Marvel Teases Tony Stark’s MCU Return Without Undoing His Death

Marvel Teases Tony Stark’s MCU Return Without Undoing His Death

Robert Downey Jr. will not be reprising his role as Iron Man in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, according to Kevin Feige.

In a recent Vanity Fair cover story about Downey Jr., the president of Marvel Studios addressed the possibility of resurrecting Iron Man/Tony Stark after his death in “Avengers: Endgame.”

“We are going to keep that moment and not touch that moment again,” Feige said of Stark’s final moments in the 2019 film. “We all worked very hard for many years to get to that, and we would never want to magically undo it in any way.”

Downey Jr., who made his Marvel debut in 2008’s “Iron Man,” was nearly passed over for the role due to his reputation, which included being arrested in April 1996 for possession of heroin, cocaine, and an unloaded gun. However, Feige and director Jon Favreau were determined to have the actor portray the titular superhero in the film.

“It purely came down to the Marvel board being nervous at putting all of their chips in their future films on somebody who famously had those legal troubles in the past,” Feige said of Downey’s arrests. “I wasn’t very good — and I’m still not great — at taking no for an answer. But I also don’t pound my chest to try to get my way. I try to figure out ways to make it as clear to other people why we should head in a direction. And that’s when the idea of a screen test came up.”

Back in June, former Marvel Studios president David Maisel also claimed that he played a key role in convincing Marvel’s board to hire Downey Jr. instead of their other candidate, Timothy Olyphant.

“My board thought I was crazy to put the future of the company in the hands of an addict,” Maisel said bluntly. “I helped them understand how great he was for the role. We all had confidence that he was clean and would stay clean.”

Downey Jr. appeared in nine Marvel films over the course of 11 years. In his interview with Vanity Fair, Feige remembered how supportive Downey Jr. was to his Marvel co-stars, saying, “We used to joke and say that Robert was the head of the acting department because everybody there looked up to him.”

Feige continued, “He took them all under his wing but not in a subservient sense. He just became their cheerleader.”

Avengers: Endgame marked the end of the arc of some of the original Avengers, including Iron Man, who made the ultimate sacrifice to save Earth from Thanos’ invasion – but Tony Stark can still return to the MCU. Marvel has a tendency to bring back dead characters, and while it seems unlikely they will pull that move with Iron Man, it’s not completely outside of the realm of possibility – there are some ways he can return to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, though not as some would imagine.

The MCU’s Infinity Saga began in 2008 with Iron Man, led by Robert Downey Jr as the titular hero, and recently came to an end with Spider-Man: Far From Home. Prior to it, the MCU reached its peak with Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame, which brought together all the current superheroes to fight against Thanos, reverse the snap, and get rid of the Mad Titan once and for all. Of course, all that came with a price, and Iron Man, in a truly heroic move that brought closure to his arc and his role as the leader of the Infinity Saga, died after wielding the stones for the final snap.

Iron Man’s death, although one that fans had been expecting, was a big shake-up for the MCU, especially for Peter Parker, as Tony Stark had been serving as his mentor. Spider-Man: Far From Home even addressed his death and how it has affected Peter and the world in general, so Iron Man’s presence could still be felt even though he’s gone. There are reasons for both his comeback to the MCU in the near future and for his permanent departure, but if Marvel ultimately decides to bring him back, here’s how it could be – without undoing his death.

Iron Man is the biggest character the MCU had: he was the first hero introduced as part of this universe, a key member of the Avengers, and the most popular character (thanks to Robert Downey Jr). Marvel knew where they were going and what they wanted for each character, meaning they knew Tony’s time in the MCU would be up once Endgame happened, and yet gave him an important role in Spider-Man’s arc. Tony was the one who went after Peter and brought him to fight against Team Captain America in Captain America: Civil War, and ended up serving as a mentor to young Peter.

Maybe Marvel’s plans for Tony continue beyond his death, but in a different way – one in which he could still guide Peter, without directly playing the role of superhero anymore. Or Marvel simply wanted to add some attachment between characters (and therefore strengthen the one between viewers and characters) to make his death even more emotional. Either way, Iron Man can still have a place in the MCU, and his death hasn’t made him any less popular or less loved by fans, which is why it can work – as long as he remains dead.

As previously mentioned, Marvel has a tendency to kill characters but not for long, except for Quicksilver and some villains. The most recent example is Loki, who was supposedly dead for good after being strangled by Thanos in Avengers: Infinity War, only to be brought back in Avengers: Endgame through an alternate timeline. Marvel does what it wants, regardless of how much sense it makes or how unnecessary those decisions might be. That said, Marvel could find some in-universe way to “undo” Iron Man’s death and bring him back – but as much as fans love him, that would be the worst decision they could make.

Iron Man’s death, as heartbreaking as it was, couldn’t have been done better. Tony Stark began as a self-centered, egocentric man with more money than he could spend and no real purpose in life. Over the course of nine films (including Spider-Man: Homecoming), viewers witnessed the character development of Tony Stark, who truly became a hero after many obstacles, both inner and in the shape of (many) villains. His ultimate heroic action was sacrificing himself for the safety of the universe by wielding the stones and doing the final snap. Tony’s journey was complete, and his death was not in vain.

Undoing his death would be Marvel’s riskiest move, and one that wouldn’t appeal even to the most hardcore Iron Man fans. He shall remain dead, but bringing him back doesn’t necessarily mean erasing his death – being

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