MCU Theory: Robert Downey Jr.’s Iron Man Created 1 Last Supervillain

The death of Robert Downey Jr.’s Tony Stark in Avengers: Endgame took a huge toll on the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Without Iron Man, the MCU would not exist at all. So it stands to reason his exit would have an equally huge impact. In fact, Stark’s sacrifice could have accidentally created the MCU’s next huge supervillain.

Robert Downey Jr.
Robert Downey Jr. | Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

Iron Man has a long history of creating his own problems

Often heralded as the MCU’s greatest hero, Iron Man was a secret villain throughout the series. Through his own hubris, he inadvertently led to the villainous actions of several characters, including those in both MCU Spider-Man movies. Driven by a vision of a “suit of armor around the world,” Tony Stark tried perhaps too hard to keep everyone safe.

Thanos (Josh Brolin) was even initially driven by a similar motivation. He believed achieving balance would save the universe from its own self-destruction. No wonder Iron Man and Thanos wound up destined to destroy one another. Avengers: Endgame completes Tony Stark’s arc. In one last action, he sacrifices himself for the good of all life.

Some fans believe his death sets up the return of a past Avengers foe

When he put on the Infinity Gauntlet, Iron Man may have once again created one last villain the Avengers may have to contend with. Comic Book Resources theorizes that the surge of energy through Iron Man’s suit could have created a new version of Ultron. After all, Stark’s armor in Avengers: Endgame does resemble what he wore in the “Bleeding Edge” storyline. 

In that arc, the suit developed a life of its own, and the MCU could draw from this going forward. There’s a certain poetry in Iron Man giving birth to the next big MCU threat. That could take the shape of a new Ultron or, as CBR points out, an adaptation of the “Iron Man 2020” storyline. Though his back story is complicated, the arc centers on a character named Arno Stark.


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Rumor has it Ultron will factor into the MCU’s upcoming plans

In all likelihood, the MCU will probably not pursue either of the above two paths. But the theory is still a fascinating one. If the franchise ever decided to reintroduce the Stark legacy, it could draw inspiration from these storylines. However, some fans believe we haven’t seen the last of Ultron.

The character — voiced by James Spader — presented a lot of promise in his one and only MCU appearance. And fans are convinced he is due to wreak havoc again soon. If this does happen, the upcoming Disney+ series WandaVision — which will toy with different realities — is the perfect place.

After all, Avengers: Age of Ultron introduced not only Ultron but also Wanda Maximoff (Elizabeth Olsen) and Vision (Paul Bettany) too. Vision was even originally intended to be Ultron’s new body. So MCU fans should be prepared for Ultron 2.0 to play at least some role, even without Iron Man.