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The MCU has a big Iron Man plot hole that Marvel needs to fix

Published Apr 14th, 2023 9:06PM EDT
Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow) arriving in Rescue armor in Avengers: Endgame.
Image: Marvel Studios

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Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) died in Avengers: Endgame, but we’re expecting Tony Stark to return in Avengers: Secret Wars since anything is possible in the Multiverse Saga. But before we get there, I’m dying for Marvel to fix a huge post-Endgame plot hole directly connected to Iron Man. One that takes a while to identify. But once it hits you, you’ll keep thinking about it.

I’m going to explain below, but not before warning you that spoilers might follow.

The big Avengers plot hole of MCU Phase 4

I kept hammering this massive plot hole all throughout Phase 4: There are no Avengers in these stories. It’s not that Marvel needed to spend millions on Avengers cameos. It simply had to address their whereabouts via dialogue. Something like how it showed us how popular they are in Disney Plus shows like Hawkeye, Ms. Marvel, and She-Hulk.

Yet Marvel never did it, except for asking where Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) was in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier. We had to wait until D23 Expo to learn from Kevin Feige that there are no Avengers right now. Weirdly enough, the group is disbanded after Endgame. But that’s the kind of reveal an MCU movie or TV show should have delivered. Maybe Secret Invasion will.

Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) and Rescue (Gwyneth Paltrow) at the end of Endgame.
Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) and Rescue (Gwyneth Paltrow) at the end of Endgame. Image source: Marvel Studios

Feige also revealed that it’d be up to Sam Wilson’s Captain America (Anthony Mackie) to form a new Avengers team.

All that makes sense, of course. The Avengers might be popular, but they lost three original members: Iron Man, Steve Rogers, and Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson). They are all dead or retired. With Tony Stark’s death, the Avengers funding must be gone as well. After all, Thanos (Josh Brolin) wiped out the Avengers compound, so there’s no headquarters either.

It’ll be interesting to see how Sam forms the new Avengers team in New World Order. But this brings us to the big Iron Man plot hole I mentioned before, which I’ll sum up this way: Show me the money!

Where is Pepper Potts?

Iron Man died heroically in Endgame, with Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow) witnessing her worst nightmare. That the man she loved would die while wearing that damned suit of armor. Yet Pepper was okay, realizing that he had accomplished his mission. Not only that, but the former Ms. Potts did amazing in her Rescue armor.

Pepper fought valiantly next to her husband and all the Avengers to defeat Thanos. And Pepper is the big Iron Man plot hole I mentioned. She’s no nowhere to be seen.

I brought up her Endgame fight because the mom and wife Pepper Potts is different than the girlfriend we saw in pre-Endgame movies. She is doing whatever it takes to protect the life of their daughter and everyone else. And Pepper would likely continue to act similarly after Endgame.

She is likely the main beneficiary of Tony Stark’s estate. Pepper inherited everything Stark had. Including the discretionary funding for Avengers projects. And every piece of superhero tech. Like the Iron Man suits and the time travel technology.

Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow) in Rescue armor.
Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow) in Rescue armor. Image source: Marvel Studios

Yet Pepper is conspicuously absent from the MCU so far. Despite what has been happening in the world, she isn’t there to continue her husband’s work.

Again, she might not have liked Tony’s desire to wear the suit all these years. But by Endgame, she has embraced it. And she wore the suit herself. Pepper doesn’t feel like the kind of woman that would walk away from ensuring the world is safe, especially after Iron Man’s death.

That’s why I think not having Pepper Potts in the MCU so far is a big plot hole. She could be the key to Sam getting his Avengers. And Pepper could have been a key character in No Way Home, especially early in the story when Spider-Man (Tom Holland) was having Stark-related legal problems.

Pepper Potts will be the person to seek if you’re a former Avenger member. Whether (and especially) if it’s Peter Parker in No Way Home or Sam Wilson in Captain America 4.

The-Falcon-and-the-Winter-Soldier
Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackie) in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier. Image source: Disney

Getting Gwyneth Paltrow back into the role might be complicated and expensive. But maybe Marvel needs to recast the role and have the character play a more important, visible part in the complicated MCU world after Endgame.

Not to mention that we’re heading towards an Avengers future where Iron Man might come back to this reality. If it’s the Iron Man from the past, we’ll want him to see what happened to Pepper and Morgan (Lexi Rabe) after Endgame. And why he should be fighting Kang in Secret Wars.

Unless, of course, the Pepper Potts of this universe wants to step away from the superhero world. That’s a reasonable explanation, no matter how unlikely it might seem. Whatever the case, Marvel should explain the Pepper Potts situation soon, before Morgan starts wearing her dad’s armor.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.

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