Does Iron Man Die in 'Avengers: Endgame'? Why Tony Stark Should Outlive Captain America

Marvel Studios and parent company Disney have largely abandoned any pretense that the deaths in Avengers: Infinity War will be permanent. Peter Quill (Chris Pratt) will be back in Guardians of the Galaxy 3 and Tom Holland's Peter Parker will return in Spider-Man: Far From Home. Loki, Bucky Barnes, Falcon, Vision and Wanda Maximoff will all appear in series coming to the Disney Plus streaming service, so they're coming out of Endgame alive, as is Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), who has her own solo outing ahead of her. But there are two characters whose deaths seem far more likely: Captain America and Iron Man. So who will survive Avengers: Endgame? Iron Man? Cap? Neither?

The most likely character to die (and stay dead) in Avengers: Endgame isn't Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.), it's Steve Rogers. Played by Chris Evans since 2011's Captain America: The First Avenger, the best evidence the Cap era is over comes from Evans himself, who characterized his last day of shooting on Avengers: Endgame as an end to his time with the character. "Playing this role over the last eight years has been an honor," Evans tweeted. "Eternally grateful."

He's voiced similar sentiments in press conferences, describing the "completion" of Captain America's character arc. But even without external evidence from Evans, Captain America makes more sense as a character death than Iron Man. As the upholder of an ideal, Rogers would never be able to slip away into private life like the one Tony Stark could have with Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow). Self-sacrifice feels more right for the character and Red Skull is just waiting on Vormir, home of the Soul Stone, to offer Rogers the opportunity. Should he fall, there are several characters ready to pick up the Captain America mantle, as both Bucky Barnes and Falcon have in the Marvel Comics.

So, Does Iron Man Die in 'Avengers: Endgame'?

Just because Captain America is more likely to die doesn't mean Iron Man is safe, but it's far easier to see Marvel retiring the character instead of killing him. At least since Iron Man 3, in which Tony is haunted by the attack on New York, he seems to want nothing more than to give up the Iron Man suit and build a normal life with Potts. Iron Man has been the character who is seen sacrificing a normal life for the greater good.

He could do the same again in Endgame, this time to fatal effect. For the surviving Avengers to reverse Thanos' snap, it's likely they'll be reuniting the Infinity Stones. Should the task fall to Tony Stark—who better to rebuild the Marvel universe than its architect and original character?—we all learned in Guardians of the Galaxy what happens to mortals wielding the Stones (they explode). But the doom and gloom surrounding Iron Man doesn't really fit with what we know about the character. While Iron Man is likely to have a close brush with death in Avengers: Endgame, we suspect a red herring.

What We Already Know About Iron Man In 'Endgame'

Trailers for Avengers: Endgame have placed a lot of emphasis on Stark, currently stranded in space—monologuing video messages to Potts. "It seems like a thousand years ago. I fought my way out of that cave, became Iron Man, realized I loved you," Stark says. "I know I said no more surprises, but I was really hoping to pull off one last one."

He's not just talking to Potts, but recording the message directly into the Iron Man mask, making this a simultaneous dialogue with both Potts—his shot at a normal life—and his superhero persona. While Stark is at a low-point recording this message, adrift and dying in space, he's also expressing what we all expect from the character: Iron Man always pulls off "one last one." Because he embodies human technological possibility, Stark will always be in a position to innovate his way out of one last pinch.

While Avengers: Endgame is likely to write an end to Iron Man, Tony Stark's death would be an uncharacteristically dark choice for the MCU, since it denies Stark the ending he's long pursued. Spider-Man: Homecoming offers a good template for a more fitting fate for Tony Stark, with the character taking on a Nick Fury role, making cameo appearances to guide Phase 4 heroes.

Anyway, it's our last day for speculation: Avengers: Endgame is out in theaters on Thursday.