Iron Man Returning In Secret Wars Would Insult His Endgame Death
As exciting as it would be to see Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) returning in Avengers: Secret Wars, his return would only be insulting to his Avengers: Endgame death. Marvel Studios’ inaugural hero ended his 11-year arc in the 2019 Joe and Anthony Russo-directed blockbuster by sacrificing his life to ensure a universe safe from the threat of Thanos (Josh Brolin). Tragic as it may be, Tony Stark’s death is arguably the best ending for the Avenger, as it shows how much he had changed for the better from a self-centered war profiteer to a totally selfless hero. Despite the clamor to see Iron Man return to the MCU, doing so would ruin his poetic send-off.
Seeing Iron Man make a cameo in Avengers: Secret Wars will undoubtedly be a thrill, but it will be at the expense of his brilliant end in Avengers: Endgame. Given the film’s premise (per Marvel Comics), Avengers: Secret Wars offers Marvel Studios a reason to bring back a lot of MCU heroes, including Stark. Despite the temptation, however, it’s best that they don’t succumb to it. For starters, it’s far too soon to see Downey again in the franchise, regardless of the circumstances of his proposed return. Secondly, Avengers: Secret Wars will already be packed with characters, so his appearance will unlikely be substantial. It wouldn’t have as much impact as Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield’s cameos in Spider-Man: No Way Home, because the movie can’t give him that much screen time without taking away from its core cast.
Can RDJ’s Iron Man Ever Really Return In The MCU?
There is no hard rule about Downey returning to the MCU, even though he died in Avengers: Endgame. The MCU has found ways to undo multiple deaths over the years to serve their storytelling, so if they want to, they can find a way to bring back Iron Man to the franchise. However, that doesn’t mean that they should do it. Marvel Studios should be mindful of how they handle Iron Man’s legacy considering that he is the franchise’s inaugural hero. At this point, the universe needs more time between Iron Man’s Avengers: Endgame’s death and his proposed return so as to not cheapen his emotional send-off. It also needs to be something bigger and more substantial than a glorified cameo, which means that it should add to the value of the project he will appear in and his own MCU arc.
Where RDJ’s Best MCU Cameo Could Be
Aside from Avengers: Secret Wars, there are a couple more projects where Stark can appear in. Firstly, there’s Don Cheadle’s Armor Wars which will directly tackle Iron Man’s legacy through his creations. Secondly, there’s Disney+’s Ironheart which will debut Riri Williams (Dominique Thorne) who is essentially Stark’s successor on Marvel Comics. Both of the aforementioned projects would arguably be a better venue for Iron Man’s MCU return as they have direct ties to the character that would make his cameo more meaningful. Other options include any of the upcoming Spider-Man movies, because of Iron Man’s relationship with Spider-Man/Peter Parker (Tom Holland). Finally, if Marvel Studios decide to do something with grown-up Morgan Stark (Katherine Langford), they can also incorporate her dad into her potential project.
For what it’s worth, Marvel Studios seem to understand the importance of safeguarding Iron Man’s legacy in the franchise. This is why any talks about bringing him back are a non-starter for Kevin Feige and his team according to Spider-Man: No Way Home writers Chris McKenna and Erik Sommers. Despite the opportunity, Downey may not be in Avengers: Secret Wars. This doesn’t mean that they can never bring Stark back after his Avengers: Endgame death. They just need to be very careful when and how they would do it.