Robert Downey Jr.’s portrayal of Iron Man lives on, even after his death in Avengers: Endgame. The actor portrayed Tony Stark beginning in 2008 when the original Iron Man premiered. But in 2019’s Avengers: Endgame his story came to an end. After over a decade playing the same character, his character was killed with a literal snap of his fingers, when he uses the Infinity Gauntlet to finally kill Thanos and his armies. The power of the Gauntlet was too strong and killed Stark. Downey left the franchise stoically, but fans may be touched to know that when Downey first learned of his fate, he cried.
Revealed in the recent book The Story of Marvel Studios: The Making of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Joe Russo was the one to break the news to Robert Downey Jr. The directors of Avengers: Endgame pitched the story to Downey and when it came to Tony’s death, the actor cried. Once the Russos saw Robert Downey Jr.’s reaction, they knew it was the right way to send the iconic character off.
Robert Downey, Jr. was not the only one to leave the franchise at the conclusion of the film. Chris Evans also took his bow as Captain America, though his character was not killed in a dramatic fashion like his co-star. Instead, Steve Rogers left to time travel back to the 40’s. There he shares a dance with Peggy Carter and they share a life that they never had the chance to have.
Avengers: Endgame is full of touching moments. But it also could have gone another way. Insider reports that the body count could have been much higher. The Story of Marvel Studios: The Making of the Marvel Cinematic Universe reveals further information about this topic. Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige wanted the film to conclude with more sacrifice. The final cut of the film already had a high death toll. Besides Robert Downey Jr. leaving the franchise, Scarlett Johansson also had a farewell. Her character Natasha Romanoff, aka Black Widow, sacrificed herself for the Soul Stone. The book reports, however, that Feige thought as many as six characters should be killed off in the film. The Russo’s pushed back that they felt the film should be more of a celebration.
This was not the only controversial opinion on Avengers: Endgame. Marvel executives were concerned a shot of all the female superheroes gathered together in action poses in the film’s climactic final battle would be considered too pandering to the female audience. IndieWire reports that they attempted to combat this by adding more scenes with the female heroes interacting. Even so, many conclude that this added nothing to the film’s narrative.
The Story of Marvel Studios: The Making of the Marvel Cinematic Universe reveals many new startling information. But Robert Downey Jr.’s reaction is one of the most heartwarming anecdotes. Fans can rewatch the films and know that this specific decision was made in the spirit of Avengers: Endgame as well as the rest of the franchise. Emotional resonance is important in these films and Tony Stark was sent off in the best way.