Marvel Studios What If...? Series has been so far one of the most thrilling and dark entries in the franchise. The Disney Plus series is exploring alternate realities of the multiverse through the perspective of the Watcher, but one pattern that has emerged in almost all of the episodes is the death of Tony Stark/Iron Man.
We all know Tony sacrificed himself in the Avengers Endgame to wipe out Thanos and his army, but Multiverse has opened up all the possibilities, including the return of fan-favorite Tony Stark/Iron Man. So far, Stark has appeared in four episodes of the series, but he has not survived in any of them.
In the third episode, Tony was killed by Hank Pym before the formation of Avengers; In the fifth episode, Tony became a Zombie just before the events of Infinity War; In the sixth episode, Tony never became Iron Man, and ultimately got killed by Killmonger; and, in the eighth episode, Tony was killed by Ultron. Marvel fans all over the internet have been asking one common question, - Why does Tony Stark keep dying again and again? How Iron Man has been so easy to kill?
The answer is not that simple, but we have got a theory about it, and it doesn't have much to do with Marvel or MCU as much as it is related to Disney and the popularity of actor Robert Downey Jr.
It seems like Disney and Marvel Studios don't have any near-future plans to introduce a new Iron Man or Tony Stark, even though they do have an opportunity to do so because of the Multiverse narrative. One of the main reasons sighted behind this is the popularity of Robert Downey Jr., who has played MCU's, Iron Man.
Even after more than two years of the Endgame, the actor's popularity has still not died down, and Downey continues to be the most popular actor in the MCU. Downey was also voted as the perfect casting for the role of Iron Man in a recent online poll, where actors playing Thor, Loki, Black Panther, and Black Widow occupied the remaining four spots.
Disney currently fears that it is too soon for introducing a new & regular Iron Man, and the move may backfire if they do so in a hurry (as fans will start comparing the new actor with Downey is not a good way). Robert Downey Jr. has already confirmed that he is returning to the MCU in any form.
We also know that the animated series What If? shows various sacred timelines, some of which may merge with the main timeline. We will see Dr. Strange supreme from Episode 4 of this series in the upcoming Dr. Strange Multiverse in the Madness, which is more than enough to confirm that if Tony Stark has survived in one of the What If...? episodes, we could have hoped for him to appear in the MCU.
But to not disappoint any Marvel fan, the MCU's door for Tony Stark or Iron Man is not permanently closed. Tony can and will return to the MCU, it may not be in this phase, but we can certainly hope in phase 5 or 6. Also, I would like to see a young Tony Stark as we have seen in the 2008's animated series, Iron Man: Armored Adventures.
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