‘Avengers: Endgame’: You Heard Tony Stark’s Last Words, But Not His Final Thought

Tony Stark’s death in Avengers: Endgame may not have been all that surprising, but it still hit fans like a ton of bricks. That’s due partly to Robert Downey Jr.’s performance, and partly due to the screenplay.

As every screenplay does, Endgame’s evolved considerably, not only before photography, but during and even after.  However, one thing that hasn’t been revealed until now is that Tony had two very plain and simple last words as his dying thought — and those were words he was not prone to saying in the past. 

Proof that Tony Stark really does have a heart

Robert Downey Jr. on the red carpet
Robert Downey Jr. | Han Myung-Gu/WireImage

As the final scene played out, Tony put on the gauntlet so that he could deliver the final blow to Thanos and his minions. He declared, “I am Iron Man,” calling back a memorable line of dialogue from the first Iron Man movie when Tony revealed his alter ego to the world. Finally, with his own snap, Tony turned the forces of Thanos to dust. 

That wasn’t all that was on his mind, though. The screenplay by Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely had one additional line, although it wasn’t to be said out loud, and it wasn’t to be said to Thanos. Screen Rant revealed it was directed toward  his wife, Pepper Potts: “I’m sorry.” 

Sorry for what? Sorry for being a womanizer all those years when you were standing right there? Sorry for being so self-centered for most of our relationship? Sorry simply for not being able to stay with our family? The screenplay doesn’t elaborate, nor does it need to. Some things are better left unsaid. 

Tony got what he deserved

Downey, an actor who is keen to improvise, wanted to play Tony’s death without saying anything at all. However, directors Joe and Anthony Russo thought that didn’t feel right given that Tony was famous for his verbal skills, particularly his one-liners that silenced everybody short of Bruce Banner and Steven Strange. So “I am Iron Man” made its return. 

As laudable as Tony’s sentiments are, and as much as he would be missed, an apology was not truly necessary. One could argue whether or not Tony knew in that moment that if he put on the gauntlet, he wouldn’t survive it even if he was successful. But no matter what his intent, he got the ending he deserved. 

That’s not to say it’s good that Tony is dead, but that he finally got the redemption he sought. After years of thinking only of himself first, he made the ultimate sacrifice for the greater good, not only for his friends and family but the world – no, the universe at large. That’s why he deserved the grand finale he got, with a funeral attended by every major character from the MCU who could be there.

What will Robert Downey Jr. do after Marvel?

Downey’s first post-Marvel movie will be Dolittle, a new version of the Doctor Dolittle story previously made into an infamous 1967 musical plagued by production problems, and a straight comedy vehicle led by Eddie Murphy. Unfortunately, history has repeated itself – the new version, directed by Stephen Gaghan, has been dogged by bad buzz and cost overruns. Now it has a January release date, where bloated big budget movies go to die. 

Still, even if Dolittle does not do well, Downey has enough of a legacy, and certainly enough of a bank account, to absorb that blow.  Fans have wondered if there was some way Downey could return, despite Tony’s funeral. Some have said he could provide a Jarvis-like voice, or he could pop up for a flashback cameo.

There have been unconfirmed reports that Tony Stark will appear in Black Widow or provide a voice for What If…?, the animated Disney+ series that imagines an alternate future. 

Even if neither of those appearances happen, few would dispute that Tony Stark, and by extension, Downey, gave all.