Avengers: Endgame co-director Joe Russo explains why Iron Man died in the Marvel Cinematic Universe blockbuster instead of Captain America.
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
"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.
"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."
"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.
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,
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 --
something Marvel Studios President and Marvel Chief Creative Officer Kevin Feige seemed to confirm in February 2022.