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Why Iron Man Had To Die To Save The Universe


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Doctor Strange’s vision for a future where the Avengers won saw Iron Man die at the end of Avengers: Endgame, and that might not be a coincidence.

Iron Man died to save the universe in Avengers: Endgame, and it might have been necessary to save the galaxy from Tony Stark. Robert Downey Jr.’s genius billionaire playboy philanthropist was the face of the Marvel Cinematic Universe for over a decade. Iron Man launched the MCU back in 2008 and played a pivotal role in what is now known as the Infinity Saga. He proved to be one of the MCU franchise’s greatest heroes and put his life on the line multiple times before paying the ultimate price in Avengers: Endgame.

The twenty-second MCU film was touted as the culmination of the universe to that point, and fans went into the movie expecting to say goodbye to some characters as the Avengers tried to defeat Thanos and reverse The Snap. Black Widow sacrificed her life to obtain the Soul Stone, and Captain America retired after the finale, but it was Iron Man who gave up his life to stop Thanos once and for all. The final battle consisted of the 2014 version of the Mad Titan and his massive army taking on the Avengers and friends for the universe’s fate. It all came down to a scrum for the Infinity Stones between Thanos and Iron Man. Although Thanos thought he had the upper hand, Iron Man secretly took the Infinity Stones to perform a snap of his own, one which wiped the Mad Titan and his army from Earth but also ended his own life.

Related: Spider-Man’s Death Made Tony Stark A Better Father

As devastating as a loss Iron Man’s death was for characters in Avengers: Endgame and MCU fans, it was set up that it had to be done. Doctor Strange signaled to Tony that this was the one future they won out of 14,000,605 possibilities the Sorcerer Supreme saw in Avengers: Infinity War. That aided Avengers: Endgame‘s plot as every question, convenience, or plot hole could be wiped away as being tied to the Avengers winning. However, the extent of this “win” is less clear. Strange could’ve been referring to simply stopping Thanos, but there’s also a chance his view of the future extended beyond. And to keep the universe safe for the longest time possible, would that require Tony Stark to no longer be around?

Doctor Strange Saved Iron Man In Infinity War

Doctor-Strange-and-Iron-Man-in-Avengers-Infinity-War

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Throughout the course of Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame, Tony Stark’s life was spared on a few occasions. This happened when he survived Thanos’ snap, but Doctor Strange also ensured that he would live to experience that moment. This is important to remember as Strange is the only one who lived through the 14,000,604 futures where the Avengers lost. He alone knows the different possibilities and what went wrong. Although this allowed him to figure out the lone future where the Avengers won, he also witnessed the millions of ways they lost. As a result, he would know who is most important to the plan.

Ahead of the first encounter with Thanos on Titan, Strange made his priorities very clear: protect the Time Stone at all costs. He even specifically said that if it came down to letting Iron Man die or keeping the Time Stone out of Thanos’ hands, he would not hesitate to let Tony die. That’s why it was so shocking to see Strange willingly give the stone to Thanos in exchange for his life. Thanos was moments away from killing Iron Man but left Titan without finishing the job once the Time Stone was in hand. Strange’s decision, though, came after he saw the future, and he explained that it was the only way.

Iron Man Was Needed To Stop Thanos

It wasn’t long after Avengers: Infinity War ended that fans began to realize that Strange’s decision meant Tony was the key to stopping Thanos. Although it took longer than expected and some convincing by the Avengers to have him risk his life again to save everyone who was lost in The Snap, Avengers: Endgame ultimately showed just how important Tony was to defeating Thanos.

Related: Every MCU Hero Strong Enough To Pull Off Iron Man’s Endgame Snap

Tony Stark was initially hesitant to try and take on Thanos again after the events of Infinity War, as he didn’t want to lose the family he barely made it back alive to. However, some random inspiration from a photo of him and Peter Parker helped change that. Tony successfully solved the equation for time travel through the Quantum Realm and created the hand devices and nano-tech suits to make such a journey possible. Not only would the Avengers not be able to time travel without Tony, but he also proved to be essential to the missions themselves. After Loki stole the Space Stone, Tony was the only one who knew where it and more Pym Particles could be found so the mission could be finished.

Furthermore, Tony ultimately made Hulk’s snap possible by creating an Iron Gauntlet capable of changing its size to fit any hand. His contributions didn’t end there, of course, as the same technology made Tony the only one who could steal the Infinity Stones away from Thanos without him knowing. It was only through the nano-tech design of the latest version of Iron Man’s armor that Tony could interact with the Iron Gauntlet and take the stones back. This cost Tony his life, but he did it to protect everyone he cared about.

Theory: The Universe Is Safer Without Tony Stark

Tony Stark Avengers Endgame Avengers Age of Ultron

Tony’s sacrifice is undoubtedly a heroic moment and one he made out of selflessness, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that Doctor Strange couldn’t have had an ulterior motive. It is blatantly clear that no matter how big of a hero Tony Stark became, he and others were usually fighting villains Iron Man created. Beyond Stark Industries’ involvement in creating weapons of war and how that factored into Tony’s origin, the tech he designed was used by Obadiah Stane and Ivan Vanko to become villains. Tony’s decision to spurn Aldrich Killian even motivated him to become a villain. In contrast, Quentin Beck became Mysterio after Stark rebranded the BARF technology, and Adrian Toomes became Vulture after Stark founded Damage Control and eliminated his business. It’s also impossible to overlook how he created Ultron, a decision that resulted in a major catastrophe and helped fuel the Sokovia Accords, which he backed.

This isn’t to say that Iron Man didn’t do a lot of good, because he did, but it is apparent that his genius and futurist thinking also created problems. That could be why Doctor Strange influenced Infinity War and Endgame to play out as it did. The idea that there was no other way for the Avengers to beat Thanos is somewhat preposterous, as they were mere seconds away from taking the Infinity Gauntlet from Thanos on Titan moments before Strange gave up the Time Stone. Instead, it is possible that Strange found multiple realities where Thanos was defeated, but more threats emerged that they couldn’t stop. It isn’t too difficult to imagine that Tony Stark would create even more powerful, but dangerous, tech if he survived Thanos’ attack. But that wouldn’t be an issue if he was not around anymore. This could mean that Strange found the sequence of events that led to the safest universe, one where Tony Stark’s death also eliminated future threats.

Related: Iron Man Teased Kang The Conqueror’s Arrival In Avengers: Endgame

Although this is just a theory, for now, it would certainly paint Doctor Strange and both Infinity War and Endgame in new lights if it was ever confirmed. Strange would suddenly become more of a morally ambiguous character, if not an outright villain in the eyes of some. But, since he and Stark developed some level of understanding during their time together, it also makes him holding up his index finger in Avengers: Endgame‘s final battle more crushing. Strange knows that not only is Tony Stark about to die but that he chose this future. With Kang the Conqueror and other villains set to be introduced in Phase 4 and beyond, only time will tell whether or not Doctor Strange made the right call.

MORE: Every Magical Spell & Ability Doctor Strange Has Used In The MCU

Key Release Dates

  • Black Widow (2021)Release date: May 07, 2021
  • Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (2021)Release date: Jul 09, 2021
  • Eternals (2021)Release date: Nov 05, 2021
  • Spider-Man: Homecoming 3 (2021)Release date: Dec 17, 2021
  • Thor: Love and Thunder (2022)Release date: Feb 11, 2022
  • Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (2022)Release date: Mar 25, 2022
  • Black Panther 2 (2022)Release date: May 06, 2022
  • Captain Marvel 2 (2022)Release date: Jul 08, 2022

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Updated: November 18, 2020 — 3:33 pm

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