Does Gwyneth Paltrow's Exit After 'Avengers: Endgame' Mean Iron Man Dies?

On Tuesday, Gwyneth Paltrow announced her official retirement from the Marvel Cinematic Universe, stepping away from the role of Pepper Potts fans first met in Iron Man and while it's not a move that is a huge surprise -- Avengers: Endgame has long been believed to see a huge shift in the MCU -- it does leave a heavy question for fans: does this mean Iron Man dies?

In an interview with Variety, Paltrow chalked up her departure to being "a bit too old" at this point, though she was glad she took the role initially.

“I mean, I’m a bit old to be in a suit and all that at this point,” she said. “I feel very lucky that I did it, because I actually got talked into it. I was friends with [Iron Man director] Jon Favreau. It was such a wonderful experience making the first Iron Man and then to watch how important it has become to fans.”

The fact that she is attributing her status change to aging out rather than her character meeting a grim fate is probably a little reassuring, there may be more reasons for Paltrow's exit -- including the death of her on-screen. In real life, Paltrow is longtime friends with Iron Man actor Robert Downey Jr. If Iron Man does die as many fans fear he will in Endgame, it would make sense that Paltrow would have no interest in continuing in the MCU. After all, if part of the fun of being in the MCU is working with friends then why stick around after they've moved on?

That said. from a story perspective it would also make sense that Pepper would essentially be written out should Tony die. Many have theorized that Tony and Pepper will have a child at some point in Endgame. If Tony dies and isn't there to see his child grow up, it would be crushing for fans to have reminders of that in the form of a "widowed" Pepper in future films. People thought Tony watching Peter Parker die in Infinity War was bad. Can you imagine a sad, grieving single mother Pepper?

But Paltrow saying goodbye to her role as Pepper may not be a harbinger of doom for Tony. Paltrow went on to tell Variety that if she was asked to return in the future, she'd be very open to that.

"I feel honored to be a part of something that people are so passionate about," she said. "Of course, if they said, 'Can you come back for a day?,' I will always be there if they need me."

That quote makes it sound a bit like Paltrow is still down to play Pepper, but just doesn't want to sign a contract. If that is the case, it could be the case for Downey Jr. as well, potentially meaning that the much-loved couple could end up getting as happy an ending as Marvel can give them when Endgame hits theaters.

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What do you think? Does Paltrow's exit spell bad things for Tony Stark? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

Avengers: Endgame is set to hit theaters on April 26th.