One of my favorite superheroes of all time is Tony Stark, better known as Iron Man. He’s no Superman, but to me, that’s what makes him such an intriguing character. Tony Stark was never a humble man and hardly superhero material. He has an ego, a sarcastic and witty sense of humor, and his worst enemy was not any supervillain, but alcohol. Making him an alcoholic really humanized the character and gave him personal demons to overcome. In many Iron Man stories, his battle with alcohol is what usually costs him everything. The best example of this is (in my opinion) his best storyline, Demon in a Bottle. Tony Stark screws up, then drinks, then tries to do right again, but is framed for murder, then turns back to alcohol. His battle with alcohol nearly ruined his friendships and his career as a superhero.
However, the greatest thing about this story was that it was strikingly real. Tony Stark had his on and off lover Bethany Cabe and Edwin Jarvis (the actual butler) to help him overcome his addiction. The story ended with Tony getting ready to pour himself some liquor, but decided to not drink it. That was a big step for him and it reminded us that superheroes are ultimately flawed human beings. But where there are flaws, there are many strengths. In terms of Iron Man, that armor. I mean, come on, just try to tell me that his armor (and many others) doesn’t look awesome. On top of his armors just looking cool, they all evolved over time and could do many different things. It’s always fun to see.
Tony Stark/Iron Man is one of the most versatile heroes around. I remember when Robert Downey Jr. was first announced to play the character in the 2008 movie. At the time, I never would have expected that movie to be the beginning of something far greater than I ever dreamed of. With Downey Jr. killing it as Iron Man and the movie making enough money to earn a sequel, the time of the Marvel Cinematic Universe began.
Robert Downey Jr.’s Iron Man quickly became my favorite character in the MCU. Downey Jr. just kept on killing it and his character really grew. Plus, his armors just kept getting more advanced and looking cooler. As his time as the hero went on, I became convinced that he was there to stay. When I say that, I actually mean I really did not want him to die. Heck, I still remember when he was stabbed by Thanos in Infinity War and I think my heart skipped a beat. Still, he didn’t die and he didn’t get dusted and he was still in for the final fight against Thanos. Even then, I believed that he wouldn’t die.
Well, he did and I literally cried in the theater. Yeah, you did too, don’t lie. He left a family behind and his fellow superheroes, but he sacrificed his life to save literally the whole universe. Tony Stark died a hero and everyone will remember him as one. The legacy of Iron Man will live on through his wife, his daughter, and now, it looks like Rhodey and Riri Williams will carry it on in their upcoming shows.
Awesome, right? But hold on, this is the world of comic books we’re talking about. In the world of comic books, superheroes tend to not stay dead. So, after the events of Endgame, there is one question that we fans cannot help but ask: will Tony Stark ever return to the MCU?
It’s a fair question. The character has had a long-lasting impression on the MCU, both as Tony Stark and as Iron Man. The MCU began with him, and it certainly won’t end with him. Tony Stark was a vital character to the MCU, so we’re understandably curious if he will return. Robert Downey Jr. himself has said multiple times that he’s done with the character, so unless he changes his mind, don’t expect him to suit up as Iron man anytime soon.
The truth is, if his Tony Stark does come back, it would diminish the impact of his death in Endgame. As much as I would love to see Robert Downy Jr. as the character again, his sacrifice was a big step for the MCU and undoing that would erase that. However, having Iron Man in the MCU is important, so I believe there is a way for the hero to return.
Now here’s my solution to the question of bringing back Tony Stark/Iron Man to the MCU: Iron Man can come back, but not Tony Stark. Sounds weird, doesn’t it? Well, there is a way to make it work. And no, I’m not referring to Rhodey or even Riri Williams becoming a new Iron Man either. My idea is to have Tony Stark return as Iron Man, but he’s not the Tony Stark we’re all familiar with.
If you’re confused on how that would work, just think about the direction that they’re going with Spider-Man 3. Alfred Molina, Andrew Garfield, Jamie Foxx, and (please) Tobey Maguire returning to reprise past roles? That could only mean one thing: Multiverse. My guess is that Spider-Man 3 will give us the first taste of that, and Doctor Strange 2 will fully expand on it. Marvel finally including the Multiverse means there will be other versions of the MCU heroes that will meet their “mainstream” counterparts.
If Doctor Strange opens many portals, one of the heroes that can pop out is the Ultimate version of Iron Man. This version is named Antonio “Tony” Stark. He’s got a lot in common with the mainstream version of Tony Stark. He’s a genius, playboy, billionaire philanthropist and loves his alcohol. The critical difference between them is that the Ultimate Tony Stark had no shrapnel near his heart. This Tony Stark had an inoperable brain tumor that could kill him at any moment. This prompted the Ultimate Tony Stark to use the time he had left to do some good. After Red Devil terrorist kidnapped him and murdered his cousin Morgan, he invented some nanotech armor and you probably know the rest.
Having the Ultimate Tony Stark join the MCU is the perfect way to bring back Iron Man. He’s strikingly similar to the mainstream Tony Stark, but he’s different enough to remain interesting. His brain tumor allows him to be his own character, because he knows his time is short. He won’t want to settle down, but use his armors to fight for humanity. Plus, just imagine if Peter Parker saw another version of his mentor. How would he react? Would he embrace him like the RDJ Tony Stark or avoid him out of emotion? Now that would be an interesting interaction.
Ultimate Tony Stark is also a Latino version of Iron Man, so including him would spice up the diversity. His mother, Maria Cerrera, gave birth to him and his twin brother Gregory. Differences like these can introduce us to a whole new Tony Stark. He’ll have that same Tony Stark charm, but his background and condition can show us a different side to this Tony. It’s one that would be fun to explore in the MCU.