zack Snyder's Justice League, and their numbers make them an easy target. With the film's central threat coming from the stars, it makes plenty of sense for these intergalactic beat cops to show up in some capacity. It could be Abin Sur, it could be Hal Jordan, or it could be someone else entirely, but it would make plenty of sense to see a Green Lantern bleed red in 2017.
Like Caliban, Tessa Thompson's Valkyrie is another troublesome character to get a proper read on because she has never appeared in the MCU, and she will properly debut during the events of Thor: Ragnarok. Not too much is known about her character, but given the fact that Hulk and Thor will almost certainly survive the events of the upcoming Thor movie, she seems like the most likely hero to get the ax in that film. Of course, if she does die, we have a feeling that she will surely go out in a blaze of glory.
In March, Logan will present us with a burned out and exhausted version of Hugh Jackman's Wolverine whose powers have begun to fade. Take that characterization, and couple it with the fact that Jackman has repeatedly expressed his desire to retire from the X-Men universe, and you have a recipe for one dead Wolverine. Even if Jackman does decide to return for a Deadpool sequel at some point in the future, Logan is still meant to represent the narrative end for the character, and it may be time for him to die and pass the claws down to X-23.
1. Professor X
If you're a gambler who wants to put some money into the 2017 superhero dead pool, then your safest bet would be to wager on Patrick Stewart's Charles Xavier biting the dust at some point during the events of Logan. The film's marketing campaign very clearly depicts him as a frail old man, and he seems to be losing his grip on his powers. Most fans already seem to have theorized that he will die at the hands of The Reavers, and the evidence is fairly substantial. R.I.P, Charles. You were a mentor and father figure for the ages.