As audiences witnessed MCU characters grieve Tony Stark’s death in Avengers: Endgame, speculation arose regarding the potential for Iron Man’s return. Despite concluding Tony’s narrative arc, Marvel has now officially announced plans to feature the character again in an upcoming project.
This news may prove divisive among fans, particularly given the recent backlash surrounding rumors of resuscitating other deceased heroes like Black Widow.
However, by framing Tony’s return within an alternate reality series like What If…?, Marvel sidesteps criticism regarding the integrity of Endgame’s ending.
The multiverse concept grants extensive creative leeway, allowing virtually any character or storyline to manifest irrespective of established canon.
Marvel Has Officially Announced Iron Man’s Comeback
While Tony’s comeback may not align with all viewers’ preferences, especially after the finality of his sacrifice, Marvel can essentially do as it chooses in this format without undermining the emotional weight of his death in the core MCU timeline.
Regardless of one’s stance, this represents a confirmation rather than mere speculation – Iron Man will appear again. What remains to be seen is precisely how and to what end.
As revealed in a recent trailer, Iron Man is confirmed to make an appearance in the second season of What If…?, the Marvel animated series that explores alternate realities spinning off from pivotal events.
Two episode titles in particular strongly suggest Tony Stark’s involvement – “What If…Iron Man Crashed into the Grandmaster” and “What If…The Avengers Assembled in 1602.”
By dealing with hypothetical scenarios separate from established Marvel continuity, the showrunners have the creative freedom to reintroduce characters like Iron Man despite their canon story arcs being seemingly concluded.
While not the same Tony viewers said goodbye to in Endgame, his return in the context of What If…?’s multidimensional premise avoids undercutting the emotional weight of his sacrifice.
Exactly how Stark resurfaces in these side timelines remains a mystery. Perhaps he unwillingly ends up in the domain of the eccentric Grandmaster or joins a proto-Avengers team in the age of Shakespeare and the Stuart monarchy.
Regardless of the specifics, the series has found an ingenious means to bring back fan favorite Iron Man without logic-breaking resurrections.
One thing is abundantly clear – while our Tony may be gone, in the boundless multiverse, there are infinite alternate Tonys still out there.
More so than Iron Man’s return itself, fans seem intrigued by the possibility that What If…? could adapt aspects of Neil Gaiman’s acclaimed Marvel 1602 comic storyline.
One enthused viewer responded to the season two episode list by stating, “I hope Gaiman is involved – I have been wanting him to write for the MCU forever.”
However, another commenter cautioned that Gaiman may be too occupied with projects like Netflix’s Sandman series to contribute to What If…?
But a rebuttal emerged disputing this – while Sandman’s second season scripts were completed some time ago, filming has only just resumed.
Presumably, then, Gaiman could make time to pen a single half-hour What If…? episode, especially given his association with the pivotal Marvel 1602 source material.
The discussion has evidently shifted from merely Tony Stark’s return towards speculation around Gaiman’s participation.
Irrespective of the feasibility, many fans are united in their desire to see the iconic writer’s visionary sensibilities permeate the multidimensional realm of What If…?
If realized, his involvement could imbue Iron Man’s alternate reality comeback with deeper meaning and connective tissue to seminal works across Gaiman’s lauded bibliography.
For now, that remains hearsay and hypotheticals – but the enthusiasm around that prospect is readily apparent amongst MCU followers.
Considering Marvel has just a single MCU film slated for 2024, their animated What If…? series provides a timely outlet to revisit deceased fan-favorite characters without provoking significant backlash.
By inherent design, the show’s alternate reality premise sidesteps continuity constraints, allowing Iron Man and others to reemerge despite definitive death scenes.
This creative freedom comes as a welcome relief given Marvel’s sparse cinematic output next year.
However, bringbacks through shows like What If..? are not immune from criticism – some fans easily take issue with even minor tweaks to cherished narratives and personages.
Still, What If…?’s multiversal format better insulates resurrected characters from claims of undervalued sacrifice or regression.
Tony Stark’s return has sparked more excitement and speculation than condemnation thus far. But within the zealous MCU fandom, unforeseen angst over execution details remains possible.
If any franchise can reintroduce beloved yet deceased icons without inciting online riots, though, Marvel’s expansive storytelling canvas makes that plausible. 2024 may show whether What If…? can stick to that landing.