Iron Man may have spent a decade as the face of the Marvel Cinematic Universe and one of the most popular and iconic characters in all of cinema, but there’s more than a few people that believe Tony Stark was actually the franchise’s greatest threat.
Almost all of the major plot threads in the Infinity Saga can be tied back to Tony in some way, and the genius billionaire playboy philanthropist was directly or indirectly responsible for an alarming number of the MCU’s villains. Iron Monger, Aldrich Killian, Whiplash, Justin Hammer, Ultron, Zemo, Vulture, Mysterio and reportedly even Black Widow’s Taskmaster are all tied to his desire for innovation and change, one that clearly doesn’t always go to plan.
However, a new fan theory doing the rounds claims that with both Iron Man and Thanos having been killed off at the climax of Avengers: Endgame, the MCU’s arms race is officially over for the time being. Here’s how it reads in full:
I forgot which movie it was but they talked about how the stronger the Avengers get, the greater the threat to their world and the universe gets. My theory is that Iron Man had a direct correlation with this arms race accelerating. At first, we see his tech directly accelerating a personal arms race, then a city wide arms race, then country wide capable of destruction. This ramps up all the way until we get to the Age of Ultron where Tony’s tech is supposed to defend the world but is also capable of destroying it.
This launches us into the age of Thanos. Everyone gets exponentially stronger during this period up until the end fight where both Thanos and Iron Man die. We get a minor reset in the timeline until what I believe is that his daughter comes of age. Let’s say she’s around 4-5. The next spike in universal struggle will be when she’s around 15-18 and becomes a prodigy that takes over the Iron Man (iron woman) and Stark mantle and those like Spider-Man will have to step up again and defend the world/universe from the next existential threat.
Maybe this isn’t as much as a theory as an identification of causation but I believe we a gap in the technological growth that can be achieved at rapid speeds without a stark on the map. Yes, wakanda has future tech. But we don’t know how fast they accelerate that tech. Tony and his father were developing things at such rapid speeds it that it caused difficulties as well. (Both positives and negatives)
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As you’ll recall, Thor said in The Avengers that the use of the Infinity Stones had indicated that Earth was ready for a higher form of war, and after aliens invaded New York, Tony doubled down on trying to protect the planet, which ultimately led to the introduction of Thanos as the Infinity Saga’s end-of-level boss.
With Iron Man now out of the picture for the time being though and the MCU increasing its focus on cosmic adventures in a post-Avengers: Endgame world, the mythology’s rate of technological advancement looks set to slow down, especially with the Wakandans remaining incredibly secretive about their own tech. That being said, Tony still has plenty of proteges out there, so it might only be a matter of time until the next arms race begins.