Tony Stark’s final moments were spent with Pepper Potts. His wife sat before him, crying, as she told Tony that it was okay, that they’d be all right, and everyone else looked on. One of those people? Steve Rogers, also crying as Tony Stark took his last breath after using the Infinity Stones to help save the world.
Civil War was a rough time for me because I ping-ponged back and forth about who was right and who was wrong and ended up leaving confused because I’m team “Tony, you can’t just murder someone” and I’m also team “Steve, clearly Tony was right about the pseudo-army around the world.” Even when the two healed their rift and learned to trust again in Endgame, there was something about the dynamic between Iron Man and Captain America, established when they first butted heads in The Avengers, that needed to be better resolved.
While Avengers: Endgame was a Stony tension-filled dream, there was still a goodbye missing. Instead, Steve Rogers stood by as Tony Stark died and then continued to cry at his funeral, and I thought that was all we would have. But the Russos filmed something different.
It turns out that there was a scene where Steve Rogers knelt out of respect for Tony Stark (alongside the other kneeling Avengers and their compatriots). Now I feel like I need to rear my ugly head about why this was important, and should have been kept in the movie; it felt thematically true to the rest of the Avengers canon. Let’s look at that deleted scene from Avengers: Endgame.
While our Kate Gardner thought it better that the scene was removed—especially considering how many of those kneeling didn’t have any particular personal connection to Tony Stark—I think it would have been the emotional send-off we needed at that epic moment. And I do think that there’s one important element of this scene that people are missing. Those characters who are kneeling for Tony who didn’t really know him? They’re not kneeling because they lost a friend, they’re kneeling because of the sacrifice that Tony made for the world. That’s universally recognizable.
So, with that in mind, let’s talk about Steve Rogers. Before this movie, the two still haven’t really spoken. In Avengers: Infinity War, Tony contemplates calling Steve, even takes out his flip phone to do so (which, he always carries his Steve Rogers hotline? How cute). But still, the two don’t interact, and the next time they see each other, it’s when Tony Stark is barely alive because he’s been trapped in space. Their first interaction goes quite badly.
Even so the minute that Steve Rogers comes to him, asking for help, Tony finds a way to help him. Sure, Tony’s partially motivating by wanting to bring back Peter Parker, but would he have tried the time travel theorizing if just Scott Lang or Natasha came? Let’s go with no.
Throughout the movie, the relationship between Steve and Tony returns to one of banter and tensions that we have come to know throughout the franchise. They even go on a bit of an extended time-travel mission with each other. But when Tony Stark’s group surrounds him at the end, Steve keeps back. He lets Rhodey, Pepper, and Peter be closer to Tony. This makes sense. And yet. Steve kneeling for Tony, respecting the man he had come to know as a friend, and crying while doing it? It feels frustrating that that scene was cut. This would have brought them full-circle. Given how much attention was given to the push-pull between these two men over many movies, it’s strange to me that a real reaction from Steve wasn’t showcased.
Should Steve and Tony have had a conversation about everything, really hashed it out? Of course, they should have, these two tried to kill each other in Siberia. But the kneel? I wish that had been kept in, at least for Steve, and given us one final Steve and Tony moment to go down in MCU history.
(image: Marvel Entertainment)
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