Writer Isaac Asimov once said “Life is pleasant. Death is peaceful. It’s the transition that’s troublesome”. Ever since its release, the trailer for Avengers: Infinity War has caused people to get out their pins and red string and connect team members to one central theme. Death.
In Marvel’s 1991 limited series The Infinity Gauntlet (which the upcoming movie is based on), a lot of Avengers die. However, it’s one death not at the left hand of Thanos that makes the most sense for the movie adaptation. Anthony Edward Stark. One of the team’s founders, and the man who Nick Fury first recruited in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
As shown above, Stark is beheaded in the comic series by Terraxia, whom Thanos created to make Death jealous. Though his death happened off-panel, seeing blood drip from Iron Man’s helmet is something that would carry a certain weight in the cinematic universe. Not only because of Tony being the team’s first member. But because he and his actions in the movies are tethered.
Both to other team members and as we saw in Avengers: Age of Ultron, and Captain America: Civil War, Stark is at the center of major recent events in the cinematic universe. Ultron happened because of him, the Sokovia Accords were because of him. Captain America is an enemy of the state because of him. But what about Cap?
Could this be the last we see of Steve Rogers? Yes, Chris Evans‘ original contract with Marvel is over. But he recently extended it for one more film because as Evans said, “They (Marvel) wanted to make the third and fourth Avengers films a two-parter”. Despite Marvel deciding to not go that route and give the two movies their own individual stories, Evans still has to do one more movie.
As does Robert Downey Jr., but it is unknown how big of roles their characters will play in the still untitled Avengers movie in 2019. Though killing off Cap would allow Marvel to pass the title of Captain America to Bucky (Sebastian Stan), killing off Stark allows Marvel to do more. It allows them to show how his death affects those close to him like War Machine (Don Cheadle), Cap, and especially Spider-Man (Tom Holland). Peter Parker views Tony as a mentor and father-figure after his biological one abandoned him.
Tony equipped Peter with new suits, and he also taught him how to be more, beyond the spandex. Seeing Peter become emotional and possibly vengeful after he sees his mentor killed by Thanos in Infinity War would give the audience a way to relate to he and other superhuman characters on a more human level, and root for them even more. Plus Tony’s death would bring the relationship between Steve Rogers and Stark full-circle.
Imagine seeing Cap, War Machine, and Spidey fueled on raw emotion triple teaming Thanos into oblivion. Imagine how pumped that would get you as an audience member. But here is where Tony’s possible death could lose that emotional impact. The time stone.
For those who might not know. The time stone is contained in Doctor Strange’s Eye of Agamotto. By possibly reviving Tony with it via turning back time, it would signal that Marvel has little faith in its other characters when it comes to carrying the MCU forward.
Robert Downey Jr. and Iron Man have been a part of the cinematic universe since 2008. Marvel has had enough success since then where risk is not only a must right now, it is a need. They pulled off the Avengers. It’s time to allow Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman), Spider-Man, and newcomer Captain Marvel (Brie Larson) to carry the load. Plus in the nearly ten years only two heroes (Yondu, who is really an anti-hero, and Quicksilver) have died in the MCU.
Killing off Tony and hopefully not a supporting character like Falcon (Anthony Mackie has not been confirmed for 2019’s Avengers movie) in Infinity War, is also a way for Marvel to not be seen as “cheap” by taking the easy way out. Avengers: Infinity War opens on May 4th, and is the 18th movie from Marvel Studios, it’s time for one main character (or more) to die and stay dead. Death is peaceful, but the transition does not need to be troublesome.