[Editor’s note: The following post contains spoilers about “Avengers: Endgame.”]
Petition culture has become all the rage after more than 1.5 million “Game of Thrones” fans mobilized last month to urge HBO to remake the polarizing final season. The latest petition going viral across the internet concerns the Marvel Cinematic Universe, with over 35,000 fans and counting making it known they are still outraged over Marvel Studios’ decision to kill Tony Stark/Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) at the end of “Avengers: Endgame.”
“Tony deserves to come back fully alive,” the petition argues. “Tony Stark was always ready to risk his life, suffer, and sacrifice himself for anyone, without ever receiving anything in return. Since the beginning, since he was a kid. He can never be happy, and when he finally got what he always wanted, and deserved, he died. He didn’t deserve this and it’s not fair…he deserves to live and see his daughter grow up.”
While feeling outraged over the death of a beloved character is natural (and clearly Tony Stark was beloved if his fate is still causing this kind of a reaction over a month after the release of “Endgame”), signing a petition is not the best way forward for MCU fans. Kevin Feige has already stated that Marvel Studios has a five-year plan mapped out for the MCU after “Avengers: Endgame,” with Tony Stark’s death being fundamental to the next phase. Just take a look at next month’s “Spider-Man: Far From Home,” which factors Tony’s death directly into the plot and character arcs. That the new “Spider-Man” is set in a world in mourning over Iron Man means Tony Stark’s fate is sealed, rendering this viral fan petition pointless.
MCU fans will find it’s far more beneficial to make peace with the decision to kill Tony Stark and explore why it was made instead of banding together to reverse an irreversible creative choice. Screenwriters Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely said they killed Tony to give him “a heroic, finished life.” Tony’s death is a selfless act, sacrificing himself to save the universe, which cements his growth from the selfish playboy billionaire fans met at the start of the MCU in 2008’s “Iron Man.”
What the petition to bring Tony back to life fails to acknowledge is that Tony already got to experience his perfect life and was still drawn back into saving the world. When “Endgame” jumps forward five years, fans see a more domesticated Tony settling down with wife Pepper and daughter Morgan. That Tony gives up this life for another Avengers mission means he would never be satisfied until creating lasting peace, which only comes with making the greatest sacrifice. For this reason, Tony’s death should be satisfying for fans since he gets both the peaceful family life he wanted and to ensure that life remains safe and protected even without him. No petition is bringing Tony back, so it’s time for MCU fans to start working toward the light at the end of their grief.
“Avengers: Endgame” is now playing in theaters nationwide.