Avengers: Endgame tied up almost all of the Marvel Cinematic Universe's narrative threads into an impressive, conclusive bow (though it also raised some new questions, as well). Among those narrative threads granted a conclusion was Tony Stark's, which began in 2008 with Iron Man. Now, the writers of Avengers: Endgame have explained their decision in regards to the fate of Iron Man.
Spoilers for Avengers: Endgame follow. Major spoilers!
While there may have been deleted scenes or varied outcomes for other characters, Iron Man's fate was always locked in from the jump. The writers and directors never considered any other outcome for Tony Stark than sacrificing himself with the Infinity Stones to erase Thanos and his army.
"He got that already," Avengers: Endgame co-writer Stephen McFeely added.
"That’s the life he’s been striving for, Markus said. "Are he and Pepper going to get together? Yes. They got married, they had a kid, it was great. It’s a good death. It doesn’t feel like a tragedy. It feels like a heroic, finished life."
The conclusive sendoff for Tony Stark dates back to a conversation between Tony and Steve Rogers in 2012's The Avengers. In a sequence aboard the SHIELD helicarrier, Rogers claimed that Stark would never make a sacrifice play for the greater good. Stark's rebuttal was that he would find a more sensible, less costly play. However, in Avengers: Endgame's case, there was only one way to stop Thanos. It's one of the many MCU Easter eggs and payoffs packed into Endgame.
"All heroes are made complicated by the circumstances in their life, right?" Avengers: Endgame co-director Joe Russo told ComicBook.com. "Captain America and Winter Solder in Civil War... the essential nature of his conflict is he was created by his country, and what happens when he stops trusting his country? He's gone from a patriot to an insurgent. That's as full of an arc as you could possibly give a character."
The directors then took this strategy and applied it to Tony Stark's story in Avengers: Endgame. "Tony is essentially an egoist, and what is the essential conflict for an egoist?" Joe Russo went on. "Is it about what the egoist wants, or is it about subjugating the ego to what others may want from them? And family is really the most essential way to get to that conflict with Tony."
Avengers: Endgame is now playing in theaters.