Marvel’s What If…? has been taking the Marvel Cinematic Universe into unexplored territory as it explores new alternate realities in the Marvel Multiverse. Marvel fans love the show, but they have noticed a recurring pattern in some of the show’s nine episodes – Marvel just cannot seem to stop killing Tony Stark aka Iron Man.
Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) notably met his fate in Avengers: Endgame (2019) and Marvel fans spent the last two years mourning his death. But since the MCU is based on Marvel comics, being dead does not necessarily mean that that is the end of the story. Natasha Romanoff AKA Black Widow (Scarlet Johansson) notably got her own prequel film Black Widow after she also died in Endgame.
So, fans have had their eyes peeled for Tony’s return to the MCU and they got their wish in Marvel Studio’s first animated series on Disney+ What If…?. But it’s been a bit of a Monkey’s Paw as the show has killed Tony Stark four times in the first seven episodes of the show.
Mick Wingert replaced Robert Downey Jr. as the voice of Tony Stark for the series, and Tony has died in every single episode that he has appeared in — and even one he did not. In the third episode, “What If…the World Lost Its Mightiest Heroes”, every Avenger, including Tony, fell.
And technically, they all died again in the next episode, “What If…Doctor Strange Lost His Heart Instead of His Hands”, when Doctor Strange Supreme (Benedict Cumberbatch) destroyed his reality in a foolish attempt to save Christine Palmer (Rachel McAdams).
In the fifth episode, “What If…Zombies?”, Tony is killed and becomes a zombie before the start of the episode. Then, he was killed by Erik Killmonger (Michael B. Jordan) in the sixth episode, “What If…Killmonger Rescued Tony Stark?”. At least he got a break in the latest episode “What If…Thor Were an Only Child?”.
What If…? writer A.C. Bradley sat down with Entertainment Weekly and faced the music:
“I noticed on Twitter we’re getting a lot of crap for killing Tony a lot. He has become the Kenny of the What If…? universe by accident.”
Tony Stark has been blamed as the source of many of the problems in the MCU from Ultron (James Spader) and Adrian Toomes AKA Vulture (Michael Keaton). But its fair to say that five deaths in three years may have evened the score.
Luckily, Bradley also revealed that What If…? had a happier episode planned for Tony. It was cut because of the pandemic, but it could show up in Season Two.
The official description of Marvel’s What If…? says:
“What If…?” flips the script on the MCU, reimagining famous events from the films in unexpected ways. Marvel Studios’ first animated series focuses on different heroes from the MCU, featuring a voice cast that includes a host of stars who reprise their roles. Directed by Bryan Andrews with AC Bradley as head writer, “What If…?” launches exclusively on Disney+ on August 11, 2021.
There are two more episodes of the first season streaming on Wednesdays, so be sure to check them out.
Let us know in the comments if you think that Marvel should take a break from killing off Tony Stark in the MCU.