Why did Iron Man die in Endgame?

Avengers: Endgame was the culmination of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, which saw Iron Man die to save the world from Thanos.

Overview

Avengers: Endgame is the 2019 blockbuster film which is described as the movie which was a culmination of all the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) movies that came before it. As a result, fans of the MCU already knew that the film would see some of their favourite superheroes die.

However, fans were seemingly not ready to bid farewell to the superhero who started the MCU franchise, Iron Man.

Played by Robert Downey Jr., the character pioneered the MCU and recently marked the 10-year relationship that the actor had with the Marvel Universe. As such, bidding farewell was a decision made with the actor’s consent, according to the Russo brothers.

What is Avengers: Endgame?

Avengers: Endgame marked the twenty-second movie released from the MCU. Written by Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely, the film was directed by the Russo brothers, Anthony and Joseph.

The premise of the film was, “After the devastating events of Avengers: Infinity War (2018), the universe is in ruins. With the help of remaining allies, the Avengers assemble once more in order to reverse Thanos’ actions and restore balance to the universe.”

The premise indicated that there would be deaths, and there were. Natasha Romanoff and Iron Man both sacrificed their lives, with Captain America retiring by the end of the film.

Why did Iron Man die in Endgame?

Iron Man, in Avengers: Endgame, died in order to save the world from Thanos. Black Widow first sacrificed herself to retrieve the Soul Stone. Thereafter, Iron Man gave up his life in order to stop Thanos and his army from taking over the universe.

This was during a scrum for the Infinity Stones, where Iron Man swiped the Infinity Stones from Thanos, and with a snap of his fingers wiped out not only Thanos, but his entire army, killing himself in the process.

In the world of the story, Iron Man’s death was explained as a necessity through the words of Doctor Strange, when he asserted that this was the only way for the Avengers not to face defeat.

He knew this because he saw the over 14 million alternative realities of what the world would have looked like if Iron Man did not sacrifice his life to save the Avengers and the universe.

The Russo brothers on killing off Iron Man

The Avengers: Endgame directors, Joseph and Anthony Russo, were interviewed for the book titled The Story of Marvel Studios: The Making of the Marvel Cinematic, where they spoke on how they came to the final decision to kill off Iron Man. Specifically, they explained the importance of getting Robert Downey Jr.’s consent, which they did, by stating:

“What we wanted to do is communicate the entire pitch to Robert, to sort of take his temperature on it, because he had so much creative ownership over the character. We were like, “If Robert gets this, if Robert feels this, then we know we’re in a good place.’”

Robert Downey Jr.’s goodbye letter shared

In the same book, The Story of Marvel Studios: The Making of the Marvel Cinematic, the Russo brothers stressed the importance of getting Downey Jr.’s consent to kill him off from the MCU, and it ended with a tearful consent from the man himself, as he understood the intention.

The actor’s emotional farewell to the MCU and his role was shared, where he allegedly penned:

“I hope these films have evoked a dialogue on equality, justice, freedom, embracing diversity, and combating intolerance with the power of partnership, sacrifice, and love. At this point, Tony might say: ‘You’re welcome.’ I’ll balance that with a boundless eternal: ‘Thank you.’”

Will Iron Man return to the MCU?

In 2021, it was speculated that Robert Downey Jr. might return to the MCU in the upcoming film, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, which is set to premiere on Friday, 6 May 2022.

Through unverified plot leaks, it is believed that Downey Jr. will return in an alternate reality of the Endgame’s final battle played out, where it is Doctor Strange that dies and not Iron Man.

Other speculations claim that Iron Man might return, but this time played by Tom Cruise, as an alternate Iron Man. All speculation will be laid to rest with the release of the movie later in the year.

Final thoughts

Avengers: Endgame saw fans of the MCU bid farewell to some of their beloved superheroes and the stars that fronted the characters of the heroes.

These included Chris Evans as Captain America, who retired at the end of the film, along with Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow, who returned for her prequel film released in 2021.

But the biggest farewell was to the actor and superhero that pioneered the MCU, Robert Downey Jr.’s Iron Man.

Iron Man died during the final battle, where he sacrificed his life in order to defeat Thanos and his army, using the Infinity Stones to kill them and killing himself in the process.