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Summary

  • Downey Jr.’s best return to the MCU would make sense in Ironheart, benefiting both the series and fans’ desires for Tony Stark.
  • Iron Man could appear in Ironheart through flashbacks or as an AI mentor, keeping his legacy intact without cheapening his Endgame sacrifice.
  • While a Tony Stark cameo in other projects would feel like a gimmick, his appearance in Ironheart actually makes the most canon sense.



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Speculation about how Robert Downey Jr. could return to the MCU has long been debated, but his best return opportunity is actually in Ironheart. Avengers: Endgame was a pivotal moment for the MCU not just because of the aftermath but because it meant the departure of the franchise’s founding member. After Iron Man’s death, many had already debated how Tony Stark could return to the MCU. Especially with the possibilities that the concept of the multiverse presents, it would seemingly be an easy ask.


Downey Jr. recently said that he’d happily return to the MCU (via Esquire) which has fueled fans’ desire to see Tony Stark in the franchise once more. However, it’s always been hard to imagine a way for Iron Man to return that wouldn’t dull the impact of his Endgame sacrifice. Instead of having Downey Jr. make a grand return in an upcoming Avengers film, his best option for a future MCU appearance is actually on a smaller scale. Thanks to the MCU’s Disney+ shows, an Iron Man return that’d actually make sense is being set up in Ironheart.

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Robert Downey Jr.’s MCU Return Should Be In Ironheart

Dominique Thorne's Riri Williams in her Ironheart suit in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever


Despite not being the grand spectacle that one of the upcoming Avengers films would be, Ironheart is the MCU project in which a Downey Jr. return would make the most sense. When Riri Williams was introduced to the universe in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, it was generally known that she was the MCU’s official Iron Man replacement due to her background in the comics. However, there hasn’t actually been much context given in the MCU as to why she’s taken up that mantle besides the obviously similar hero moniker and suit technology.

Having Downey Jr. return as Iron Man in Ironheart would obviously benefit the series greatly. Ironheart hasn’t been touched on since Wakanda Forever, and with delays to the series to top it all off, Ironheart is losing the hype that she got from her MCU debut. The show needs everything it can to reel fans back in and the return of a Marvel icon would be just that. Unlike other projects where a Tony Stark appearance would feel like a gimmick, Iron Man appearing in Ironheart actually makes the most canon sense.


How Tony Stark Could Return In Ironheart Without Ruining Iron Man’s Endgame Death

Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr) using the nano-gauntlet in Avengers Endgame

One of the biggest problems with potential Iron Man returns would be that reviving him in any capacity would cheapen the impact of his final Endgame moments, even if the cameo was just a Tony variant of some sort. However, Iron Man can appear in Ironheart through flashbacks without having to be revived. Riri is clearly inspired by Tony, so a flashback showing the two interacting would make sense. Tony could even appear as Riri’s AI mentor with the technology that Stark Industries has, just as he did with Peter Parker.

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Iron Man sacrificing his life in Endgame to save the universe was the perfect ending for his character, as it showed how Tony Stark’s growth as a person came full circle since Iron Man. Robert Downey Jr.’s recent words have sparked many fans to want an Iron Man return to the MCU, and the best way for that to happen is on the small screen rather than a grand film. Ironheart would provide Tony with the most logical cameo, making sense for his character while maintaining his Endgame legacy.

Ironheart

Cast
Manny Montana , Dominique Thorne , Anthony Ramos , Harper Anthony , Alden Ehrenreich , Lyric Ross

Directors
Chinaka Hodge

Showrunner
Chinaka Hodge

Key Release Dates



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