Why Iron Man needs to die in ‘Avengers: Infinity War’
Let’s get the bad news out of the way: your boy Iron Man is probably gonna die in Avengers: Infinity War. But the good news is, he probably should die.
Why am I ruining everything you once loved and held dear? I’m not. Marvel is doing that, so please direct your Twitter @s their way.
The evidence to support Tony Stark dying in the upcoming battle to end all battles is substantial. We already know people are going to die in Infinity War. Screenwriter Stephen McFeely told Entertainment Weekly that, “It’s safe to say we will say farewell to people.” And it really won’t be much of a farewell unless we’re saying goodbye to at least one of the main Avengers.
But if you still don’t want to believe, here’s every reason why Tony Stark will and should die in Infinity War (or, at the very latest, in the Infinity War sequel due out next year).
It’s time for a new era of MCU heroes
In many ways, Tony Stark is the OG Avenger of the MCU. The success of the 2008 film effectively set the Marvel machine into motion, and changed the course of comic book and blockbuster movie history forever.
Now, after ten years and three phases, this seems like the right time for the daddy of the MCU to bow out so that a new hero can rise in his place. And Marvel already has a potential successor to Tony Stark in his eager mentee, Peter Parker, as seen in Captain America: Civil War and Spider-Man: Homecoming.
Meanwhile, Shuri seems like a natural fit to take over Tony’s role as tech support for the MCU heroes. Her genius technology makes that white boy colonizer’s gadgets look like a bad elementary school science fair project. Plus, she can do it all with four times the charm and style.
With all these newer, younger heroe coming up, Tony is starting to feel more like the wizened old mentor archetype in every hero story, a la Obi-Wan in Star Wars or Dumbledore in Harry Potter. And – spoiler alert – those characters always die. They need to, so that their pupils can grow into themselves.
We can still get more Iron Man movies, even if Tony Stark dies
Tony Stark may be Iron Man, but – as seen in Iron Man 2 and other films – he’s not the only one capable of wearing Iron Man suits. So Marvel can get the best of both worlds by killing him: a big, tragic, dramatic death and the potential for more standalone Iron Man movies.
The most obvious person to take over as Iron Man would be Tony’s best friend, James Rhodes. He’s been with the MCU from the beginning and even has experience flying around in Stark-designed suits.
But if Marvel really wants to shake things up, can we again suggest the inarguable breakout star of Black Panther, Shuri? Iron Man is so last decade. Let’s get Iron Woman flying around the world on humanitarian missions with an insanely rad, updated, vibranium-powered suit, please!
The MCU really needs to move past Iron Man humor
One of the overarching critiques of the MCU is that it relies too heavily on a specific kind of ironic, glib humor. You can watch the video below for a great explanation of Marvel’s increasing reliance on bathos and how it undermines the more sincere themes in the MCU.
A lot of that tonal humor can be traced back to Iron Man’s character and franchise. Don’t get us wrong: it worked well for a while. But it’s getting stale, and the comic book movie could do with more unapologetic earnestness. Remember that classic scene in the original Spider Man when a subway car of New Yorkers promises to keep Peter’s identity secret after he saves them?
Now imagine if that was Iron Man, who’d deliver a flippant one-liner before flying off.
Robert Downey Jr. wants out
We’re not the only ones who want to see Iron Man’s blood in the water. Robert Downey Jr. himself has been talking about retiring the role since 2013 (that’s all the way back before Iron Man 3).
In a GQ interview, he questioned, “How many genre movies can I do? How many follow-ups to a successful follow-up are actually fun?” He then questioned the horrifying idea of being a fifty-year-old superhero — and for those keeping track, the actor is now fifty-three years old.
In a more recent EW interview for Infinity War, he said, “I’m definitely a hang up your jersey before they boo you off the court type guy, just because I still have an appropriate fear of embarrassment.”
Infinity War directors Joe and Anthony Russo also agree that we need a break from Iron Man. “There are so many characters in the Marvel universe that can pick up the ball and run without it through the next phase or two before you need to see Iron Man again, frankly,” Joe Russo told Forbes in 2016.
There’s evidence for his death in the trailer(s)
We’ll let Nerdist take this one:
It’s the only way to do his character justice
Tony Stark has always kind of had a savior complex, but it got worse after Avengers: Age of Ulton. I guess seeing a vision of all your dead friends saying, “You could have saved us,” really messes with a guy.
Civil War continued to show Tony struggling to take responsibility as the man in charge of the Avengers. That didn’t necessarily pan out well for him, either.
The best way for Tony to truly find redemption and complete his character arc from irresponsible, self-centered playboy to altruistic superhero may be to sacrifice himself. It would also help him finally face those daddy issues, by reclaiming his father’s evil legacy for the good side.
Dying wouldn’t just be the most logical conclusion for Iron Man. It’d also be the most meaningful way for him to contribute to the Avengers phenomenon that he helped start. Tony will be missed, but it’s better for him to get a spectacular sendoff now than for Marvel to let this robo superhero suit go to rust.