Avengers: Endgame was Marvel’s most outlandishly epic film to date. Incorporating pieces from nearly every single one of the movies in their extensive cinematic universe, Joe and Anthony Russo took audiences around the world on an intergalactic and even time-traveling journey of mammoth proportions. Of course, they had a little help from screenwriters Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely.
In the nearly half a year since Endgame took the international box office by storm, these two pen-wielders have been forced to answer question after question about “why this” and “why that.” Some have certainly been easier than others, but there has been one question that has loomed over them ever since the film’s spoiler ban was lifted: why did you kill off Tony Stark?
Yes, at the end of Endgame, the hero who pioneered the Marvel Cinematic Universe met his glorifying end, saving the world from another Thanos conquest. During a recent interview with Vanity Fair, Markus did his best to provide an explanation, and here’s exactly what he said:
“Because it legitimizes the whole thing. If you just keep going until it peters out or you lose interest, it kind of decays backwards, making [people] think less of everything that came before. To have the opportunity to very deliberately tie all those threads together and have it add up to something and have it end, that’s what stories are about. That’s how you judge whether something was great or not. If at the end of The Great Gatsby, they got into a car and drove off and then we wondered what was going to happen next? We wouldn’t have remembered that.”
Markus also went into greater detail when it comes to how appropriate the ending is when put into conversation Tony’s MCU story arc – touching on Steve Rogers’ finale as well.
“We realized over the course of the movies that Cap and Tony were on crossing arcs. Cap, who had started as completely selfless and was jumping on grenades willy-nilly, was becoming more self-interested. Not to say selfish, but if you watch Civil War, particularly, he’s making decisions based on what he wants, even if it breaks up the Avengers. And Tony started as the brash billionaire playboy, and the stakes are growing for him, the responsibilities growing for him. We realized at one point, late in 2015, that for Steve to be his best self, he was going to have to get a life, and for Tony to be his best self, he might have to lose his.”
It’s a good point. Watching Tony Stark learn to be selfless has been one of the great. overlying journeys of the Marvel Cinematic Universe – one that Avengers: Endgame admittedly brought to a beautiful, if utterly depressing close.