Tony Stark in Avengers: Endgame

Robert Downey Jr. Is Coming Back for Marvel’s What If…? So Why Am I Sad?

Tony Stark Also Deserved a Happy Ending 2k19.

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Before we venture into this, let’s recognize that, if anyone was going to be excited about Robert Downey Jr. coming back to Tony Stark in any regards, it’d be me. That being said, I think the idea of RDJ doing a voice for Marvel’s What If…? is maybe a bad thing—not for Marvel and not for RDJ, but instead, for fans.

In a new installment of “Marvel, don’t tell them anything,” Jeff Goldblum was just casually playing with dogs in his Buzzfeed interview and let it slip that he recorded an episode of What If…? that features himself, Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark, and Taika Waititi as Korg—honestly, an episode for me, so it surprises me that I have very mixed feelings about this news.

When it comes to Downey, he, much like Chris Evans, was ready to hang up his jersey and leave the MCU behind after Avengers: Endgame. For months, I’ve coped with that news and tried to find ways to bring both Tony Stark and Steve Rogers in as side characters. Whether it be Tony having faked his death and using a cool robotic arm to build things with his daughter or for Steve Rogers to be an old man who Bucky and Sam visit in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, I’ve had my fair share of fanfiction dreams that I’d love to see played out in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

That doesn’t mean that I want to hear Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark in Marvel’s What If….? though, because it makes that dream (which I know is not likely to happen) even less plausible and hurts even more. It’s one thing to loan your voice to something, and it is something else entirely to commit to another run in a very physically demanding role. Still, the idea of Tony Stark returning in any regard gives me a hope that I’d rather not commit to unless I know for sure that I’d see Tony hanging out with Morgan Stark and Peter Parker in his garage/lab.

Mainly, I just hate the idea that Tony Stark got five years with Pepper, a few with his daughter, and then he died without getting to see his family (yes, I’m including Peter Parker) all together again. It makes me hate that Steve Rogers did get to live out two lifetimes (and ruin a relationship between Peggy Carter and Daniel Sousa) when Tony—who, in the end, had one of the best character arcs in any series—barely got to live in his own happiness.

Is this What If…? episode going to give us that? I hope so, and then I hope Marvel realizes that they were mean to him and give him some side life. I don’t even need to see it, just let Peter Parker say, “Yeah, apparently Tony faked his death and he called me and now we hang on the weekends and I see my kid sister Morgan. It’s great,” and I’d be okay with that.

But then, all that being said, I’m most definitely going to watch this episode and love it, so who am I kidding? I just wish this kind of news wouldn’t get my hopes up for the rest of the MCU.

(image: Marvel Entertainment)

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Rachel Leishman
Rachel Leishman (She/Her) is an Assistant Editor at the Mary Sue. She's been a writer professionally since 2016 but was always obsessed with movies and television and writing about them growing up. A lover of Spider-Man and Wanda Maximoff's biggest defender, she has interests in all things nerdy and a cat named Benjamin Wyatt the cat. If you want to talk classic rock music or all things Harrison Ford, she's your girl but her interests span far and wide. Yes, she knows she looks like Florence Pugh. She has multiple podcasts, normally has opinions on any bit of pop culture, and can tell you can actors entire filmography off the top of her head. Her work at the Mary Sue often includes Star Wars, Marvel, DC, movie reviews, and interviews.