- Is Iron Man returning to Marvel movies even though Tony Stark died in the epic finale of Avengers: Endgame? That’s a question many fans have, but it won’t be answered conclusively anytime soon.
- There’s already one way to bring Iron Man back from the dead without ruining the legacy of the last Avengers movie.
- On top of that speculation, there’s actually an exciting MCU rumor that suggests Stark could rejoin the Avengers in an upcoming project, but it won’t be the Avengers 5 movie everyone is anticipating so eagerly.
When Marvel bet the farm on Iron Man in 2008, it couldn’t have envisioned where the project would lead. It’s easy to imagine a way to transpose the comic world into movies, but it all hinged on the success of those early films. Luckily for Marvel and fans, Robert Downey Jr.’s Iron Man delivered the kind of success that would eventually make possible a massive Avengers: Endgame project. Some 11 years and 21 movies later, Endgame would mark the death of the biggest superhero in the world.
That’s a rather unexpected title for Iron Man. You’d think that Batman, Superman, or Spider-Man would be the most beloved heroes when it comes to movies. But it’s RDJ version of Iron Man who outshined them all. This could have gone very differently if Marvel had the rights to X-Men’s Wolverine, Fantastic Four’s Mister Fantastic, or Spider-Man all those years ago — but those characters weren’t available. That’s why Iron Man’s death hurts so much in Endgame. And that’s why Marvel can’t afford to ruin the film’s legacy by just reviving Tony Stark for more Avengers adventures.
That said, we’ve already explained that there’s a fantastic way for Iron Man to rejoin the Avengers in some capacity, or even become some sort of antagonist, without belittling Stark’s sacrifice in Endgame. And now, word has gotten out that Kevin Feige & Co. are working on an amazing Avengers project that would offer Marvel a chance to let Iron Man return to the fold.
The previous theory said that the Iron Man we’d get back would not be the one we love. Well, not exactly. He would be a version of Iron Man from a different timeline, much like the new Gamora and the new Loki. This Iron Man could be similar in many ways, but subtle differences could turn this version of Stark into a possible antagonist. The Secret Wars storyline from the comics would be the way to pull it off, and Marvel is already rumored to be working on it.
Needless to say, there’s no guarantee that Secret Wars is happening or that Iron Man is part of it.
This brings us to a new report from The Illuminerdi that says Marvel’s Illuminati is in the works at Marvel Studios. The blog supposedly learned from a new cast listing that Marvel is in the early stages of development of the project, and Kevin Feige is listed as a producer. There’s no talent attached to it yet, and there’s no telling whether it might be a movie or a Disney+ TV series.
The Illuminati is an Avengers team of superheroes that works secretly behind the scenes, away from the main action. That type of activity is precisely what you’d expect from a group of superheroes following the Sokovia Accords and the recent war with Thanos — but I’m just speculating here. There’s no question that the Illuminati rumor is exciting. And Marvel could make Illuminati work if the next major storyline the studio runs with is Secret Wars.
What we do know is that we haven’t been introduced to all members of the new team. Iron Man and Doctor Strange have appeared in several movies, with the former now dead. But Reed Richards, Professor X, Namor, and Black Bolt are yet to be formally added to the MCU. We know that Fantastic Four and X-Men projects are coming and we expect to see Namor featured in Black Panther 2. But that’s all we have to go on for now, and there’s no telling what Marvel plans to do with the Illuminati or when the film would be ready to shoot. Let’s not forget that we likely won’t see projects like Fantastic Four or X-Men movies until sometime in MCU Phase 5, at the earliest.
There’s no guarantee that Stark would be included in the MCU’s Illuminati. After all, Marvel’s films aren’t necessarily exact interpretations of the comics. While it would be a waste not to have him in at least one version of the team, one other thing to consider is that the Illuminati team could benefit from some diversity.
As it stands right now, Marvel isn’t going to announce any Phase 5 plans anytime soon. Phase 4 is still delayed due to the novel coronavirus pandemic, both when it comes to releasing completed projects and finishing the production of others.