For anyone still having difficulty getting Avengers: Infinity War tickets, turn back lest you enter a storm of major spoilers.

Seriously… We warned you.

The body count in Avengers: Infinity War was so steep, it’s hard to believe it was even real. By the end of the movie, so many characters perished, the deaths seemed completely arbitrary. However, according to directors Anthony and Joe Russo, each death was strategically staged to further the plot of the story.

(Prepare for a list of character deaths.)

In the beginning, the tragic deaths of Loki and Gamora both served to get their respective family drama plots moving along. Gamora especially served as a catalyst for Thanos, as he murdered his own daughter for power—the only person he ever loved—and lost any shred of humanity he had left. As big wig characters like Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman), Star-Lord (Chris Pratt), Witch (Elizabeth Olsen), Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch), Spider-Man (Tom Holland), Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan), Falcon (Anthony Mackie), Groot (Vin Diesel), Drax (Dave Boutista), and in the post-credits scene when Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) and Mariah Hill (Colbie Smulders) were turned to ash with the flick of a wrist, Marvel made the bold choice to kill over half of its ensemble. It’s tough to imagine exactly where the Russo brothers plan on taking the next movie after that level of destruction, but they definitely have a few tricks up their sleeves.

In an interview with comicbook.com, Anthony Russo touched on the massive death toll explaining that, “Joe and I can’t go into too much detail because we’re not gonna talk about where the story goes from here. All of our choices are based on story. It’s based upon the road that these characters have traveled, in not only this movie, but throughout the entire entity up to this point because, again, these movies are the culmination. So all we can say is that they are very focused story choices. That’s our motivation for everything. And, again, that’s why we love Marvel so much is they never let the tail wag the dog. The creative choices always lead the process and then they figure out how to pull off the miracle of making it work on a business level.”

IMDB

When fans walked out of the theater, they were understandably shook but, not as shook as they would have been had they believed for a second that most of these deaths were permanent. It’s entirely plausible that the Russo brothers are just remaining tight-lipped and taking away hope for the resurrection of our favorite Marvel heroes to keep the end-game shrouded in mystery, but their comments are a little bit nerve-wracking.

When fans wanted to know about the possibility of a redemption arc for Star-Lord in the wake of him impulsively punching Thanos (Josh Brolin), and preventing the space gang from getting the gauntlet off of him, Joe Russo cheekily said, “No, because he’s dead.” Yikes. But isn’t there a Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 hitting theaters soon? Hmmm.

Additionally, Joe Russo noted that he and his brother cried just as much as fans did when it came to the death toll and letting the actors know that their characters were axed. He mentioned that they all have bright careers and that the story must come first which probably sounds a little too final for most fans. “And, like with us, when we move on from Marvel, it’s done amazing things for us and allows us a lot of other opportunities in our careers,” Joe Russo added. Um, sorry, Joe, but, no one is leaving, ok?

With a franchise that’s been in the making for a decade, it’s not surprising that things must come to an end. Hopefully, whatever happens in the next installment, whether it’s named Avengers: Forever, as the brothers say is the closest guess they’ve seen, or something else, it’ll be a little less bloody. TBH that’s a major delusion but it’s all we have.

(h/t comicbook.com)