Will There Be Another Iron Man?May 2, 2019
Warning: Full spoilers follow for Avengers: Endgame. If you don’t want to know what happens in the movie, activate your nano-tech armor now and take off!
So that’s it: Tony Stark is dead. And that means Iron Man is also dead… and yet, there are plenty of characters who could conceivably take up the Iron Man-tle in future MCU movies. That includes players from the comics as well as the films who have the potential to take over for Tony in the movies.
Because the bottom line is the Marvel Cinematic Universe was founded on Robert Downey, Jr.’s Iron Man, and it’s going to be weird to not have a hero who can step in for him, if not replace him. Let’s look at our options…
Gwyneth Paltrow has been around since the very first Iron Man movie, of course, and while the size of her roles has diminished in recent years, her character Pepper has remained very important to Tony Stark all the same. Paltrow even returned in a big way in Endgame, having finally married Tony and had a child with him during the five-year time jump (while also reading a book about composting). And in the final battle, she kicks in and helps with the specially designed armor Tony made for her. This is a callback to Pepper’s comics counterpart who has donned the armor and taken on the superhero name Rescue at times. But still, Paltrow is unlikely to be interested in continuing in the role — she has said Endgame is her last MCU movie — and again, Marvel is probably ready to move on too.
Tony and Pepper’s daughter in Endgame is Morgan Stark, and while she’s five years old at most in the film, she does show some Iron Man proclivities… like making off with the helmet Tony was building for her mom. Then there’s the fact that 13 Reasons Why star Katherine Langford was reportedly cast in an undisclosed role in Endgame that apparently wound up on the cutting room floor. Speculation is that Langford was actually playing an older version of Morgan who Tony might’ve visited in the future, so who knows? If this aged-up Morgan were to, say, travel back in time to the “present” of the MCU and become the new Iron Man/Iron Woman, it would line up pretty neatly with other young heroes in the franchise like Hawkeye’s daughter (or Kate Bishop) and Cassie Lang (who was Stature in the comics). Both of those characters also belonged to the Young Avengers in the comics, so the daughter of Iron Man joining the group as well would certainly make sense.
Riri Williams is a character from the comics who has yet to appear in the movies. A teenage genius who built her own version of Iron Man’s armor from scrap, she eventually became the hero known as Ironheart, complete with a Tony Stark A.I. to assist her in her adventures. Introducing Williams to the MCU as the new Iron Person would clearly be a great avenue for the series to take, giving the flagship character to a woman of color. And, of course, if the Stark A.I. is incorporated into the story, it would be a pretty cool way to bring back Robert Downey, Jr. in a limited form.
This is another comics character who hasn’t shown up in the movies yet, but we see how the pieces could fit together. A young version of the time-travelling Marvel villain Kang the Conqueror, Iron Lad was a member of the Young Avengers alongside Kate Bishop, Cassie Lang, and others. It would be quite a dramatic twist for a Young Avenger to be revealed as the junior version of one of the Avengers’ greatest villains. Additionally, after the character returned to the future, the Vision’s operating system took over the armor. Which, yeah, could work in the MCU too! So since we now have time travel as a thing in the MCU, and since the Young Avengers are looking more and more likely to be formed in this world, incorporating a version of this character into things would make sense.
Lots of fans were scratching their heads when that one young dude was shown standing all by himself at Tony Stark’s memorial in Endgame. Of course, we now know that he was Harley Keener, the kid from Iron Man 3 who had a penchant for potato guns and was sort of Tony’s sidekick in that film. Perhaps he’ll decide to become the new Iron Man after being inspired by his former mentor at a young age. And if they don’t go the Kang route with Iron Lad, then that’s a name he could take up to differentiate him from Tony.
Black Panther’s kid sister was one of the highlights of his solo film, and she also happens to be a Stark-level genius with tons of gadgets and tech, a quick wit, and an instant fan base. So in many ways, you can see why some fans might want her to become Iron Shuri. But at the same time, wouldn’t you rather she just keep doing her own unique thing?
Who would you like to take on the mantle of Iron Man in the MCU? Or do you think it’s a bad idea to try to recreate the magic of Robert Downey, Jr.’s Tony Stark? Discuss in the comments!
For more on Avengers, read our Endgame review, learn about the post-credits scene in Endgame, or let us explain the Endgame ending for you! Dig into Gamora’s dead or alive status in Endgame. And is Black Widow really dead? We explain here. Check out all the Endgame Easter Eggs we found, read up on our biggest Avengers Endgame questions, or ponder Endgame’s time travel rules.
Talk to Executive Editor Scott Collura on Twitter at @ScottCollura, or listen to his Star Trek podcast, Transporter Room 3. Or do both!
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