The Marvel Cinematic Universe is hedging its bets on the multiverse in the franchise’s most ambitious undertaking by far. The variant concept, first introduced in Loki, means that any number of characters can now show up in different forms—and it’s all canon.
Variants were used to great effect in Loki, and things will take a much more dangerous turn when the multiple different versions of Jonathan Majors’ Kang the Conqueror start showing up all across the MCU to try and reignite a second multiversal wa.r But it’d also be far too easy to simply use the variant switcheroo to retcon major events and bring back dead characters, which would ultimately only serve to lessen the dramatic stakes of the entire mythology if death is merely a minor setback, and not a seismic event.
We’re now hearing from our sources—the same ones who told us Ben Affleck was returning as Batman in The Flash long before it was confirmed—that Marvel is considering the possibility of introducing an Iron Man variant or two, which has the potential to go down like a lead balloon if the studio ends up dropping the ball.
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After all, Robert Downey Jr. appears to be in no rush to end his retirement as Tony Stark despite the relentless onslaught of rumors claiming otherwise, and you can bet your bottom dollar that fans would refuse to accept anybody else in the role.
Mick Wingert gets a pass because Marvel’s What If…? is an animated project, while he previously voiced Iron Man in Marvel Super Hero Adventures: Frost Fight!, Marvel Future Avengers, Guardians of the Galaxy, Avengers Assemble, Marvel’s Spider-Man, Marvel Rising, and video game Marvel Battle Lines. But a live-action variant would be under intense scrutiny from the off and need to be handled very delicately indeed.