Avengers: Endgame is finally here, and it’s shaping up to be the most successful film at the box office ever released. Part of the huge popularity of this film was the promise of an ending for the Marvel Cinematic Universe‘s most loved heroes, as well as the climax of 11 years’ worth of films.
Two of the major heroes expected to get their farewells in Endgame were Iron Man and Captain America. Now, Stephen McFeely has revealed the thought process behind he and co-writer Christopher Markus’ endings for Tony Stark and Steve Rogers.
Major spoiler warning for the rest of the article.
McFeely explained that:
We’re very excited by this. If you look back at the MCU, that Steve and Tony have been on different paths towards becoming the fullest versions of themselves. And Steve’s arc is about trying to find some personal life, you know? Like he’s been a man for others for so long, when does he get to be a man for himself? And how is that not selfish? How is that just earned?
In Endgame, Rogers hands his shield over to Falcon after travelling back in time via the Quantum Realm to finally get his dance with Peggy Carter – and live a whole life with her. It’s an emotional closing to what’s always been a tragic story: Rogers finally gets a happy ending after dealing with the grief of losing everything when he crashed into the ice in 2011’s Captain America: The First Avenger.
Iron Man’s ending was very different. McFeely commented:
And Tony goes from sort of self-interested playboy to a man for others. A man willing to lay his life down. And so they sort of cross in the middle in Civil War, and the natural end of those arcs seemed to be Tony laying down his life, you know, flying over the wire as it were, and Steve going and getting a life. So where we hit upon it was in order to become their best selves, Steve had to find a life, and Tony had to lose his.
Iron Man sacrifices himself to save the whole universe in Endgame, a massive change from the selfishness expected of him at the beginning of his character arc. In that sense, Cap and Iron Man really did go in opposite directions, with Rogers moving from his self-sacrificial nature to making a decision for his own happiness and Stark ending his own life in the ultimate selfless action.
Of course, both characters’ endings also looked to the future – the Captain America titles lives on through Falcon, so we can probably expect the upcoming Disney+ TV show Falcon and Winter Soldier to explore how Sam Wilson handles his new responsibility. For Iron Man’s legacy, the Spider-Man: Far From Home trailer features Happy Hogan, and we know Stark had a huge impact on Peter Parker and his journey to becoming a fully fledged hero, so it’d be surprising if the fallout of Stark’s death isn’t explored in the MCU’s next entry – and the ending to Phase 3.
Avengers: Endgame is in theaters now.