Warning: Major spoilers follow for Avengers: Endgame.
"Genius. Billionaire. Playboy. Philanthropist." That's how Tony Stark describes himself when the Avengers first team up against earth's deadliest foes. But in the wake of Avengers: Endgame, we know that Tony has become so much more. Father. Time Traveller. Reluctant hero. Legend. The man who ushers in Marvel's Cinematic Universe closes out one of its most important chapters when he uses the Infinity Stones to snap Thanos out of existence — and loses his own life in the process, living up to his longstanding claim, "If we can't protect the earth, you can be damn sure we'll avenge it."
But is this really the end for Iron Man?
After all, Spider-Man: Far From Home hits theatres in July. As Peter Parker's mentor, shouldn't Tony Stark be front and centre? According to a June 2017 report from Fandom, producer Amy Pascal said the upcoming Spider-Man saga will "start a few minutes after Avengers 4 wraps as a story," thwarting any chances for a potential reunion.
But does that mean we should give up all hope for an Iron Man comeback?
Not necessarily. If we look to the comics, we'll find that a Stark resurrection isn't completely farfetched because the character has died and resurfaced several times. The most notable instance occurs in a 1992 issue of the Iron Man Marvel Comic. Stark dies on the operating table after grappling with a group of high-tech assassins known as the Masters of Silence . . . or so the audience and Tony's partner James Rhodes come to believe. In truth, the billionaire genius puts himself in suspended animation to aid his recovery.
While we'd love the MCU version of Stark to reveal his death as some scientific hoax, we don't think our hero would put his family, especially his young daughter Morgan, through the pain of a funeral if there was a way to save his life. The best evidence that Iron Man has passed on comes at the end of the film, where we see Stark address his family in a holographic message created in the moments prior to his time jump. He predicts he won't make it through the ordeal alive, but stresses that he is at peace with the possibility stating, "Part of the journey is the end."
As heart-wrenching as that statement is on the surface, the subtext suggests that Stark's journey hasn't really ended, but rather, marks a new beginning . . . metaphorically speaking. Just as Captain America passes the torch to Falcon, Stark's torch continues to burn bright in the heart of his daughter Morgan. She is his legacy. She carries his memory. She is his new beginning. His work lives on in her.
We see flashes of this idea from the very moment she comes on screen wearing one of his Iron Man helmets. She also shares his penchant for numbers stating, "I love you 3000." Even Happy Hogan sees a little bit of Tony in Morgan when he asks her about lunch and she replies, "Cheeseburgers." While these hints feel small, we bet they bear a huge significance in the future. As Stark states at the beginning of the film, the Avengers need "an infusion of new blood." And by leaving a legacy that can grow into something more, our favourite billionaire playboy has done just that.