Along with next year’s Avengers 4, Infinity War serves as the ambitious culmination point for just about every major multi-movie plot strand and character arc that the MCU has been building up for these last ten years. This expansive saga all started with a little 2008 superhero origin movie called Iron Man, and for the eponymous character of the Robert Downey Jr.-led flick, things just might be going full circle on both a storytelling level and a visual level.
In the case of the latter, one fan on Reddit has observed a striking parallel between Tony Stark’s meeting with Thanos in Infinity War and another moment of confrontation between Stark and the villainous Obadiah Stane in Iron Man’s big screen debut. In both cases, Tony seems to be in a pretty vulnerable position, with Thanos outmatching the Avenger in battle, and Obadiah having ambushed and immobilized the character in his own home.
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With the two images side by side, it’s hard to deny that the antagonists in both cases strike a similar presence from their position of power – a likeness that’s further emphasized by some comparable physical features, including a bald head and a beard (or whatever that is on Thanos’ chin). While it remains to be seen whether or not this was a conscious visual homage on the Russo Brothers’ part, this certainly wouldn’t be the only Marvel Easter egg to feature in the movie.
What’s more, the pair have shown an acute awareness of Stark’s overall journey, with Anthony Russo remarking the following on the Infinity War commentary track:
“The character started as a very narcissistic, self-centered character. His arc in the first movie was to just begin to take a step beyond that, and we’ve continued him along that line in his journey that he’s had to the point where at the opening of Infinity War, his personal life is very thick. The stakes of his relationship with Pepper (Potts) are very high now. Also the fact that he’s had this mentor relationship with Peter Parker, it’s as if his personal life is becoming fuller and more important to him than it ever had before. And that’s an interesting counterpoint to his life as Iron Man, and also his life as Iron Man is a potential threat to that personal life as well. What’s happening with Tony Stark in this film is that he’s beginning to feel the tension between those two things, and that’s a difficult conflict for him.”
After the events of Avengers: Infinity War, it’s likely that Stark will have an even tougher conflict to deal with when Avengers 4 comes out on May 3rd, 2019, and potentially brings the character’s decade-long journey to a close.