In Memoriam of Anthony Edward “Tony” Stark and the Legacy of Iron Man, the World’s Best Defender

Avengers Endgame toy leak REVEALS Tony Stark aka Iron Man's new suit (2)

“The earth lost its best defender.” To requote Captain America — the world lost its best defender. And while death is difficult to discuss, it’s cathartic when mourning a tremendous loss. Tony Stark’s sacrificial death was one felt everywhere — a fictional loss that’ll be with us for years to come because so few before him have had such a poignant, profoundly colossal impact. He was the one in 14,000,605. It had to be him and his death served a purpose. And where great storytelling is concerned, being able to put the greater good of the world before his own self-interest encompassed years of astounding character development. To mourn a legend like Anthony Edward Stark cannot be done alone, it demands a celebration. And that’s what we’re here to do today. We’re here to celebrate a friend, a father, a husband, a genius, billionaire, playboy philanthropist. We’re here to celebrate an Avenger. We’re here to celebrate a hero.

What’s your all-time favorite Iron Man scene?

Gissane (Twitter: @GissaneSophia): There’s a lot. Tony’s always been the funniest character to me and almost every word he speaks in the original Avengers is a big mood. But after a rewatch, I don’t know if anything could potentially top the first time he says the words “I am Iron Man.” Chills, now more than ever. It sets up what’s to come so well, it’s almost hard to believe the weight of such a simple statement — especially because there’s been nothing quite like it in a comic book film before.

Heather (Twitter: @TVExamined): Rewatching it hurts a little now, but Tony saving New York from the nuke at the end of The Avengers will probably always be one of my favorites. That’s who Tony is. He found his purpose in protecting the world and was going to do whatever was necessary to fulfill that purpose. He’s scared but he’s determined and he saves the city as a result. It’s what drives him and why I love him so much. Plus, I love the rest of the team’s reactions to his sacrifice and survival, especially Natasha’s.

Jenna (Twitter: @JennaJaunts): Tony always has such great one liners and moments, but I also have to say when he first says “I am Iron Man” at the end of the first movie. It’s so Tony and after rewatching it post-Endgame, I teared up.

Julia (Twitter: @swanhathaway)My all time favorite scene is when he says “I am Iron Man” for the first time at the end of the first movie. It’s where it all began. That’s when he decided who he wanted to be, the hero everyone needed.

Katie (Twitter: @NerdyGirlNotes): I’m picking two because I’m a rebel who plays by her own rules. 😉 The first is the iconic, “I am Iron Man,” because truly, it doesn’t get better than that. It’s the line that gave us the MCU as we know it today, and it’s a moment that will go down in pop culture history. But my other choice is a bit of a deep cut: It’s Tony talking to Pepper in Iron Man 3 about what’s happened to him since the events of the first Avengers movie. It was such a stunning moment of vulnerability from a character who doesn’t usually allow himself to have those moments. It was his acknowledgment of his PTSD and his inability to cope with it, and it made his character even more nuanced. It also deepened his relationship with Pepper, and that shot of her holding him while he looks up at her is one of the most beautifully intimate moments in the MCU.

Leen (Twitter: @uhleentothe): My all-time favorite Iron Man scene would have to be from Avengers: Endgame. It’s towards the end of the movie where all the Avengers come back and reunite in order to battle for all the stones. There was a lot going on in the scene but one thing that stood out to me was Iron Man and his true character as a hero. When he reunites with Peter Parker and Peter starts talking about going into dust, and all of the sudden he just gives him a hug. In a way, it made me feel like Tony Stark saw Peter not only as a potential superhero but also like a son. He didn’t show it much but he has a soft spot for Peter and really created a relationship with him as if he were one of his own. There was also a part where he’s trying to gain back his conscious and then he sees Dr. Strange and realizes that he was always the one person who was able to do what had to be done

Maii (Twitter: @Maiqu20): This is so hard because there are so many good scenes. Tony is such an iconic character, portrayed marvelously (ha!) by Robert Downey Jr,  in so many ways it’s hard to pick. Iron Man 3 is one of my all time favorite marvel movies. So while I want to pick something from it, I think I have to go with the “I am Iron Man” parallel. It’s the same words said twice but the feeling behind them is so different. It’s absolutely wonderful and heartbreaking.

Meredith (Twitter: @MeredithLoftus): I could go through all 10 MCU movie appearances (yes, I included Incredible Hulk because it was my favorite part of that movie) and pick out scene after scene that Tony Stark doesn’t just steal, he takes because he is that good. There is one scene in particular that will always be favorites of mine (besides his Back in Black introduction & “I am Iron Man” ending)

One of my favorite Iron Man scenes is the scene in the first Iron Man movie where he does his first flight test. You see the anticipation yet excitement as he is figuring it out. It’s clumsy, he flies over his expensive cars, but it feels real. Then he sticks the landing, looks around at no one and just says “Yeah, I can fly.” That, right there, is Tony Stark in a nutshell. Sure, he’s an arrogant billionaire at times, but at his core he is a genius scientist excited that he broke new ground, and you see that same excitement when he figures out time travel in Avengers: Endgame.

What was your favorite moment involving Tony in Avengers: Endgame?

Gissane (Twitter: @GissaneSophia): No exaggeration, every moment. There’s not a single scene throughout Endgame that didn’t hit me like a ton of bricks in the most beautifully surprising way. Tony Stark absolutely has a heart, and that heart is gold. There’s a lot of beauty in this movie where his character is present, and it’s most evident in the scenes with his daughter Morgan. From the moment we see them together to the final scene with the A.I. version “I love you 3000” becomes everything to me. Is there anything in the entire MCU more pure than that? And then there’s the one moment I’d been waiting for since Captain America: Civil War, which was Tony giving Steve the shield back and the two of them essentially reestablishing that they not only trust each other, but they can’t do this without the other. But there’s also the moment when Tony reunites with Peter and hugs him. Be still my beating heart. I don’t know how a scene could make me cry with utter pain and laugh with joy at the same exact time, but it somehow does. There really are too many moments to bounce off from. Don’t even get me started on his moments with Pepper, in the beginning and in the end, because they did the best job of showcasing that today, he wouldn’t do a single thing without her approval. They did a stunning job of showcasing just how gorgeously their love has anchored him to a happy, healthy place. It’s healed him of all the demons in the past with the second chances he’s gotten and that’s the kind of content I’m always here for.

Heather (Twitter: @TVExamined): This is an impossible question because I loved every moment with Tony. “I lost the kid” and his hurt and anger at Steve in the beginning caused me actual physical pain but in a satisfying way. Then every single moment with Morgan was perfect; there is really nothing I love more than Soft Dad Tony, and his love for his daughter was so palpable and heartwarming. I loved his moment with Pepper on the couch when he asked if he should go through with the time travel, giving Steve his shield back, his complete inability to think on his feet when Howard asked what his name was, and his reunion hug with Peter. And while I was already sobbing too much for it to actually be a favorite, his final “I am Iron Man” is iconic and one that will always be remembered.

Jenna (Twitter: @JennaJaunts): The growth this character has gone through is just amazing, and all of his scenes were fantastic, funny, and gut wrenching. I adored his scenes with Morgan. She is the sweetest thing and I’ll never be over “I love you 3000.” I think it was that scene; watching him gently push her by the face into her pillow and their whole exchange, “Go to bed or I’ll sell all your toys.” It melted my heart and had me laughing. But damn, the scenes with him and Steve, too. I missed them interacting and being a team so much! I needed that scene where he gave Steve his shield back.

Julia (Twitter: @swanhathaway)In Endgame, my favorite moment was when he finds out the model he’s been trying to develop finally works. He’s incredible, even though he said he wasn’t on board with the “time heist” story and didn’t wanted to get involved, we see that he’s clearly been working on that and running some tests to try and make it work. He never gives up.

Katie (Twitter: @NerdyGirlNotes): If I couldn’t pick just one for the first question, how can I pick just one now?! For me, the moments that stood out the most were the moments when Tony—this man who used to care only about himself—went out of his way to make people feel special and loved. Even before he made the ultimate sacrifice, we saw how Tony became someone who had opened himself up to caring about people and showing them he cared in ways he never would have before. Whether it was hugging his dad and thanking him, giving Steve the shield and all of the respect and forgiveness that came with that gesture, or bonding with Nebula, my favorite moments were ones in which Tony went out of his way to reach out to people who needed it and to form connections where they hadn’t existed—or had been broken—before. And then there were Tony’s most important connections: Peter, Morgan, and Pepper. I loved the moments we got to see of Tony at home with his wife and daughter because Robert Downey Jr. showed us a Tony that was truly happy. And then there was his reunion with Peter, which is one of the most emotionally satisfying moments in the whole movie. Tony did everything to bring Peter back, and when he saw that it worked, the relief and love on his face was so beautiful that you could hear people audibly “Awwwing” in the theater.

Leen (Twitter: @uhleentothe): I can definitely say one of my favorite moments from Endgame is when Iron Man goes back in time to retrieve the Tesseract with Captain America. While he sneaks in to obtain it, he comes across his father who just so happens to be going home to his wife. Little does he know. . .While they engage in conversation, he also realizes that his dad always loved him and always supported him even when he couldn’t show it. Tony always felt distant having an estranged relationship from his father but in that moment, he felt the real connection and bond he always wanted.

Maii (Twitter: @Maiqu20): Can I second everything Giss said? Because I do. I don’t know what to pick because this is his movie. I don’t care what anyone says, Endgame is Tony and Robert Downey Jr.’s movie. “I love you 3000” is the softest moment in all of the MCU. I love the one that comes right before it, where Morgan catches him saying a bad word so Tony gives her a juice-pop. It gives us such a beautiful look into their family dynamic. The aforementioned I am Iron Man is wonderful and so is every moment with Peter. The moment he finally gives Peter that hug just broke my heart. If I didn’t know he was going to die that’s the moment that I went “oh f$#k.” I really like that they made Tony’s family (Peter, Pepper and Morgan) the motivation for him getting into the fight. And then we get that truly heartbreaking “you can rest now” in which I bawled so hard the woman next to me kept staring.

Meredith (Twitter: @MeredithLoftus): Every scene. Every moment. Every frame. This is a masterclass of fantastic acting courtesy of Mr. Robert Downey Jr. Seriously, from playing paper football with Nebula to his holographic message to his family, Tony Stark’s arc is given so much depth and heart.

Tony Stark and Steve Rogers: It was important for Tony not to immediately forgive Steve after he returns to Earth; he hadn’t seen him since Civil War and the defeat was fresh (Seeing Tony that skinny from malnutrition did a number on me). It was sweet that Steve and Tony’s reconciliation was between just the two of them with the added bonus of Tony giving Steve his shield, which was kept it in his garage. Tony’s always working on something. Also, I love the fact that they were on the same Time Heist team together in New York with a separate side mission to New Jersey. They needed that time together. All of this leads to…

Tony and Howard Stark: Tony interacting with Howard Stark was everything I didn’t know I needed. Tony was able to make peace with a man he never understood while giving his father some important advice that would later shape him.

Tony and Morgan Stark: Ever since Age of Ultron, I knew Tony Stark secretly wanted to be a dad. I’m serious. His comment to Steve about buying a farm and giving Pepper a family was paid off in Avengers: Endgame. He got to be a father to his own child and his parenting style was exactly how I imagined it would be. He’s still sarcastic but has so much love for his little girl. Remember, she loves him 3000. She has the same curiosity as her dad.  It also took his love for another kid to bring him back into action…

Tony and Peter Parker: Losing Peter Parker haunted Tony. He lost the kid and he couldn’t save him. It took looking at an old photo of him and Peter to get him to dabble with how time travel would work. Their reunion was everything I needed and then some. He just sees Peter as he’s rambling on about how he got there, and he’s so overjoyed to see him that he just hugs him. It’s a small moment that speaks volumes, even more so when it comes to Tony’s fate. For a kid who looked up to Tony as a father figure to lose him after they won the war, much like in Infinity War, Peter’s goodbye to Tony absolutely broke me. His tearful goodbye kills me, and Tom Holland is a great actor for making me feel all the feels time and time again.

Tony and Thanos: Battle of NYC in 2012 set Tony in motion to battle Thanos. It was always leading to Thanos in Endgame (more so than Infinity War). It was always about them: Earth’s best defender vs. Earth’s worst villain. Thanos was truly inevitable in Tony’s timeline. Tony’s destiny was greater. Iron Man was the iron spine on which the entire MCU stood upon for a decade. He built more than just super suits; he built the world’s best defense by bringing this global team of heroes together. He is Iron Man and every world and galaxy saw him take down the Mad Titan at the cost of his own life.

Tony Stark and Pepper Potts: MCU POWER COUPLE GOALS. From Day one, Pepper Potts meant more to Tony than just his personal assistant. She’s smart, kind, compassionate, and doesn’t back down from Tony’s snark. She holds her own in their relationship, marriage, and in battle. She knew Tony wouldn’t be at peace after he figured out time travel. She knew he needed to see it through, no matter the cost. I didn’t think we would get much better than the circle shot of Iron Man and Rescue in battle. Seriously, it was everything. However, it was Pepper’s goodbye to Tony that sealed the deal. She knows Tony better than anyone else. She knew Tony was incapable of not fixing and tinkering. She knew Tony could not die with peace unless he knew that his family and the world would be ok. He built the best defense the universe has ever known. I’m so happy that Iron Man’s journey started and ended with her by his side in a quiet moment of love. He drifted off thinking of Pepper and Morgan.

Honorable mentions to Tony’s Lebowski comment to Thor and all of his interactions with Rocket because they were perfect.

There’s so much complexity to Tony’s character, and his actions aren’t always easy to understand, but the way everything panned out in Avengers: Endgame was the most human we’ve seen him. The most vulnerable. The most content. How has witnessing all this shaped Tony in your eyes? He is the real hero today, and certainly merited. What was going through your mind during his sacrifice?

Gissane (Twitter: @GissaneSophia): I’ve always loved Tony Stark, I feel like I need to constantly reiterate this because everyone knows Steve Rogers is my everything, but there’s enough room in my heart for both of them — always has been. I may not have always understood Tony’s motives in the past, I may have disagreed with the approaches he’s taken, but when it comes to Endgame, there’s no question about how human his choices were. And I’ll admit, if I was in his position, with a child, I too would’ve said no right away. The Avengers all know profound loss, but to have a glimmer of hope, to know that you’ve found something perfect that proves it was all worth it? It doesn’t leave a lot of room for taking risks. This was his second chance. She was his saving grace. Morgan Howard Stark is proof that Tony Stark has a heart and she’s a beacon of hope in his eyes — she is proof of the fact that he could always be better. Robert Downey Jr. was born to play Iron Man, there’s no question about that, and he’s always excelled at the role only ever bettering himself with time, but the work he’s done in the past could’ve never prepared me for the quiet moments where he’d break my heart in Endgame. Whether it was seeing his father for the first time since the accident, the encompassing joy in “she loves me 3000”, or realizing Peter Parker is back in the flesh in front of him, every moment was a poetic ode to everything we’ve been wanting for Tony — peace in time. The showcase of growth and understanding in the form of a man whose greatest suit of armor has always been his desire to save the world. I’m still trying to wrap my head around the loss, all I could think during his sacrifice is if anyone’s inevitable, it’s him. And I was wrong. But he’s human, not inevitable, he is Iron Man, beautifully complex, ridiculously flawed, and legendary.

Heather (Twitter: @TVExamined): Tony’s always been one of the easier characters in the MCU for me to emotionally understand, even when his actions didn’t come from a healthy place. More than anything, I got the impression that this was finally a Tony Stark at peace. He needed those five years with just Pepper, Morgan, Happy, and Rhodey (I assume?). He needed to regroup and heal and once again find that certainty and trust in himself and his purpose. The years between Iron Man and Infinity War had been full of so much trauma, that he just had to push through because there was always another threat to address. He got to love and be loved without anything standing in the way and it’s all I wanted for him before the end. He sacrificed himself knowing that he was leaving behind so many people who loved him but that in doing so, he could save them. He was ready for this outcome and that’s what has always made him a hero. He’s always made the hard choice for the sake of a better world even when it came at a personal cost, and his sacrifice honored that aspect of him perfectly. I was an emotional wreck but I was also filled with pride and if my favorite character was going to die, I couldn’t have asked for a better end.

Jenna (Twitter: @JennaJaunts): Watching Tony grow over the entirety of this franchise has been a joy. I loved watching him open his heart to love and having that culminate to wanting to start a family with Pepper. He’s shown so much strength and vulnerability since the beginning, and it makes his growth that much more believable and real. In Endgame, he felt so natural. Were I him, I wouldn’t have said yes at first either, not with a daughter to worry about. I had a feeling that Tony was going to die in Endgame, but I thought Steve was for sure going to be the one to sacrifice himself. However, seeing Tony make the sacrifice play wasn’t surprising. He’s always been plagued by anxiety after everything  he’s been through and it’s always revolved around losing those closest to him. Tony making that sacrifice was so tragically right. He’s learned from Steve, and he cares about too many people now, so of course, he took care of them with his sacrifice. I think the only thing going through my mind then was “Oh God, this is it.” And I was not ready for the aftermath. So many tears.

Julia (Twitter: @swanhathaway)It just makes me love him more. Honestly. He’s been my favorite since the beginning, but seeing him as a human with flaws, frustrations, a . dad, a husband and a friend, changed everything. He’s grown so much since we first met him, because before, he wouldn’t let it show that he was vulnerable or scared. He was always trying to show off as a strong person, no matter the situation. And after the events of Infinity War, losing Peter, getting stuck in space, and thinking he would die, it made him rethink some stuff. When we see the very domestic Tony with a daughter and a wife, interacting with Morgan and not wanting to take part in the plan Steve proposes, it shows he has other priorities. Which, from what we know about him, he wouldn’t think twice in putting himself out there before all of this. But while he’s always been self centered (this can’t be denied), he’s also the most selfless of them all, no doubt. Always willing to sacrifice himself for the greater good, even now, having a second chance, with the family he always wanted, he’d do whatever necessary. He knew what could happen, he recorded a farewell message to his family because he knew. Since he had that dream/vision of all his friends dying, he kept thinking it was his fault, that he could’ve saved everyone but didn’t. And he says that in Endgame, that he’s seen that happen, and I think he just couldn’t let that happen for real. So I have to say, I expected that ending for him. When he asks Strange if that was the only chance for them to win in all the ways he saw it could end, I was expecting that outcome, and when he signaled to Tony, essentially saying “it’s time, that’s our only chance,” I just knew it. And while it was devastating for me to see him die (and see everyone lose him) after all he helped me go through and what he had conquered, I feel the character and the story was very well developed, so he was exactly where he needed to be. He did his best and won and I am very proud of him. He’s a true hero! For me he’s the strongest Avenger, I feel it’s not measured by how much power you have, physically, but how far you’re willing to go to do what has to be done.

Katie (Twitter: @NerdyGirlNotes): My honest reaction in the immediate aftermath was being devastated for Peter because Tom Holland and Robert Downey Jr. are just too good at making me cry. But beyond that, it felt right. It could never have ended any other way—even though I never once predicted Tony’s death before the movie. (I always thought Steve would die.) Tony’s entire story arc was about becoming the guy Steve said he wasn’t in The Avengers—the guy to make the sacrifice play. And even with more to lose than ever before, Tony made the sacrifice play when humanity needed him the most. It was the most satisfying end to his story I could have imagined—even though it was also the most heartbreaking. He died with nothing to regret and nothing left to prove. As Pepper said, he could finally rest now. Because of Tony, everyone was going to be okay, and I can’t think of a better way for him to die than with the knowledge that he protected not just those he loves but the whole universe. The man who could never find peace could finally let go knowing he’d brought peace to everyone else. The man defined by his restlessness could finally rest—as a hero.

Leen (Twitter: @uhleentothe): After watching Endgame, Tony’s character definitely pulled a 180. From the first Iron Man movie to Endgame, he has matured in so many ways. In the beginning he was a rich playboy who always believed he knew it all and thought he was unstoppable. However as the movies went on, he became much more wholesome but still in his usual character. I think the biggest reason to why his character grown so well is when he finally got to settle down and have his own child. I will say, when he was going through his sacrifice, coming from someone who rarely cries during movies, it was one of the most heartbreaking moments I’ve personally experienced. I have legitimately teared up every single time I’ve watched the scene. It also shows that he will do anything for his family even if it means risking his life. That moment of sacrifice showed his true heroism and also proved that even though he may not show it, he has a big heart.

Maii (Twitter: @Maiqu20): There’s a lot that has been said about characters with mental illness and heroic sacrifices. Tony Stark though? He is the epitome of the heroic sacrifice. I didn’t want Tony to die, it’s the most I’ve cried during any movie. One part of me doesn’t want to believe it, his life was on track, he was finally truly happy. It’s so heartbreaking to know that he is no more. He got to know he was a good father, he got to know that he hadn’t failed Peter, he got closure with his father. A lot has been said about Tony over the years, but no one can call him selfish. All he ever wanted was to protect people. Even with the accords, even if I didn’t agree, I could see from his point of view. He has the best heart of the Avengers and he always tried to use his brilliance to help others. He could have stayed out of the fight but that’s not Tony Stark.  I wish he could live to see Morgan grow up and help Peter, but I understand the sacrifice. He knew he had to be the one to do it. He didn’t want to do it, but knew he had to, which makes it all the more heroic and heartbreaking.

Meredith (Twitter: @MeredithLoftus): Full disclosure: I’ve been mentally and emotionally preparing for Tony’s death since before Avengers: Infinity War. I knew the war with Thanos would come with a heavy price. In my heart of hearts, I knew that it would mean a lot to watch the father of the MCU die, but I did my best to prepare. With all of that out of the way, here’s what I thought of Tony Stark’s arc. Nothing could prepare me for how much the Russo Brothers, Christopher Markus, and Stephen McFeely understood the character of Tony Stark to give him the sendoff he deserved. It boggles my mind how good they did to give Tony such a rich arc. This is my Tony Stark. The one who yells at his former friend after barely surviving in space, the one who makes for a snarky dad whose heart is only shown to the people closest to him, the one who is still quick to make a joke to a talking raccoon or about an attractive butt, the one who gets choked up seeing a younger version of his dad. This is my Tony Stark. The one who finds out there is only one way to save the world: making the sacrifice play for everyone else. He knew as soon as Dr. Strange held up the number one what his fate was. Robert Downey Jr.’s face said it all. So when Thanos goes to snap his fingers for a third time (total including Infinity War), it was over for Thanos. Of course, Tony had a contingency plan for his suit to be able to wield the stones. That’s why it had to be him. And very true to his character, Tony Stark got the last word: “I am Iron Man.” *chef’s kiss*

How do you feel? What will you remember most about Tony Stark? How do you feel his legacy lives on in these 11 years you’ve spent growing with him?

Gissane (Twitter: @GissaneSophia): Tony’s ability to continue standing has always stood out to me, so I suppose, I’m still holding on to the hope that he’s programed himself into something because I don’t want these characters to live in a world without him, or some version of him. But goodness, legacy is an interesting concept — I think we’re often under the impression that it implies perfection, but it’s the very opposite of that. Legacy is solely achievement of some sort and worthy achievement. Tony says it to Howard back in their Time Heist to the 70s, but the most human thing we do is choose to remember only the good in those who’ve passed, which essentially just means that we acknowledge and understand that humans are complex, marvelous people who are bound to make mistakes. Tony Stark wasn’t perfect, but neither was my own father, neither am I, nor anyone who reads this. But when the time comes, we remember the jokes and laughter, the quirks and favorite foods, the genius minds and the desires to do good. Because that’s all any of us can do is try. And Tony Stark not only tried, but in the end, he succeeded. We’ve seen so much growth in Tony from the man we met in the first Iron Man and what’s made his legacy so renowned is the failures alongside the success. We are our failures just as much as we are our successes. But in the end, legacy is leaving behind people who’ve loved you through everything and who’ll remember you beyond your time. Legacy is giving your all even when you’re torn up inside. Legacy is love, it is being someone who’ll be profoundly missed — real or fictional, it’s making an impact. Both Iron Man and Robert Downey Jr. shaped the genre masterfully and I feel so fortunate to have grown up during this time.

Heather (Twitter: @TVExamined): My relationship with the MCU is much shorter than most. I watched the first Iron Man in theaters and didn’t watch another movie until summer 2018 when I flung myself wholeheartedly into this franchise. So as much as I adore Tony, I recognize that it’s not quite the same for me as it is for those who have been with him on this journey for the past decade. I intensely latched onto him as my favorite and even in a condensed timeframe, following his journey and the happiness it’s brought me is what I will remember the most about these movies and this point in time. He’s a character that will stay with me forever. Even when his choices led to disastrous consequences, he was so confident in his ability to save the world. It was wrapped up in a lot of guilt and need to atone but all he wanted was to follow his heart and honor Yinsin’s sacrifice all those years ago. I’ll remember him as a good man at the end of it all. His brain may have been the thing to win him the most acclaim, as well as his downfall at times, but it was his heart and love that drove him. He wanted to be better. He wanted to leave behind something better than what he was given and he succeeded. In-universe, his legacy will live on in the kids he left behind, biological and otherwise. Even in the small amount of time we spent with Morgan, you could see so much of her dad in her and none of the adults in her life will let her forget Tony and how much he loved her. It’ll live on in Peter and everything he does from here forward. He saved the world and that will never be forgotten.

Jenna (Twitter: @JennaJaunts): I’m sad, that’s for sure. I’m sadder than I thought I would be because this movie made me love Tony even more than before. However, I’m also satisfied with how it ended. I wouldn’t have thought I’d say that with his death, but it was handled so well and did him justice. I will always remember his quips and jokes. I always loved that about him, when things were dark, he kept the jokes coming. I think thats so important. It can be so overwhelming when things go wrong, and having him cracking jokes while they go through the motions is so real and necessary. It makes things manageable. I think that will stay with me the most. I will always think back on how much he changed to become the world’s best defender while still being very much Tony Stark.

Julia (Twitter: @swanhathaway)To be very honest, I’m still fragile when it comes to the subject. I’m gonna miss him very much, but I made my peace with it. He’s been through so much during his life and never gave up. He was so strong and smart and had a heart full of love to give. I know he wasn’t perfect, but what made him amazing was exactly that, he made mistakes but decided to take responsibility for his actions, always searching for a way to do better and be better. And this is what we’re seeking right? A little improvement everyday. I remember that scene when Steve tells Tony that “the only thing he fought for was himself and wasn’t a guy to make the sacrifice play” but he proved to be just the opposite, in every situation he could, he was willing to leave everything he built and fought for, to do what was right and honorable. His legacy is every lesson we learned. It’s Pepper, Morgan, Peter, Happy, Harley, Rhodey, Steve … everyone who crossed paths with him and whose lives he changed. It’s us fans who grew up with him. It’s the future generations. He will never be forgotten. I love him so much and I will be forever grateful for having him as an inspiration.

Thank you, Tony Stark, you changed my life forever. xx

Katie (Twitter: @NerdyGirlNotes): Tony’s legacy is defined by that long shot of his funeral, with all the characters we’ve come to love gathered to pay their respects. Without Tony Stark—and without Robert Downey Jr.—there is no MCU as we know it today and people like me—people who never read comics—would never have been inspired by Captain America, Black Panther, Captain Marvel, or Natasha Romanoff because we probably would never have seen them onscreen. That’s one heck of a legacy. None of this would have happened without him, and I saw that scene as a way to show just how many stories exist in the world now because of what that first Iron Man movie did all those years ago. And within the universe of the films, the legacy of Tony Stark is just as powerful. It’s a legacy of growth. Tony’s story is meant to show us that people can change. Trauma doesn’t have to stop you from building a good life, a happy life. And his story is also meant to show us that part of the journey is the end. We all have to face our end at some point, and Tony grew from a man who did everything in his power to escape that thought to someone who accepted his fate with love in his heart and peace in his soul. Tony’s legacy lives on in every MCU movie, in every person touched by one of these characters, and in every whispered “I love you 3000” that will go down in history as a way of paying tribute to a franchise, a character, and an actor that gave us more than a decade of happiness.

Leen (Twitter: @uhleentothe): In regards to Iron Man and his passing, even though I am heartbroken, I am happy that he was able to do it in order to help others. He sacrificed himself so that way everyone was able to gain back the happiness they all missed. I will definitely remember all the sarcastic jokes he always had. Whether you liked him or not, he could always make you laugh. I myself have to admit I have been late in the “Avengers Game.” However, even in this short period of time, Tony Stark has become one of my favorite characters from the whole series. In a way, his personality stuck with me the most since his character was so complex, in being hilarious and always confident with anything. I feel like his legacy will live on through all the other current Avengers and the future ones as well. His bright mind and crazy ideas will be reflected through Stark Industries, and they’ll help influence others to expand and be open minded to any creations.

Maii (Twitter: @Maiqu20): I think that out of all the Avengers he is the most developed. We’ve seen a true change from the playboy of the first movie to the hero of the last. We’ve seen him risk his life in Avengers and deal with the consequences in Iron Man 3.  We saw him at his lowest point and answered the question of who is he without the suit. The truth is that Tony Stark is as much of a hero as Iron Man is. The first eleven years of the  MCU are Robert Downey Jr’s legacy. If it hadn’t been for him we wouldn’t have what we have today. He gave us a completely nuanced human being with faults and virtues. I know when I think of a hero, I’ll think of Tony Stark. Who gave it all for the world that wasn’t always good to him. He truly was Earth’s Best Defender and the Strongest Avenger.

Meredith (Twitter: @MeredithLoftus): I think a lot about Tony Stark’s holographic message. Tony’s holographic message to his family was for us. Tony was addressing the fans in saying that when you look back at all that has transpired, we would look back at it in celebration. Robert Downey Jr had no clue a decade ago that this whole cinematic universe was even possible. Without the success of Iron Man, none of this would have happened We live in a world where Black Panther, Doctor Strange, the Guardians of the Galaxy, Captain Marvel, Thor, and Captain America are in it and thrive because of one man. Tony Stark’s funeral exemplifies his impact and his legacy. Iron Man was the iron spine on which this cinematic universe stands upon. Within the universe, I think his legacy lies in the people he left behind, more immediately with Mr. Peter Parker. The recent trailer for Far From Home shows us that Peter is still mourning the loss of his beloved mentor and the world is expecting him to be the new Iron Man. I don’t think it will be him being like or replacing Tony Stark. It will be what Tony told him in Spider-Man: Homecoming: He’s going to be better than him. I also wouldn’t mind seeing Shuri become like Iron Heart or even a grown up Morgan one day tinkering with the suit. But right now, I think we as an audience need to mourn, remember, and celebrate Tony Stark’s Iron Man. There will never be another one. Sorry Hollywood, don’t even bother trying to reboot and recast even 100 years from now. There’s great casting, and there’s perfect casting like this. It’s lightning in a bottle you can’t replicate. Tony Stark’s humor, his wit, his personal soundtrack, and his heroism have defined a cinematic universe.

It still gets me choked up just thinking about a man who made a suit in a cave changed the world. All credit belongs to Sarah Finn, Jon Favreau, and Kevin Feige for bringing Robert Downey Jr. on to define a character. Iron Man has been my ride or die since 2008. Over the course of 11 years, Tony Stark’s story has played out, with all of the high and messy points on full display. He was never perfect and never asked to be. Tony was always Tony. Through it all, Iron Man loved us 3000.

For more on our Avengers: Endgame coverage check out Part I and Part II of our Podcast Review ft. Morgan McNair. Formation: The Homage to Natasha Romanoff, and The Sun Will Shine On Us Again: A Celebration of Brothers.  Also, for more Podcast flailing, check out Meredith Loftus’ full film Review ft. Yours Truly for Fangirl Forum.

Check us out on Twitter@MarvelousGeeks_

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