Avengers: Endgame concluded as many of us feared, with the death of Iron Man. After a life of self-interest, Tony Stark had finally become selfless enough to save the universe at the cost of his own life. It was a heartbreaking moment when he died from his injuries after using the Infinity Gauntlet, but was everything actually as it appeared?
Yes, this bold fan theory wonders if Iron Man’s demise wasn’t really one big fakeout. Reddit user Kedrosal suggested that, once you look at the lack of evidence that confirms Tony met his end, it’s possible that he actually managed to survive. Now, the Redditor did point out that they personally believe Tony is “as dead as dead gets,” but they admitted it’s “fun to theorize” about a potential twist in the tale.
Their argument goes that we don’t see any sign of Stark’s body at his funeral, just his arc reactor floating on a lake. Speaking of which, the visual cue that Tony’s dead in the film is the arc reactor in his chest shutting down. However, the device hasn’t been key to his survival like it was in the Iron Man movies for years now. The theorist also points out that Pepper tells her husband that it’ll be okay and “they’ll be okay.” Another hint that he made it through?
Here’s the user’s post in full:
After Tony has defeated Thanos with his own fatal snap, we see the scene of him burned, permanently damaged by the use of the Infinity Stones. As we go through the scene, with Tony dying around his fellow Heroes, we learn from Pepper asking Friday that he is in critical condition, and as Pepper reassures Tony that everything is going to be all right, his arc reactor goes out and it is presumed that this is the moment Tony dies. But, what if, this is an act? What if that line right before he dies has a greater meaning? “We’re going to be okay.” Could it mean that Pepper and Morgan are going to be fine if Tony dies, or could it mean that the world will be fine if Iron Man leaves them? Remember that while Tony has this urge to be Iron Man, all he wanted was to return to a life without the hero gig, and the only reason he came back was to bring back the people he couldn’t save. I think that the suit could still be active with Tony alive, just in critical condition even though the arc reactor light is no longer running.
What I find to be even more evident in this theory is what I find to be the most incriminating evidence within the funeral scene. Did you notice how there isn’t a body, casket, or even ashes at the funeral. No physical part of Tony is there, only the first arc reactor from the very First Iron Man is ever shown at the funeral. This seems very odd to me that they would do nothing with his remains at his funeral.
Now the big question IF he is alive would be where is he? And to that, I personally think that although he may not be dead, he is truly injured badly, and that his condition puts him in a state where he isn’t able to go back to the life he wanted immediately, and that it will take years for him to be able to get to operating capacity. Whether it be technological developments or just continuous medical care keeping him alive, I still think he may be alive. That would make it easier for Marvel to segway Tony Starks character back in if RDJ decided he would return at some point, and could help explain a considerable aging in his character if he returned.
As the Redditor says, it’s fun to think about how this could work, plus we’d all love for Robert Downey Jr. to return in Phase 4 and beyond. However, the intense emotion of Stark’s fate in Avengers: Endgame tells us that this is Marvel laying to rest the father of the MCU for good.
Well, maybe he’ll get a cameo or appear in a flashback in some future movie (like Ironheart, for example), but this is basically it for Iron Man. Or at least, we’re pretty sure it is.