Does Marvel Really Need Someone Like Tony Stark to Lead the MCU?

When a real patriarch of a family passes, it’s usually impossible to fill their shoes, especially if they had a unique persona and family leadership style. The MCU managed to find just that in Robert Downey Jr. and his Tony Stark/Iron Man for the Avengers team.

It was inevitable Downey would want to move on after 11 years of movies. His own “aesthetic distance” philosophy seemed to indicate he realizes you can only partake in Marvel pop culture so long before needing to move back to reality.

Tony Stark (Iron Man)
Tony Stark (Iron Man) | Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images for Disney

Tony Stark might not have ever died had it not have been for Downey wanting to leave. Now his loss has a lot of people wondering if the future of the franchise needs another Tony Stark to lead the way.

Can Captain Marvel effectively take his place, or do Marvel superheroes really need a leader?

Maybe the future MCU heroes need a maternal figure rather than a paternal one

The old phrase of “mother knows best” is usually more than true, even if father figures come straight from tradition. Outside of Tony Stark being the most classic fatherly figure for the Avengers, he had an abrasive style not loved by everyone. The tough love he gave Peter Parker was harsh at times, even if it was arguably necessary to make the latter step up to prove his worth.

Reports are Captain Marvel will take the torch of Tony Stark to lead the next wave of superheroes. No one should argue she’s not fit to lead considering she’s technically the most powerful superhero in the entire Marvel character spectrum.

She might be looked at as some kind of goddess based on her powers, including her no-nonsense leadership abilities. Of course, this could lead to more backlash from the Marvel fans who didn’t like Brie Larson as Captain Marvel in the first place.

Perhaps Marvel will hold off on Captain Marvel being too much of a leader for the sake of sparing Brie Larson an onslaught of criticism again on social media. Then again, having Carol Danvers prove her leadership skills would be in complete defiance of the digital trolls.

Reddit is now in on the leadership debate

We’re constantly going on Reddit to scope out what people say about specific pop culture. Marvel arguments and theories are ubiquitous there, and they’ve moved into the territory of debating who should lead the Marvel characters going forward.

One thread starter thought future superheroes wouldn’t need a leader since Tony Stark was an exception based on his ability to create technology and already being a powerful figure. Thanks to his technologies still existing, many of the superheroes can probably gain access to his inventions to help in defeating future foes.

Others think there should be a leader triumvirate of Captain Marvel, T’Challa, and Doctor Strange. Each one could lead in different categories for a complete global, universal, and magic realm dominance.

Or, did Stark leave enough information for future superheroes to be their own person? Downey’s own “aesthetic distance” might apply to the Marvel superheroes as well in learning to deal with reality on their own terms without a leader meddling in things.

If Captain Marvel does lead, it’ll mean better decisions

It doesn’t have to be said having a woman leader (and one with superpowers) would be a perfect metaphor for how well America would do with a real woman leader. Let’s never discount what women do to solve problems faster compared to most males.

Considering the Captain Marvel movie was written by a woman (Anna Boden, who also directed), we’d have to have a woman write the leadership of Carol Danvers to really make sense.

Since we’re moving into a new era of Marvel and likely more Millennial superheroes, the next generation may prefer more independence while respecting their elders. That is, maybe a picture of Tony Stark up on the wall while reading his guide on superhero life.