The Marvel Cinematic Universe said goodbye to the hero who started it all, Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr), in Avengers: Endgame, but with all the new concepts and more that Phase 4 has introduced so far, there are many theories about how Iron Man could return to the MCU in the near future. The MCU has become the most expansive connected universe in the superhero world, and it all started in 2008 with Jon Favreau Iron Man, which introduced audiences to Tony Stark and set the tone for subsequent films. Iron Man ended up leading the Infinity Saga and the original Avengers team (alongside Captain America), and his last heroic act was to save the entire universe.
Over the course of a decade, viewers have watched Tony Stark/Iron Man grow from self-centered genius, billionaire, playboy and philanthropist to a true hero who left his ego behind and sacrificed himself to save the universe in Avengers: Endgame, where he removed the Infinity Stones from Thanos’ Infinity Gauntlet and used his nano gauntlet to obliterate Thanos and his armies. The impact of Iron Man’s actions throughout the Infinity Saga continues to be felt, and with the MCU’s Phase 4 exploring the Multiverse and its many possibilities and dangers, there have been a variety of theories as to how which Iron Man might return to in this Connected Universe, and the Phase 5 and 6 announcements have only fueled those theories.
During Marvel’s Hall H panel at San Diego Comic-Con 2022, Kevin Feige revealed the end of Phase 4, the complete Phase 5 slate, and three Phase 6 movies, the most significant being Avengers: Kang Dynasty and Avengers: Secret Wars, the MCU’s next big crossover event. The multiverse and upcoming Avengers films have given way to even more theories and speculation about Iron Man’s possible return, and they range from variants to dangerous resurrections and more. Here are all the theories on how Iron Man could return to the MCU.
RDJ’s Iron Man May Return In Avengers 5 Or 6 Thanks To Time Travel
Time travel was introduced to the MCU in Avengers: Endgame, where the surviving heroes of the Thanos snap invented the Time Heist, and since the rules of time travel in the MCU aren’t set in stone (and aren’t exactly clear), it’s possible he could be used to bring Iron Man back. Phase 4 explored other ways characters can time travel, like agents of the Time Variance Authority, and with Kang (Jonathan Majors) now in charge of TVA, it’s possible. Avengers: Kang Dynasty and or Avengers: Secret Wars could once again see time travel, through which Iron Man could be brought back to aid his fellow Avengers in this massive new battle against a threat even greater than Thanos.
RDJ’s Iron Man Could Be Brought Back From The Dead
A darker way in which Iron Man could return to the MCU is if he’s brought back from the dead, though that doesn’t mean it’ll be exactly the same as Tony Stark viewers (and characters) know. The MCU has already proven that the best way to bring Iron Man back is as a zombie, as briefly seen in Spider-Man: Far From Home during one of Mysterio’s illusions and a little deeper into What if…?the episode “What if… Zombies”. Although Zombie Iron Man doesn’t have the awareness of the character everyone knows and loves, it’s this change that would make his return all the more impactful and dramatic, as having him return as a zombie would have an emotional impact. heavy on those closest to him. him, like Rhodey (Don Cheadle) and Peter Parker (Tom Holland). Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness has previously toyed with the idea of bringing characters back from the dead with Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) resurrecting one of his variants through dreamwalking, which could also be used to bring Iron Man back from a way less disastrous than an infected zombie.
RDJ’s Iron Man Could Return As An AI
Another possible way to bring Iron Man back into the MCU is to use something that matches his character and his past actions: As an AI Throughout his time in the MCU, Tony Stark relied heavily on artificial intelligence, as seen with JARVIS and later with FRIDAY, and he even left one ready-made for Peter (EDITH, featured in Spider-Man: Far From Home). Tony anticipated his death by Avengers: Endgame and left a holographic message for his daughter, Morgan Stark, so it wouldn’t be too surprising if he also left some sort of backup of himself in the form of an AI. Tony has done it in the comics, especially in the Stone heart storyline, where he created an AI of himself in case his body no longer works. Tony was left in a comatose state after the second superhero civil war, and his AI was shipped to Riri Williams (who joins the MCU in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever) so that he could serve as her mentor.
Iron Man May Appear From The Multiverse
Among the new concepts introduced during Phase 4 of the MCU and its exploration of the multiverse is that of variants, which are versions of characters from the MCU but from other universes, and they can either look exactly like those in the main timeline, either changing genders, stories, etc. The Multiverse will continue to be key to Phases 5 and 6 of the MCU, especially as Kang is now in charge of TVA, leaving the door wide open for the MCU to bring a variety of characters from other universes into the MCU. , and among those could be an alternate version of Iron Man – though whether or not he’s again played by Robert Downey Jr. is unknown.
Iron Man Could Return As Kang’s Soldier
On the MCU’s multiverse variant line, there’s a theory that suggests Iron Man can be brought back to Avengers: Secret Wars as Kang’s soldier. The theory is based on the comics in which Kang created an army of Thors called Thor Corps, and among these was a variant of Iron Man who was able to lift Mjolnir, like any other Thor, and has joined Kang’s side in battle. This alternate version of Iron Man is called Iron Hammer (of course!), and it could be an interesting and fun way to bring Iron Man back to the MCU in a different role than he had throughout the Infinity Saga. , and that would surely shock not only viewers, but also MCU heroes who knew and worked alongside Iron Man, as they would now have to fight against him.
Would the MCU ever recast Iron Man?
Given Iron Man’s legacy and importance in the MCU as the hero who launched this now massive universe and how beloved Robert Downey Jr. was in that role, recasting him would be a risky move by Marvel, though that doesn’t mean the studio wouldn’t dare to do it at some point. The multiverse provides the MCU with countless possibilities, including bringing back dead characters without having to bring back the same actors, so if it’s not impossible to have Iron Man return but played by a different actor, that decision might not be well received by the audience.
Should Iron Man Return to the MCU?
As loved and important as Iron Man is in the MCU, he went through quite a journey in the Infinity Saga and died a true hero, so bringing him back might undo that perfect ending, even if he returns as an AI or zombie. . The best solution if the MCU still wants an Iron Man-like figure is to replace him with another character, and this universe already has a few solutions for that, as it still has Rhodey (who will star in the upcoming TV series Armor Wars), Riri Williams (Dominique Thorne) debuts at the end of Phase 4, Nathaniel Richards/Ironlad could appear because he’s one of Kang’s variants, and there’s also Morgan Stark, who could take the place of his mother as Rescue at one point. The MCU is finally starting to move away from Iron Manshadow of, and while bringing it back would be very emotional and interesting, it’s not necessary at all.
Next: MCU’s Multiverse Saga Can’t Repeat Infinity War & Endgame’s Best Trick
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- Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania (2023)Release date: February 17, 2023
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- Marvels/Captain Marvel 2 (2023)Release date: July 28, 2023
- The Blade (2023)Release date: November 03, 2023
- Marvel’s Lightning Bolts (2024)Release date: July 26, 2024
- Avengers: Kang Dynasty (2025)Release date: May 02, 2025
- Avengers: Secret Wars (2025)Release date: November 07, 2025
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