The death of Robert Downey Jr.’s Tony Stark/Iron Man in “Avengers: Endgame” remains one of the most definitive moments in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It turns out that Jon Favreau, who kicked off the MCU with “Iron Man” and also directed “Iron Man 2,” tried his best not to let filmmakers Joe and Anthony Russo kill off the fan-favorite superhero.
“Part of the pressure [not to kill Tony Stark] came from Jon Favreau, who called us up after he read the script … and said to us, ‘Are you really going to kill Iron Man?’” Anthony Russo recently told Vanity Fair.
Joe Russo added, “He did. Yeah. And I remember pacing on the corner of a stage on the phone with Favreau trying to talk him off a ledge. Because he’s like, ‘You can’t do this. It’s gonna devastate people, and you don’t want them, you know, walking out of the theater and into traffic.’ We did it anyways.”
“Avengers: Endgame” screenwriters Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely defended the choice to kill off Tony Stark shortly after the movie was released to blockbuster box office numbers in 2019. As McFeely told The New York Times, “Everyone knew this was going to be the end of Tony Stark.” The writers explained that Tony’s arc since 2008’s “Iron Man” was to achieve selflessness, so not killing him and allowing him a peaceful retirement would not have been true to that arc.
“We had the opportunity to give him the perfect retirement life, within the movie,” Markus said. “[He already got that]. That’s the life he’s been striving for. 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 Marvel Cinematic Universe has continued on without Stark, although Downey’s absence from the franchise is still felt.