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Avengers: Endgame: Director, Joe Russo, Explains Why Iron Man had to Die

Published on March 31st, 2022 | Updated on March 31st, 2022 | By FanFest

Many Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) fans assumed that neither Tony Stark/Iron Man nor Steve Rogers/Captain America would be there to see the end credits in the run-up to Avengers: Endgame‘s 2019 release. Both Robert Downey Jr. and Chris Evans had previously stated that this would be their final appearance in the MCU.

The predictions were very accurate; with the impending Armageddon culminating in Tony Stark making the ultimate sacrifice. This left Cap with a bittersweet conclusion, returning to the 1940s to live alongside his true love Peggy Carter. But why did it have to happen this way?

Director Joe Russo has gone into depth on the choice in an interview with Deadline, explaining exactly why Stark died and Rogers got his happily-ever-after:

If you think of Captain America as a character, you go ‘Okay, Captain America dying is fairly obvious,’ right? That is, you know, something he would do based on the character. You know, this is a guy who, you know, offered to be a guinea pig in a science experiment. He’s intrinsically a hero. Like there’s not a lot of complexity there. It might be emotionally impactful because you like him. You know he’s a very likable character, but that’s not necessarily the most compelling arc. Tony Stark is a character who was supposed to die. If you watch Iron Man, the first five minutes of that film, he should have died, but he didn’t, he got captured and he has an ego, right?

Russo continued:

That first movie’s about the subjugation of his ego in order for him to be a hero. But that ego then fuels him, and at times it competes with this idea of him being a hero. That seems like a more interesting arc to us to take a character who had an ego because to die for others, you have to defeat the rights of that. It seemed like the more compelling arc to us that it would be Stark who died. So that it would be a richer more complex arc, and that’s why we chose him.

The narrative logic is hard to dispute. Since the conclusion of Endgame, there have been several reports that Stark or Rogers will return to the MCU. This may very well happen (and sort of did in What If…?). We wouldn’t be shocked to see variations of Captain America and Iron Man appear in the upcoming Doctor Strange film.

Even if a variation of the superheros appear again, I don’t think Robert Downey Jr. or Chris Evans will be back. Both appear to be well aware that they went out on a high with Avengers: Endgame and do not want to jeopardize it.

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