Why Tony Stark Died Instead of Captain America

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Avengers: Endgame co-director Joe Russo explains why Iron Man died in the Marvel Cinematic Universe blockbuster instead of Captain America.

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Russo discussed how he and his brother, Endgame co-director Anthony Russo, chose which of the two superheroes should die, during a panel at the Sands International Film Festival of St. Andrews

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"If you think of Captain America as a character, you go 'Okay, Captain America dying is fairly obvious,' right? [Self-sacrifice] is something he would do based on the character," Russo said.

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"You know, this is a guy who offered to be a guinea pig in a science experiment in order to be able to go fight Nazis in the war. He's intrinsically a hero. Like, there's not a lot of complexity there. It might be emotionally impactful because you like him. You know, he's a very likable character, but it’s not necessarily the most compelling arc."

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"Tony Stark is a character who was supposed to die," Russo continued. He then touched on Stark's ego and his entire character arc from 2008's Iron Man to Endgame, which needed a major sacrifice to complete his journey. "So that seemed like the more compelling arc to us, that it would be Stark who died. So that it would be a richer, more complex arc, and that’s why we chose him," Russo said.

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Avengers: Endgame marked the last appearance of actor Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark/Iron Man and Chris Evans as Steve Rogers/Captain America. While Stark sacrifices his life to save Earth from Thanos and his armies,

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Rogers survives the battle and travels back to the 1940s to reunite with Peggy Carter. He then enjoys a decades-long romance with Carter, which leaves him an elderly man in the present-day timeline. With both Stark and Rogers off the board, the Avengers franchise appears to be over --

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something Marvel Studios President and Marvel Chief Creative Officer Kevin Feige seemed to confirm in February 2022.