Tony Stark’s (Robert Downey Jr.) death proved one of the biggest developments in Avengers: Endgame, giving a proper sendoff to the character who kick-started the Marvel Cinematic Universe and rounding out the Infinity Saga. With Marvel’s What If…?, it’s becoming clear that Tony’s fate prevails in nearly every corner of the multiverse. Of course, it’s a little less epic in many of the alternate universes shown.
Apparently, the writers didn’t plan to kill off Tony so much during What If…? However, he’s starting to feel like a character from another popular animated series.
[Spoiler warning: This article contains spoilers for Marvel’s What If…?]
Tony Stark died multiple times during Marvel’s ‘What If…?’
There’s only one episode left of What If…? Season 1, which has made something of a running joke out of Tony Stark’s untimely deaths. While the MCU gave him the chance to sacrifice himself for the greater good, most of his demises in What If…? have been anticlimactic. Many have also taken place before he truly found his stride as Iron Man.
During What If…? Episode 3, Tony was a casualty of Hank Pym’s crusade against the Avengers. He also perished at the hands of Killmonger in episode 6 and Ultron during episode 8. On top of those surprising twists, the animated series showed Tony’s proper death from Avengers: Endgame. And fans know he “died” during What If…?‘s zombie episode, only to become one of the undead monsters himself afterward.
Seeing Tony perish so many times in the animated series has a lot of Marvel fans in their feelings. Apparently, the writers didn’t even plan to make it a running gag — it just sort of worked out that way.
A.C. Bradley likened Tony to Kenny from ‘South Park’
When it comes to Tony’s deaths, What If…? writer A.C. Bradley made a hilariously on-point comparison to another well-known cartoon character.
Speaking with Entertainment Weekly, she commented on the Twitter responses to killing off Tony. She likened him to Kenny from South Park, who used to get killed off in nearly every episode.
According to Bradley, the creators of Marvel’s animated series didn’t intentionally turn Tony into What If…?‘s Kenny. However, they seem to have done so anyway.
“I noticed on Twitter we’re getting a lot of crap for killing Tony a lot,” she said. “He has become the Kenny of the What If…? universe by accident.”
Will Tony Stark die again in season 2 of Marvel’s ‘What If…?’
The What If…? writers didn’t intend for Tony to die in so many episodes, but they could make it one of the show’s traditions going forward. The animated series has already been renewed for season 2, so there’s ample opportunity to feature more surprising Tony deaths — though some of the fanbase might not be thrilled about it.
Bradley mentioned to EW that the 10th episode of season 1 — which was pushed to What If…?‘s second season — is “a more light, upbeat Tony Stark episode.”
That sounds like Tony could fare better in future episodes of the animated series. However, the What If…? writers could choose to run with the pattern they’ve inadvertently created.
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