The stories of Iron Man and Captain America have been frequently interlinked, making it all too appropriate that both of their respective arcs concluded in the recent Avengers: Endgame. And in a new interview with Fandango, co-writer Stephen McFeely explained how their two different fates were true to each character’s journey. Bear in mind that some major spoilers lie ahead.
Firstly, you have Steve Rogers, who finishes his run by traveling back into the past and settling down Peggy Carter. According to McFeely, Cap’s retirement is the moment where he finally learns to put down the shield and live his own life:
“We’re very excited by this. If you look back at the MCU, that Steve and Tony have been on different paths towards becoming the fullest versions of themselves. And Steve’s arc is about trying to find some personal life, you know? Like he’s been a man for others for so long, when does he get to be a man for himself? And how is that not selfish? How is that just earned?”
Tony Stark, meanwhile, ends his journey with a noble sacrifice, concluding what McFeely characterizes as the opposite trajectory to Steve’s arc:
“And Tony goes from sort of self-interested playboy to a man for others. A man willing to lay his life down. And so they sort of cross in the middle in Civil War, and the natural end of those arcs seemed to be Tony laying down his life, you know, flying over the wire as it were, and Steve going and getting a life. So where we hit upon it was in order to become their best selves, Steve had to find a life, and Tony had to lose his.”
You could certainly make the case that Iron Man got the raw end of that deal. Then again, in a recent interview with The New York Times, McFeely’s co-writer Christopher Markus pointed out that Tony already got “the perfect retirement life” in the film’s opening third. He therefore argued that Stark’s death “doesn’t feel like a tragedy. It feels like a heroic, finished life.”
By contrast, McFeely recalled in that same NYT interview that Cap’s dance with Peggy was in “the very first outline” of Endgame. In fact, the scribe claimed that they never really considered killing off Steve, since his arc was always about the First Avenger rediscovering his “postponed life.” Think of it this way: Cap’s catchphrase has long been, “I can do this all day,” and sure enough, he’s spent several movies proving these words right. But with Avengers: Endgame, the tenacious Super Soldier showed us that he was finally capable of stopping.