Emily Waddell, 04.16.2019

EliteSingles Relationship Expert Analyses MCU Relationships Ahead of Endgame

Comic book movies and superheroes are firmly within the public consciousness now. There’s no pulling the ‘I’m not into fantasy’ or ‘I’m not into nerdy stuff’ nowadays. The Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) has combined the best bits of action, comedy, and romance to make some of the best movies around. Ask anybody about what movie they're looking forward to seeing and 'Avengers: Endgame' on April 24 will probably be the only one that they can name.

We left The Avengers and miscellaneous superheroes and aliens at the end of Avengers: Infinity War in a bad way. With half the population of the universe gone or ‘Snapped’ by Thanos, our band of loveable heroes scattered across the cosmos, how are the friendships, relationships and budding flirtations going to progress? But, we’re nearly over 10 years into the MCU franchise now and with several films under our belt, how are the psychological wellbeing of our heroes holding up? We asked EliteSingles relationship psychologist and professed MCU novice to give her expert opinion.

Tony Stark & Pepper Potts

Tony Stark Pepper Potts Image credit Marvel Studios/Walt Disney Company

One of the longest-running MCU relationships is Tony Stark (Iron Man) and Virginia ‘Pepper’ Potts. On-screen they’ve been together since 2008 when Pepper stopped being Tony’s long-suffering assistant and became his obvious true love. Aside from a brief hiatus mentioned in Captain America: Civil War, Pepper and Tony have been a strong duo. Their only relationship issues seem to stem from Tony’s unwillingness to give up the Iron Man mantle and, therefore, stop putting himself in constant danger.

More recently, in Spider-Man: Homecoming, Tony appeared to spontaneously propose to Pepper and in Infinity War and they were seen discussing having children. Of course, all of this will have to be put on hold as Tony is currently stuck in space on a spaceship that is rapidly losing oxygen and fuel. In the latest Avengers: Endgame trailer we see Tony recording a message for Pepper, inferring that he thinks he’s going to die. We’ve also seen according to the latest Endgame posters that Pepper Potts did survive The Snap. So, how will Tony and Pepper’s relationship fare when Tony’s worst nightmare of losing to the bad guy, Thanos, came true?

Zoe Coetzee, relationship psychologist comment:
Pepper and Tony clearly share a deep connection and love for each other. However, with different priorities and values, if Tony survives space, it remains to be seen if they will survive as a couple! Should he give up Iron Man for love or should she accept that it’s part of him? To build a lasting relationship, accepting each other fully for who they are is the first step, and if they can do that, compromise will no longer feel like a sacrifice and they can build a relationship that lasts a lifetime!

Steve Rogers & Bucky Barnes

Steve Rogers & Bucky BarnesImage credit Marvel Studios/Walt Disney Company

Steve Rogers and Bucky Barnes have a friendship spanning 70+ years, thanks to Steve being frozen in time and Bucky being pumped full of time-stopping murder drugs from Hydra/Shield. Since Bucky stopped being a full-time assassin, got his memory back, and had a wellness holiday in Wakanda, their relationship has been stable compared to its turbulent beginnings.

In Infinity War Bucky got Snapped by Thanos and with him goes Steve Rogers only link to his past. Since Peggy Carter’s death, his one and only beau, Steve’s been hanging onto his relationship with Bucky. Steve even defended Bucky against Iron Man when it was revealed that he’s been on a murdering rampage for the last 50 years — although Bucky was being brainwashed, so it’s not really his fault. Now Bucky is gone and Captain America didn’t save the day, where does that leave him in Endgame?

Zoe Coetzee, relationship psychologist comment:
Steve and Bucky are the epitome of best friends who have survived the odds and overcome it all to be a ride or die team. They have survived classic trials and tribulations, but Bucky was Snapped and Captain America failed in defeating Thanos. What will be the next step for these inseparable pair? My prediction is best said in their own words, “I’m with you till the end of the line”. A future clearly exists where they will once again be reunited.

Bruce Banner & Natascha Romanoff

Bruce Banner & Natascha RomanoffImage credit Marvel Studios/Walt Disney Company

The Hulk and Black Widow’s relationship has been hot and cold since the two met in The Avengers. Although never officially acknowledged, Bruce and Natascha have had many flirtatious exchanges over the years. In Avengers: Age of Ultron, Bruce and Natascha openly talked about their future, running away together, and how they both share doomed fates. Bruce can’t ever stop being The Hulk and Natascha will always feel like the ex-assassin/spy that’s only ‘playing good’.

But, at the end of Age of Ultron, Bruce decides to leave alone without Natascha and ends up on another planet for years until he returns in Infinity War. When they’re reunited we’re only shown a brief interaction where they coyly smile and say hello to each other. If Natascha is angry or upset that Bruce left without her, she’s not showing it but it appears Bruce is feeling guilt for his actions. After the Snap, Bruce and Natascha are both still alive but where do they stand?

Zoe Coetzee, relationship psychologist comment:
Blowing hot and cold, watching Bruce and Natascha’s relationship is a rollercoaster ride of tumultuous emotions. Here are two people who just can’t resolve their differences, but their feelings remain. They both survived The Snap, but will they reunite and overcome their uncertainties once and for all? Can Natascha forgive Bruce for leaving her behind? Perhaps the odds are stacked against them and they're doomed to wrestle with their own issues and the past. They both carry baggage from their history, but if they can deal with that, they have a chance to be an amazing couple who really understand each other.

Thor & Valkyrie

Thor & ValkyrieImage credit Marvel Studios/Walt Disney Company

In Thor: Ragnarok, the God of Thunder had lost pretty much everything. His father Odin had died, leaving his evil sister Hela to return and attempt to take over his home planet of Asgard. In the fray, his beloved hammer Mjölnir was destroyed and he found himself a prisoner on a strange planet. Meeting Valkyrie who was also at rock bottom was the best thing for both of them. A washed up, drunk, mythical warrior without a purpose, Valkyrie needed Thor to remind her of her destiny.

We haven’t seen any implicit romantic hints but there have been some subtle ones. Thor, the God of Thunder and rightful King of Asgard, acting like a bumbling teenager in the brash Valkyrie’s presence for one. In Infinity War, Thor loses his brother, his friend Heimdall, and half his people are murdered — to say he’s having a tough time is putting it lightly. We don’t see Valkyrie in Infinity War at all and the audience is left to guess what happened to her after The Snap. But, according to newly released Endgame posters, Valkyrie is alive and well. Where is she? Will she join the Avengers? Will she fit in on earth? How will their relationship progress?

Zoe Coetzee, relationship psychologist comment:
Thor and Valkyrie have taunted us by always seeming to appear on the edge of a romance! Although they have never got together as an official romantic couple, there have been plenty of hints that there is an attraction brewing between them. Two gorgeous superheroes who respect and support each other – it gets the pulse racing! But, maybe in this scenario with Thor having lost so many people, they each have their own turmoil to deal with. Romance might have to be on the back burner for now!

Rocket & Groot

Rocket & GrootImage credit Marvel Studios/Walt Disney Company

Groot is a full sized tree in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 1 but sacrifices himself so he has to regrow from a seed into a sapling. When he’s Snapped in Infinity War he’s portrayed as a teenager and Rocket is devastated by his death. With Rocket alive and in a much more fragile mental state which isn’t great for a genetically engineered murder raccoon, how will he survive without Groot?

Rocket and Groot have one of the most consistent friendships in the MCU, having been introduced to their relationship as partners, criminals, and friends. Throughout the series, Rocket has been presented as the protector of Groot. He’s the only one that can translate for Groot, who can only communicate ‘I am Groot’ and seems naive to the way of the world generally.

Zoe Coetzee, relationship psychologist comment:
Rocket and Groot have shown us what friendship goals really are! Standing with each other through thick and thin, they’re totally honest, and always stand in each other’s corner. A touching example of true understanding surpassing the need for words, Rocket is the only one who always knows what Groot is saying! We all want a friendship like they share, and I think they will remain a constant in the Marvel Universe. “I am Groot” will always play on the heartstrings and be a reminder of real teammates! Hopefully, they’ll be reunited somehow in Endgame.

Carol Danvers & Nick Fury

Image credit Marvel Studios/Walt Disney Company

Nick Fury’s last act before he succumbed to The Snap was to page Carol Danvers a.k.a Captain Marvel. Carol is a superhero of epic proportions, even capable of punching a ship out of the way while flying in space. It’s no wonder, Nick Fury, ex-head of Shield, would use his last resort when it appears that half the people on the planet are crumbling into dust. But, Carol hasn’t been on earth for nearly 40 years, she hasn’t met any of the Avengers, and has no idea what’s going on. How will she help the team and will she get on without her mentor Nick?

Peter Quill & Gamora

Image credit Marvel Studios/Walt Disney Company

Probably one of the most heartbreaking moments of Infinity War is when Peter Quill (Star-Lord) realizes his girlfriend Gamora has been murdered by her father Thanos. Unable to quell his anger, he inadvertently lets Thanos escape, thus dooming the rest of the universe. Peter was snapped at the end of Infinity War so in Endgame neither are present. Can we expect a reunion if some of the time traveling/alternative universe fan theories are to be believed?

Vision & Scarlet Witch

Vision & Scarlet WitchImage credit Marvel Studios/Walt Disney Company

Vision and Scarlet Witch have a rich history in Marvel comic books, they even get married and have children. In the MCU we see Vision and Scarlet Witch bond as they are both outsiders. Neither have any ties to the world and are unsure of their role in the Avengers aside from being two of the most powerful heroes in the group. In Infinity War we saw Scarlet Witch making a heartbreaking decision to remove the Mind Stone from Vision’s head, thus killing him. She is snapped holding Vision in her arms and we almost see a look of peace on her face, what will the future hold for Scarlet Witch now she’s gone?

Scott Lang & Hope Pym

Image credit Marvel Studios/Walt Disney Company

Scott Lang (Ant-Man) and Hope Pym (Wasp) haven’t had the best relationship. Most of Ant-Man has their interactions firmly placed in the romantic comedy territory, where the main characters love to hate each other. In Ant-Man and the Wasp that rom-com element seemed to have cooled into a more serious relationship. However, that doesn’t matter much because the Wasp was Snapped and Ant-Man has just arrived in Endgame without a clue about what’s happened, thanks to some astrophysics loophole.

T’Challa & Nakia

T’Challa & NakiaImage credit Marvel Studios/Walt Disney Company

Black Panther, otherwise known as T’Challa, is key to the MCU, which is why it was so shocking to see him getting Snapped at the end of Infinity War. Wakanda has been a sanctuary to so many of the Avengers and served as a battleground for the final fight in Infinity War. We were introduced to his past beau Nakia in Black Panther, a passionate and powerful woman who seems to be concentrating on her career liberating people in danger and being a top spy for Wakanda. T’Challa is gone, so, who will run Wakanda? How will Nakia navigate the political climate now that their king and half their population is gone?

Okoye & W’Kabi

Image credit Marvel Studios/Walt Disney Company

During Black Panther, we saw that Okyoke was willing to do anything for her country, including siding with her King and country over her husband W’Kabi. When W’Kabi sides with the usurper Killmonger, it’s Okoye who has to put her feelings aside and think about her allegiances. We know that W’Kabi is alive at the end of Black Panther but he doesn’t make an appearance in Infinity War. However, we do know that Okoye is alive, so will we see the husband and wife duo pull together to help Wakanda together?