Avengers: Endgame screenwriters Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely consulted with Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige and directors Anthony and Joe Russo when "escorting people off the stage," and endings for Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) and Captain America(Chris Evans) were decided early into the process.
"That's where Kevin said, 'You guys, let's all talk about it, but we're okay if some people meet their natural conclusion,'" McFeely told SYFY WIRE of Tony Stark's sacrifice and Steve Rogers' retirement.
"So then when we say, 'This is probably Tony's most selfless act and the end of an arc,' yes, Kevin has to weigh in on that, as does Robert, as does Joe and Anthony [laughs]. That's a collective decision."
"But that said, Steve and Tony's ends were pretty well mapped out pretty early on," added Markus.
"It's just, the math was too evident to everybody. And I don't mean the salary math. These arcs have laid out — it's hard to take credit for it, because there's so many people involved — but the arcs have come to such a beautiful conclusion point, to deny that conclusion would just be wrongheaded."
The screenwriters, who penned all three Captain America movies and Avengers: Infinity War, realized Tony and Steve's personal stories began to intersect around the time of Captain America: Civil War, setting up a reversal that would ultimately pay off in Endgame.
"If you look back at the MCU, Steve and Tony have been on different paths towards becoming the fullest versions of themselves. And Steve's arc is about trying to find some personal life," McFeely previously explained to Fandango.
"Like he's been a man for others for so long, when does he get to be a man for himself? And how is that not selfish? How is that just earned?"
Stark, McFeely added, "goes from sort of self-interested playboy to a man for others, a man willing to lay his life down," even after settling down as a family man during the five-year period that followed the Avengers' significant loss in Infinity War.
"And so they sort of cross in the middle in Civil War, and the natural end of those arcs seemed to be Tony laying down his life, you know, flying over the wire as it were, and Steve going and getting a life," McFeely continued.
"So where we hit upon it was in order to become their best selves, Steve had to find a life, and Tony had to lose his."
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