Avengers: Endgame is full of moments that made fans stand up and cheer alongside scenes that reduced individual audience members to tears. No scene was harder to watch than the tearful goodbye between Iron Man and Pepper Potts after Tony Stark saves the day and the creators tend to agree. In a Reddit AMA, Joe and Anthony Russo talked about what the hardest day of filming on set for Avengers: Endgame was.
It didn't even take the filmmakers that long to reply that Tony Stark's death was the single hardest day and it doesn't sound like it was close. Saying goodbye to the character who began the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe couldn't have been easy. All the other heroes had known what was going to happen to Iron Man, but also couldn't trust what was happening in front of them due to the secrecy around the script. Things had to be tense filming Stark's last moments.
We’re Joe and Anthony Russo, directors of Marvel Studios’ Avengers: Endgame. AMA! from r/marvelstudios
Iron Man may be gone, but the heroic sacrifice lives on in the Marvel Cinematic Universe through characters like Spider-Man. The events of Spider-Man: Far From Home show that the entire world indeed remembered Tony Stark's actions when Thanos attacked. Everyone is looking to the remaining heroes to see who will take up the mantle and become the world's next great hero.
Some fans still believe that Stark is alive and are holding out hope for a grand return. The Russo brothers have basically told the community not to hold their breath on that account though. They have maintained that what audiences saw really was the end of Iron Man. The filmmakers believe that this final sacrifice brought Tony full circle and presented a natural ending point for the character.
“Tony’s dead, you know?" Joe Russo explained to Comicbook.com. "That’s it for Robert. He’s done.”
Robert Downey Jr. has been Iron Man for a long time and all things must come to an end. He probably didn’t want it to end so abruptly, but when his time came, he accepted it graciously. Downey Jr. couldn’t have enjoyed that day on the set either and he dutifully played along on the press tour for the film. Avengers: Endgame co-writer Christopher Markus also contributed his thoughts on a possible Iron Man return in a recent interview.
"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."
With statements like these, it seems like Avengers: Endgame's creators believe that sometimes necessary steps can be harrowing, but that doesn't mean everything is terrible.