Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) returning to the MCU for Avengers: Secret Wars seems like a foregone conclusion. Avengers 6 will end the Multiverse Saga with what should be a fantastic fight between the Earth’s Mightiest Heroes and Kang (Jonathan Majors). And since this is a multiverse story, Earth’s Mightiest Heroes will arrive from different realities and timelines.
None of this constitutes a Secret Wars spoiler, by the way. Marvel’s Avengers 5 and 6 titles imply the Avengers will face Kang. Marvel comic readers have been expecting the clash all through Phase 4, long before Marvel unveiled the new Avengers sequel titles. And we all expect Marvel to get the band back together, including RDJ’s Tony Stark.
Before we explain why the Avengers will need Iron Man, we’ll warn you that big spoilers might follow.
We’ve explained time and again how Iron Man, Steve Rogers (Chris Evans), and Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) can return to Secret Wars without ruining the character arcs from Endgame. But now that we know the how and the when it’s time to look at the why. Specifically, why would the present-day Avengers need an Iron Man from the multiverse?
To recap our previous coverage, we’ve told you that all the Avengers need to do to get Iron Man back is to go to the past of the Earth-616 timeline and grab him. They’d have to return him to that timeline, just like Rogers did with the Infinity Stones after the final Endgame battle. That’s the how.
The when is even simpler and easier to guess. Iron Man should be back in Secret Wars because the new Avengers team will probably lose to Kang in Kang Dynasty. They might fail just as badly as the old group lost in Infinity War. And they’ll need all the superheroes from the multiverse to help in Secret Wars.
Rumors say the Avengers will be collecting super-powered individuals in Secret Wars from the multiverse like they collected Infinity Stones in Endgame. And we’d expect each of these heroes to have a particular skill the Avengers need to defeat Kang.
The reason the Avengers will need Iron Man in Secret Wars
Marvel needs an excellent reason to extract an Iron Man from any timeline and port him to the present-day of the Secret Wars events. The multiverse lets Marvel pick any Iron Man option, but we’re likely getting the primary Tony variant from the Earth-616 timeline. It’s the Stark we want to see in Secret Wars.
What is the Iron Man skill the Avengers will desperately need? I’m only speculating here with the help of Murphy’s Multiverse post on Kang’s Time Chair.
We already saw this control unit in Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania teaser images and parts of it appear in the trailers (see the photo below).
That’s the device Kang uses to travel to any place and any time. Well, he can’t use it now because he’s stuck in the Quantum Realm, and that’s why he’ll fight Ant-Man (Paul Rudd) and the gang in the upcoming sequel. Murphy’s Multiverse explains that Iron Man is critical to defeating Kang in the comics:
Looking back at the comics for a potential roadmap, Iron Lad (a future Iron Man) is a descendant of Kang, and it is Earth 616’s Iron Man who ultimately disables the Time Chair. Upon disabling the Chair, Iron Man tells Kang that he was able to do this because the chair’s design is actually based off 21st Century Stark Technology tech.
This might be why the Avengers go after Iron Man in Secret Wars. They’ll need his abilities to help bring Kang’s army down. That’s the why. That’s just speculation, but there is precedent.
The key revelations in Loki
Yes, Kang comes from the future, and he’s brilliant and resourceful. But he still built his tech based on innovations from the past. I’ve already explained that the He Who Remains from Loki coordinated the events in Infinity War and Endgame in that particular order. He needed two things from the massive war against Thanos (Josh Brolin).
This good Kang variant displayed tech reminiscent of Iron Man’s. Time-travel tech based on Tony’s early breakthroughs. Those are only possible if the Avengers lose to Thanos first.
Moreover, He Who Remains needed everyone Thanos killed in Infinity War to be resurrected. That’s the only way to ensure that a future Kang can be born in the Sacred Timeline.
This is also just speculation. But Kang using tech based on Tony Stark’s ingenious ideas is a sound theory. And it would explain why the Avengers need 21st-century Iron Man in Secret Wars to beat 30th-century Kang.