Heading into Avengers: Endgame, I was sure of a couple of things. One, I knew that the people who got snapped away were coming back. Two, I knew there would also be other, more permanent deaths. What I did not see coming was the death of Tony Stark AKA Iron Man instead of Steve Rogers’ Captain America. It seemed like such a Steve Rogers thing isn’t it? The noblest of men sacrificing himself for the greater good. Not to mention, I was confident that Tony Stark was going to be heavily featured in Spider-Man: Far From Home. Then again, I was also certain that Endgame wouldn’t beat Avatar at the global box office, but I digress.
As it turns out, that’s exactly why writers Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely didn’t go down that path — it was too obvious. In an interview with ComicBook.com, McFeely explained that Steve Rogers sacrificing himself would’ve been too simple a solution and perhaps not a meaningful evolution for the character.
“It’s too easy. That guy will jump on a grenade every movie. Tony’s going one way and Steve is going another. Over the course of many movies, Tony is going from selfish to selfless and Steve’s not doing exactly the opposite but he’s certainly starting at selfless and learning to get a life and to be self-interested. When he makes the decision at the end to go back, put his shield down, and be the soldier that comes back from war, that’s the biggest journey. Jumping on another grenade is not a move for him.”
This makes a lot of sense. Both Captain America and Iron Man have had interesting character arcs since we first met them in Iron Man and Captain America: The First Avenger, not just in terms of self-interest and selflessness. Think about it, when we first meet Iron Man, he’s the ‘screw the system’ kind of guy, while Captain America was single-minded in his dedication to the government and country. But as the films progressed, Iron Man became one who’s always pushing to work with the government, while Captain America became more of a rebel.
Markus then proceeded to discuss their decision to kill off Black Widow in Avengers: Endgame.
“Somebody has to die to get the Soul Stone. It’s the only way you get it. You need two people who love each other to make the equation work. When we figured out where that five year gap had left all the people, it really had left her at this spot where all she was working for was holding the line, staying on the wall, holding the world together and this was what she would do. There was no question about it. I don’t know who told Scarlett [Johansson], it wasn’t me.”