Regardless of what you thought about the film’s focus on time travel – and its vague explanations of the mechanics that govern it – you’d be hard pressed to find any major faults in Avengers: Endgame. The Russo brothers’ masterpiece manages to, somehow, wrap up the universe-altering events from Avengers: Infinity War, bringing together dozens of key characters for one final showdown, all while providing some satisfying conclusions for the series’ biggest players.
Of course, despite its many successes, there are plenty of fans who have lingering questions, while others took issue with Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely’s screenplay. One thing that some viewers are hung up on has to do with Iron Man’s fate, and the ultimate sacrifice he made towards the end of the film.
Those who have already had the chance to see Endgame will remember that during the Battle of Earth, Tony Stark confronted Thanos in a one-on-one fight. While he wasn’t able to wrestle away the Infinity Gauntlet from the Mad Titan, he did manage to covertly steal all six stones, assembling them in a makeshift gauntlet, thanks to his Iron Man suit.
To prevent him from wiping out the entire universe, Tony snapped his fingers together, completely destroying Thanos and his army. Unfortunately, the energy burst and radiation from the snap were too much for Stark to bear, and after saying goodbye to his friends and family, he succumbed to his wounds.
Right before he destroyed Thanos though, viewers might remember how Doctor Strange held up one finger to Tony, seemingly referencing the one in 14,000,605 futures that would see the Avengers triumphing over the Mad Titan. Well, it seems the good doctor actually foresaw Iron Man’s death, as McFeely and Markus explain:
“The only way this works is if Tony dies. If you go back and watch Infinity War, when [Strange] says ‘one,’ Benedict … is just choked on emotion. Now that you know the end, go back and watch that moment. He means, ‘You’re going to have to die, Tony.'”
While this might sound depressing to some fans, McFeely notes how Iron Man was able to retire, get married and have a child.
“That’s the life he’s been striving for,” the writer said. “Are he and Pepper going to get together? Yes. They got married, they had a kid, it was great. It’s a good death. It doesn’t feel like a tragedy. It feels like a heroic, finished life.”
This explanation might be bittersweet, but at the end of the day, it does tie in nicely with the clues laid out in Avengers: Infinity War.