Marvel just confirmed how Iron Man might come back to the MCU

One of the most annoying things about old superhero movies is that the audience knows right from the start the good guys will win and the bad guys will be defeated. Not only that, but the titular character will not die, as he or she will have to return for a sequel. It’s not that we want superheroes to die in these movies, but we know that the Batmen and Spider-Men of the world are in no real danger. They might suffer and they might be injured, but they’ll make it to the sequel. And when the story is done, you reboot. Superman’s death in Batman v. Superman might have been an odd exception to the rule, but we already knew from the scene at the end of the movie that his death would not stick.

That’s where Marvel’s MCU shines. The stakes feel more authentic in these movies, and that’s because Marvel has achieved so much success with its Cinematic Universe, well beyond what other studios were able to pull off. Marvel took lesser-known heroes and turned them into stars who make former Batman and Spider-Man characters pale by comparison. And Marvel created so many interconnected stories that are all on converging paths. With so many characters on hand and plenty of Marvel comics material to work with, Marvel stunned the audiences when it off killed half of the the Avengers. The characters stayed dead for five years in that timeline and bringing them back would require additional sacrifices. That involved Black Widow (Scarlett Johannson) and Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) dying heroically in Avengers: Endgame to get the job done. That was a fantastic exit for these characters, who were later joined by Captain America (Chris Evans) when he retired from the team.

We’ve kept hearing that Marvel might want to bring back Iron Man and the original Cap in future stories and we’ve seen rumors explaining the ways it can be done without ruining Endgame’s legacy. While we have no confirmation on the matter, Kevin Feige’s latest comments about Loki practically confirm that Marvel can bring back these characters anytime it wants to with ease.

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Loki is the next MCU TV show to hit Disney+, and Entertainment Weekly spoke with Tom Hiddleston about the character he has been playing for more than a decade in Thor and Avengers movies. EW also interviewed Feige about Marvel’s plans for the character moving forward.

The Marvel president answered the magazine by saying “more Hiddleston, more Loki” when asked why Loki was one of the studio’s first Disney+ shows. The report explains how Loki has been amazingly popular with the fans, so Marvel reconsidered its original plan to kill him off in Thor: The Dark World. Test audiences never bought the idea he died fighting the Dark Elves. But then Marvel killed Loki in Infinity War when the character died a heroic death when attempting to kill Thanos.

Hiddleston felt like that was the end for Loki. “It felt very, very final, and I thought, ‘Okay, that’s it. This is Loki’s final bow and a conclusive end to the Odinson saga,’” the actor said.

He then returned to film two scenes that appeared in Endgame in 2017. Hiddleston had no idea where Loki was teleported off to after stealing the Tesseract. And Feige said that initially, the plan wasn’t to use that scene to spin off a TV show centered around the God of Mischief. Instead, it was just a ploy that would force the Avengers to go into a different timeline to get the Infinity Stone they had just lost.

Avengers: Endgame
Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) embracing Spider-Man (Tom Holland) in an emotional scene from the climactic Avengers: Endgame final battle. Image source: Marvel Studios

After speaking with Disney CEO Bob Iger about producing content for Disney+, Feige & Co. said he wanted to do something with Loki. “I think the notion that we had left this hanging loose end with Loki gave us the in for what a Loki series could be. So by the time [Endgame] came out, we did know where it was going,” the exec said.

In all of this, it’s essential not to lose sight of the fact that the Loki we’re about to see on Disney+ in a few weeks is a different character. And Marvel wanted to explore all that. “One of the things Kevin Feige led on was, ‘I think we should find a way of exploring the parts of Loki that are independent of his relationship with Thor,’ or see him in a duality or in relationship with others, which I thought was very exciting,” Hiddleston told EW. “So the Odinson saga, that trilogy of films, still has its integrity, and we don’t have to reopen it and retell it.”

This line of thinking confirms that Marvel can bring back fan-favorite characters anytime it wants, including Iron Man, Captain America, and Black Widow. And it can do it all without ruining Endgame. Feige dropped a key quote that further underscores Marvel’s ability to do whatever it wants in the MCU going forward, without ruining the previous stories.

“Part of the fun of the multiverse and playing with time is seeing other versions of characters, and other versions of the titular character in particular,” Feige said. That’s going to be something we’ll remember the deeper we go into Phase 4, especially with rumors continuing to swirl that suggest RDJ and Evans might appear in future MCU stories.

Feige wasn’t willing to confirm whether Loki ties into Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness or other projects during the interview — but he did say before that Loki will appear in the Strange sequel.

Iron Man speculation aside, the complete EW profile of Loki is a great read — check it out at this link.

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