Towards the end of next month, Avengers: Endgame enters theaters and will feature the Avengers in the darkest point in their lives. When it comes to those heroes hurting, arguably nobody is in as much pain as Robert Downey Jr.'s Tony Stark.
That much was apparent when the initial teaser trailer was released last December and it featured a hopeless Stark floating among the cosmos — which brings us to the question that's a tough one to talk about: is Avengers: Endgame the last time we'll see RDJ as Tony Stark?
Downey has had an illustrious time in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. He kicked the whole world off in Jon Favreau's Iron Man over ten years ago and he's turned Iron Man from a C-list superhero into a household name. The character has more appearances in the MCU than any other hero and the second you think of the shared entertainment universe, it's hard to dissociate Downey's likeness from the ever-expanding franchise.
You see, the thing is — nothing is forever and everything's going to end some day.
Not only was the billionaire playboy impaled by his own nano-tech suit in Avengers: Infinity War, he witnessed the death of his young protege as Spider-Man (Tom Holland) dissolved in his arms. On the heels of an emotional, dad-like speech in Spider-Man: Homecoming, it's more likely than not Stark's going to be one of the most devastated heroes out of the bunch.
Over the course of the past decade, Downey has been instrumental in taking an immature, self-absorbed Stark and turning the character into a selfless, world-avenging, never-take-no-for-an-answer badass. With each battle the Avengers have faced through the past ten years, Stark immediately goes back to his workshop to innovate a new piece of technology that will help the team have a better shot at saving the world. When it comes to pure, on-screen character development, there might not be a single character in all of cinema that's experienced as much growth as Downey's Stark.
But as the age-old saying goes, all good things must come to an end — and Avengers: Endgame very well could be the end of Tony Stark as we know it. With many fans speculating a hero (or two) will end up sacrificing themselves in the final battle verse Thanos (Josh Brolin), there's at least one clear choice for who'll end up being the one to offer themselves up.
If it has to come down to it, Stark has got to be one of the first heroes to stand up and put their life on the line to stop the Mad Titan. It's the ultimate sacrifice and would be the perfect end cap to the story arc that's unfolded in front of our eyes over the last ten years.
While we don't want to see Downey leave the Marvel Cinematic Universe, it's hard to deny the fact that Tony Stark is owed a major send-off in one of the biggest movies to ever hit the silver screen.
Avengers: Endgame hits theaters April 26th. Other upcoming Marvel Studios movies include Captain Marvel on March 8th and Spider-Man: Far From Home on July 5th.
Do you think Endgame will be the end of the road for RDJ? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below or join the conversation online by hitting me up on Twitter at @AdamBarnhardt!
Have you subscribed to ComicBook Nation, the official Podcast of ComicBook.com yet? Check it out by clicking here or listen below.
In this latest episode, we talk about the new X-Men: Dark Phoenix trailer, Will Smith breaking up with the Suicide Squad, & so much more! Make sure to subscribe now and never miss an episode!