Multiple Versions of Iron Man Death Scene:
Tony Stark probably got the greatest death any character could have ever imagined. Logan’s big sacrifice for his daughter was what influenced it, but Tony’s death was even bigger because he got an entire audience. Not just the fans, but even the heroes across the whole galaxy paid their respects. The entire “I am Iron Man” moment was so massive. It was the biggest cinematic ending ever.
His death caused a wave of silence in the theatres. We got a glimpse of this silence when Tony felt betrayed seeing what really happened on December 16, 1991, as things got intense. Then this intensity was multiplied when Thanos stabbed Tony in Infinity War and was about to obliterate him for good. But the big epic end of Tony Stark and his perfect goodbye to Rhodey, Pepper, and Peter was just heartbreaking for all of us.
But apparently, there were a bunch of different alternate ways in which the whole sequence was shot. Tony didn’t actually say “And I am Iron Man” initially. In the version that the Russos were working with earlier, Tony Stark said nothing at all.
Avengers: Endgame editor Jeff Ford recently spoke to Collider, and he revealed the way this entire segment was brought to life. Here’s what he had to say:
“When we were putting together the end of the movie, when we shot Tony’s last moment in the first round, we shot a bunch of different options. Robert had different ideas…We give him space to do that. Joe and Anthony are great about improv. We shot a run of different performances for that last moment. Some of them were crazy. Some of them we would never have used,” says Ford.
Some of them were jokes. Some of them were obscenities. Some of them were completely emotional, raw, insane things that he was doing. And then some of them were combinations of all three of those things. What we found as we were cutting the scene wasn’t so much that we needed a special last line for Robert, but that we needed a moment between Thanos and Tony.
A moment that wasn’t some kind of transaction, but literally ‘this is how I want it to be’ and ‘this is how it is.’ That would give the audience that moment. The exchange where Thanos says ‘I am inevitable’ and Tony says ‘I am Iron Man’, that couplet is what makes that work. When we found Thanos’ line, it led us to Tony’s line. We found Thanos’ line as part of a structure in the script, he says that line three times in the movie. At the beginning, before his head is chopped off, in the middle he hears himself say it again, and then at the end. That symmetry is also why it’s interesting, that was a discovery while we were editing.”
We’d actually like to see these alternate takes that Robert Downey Jr. took for this scene. Obviously the one we got was ultimately the best, but it’d be great if we actually got to see the funny versions of them. Robert Downey Jr. is the Godfather of the MCU, so he’d certainly have a big say in the way this scene would have to be shot. Remember that he was the one who came up with “I Love You 3000” as that’s what his kids used to say to him. So, he certainly would have come up with some alternate versions of this particular scene.
The editor continued to explain why the version we got was ultimately chosen. Ford said:
“In that version, Thanos didn’t say anything either. He had the gauntlet. He looked at him like, ‘I got you.’ Snapped. Looked. Couldn’t believe it. Turned to Tony. Tony raised his hand and snapped. It was beautiful. It worked really, really well. But what we found, though, was Thanos needed an arc in Endgame. That arc was his sense of inevitability.
The story we’d been telling was that Thanos’ pitch in that movie is ‘no matter how many times you try and stop me, you can travel in time, you can do all these things, you’re never going to win.’ It’s a sense of destiny, of ‘I will always be the one who wins.’ They’re trying to undo destiny. They’re going against what happened. For the movie to have thematic coherence, the end of the movie needed to be Thanos saying, ‘I told you. You cannot win,’ and for Tony to say, ‘But we can’.”
Let’s hope that Marvel will be able to build other characters up like this in the future.