Ending the Marvel Universe: How Iron Man's Story Should Finish (Fanale) | Fanboys Anonymous
Welcome to the first of what I'm hoping will be an ongoing series here at Fanboys Anonymous, dubbed Ending the Marvel Universe, wherein I'll be giving you my ideas of how I feel particular characters from Marvel Comics should wrap up their stories.

Before getting into anything, let's establish some ground rules for this first edition.

how Iron Man Tony Stark should die

What I'm attempting to do here is approach each character from a "grand scheme of things" overall perspective, rather than any particular version of the character. For instance, the version of Peter Parker from the Marvel Cinematic Universe is different from Superior Spider-Man, which is different from the 90s animated series and so on. However, I feel like there are some fundamental tropes that should stay a constant, and I like to keep all of those in mind while thinking of these scenarios.

Also, as much as I like playing around with What If scenarios, I also want to make sure this doesn't feel like a Deadpool Kills the Marvel Universe type setup. This isn't "some dystopian world where wouldn't it be interesting if XYZ happened?" Rather, this is my idea of "if I had the ability to script the beginning, middle and end of this character's arc, how would I conclude their story with the very last piece of the puzzle?"

On top of that, since we're dealing with more than one particular character at a time, we need to rope in their supporting cast. If I am doing an Ending the DC Universe story for Batman, I want to tell you how I think Alfred Pennyworth's story ends and so on.

So with all of that out of the way, let's start with someone who is very much at the forefront of this type of idea at the moment, after Avengers: Endgame - Iron Man.


My idea of Tony Stark is very much what we got in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. He's a playboy, a total jerk with a massive ego, very quick-witted and funny, who happens to have a heart of gold (and some metal fragments) that fundamentally drives him to be a superhero, rather than a supervillain, as he could have very easily gone the opposite direction and become someone like Dr. Doom or Dr. Octopus.

Stark isn't someone I think needs to die a sacrificial death. In the MCU, it made sense, given Robert Downey Jr.'s contract and such, but in the comics and other media, you aren't constricted by that type of environment. Instead, I think Stark's death is a prolonged one.

In my mind, the Marvel Universe works in such a way that the Scientist Supreme idea is pretty neat, but that title should go to Reed Richards. To me, he is THE smartest out of the typical characters (obviously excluding folks like The Living Tribunal), but there are others who are insanely intelligent in their own right. Shuri, Peter Parker, The Tinkerer, Amadeus Cho (maybe my #2 or #3 if you count Doom as #2), etc.

Bruce Banner's specialty is biology and gamma radiation. Hank Pym's is molecular physics and he just so happened to have developed an affinity for ants out of necessity. Beast is brilliant. High Evolutionary is absurdly intelligent. Mr. Sinister is and so on.

Tony Stark is THE guy when it comes to mechanical engineering. That is where his expertise lie and where he presents the biggest contribution to the Marvel Universe. Basically, if you want something to be built, he's your guy. He's responsible for quinjets and the Avengers headquarters in all incarnations. He's the guy to build Ultron or find a way to destroy it, not Pym. Stark's empire is weaponry made out of technology and his legacy should be technology that isn't necessarily all weaponry.

Tony lives a long life. He does everything in his power to keep his vitals going well into advanced age. He's not a biologist, so he's not able to cure death or anything crazy, but he's able to slowly keep replacing body parts of his with mechanical organs to keep himself going longer and longer.

Eventually, Pepper Potts, who is in control of Stark Industries/Enterprises, passes away from natural causes. She isn't driven by the same type of motivations as Tony and doesn't want to become more robotic and all, and she's also more at peace with death. Tony makes sure she's comfortable, and they have a great life together.

They have children. Possibly a boy and a girl, named Anthony Howard Stark and let's say Morgan Pepper Stark. I'm not sold on the names 100%, but that doesn't matter as much. More on them, later.

Happy Hogan retires from any kind of labor and dies a normal death, probably from hypertension or heart failure or whatever due to his weight. That sounds sad, but it's just the way most people go, and of course, he's missed.

Rhodey retires from active service and becomes the head of the weapons division of Stark Industries. After all, they're still going to create weapons, right? They're just more responsible about it all. Eventually, when Rhodes passes away, he is given many honors for his military contributions and his role as an Avenger.

Kenjiro Fujikawa takes over for Pepper Potts as CEO in control of Stark Industries when she leaves. Eventually, the business is divided between Rumiko Fujikawa and Tony Jr and Morgan. Let's even go so far as to say that Rumiko and Tony shack up and have a daughter they eventually name Kiri if we want to tie in that comic or something.

What's Riri Williams doing with all this? Well, she's the person who takes up the mantle of Ironheart when Tony stops being Iron Man and before his kids can get involved in that side of things. Riri is a prodigy and someone who is bankrolled by him. Let's say Harley Keener is, too, if we want to bring him into the mix. He could be Iron Lad. I don't know. The point is, Ironheart is out there as the superhero aspect and she names herself that in honor of Tony's impetus for being Iron Man.

But that's not all, as I love the Iron Legion concept and the Guardsmen, so more than anything, Tony Stark doesn't want one singular Iron Man or Iron Woman, he wants robots to be able to do the work for them so nobody is actually getting hurt. Who controls those, as well as most of the production side of the company? A triumvirate of J.A.R.V.I.S., Friday and H.O.M.E.R.

And that is where we wrap things up. How does Tony Stark's story end?

Eventually, he's basically a brain in a jar, having become more machine than man, and he not only realizes this, but he realizes that his time is up when there is something like an inoperable brain tumor or whatever (possibly a tie-in to Ultimate Iron Man). So he does the one last thing he can do, which is to download his consciousness into an artificial intelligence so he'll always be with his kids.

Tony becomes the new J.A.R.V.I.S. and he may even be silly enough to give himself a name similar to that, like S.T.A.R.K. being Sentient Tactical Autonomous Robotic Kompanion or Synthetic Thought Analysis Resource of Knowledge or whatever.

Tony's consciousness is downloaded into all the computers and he's going to live forever, theoretically speaking, so he can continue to watch over the world and contribute in that way long after his body has given up on him.

And just before he passes away and the uplink is complete, he sees Ho Yinsen giving him peace that he didn't waste his life, as well as his mom and dad who are proud of him, his best friends Rhodey and Happy, and his wife, Pepper, all welcoming him from the great beyond.

That is how I would end Iron Man's story.

What did you think of these ideas? Which character would you like me to focus on for the next edition? How would YOU end the Iron Man saga?

Drop your thoughts in the comments below!

Tony Mango is the founder, editor-in-chief, head writer and podcast host of Fanboys Anonymous as well as all other A Mango Tree branches including Smark Out Moment. He is a pundit, creative director/consultant, fiction writer and more. Follow him on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.