- Iron Man remains one of the biggest attractions in Marvel movies and the character’s heroic death in Avengers: Endgame proved that point. Audiences were heartbroken to realize their favorite MCU hero had just died.
- Robert Downey Jr. has already addressed questions about a rumored return to the Marvel Cinematic Universe a few times, and the actor always hinted that his journey had come to an end. RDJ took the same stance during a recent podcast, where he made it clear that the Marvel aspect of his career is done.
- A series of rumors earlier this year indicated that Marvel might be working on projects that would involve Tony Stark, and we explained how Iron Man could return to the MCU without ruining the legacy of Endgame.
When Iron Man died at the end of Avengers: Endgame, few MCU die-hard fans were really surprised. If you’ve followed all the Marvel movies that led to the momentous Infinity War and Endgame finale, then you probably expected that some of the most prominent Avengers would perish fighting Thanos. But even if you saw Iron Man’s death coming, you were undoubtedly still heartbroken about it. When Tony Stark makes that final sacrifice to save everyone, it’s clear to everyone in the audience that Iron Man wasn’t going to return anytime soon.
The more you think about Endgame, the more you realize that Disney would ruin the blockbuster film by reviving the beloved superhero. But there are ways to have Iron Man appear in other Marvel movies while preserving the legacy of Endgame. We saw plenty of rumors that said Marvel might be considering having Iron Man in at least one more movie, and the rumored Black Widow cameo doesn’t count. But Robert Downey Jr. has hinted a few times that he’s done with the role of Iron Man, although he always seemed to leave the door slightly open for future appearances. That might have just changed, however, as RDJ has once again said that he’s done with Marvel — and this time, it sounds like he means he’s done for good.
The actor made an appearance on the SmartLess podcast, per ComicBook, where he addressed Iron Man. Of course, if you’ve been playing an Avenger for more than a decade on the big screen, you’ll always have to talk Marvel and Avengers stuff with fans, even when the fans asking you about it are Jason Bateman, Sean Hayes, and Will Arnett. The hosts asked Downey how he’s balancing family life after Iron Man’s death in Endgame. RDJ said of his MCU obligations “that’s all done,” and this time he didn’t leave an open door to the possibility of reprising his role.
Black Widow, which is set to premiere on November 6th, is still expected to deliver a Stark cameo. Marvel has reportedly repurposed a deleted scene from Captain America: Civil War, where Tony tells Natasha to go into hiding. That scene was never used, and it could come in handy for bridging Phase 3 and Phase 4. After all, Black Widow is a prequel, with the action picking up after Civil War and showing us what Nat was up to before Infinity War. RDJ seemed to confirm the Black Widow cameo many months ago when he hinted that it was old footage rather than something fresh.
Also, let’s not forget the What IF… MCU animated series that will offer alternate story versions for some of the iconic moments in the Marvel movies so far. You can’t ignore Iron Man for that. Then again, that’s an animated series, and all RDJ would have to do is record his parts for the series. Since Downey said he’s done with the MCU, however, this seems unlikely.
As a fan of Endgame, I’d hate to see Iron Man miraculously come back to life after his heroic death. It would just tell audiences that nothing really matters when it comes to what happens in superhero movies because the hero always lives. But I do think the rumors that detail the various ways Iron Man could come back to the MCU merit attention. Marvel doesn’t have to undo Iron Man’s death to use the character again. And I’m not just referring to prequels that take place in a time where Stark would still be alive.
One such idea involves the Secret Wars storyline, where the Avengers meet a different version of Tony Stark. Like the Gamora and Loki characters we’re left with after Endgame, this version of Stark would come from a different reality or timeline. The character would therefore be a different version of the superhero we’ve grown to love. We could have a do-over. We could experience a different face of Stark. We could even see him as the villain or antagonist. Such stories would preserve Endgame while also offering audiences another chance to see Iron Man together with the Avengers again. Not to mention the rumors that say Marvel is working on an Illuminati project, a team of heroes of which Iron Man is an integral part.
That’s all just wishful thinking, however. Let’s not forget that Marvel isn’t even comfortable announcing an Avengers 5 project. Plenty of things need to happen before we get back to the Avengers franchise, and it certainly seems like Iron Man will no longer play a role.