Avengers: Endgame tied up many characters' arcs into nice little bows but none more than Robert Downey Jr.'s Tony Stark and his Iron Man persona. It wasn't an easy decision in regards to handling the fate of one of Marvel's biggest and most popular heroes but the film's directors, Anthony Russo and Joe Russo, put a careful effort into the character's finale, going as far as clearing it with the actor himself.
Spoilers for Avengers: Endgame follow. Major spoilers!
The final moments of Avengers: Endgame saw the massive universe of Marvel heroes coming together to thwart Thanos, once and for all. According to Doctor Strange, there was only one scenario where the heroes win. As we now know, this scenario required Tony to acquire the Infinity Stones and erase Thanos and his army from existence but also sacrifice himself in doing so. Anthony Russo and Joe Russo pitched this arc, which began three movies ago for them, to Downey before bringing it to life.
"We did pitch Robert his arc, because he kicked off the entire MCU," Anthony Russo told THR. "The Tony Stark arc is the longest and perhaps fullest in the MCU. Once we decided we wanted this kind of ending for the character, we certainly wanted to make sure Robert was comfortable with it, just because of his enormous contribution to the MCU. We did pitch it out. We went over to meet with him and we pitched it out to him.
"A lot of the actors are not opinionated about what we do. They like the fact that we are sort of in control of these stories and we are driving where they should go and we have a vision for where they should go and they trust in that. I think Downey may have had mixed emotions about thinking about [where Tony Stark ends up in Endgame], but I think at the end of the day, he totally accepted it."
When it came down to filming this final sequence, nothing changed about the directors' attitude on set, though it may have involved extra collaboration with the actor. "Joe and I are really performer-oriented," Anthony Russo said. "We love actors. And a large part of our process is figuring out how we bring actors most alive in their roles and how we give them autonomy and freedom to sort of play and go to very interesting places. That's a big part of our creative process and our structural director process. Downey is the most wonderful collaborator. He's a really brilliant filmmaker in his own right and he brings a tremendous amount of energy to the process. The way we direct him is by having very engaged and thorough creative discussions about what our vision for the movie is, about what we want to do with the character. He's very helpful in terms of helping fill those ideas out."
Since the Russo Brothers came in control of Tony Stark creatively with Captain America: Civil War, they have made the character's story family oriented. In his final film, he achieved the goal of having a family and additionally had a final moment with his father Howard Stark. "We've been working on that arc for this movie since Civil War," Joe Russo said. "We've been setting Downey up for this particular performance for two films now."
What did you think of Tony Stark's sendoff in Avengers: Endgame? Share your thoughts in the comment section or send them my way on Instagram and Twitter! Also, tune into ComicBook.com's Game Over: An Evening With Joe Russo on May 6 for a chance to get more of your questions answered!
Avengers: Endgame is now playing in theaters.