Avengers: Endgame directors Joe & Anthony Russo say that they’re open to seeing Iron Man again in the MCU, but there should be a justified reason why.
Directors Joe and Anthony Russo are free to bring Tony Stark back to the MCU after his death in Avengers: Endgame, but it must be earned. The franchise’s inaugural leader pushed the world back in 2008 with John Favreau’s IronMan.
Downey, who starred in a total of 10 films, was a fixture at MCU. Given his decision to sacrifice his life to bring down Thanos in the Endgame, fans are unlikely to see him again in the franchise. However, that does not mean that it will not change, especially if a particular narrative calls for his return.
For Russos, they don’t object to the idea but wants to make sure that the return of Iron Man doesn’t dampen his Endgame arc, as the filmmakers recently told the Reel Blend Podcast. It was in light of a conversation with Robert Downey Jr. at the movie’s watch party to commemorate the film’s first year anniversary.
“I mean, certainly we’ve always said this, and we believe this about stakes have to be real, and if they’re not real, like the audience’s emotional investment in the moment and in those characters in the narrative is only…is contingent upon them feeling like there’s potential, there’s something to be lost.”
“So in all of our storytelling, even though those Marvel movies a lot of the story was difficult, we wanted to commit very hard to that idea. So to answer your question, I think it would be in the context of that. It depends on how he was brought back. It depends on the storytelling, but it is certainly something that has to be earned. It’s certainly something that would shock and surprise audiences, so you can’t simply just bring him back. There would have to be a really compelling, innovative, unpredictable narrative event to find your way there in order for it to be worth it.”
There are no credible reports to date that MCU is bringing Downey back to the franchise, although there are some rumors that they are lining up for the upcoming Marvel Studios projects. Most importantly, Kate Shortland and Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow and the animated series What If …? there are rumors that he has a role.
Since the Black Widow is a prequel to the title character’s death in the Endgame, it can bring back Tony. Meanwhile, What if …? from the Disney + series though not a part of the MCU and is an animated series, the actor on the show can give his voice to bring his old character to life.
While seeing Downey reprise his role as Iron Man in any capacity would be a thrill to see, the smart thing for Marvel Studios to do at this point is not give in to the fan clamor and focus on building other stories. As it is, transitioning the MCU to Phase 4 will already be a massive challenge considering that they’re offering fans something entirely new and it won’t help to bring someone as tied to the Infinity Saga as Tony Stark as they tread unchartered territories.