Robert Downey Jr. severed ties with the Marvel Cinematic Universe following Avengers: Endgame, which saw Tony Stark make the ultimate sacrifice play to restore the universe to what it was before Thanos got his hands on the Infinity Stones, so he was never going to return for Disney Plus animated series What If…?.
That hasn’t stopped Iron Man from factoring into a number of episodes throughout the first season, with Mick Wingert stepping in to voice the genius billionaire playboy philanthropist. RDJ may have only died once in live-action, but his animated counterpart has been murdered by both Hank Pym and Killmonger already, while he was also turned into a zombie.
What If…? has featured a surprising amount of tragedy for a family-friendly series, and in a new interview with Entertainment Weekly, creator and lead writer A.C. Bradley admitted that she’s accidentally turned Tony into the show’s version of Kenny from South Park.
“The most liberating part of What If…? has been writing things you’ll never see in the movies, which includes killing off our heroes, ending the world, just going full out… I’m excited for people to see that we’re not going in there clueless, that there was a bit of a bigger plan. I’m aware that many of the episodes end tragically, and there might be a reason. I’m hoping people have enjoyed the ride so far, and that the finale gives them everything we promised. Our tenth episode was a more light, upbeat Tony Stark episode. I noticed on Twitter we’re getting a lot of crap for killing Tony a lot. He has become the Kenny of the What If…? universe by accident.”
Fans tend to overreact to a lot of things, so it’s no surprise that Tony’s repeated deaths would generate some backlash online. It’s also very ironic that the tenth episode of What If…? would have painted him in a much better light, and that one ended up being delayed to Season 2.