Warning: spoilers ahead for Avengers: Infinity War! Read ahead at your own risk!
Joe and Anthony Russo's Avengers: Infinity War racks up an impressive body count over the run of its story. From heroes like Gamora (Zoe Saldana) and Vision (Paul Bettany) to villains like Loki (Tom Hiddleston), the film has no shortage of devastating deaths. That said, one apparent demise that's never made entirely clear is that of Benicio del Toro's The Collector. With that in mind, I asked del Toro about the fate of the character during the recent press day for Sicario: Day of the Soldado and the Guardians of the Galaxy actor noted that he thinks The Collector survived Infinity War. He said:
I think he's alive. Yeah... I think that, you know, I think he's alive. You're talking to him!
So, there you have it. Though Avengers: Infinity War seems to depict the death of The Collector when The Guardians arrive to obtain the Aether from his lair, Benicio del Toro thinks that the character is alive. Though we don't get an exact explanation as to why he thinks that's the case, it's not out of the question to imagine that he could return when we consider the fact that other "dead" actors like Zoe Saldana have teased their returns as well.
This situation is confusing because of how much reality bends during the sequence in which The Collector appears to die. Specifically, Thanos (Josh Brolin) uses the Reality Stone to alter the perception of The Collector's lair, and by the time the scene ends, it's never entirely clear if The Collector's death was a projection created by The Mad Titan or the real deal. Considering how wild of a moment it is, neither option would surprise us.
Of course, the other option that we need to consider in this particular instance is that The Collector is actually dead, and Benicio del Toro is just messing with us. In his remarks, he does not actually offer a rationale for why the character is still alive, instead opting to note that he's still around in real life, and therefore The Collector is alive as well. He's clearly playing this entire situation reasonably close to the vest (which is pretty much the Marvel Studios MO at this point), so we will just have to wait and see if The Collector comes back for Avengers 4, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, or any of the other upcoming MCU adventures. Still, listen to how he responds. We think he really BELIEVES he's alive!
Avengers: Infinity War is still in theaters, so if you haven't had a chance to check out the latest offering from the Marvel Cinematic Universe yet, make sure to see it on the big screen while you still can! Beyond that, you can also catch Benicio del Toro in Sicario: Day of the Soldado later this month when the Sicario sequel debuts on the big screen on June 29.
The Infinity Stones were brought into play in the Marvel Cinematic Universe at the end of Thor, when Nick Fury showed Erik Selvig the Tesseract, a.k.a. the Space Stone. Three years later, Thor: The Dark World introduced the Aether, a.k.a. the Reality Stone, and it was revealed in the mid-credits scene the true importance of these powerful artifacts.