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We all know that Thanos wants to wipe out half of the universe's lives.

At the end of Infinity War: He snaps his fingers and succeeds in wiping half of the universe. How consistent is Marvel with that information? Do only 50% of the main cast gets wiped out?

marked as duplicate by Möoz, Blackwood, Buzz, Edlothiad, SQB May 7 '18 at 6:37

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    50% doesn't necessary mean exactly half of any given group. The main cast consists of a variety of different species, and Thanos' quote could be taken as half of each species, or half of all life in general. Also, who do you define as the "main cast"? – Mwr247 May 3 '18 at 18:39
  • @Mwr247 For any sufficient large group, yes it does. – Deltab May 3 '18 at 18:41
  • @Mwr247 "An ensemble cast is made up of cast members in which the principal actors and performers are assigned roughly equal amounts of importance and screen time in a dramatic production." check here – Deltab May 3 '18 at 18:43
  • There are perfectly good ways of being consistent with that information without wiping out 50% of the main cast members. And, since Marvel Studios probably wants to continue making movies that sell, I'm guessing they're going with one of those ways. – Misha R May 3 '18 at 18:48
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    The better question is how did Thanos handle the planets he had previously purged. For example, did he kill another half of Gamora's home planet? He had already killed half of her people. Did he take half of the remaining half again? – Alarion May 3 '18 at 19:05
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Huge spoilers, obviously

By my calculations, 58% (10 out of 17) of the main cast died directly from the purge. So, it's pretty close to 50%. But there are a few caveats to that.

First, who do you consider the "main cast." I'm only including the super heroes here, so, for example, I'm not counting Okoye or Shuri. There's also two of the main cast we don't know about yet: Ant-Man and Hawkeye, so that could skew the results.

Alive

  • Iron Man
  • War Machine
  • Captain America
  • Black Widow
  • Rocket
  • Hulk
  • Thor

Dead

  • Bucky Barnes
  • Black Panther
  • Groot
  • Scarlet Witch
  • Falcon
  • Mantis
  • Drax
  • Star Lord
  • Dr. Strange
  • Spider-Man

Not Counted

  • Gamora (died pre-purge)
  • Hawkeye (unknown)
  • Ant-man (unknown)
  • Vision (died pre-purge)

But you need to be careful applying that 50% metric too narrowly. Even if everyone we've ever seen in a Marvel movie was wiped out, that could still easily fit into the dead half of all life in the universe. Think about it this way: out of the 5 Guardians left alive at the time of the purge (Rocket, Quill, Drax, Mantis, Groot), only Rocket was spared, which is an 80% kill rate. If you zoom out just a little, 100% of the super heroes could have died and you still wouldn't have any consistency problems with the 50% stat.

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    Conversely to the GOG 80% culling: if we exclude Schrödinger's Hawkeye, 100% of the original Avengers team survived. So yeah, subsets can vary wildly. – Mwr247 May 3 '18 at 19:07
  • Excellent point. – Alarion May 3 '18 at 19:08
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    Do you want to add Loki and Nebula to your list? Or did you just want to limit it to hero-types? – LAK May 3 '18 at 19:54
  • I don't consider him a part of the main cast of super heros personally, but even if you did, he wouldn't be counted since he also died pre-purge. – Alarion May 3 '18 at 19:55
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    An individual coin's probability is 50%, but that's not what is going on. It's not like Thanos flipped a coin for each being in the universe and heads meant live and tails meant die. Yes, that would trend toward 50/50 over a big enough sample, but there's a chance (however improbable) that every flip could come up heads and no one dies, or all tails and everyone dies. What Thanos did is take the total number of beings, and deliberately turned exactly half to tails and killed those. Now, the method for selecting exactly half the coins to turn may have been random, but that's a bit different. – Alarion May 3 '18 at 21:19

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