Tony Stark: Iron Man’s Journey Through The MCU (2023)

Tony Stark. The man who would go head-to-head against the would-be god, the mad Titan, Thanos. Tony Stark is arguably the protagonist of the entire Infinity Saga. He is the man who kickstarted the entire MCU from the depths of a cave. Throughout his whopping 10 films in the MCU, Tony has seen a level of character development that has rarely, if ever, been seen before on film.

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While Stark has worked incredibly hard to become a hero capable of the kind of self-sacrifice he displays in the Avengers films, it hasn’t always been that way. Even after the Battle of New York and Ultron, Tony still had a tremendous amount of growth that he needed to do before stepping up to the biggest fight of his life. But whether he’s trapped in a cave by armed men with shrapnel racing through his body or stranded in space after losing the biggest fight of his life, Tony, for better or worse, is Iron Man.

Tony Stark: An Introduction (Iron Man)

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When audiences first met Tony Stark, they were introduced to an arrogant, self-obsessed, womanizing billionaire who wouldn’t even take the time to accept an award at a casino he was already gambling in. After his fated trip to Afganistan, however, Tony gets a real taste of the toll his family and lifestyle have extracted from innocent people all around the world. Tony is, possibly for the first time, truly aware of the weight of the Stark name and business.

After losing Yinsen and escaping captivity, Tony dedicates his life to making up for the mistakes of both his past and his family’s. The rest of the film sees Tony literally beat down the corrupt image of Stark Industries’ past in the form of Obadiah Stane. Stark flies up to new heights that the old school Stane just can’t manage. Shortly thereafter, Tony announces to the world for the first time, “I am Iron Man.”

The Stark Legacy (Iron Man 2)

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(Video) Iron Man's MCU Journey in Chronological Order

InIron Man 2, audiences see a very different side of Tony. While he hides from the sad reality of his fate behind dramatic entrances to the Stark Expo and flashy appearances in Congress, in which he compares giving the Iron Man suit to the government to slavery and/or prostitution (depending what state you’re in), the sad truth is that Tony is dying. And he knows it.

Throughout the second film, Tony is concerned with the Stark legacy. We see this illustrated as he donates his art collection to the Boy Scouts of America. We see it as he hands his company over to Pepper and a prototype Iron Man suit to Rhodey. The Stark legacy is responsible for not only what inevitably saves Tony from his fate, but also the birth of the film's antagonists.

Ego (Avengers)

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Going into Avengers, Tony is feeling awfully confident. He’s learned from his past, overcome death multiple times, and he’s two for two versus the only real threats he’s met since becoming Iron Man. Tony has learned that he doesn’t have to do everything alone, but that doesn't mean he’ll work with anyone he doesn’t trust.

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This is where both the main friction and the most growth comes for Tony in Avengers. He is forced to acknowledge that he may not always have the answer. If coming into contact with people like Thor and Cap weren’t enough of a shock to the system, delivering a nuke through a wormhole and narrowly, luckily surviving will have some lasting effects.

Overcoming Trauma & The Man In The Suit (Iron Man 3)

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(Video) The Life Of Tony Stark: Iron Man (MCU)

By the time we see Tony in Iron Man 3, it is pretty clear that he’s experiencing PTSD. He can barely stand to be in public. He’s having panic attacks. He can’t sleep. Tony just isn’t acting like the man he used to see himself as. Stark has finally been served his slice of humble pie and it’s much larger than he could’ve ever anticipated. He’s flown right into the void, and somehow, through pure coincidence, he’s managed to escape with his life and return to the world.

That world he returns to, however, has become a whole lot larger. And Tony is just one small man. Iron or not. Tony has learned that he is his own power, but he’s also cripplingly aware that his power isn’t enough. Just like his father, Tony begins to focus his attention on those who will come after him. Planting little hero seeds everywhere. Through his relationship with Harley, we begin to see Tony work through his issues with his father, and with becoming one.

The Curse Of Knowledge (Avengers: Age Of Ultron)

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During the events of Avengers: Age Of Ultron, we see the culmination of everything that has been weighing on Tony’s mind since the Battle of New York. The good, and, unfortunately for Tony and the world as a whole, the bad. Tony creates Ultron as a direct result of his fears and paranoia, and ultimately, it costs him and many others.

It is then Tony’s hopes, in the form of the newly-realized Vision, that ultimately save the day. It’s important to note that while Tony and Cap have butt heads before, this is the first time their disagreement has ever come blows. This is a fact that will be important moving forward.

Growth & Accountability (Captain America: Civil War)

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(Video) The Life of Tony Stark: A Tribute to Iron Man (MCU Explained)

A lot has changed for Tony in the years since he announced to the world that he is, in fact, Iron Man. For instance, when the Sokovia accords are pushed on the Avengers, Tony accepts that they shouldn’t be allowed free reign to solve the problems of the world. This essentially putshimself into the exact indentured servitude he fought against in Iron Man 2. We also see that Tony has gone out of his way to seek and advise the young Peter Parker.

Tony has reconciled the differences between what he thought being a superhero was and the reality of the situation. The reality is that, when Tony acts to protect those around him, oftentimes many innocent lives are put on the line. It’s important to note that Tony is the only Avenger confronted by a relative of a victim.

Fatherhood: Tony’s Legacy (Spider-Man: Homecoming)

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Tony’s appearances in Spider-Man: Homecoming kicks off what’ll be referred to in this article as the fatherhood trilogy. Tony has gone through a lot of growth to get to this point emotionally. He’s come to terms with his life ending multiple times. He’s come to terms with the relationship he shared with his father and he’s begun to transcend the limits his father would ever reach as an engineer, a Stark, and a human being.

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Through programs like Damage Control, fans see Tony build on his commitment to accountability. Meanwhile, through Tony’s relationship with Peter, fans begin to see Tony dabble in the waters of fatherhood. While Howard was cold and distant as a father, Tony begins to display how loving and involved he can be. He knows who he is, without question, and he knows that Peter can be better, if he’d just listen to Iron Papa.

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Fatherhood Part 2: Sins Of The Fathers (Avengers: Infinity War)

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Avengers: Infinity War is a film all about fathers and the price their children pay to endure them. There are two very distinct types of fathers on screen in the form of Thanos and Tony. Thanos’ toxic, cruel, distant, and abusive parenting style can be seen not only as a foil to Tony’s own supportive, nurturing, and present parenting style we see him display with Peter, but also strikingly similar to Howard Stark’s parenting style. Taken to an extreme, of course.

It’s no mistake that both Tony and Thanos lose their children in this fight. It’s also certainly not a coincidence that Peter’s dusting is both the longest and most gutwrenching. Tony may have secured the Stark legacy with Pepper in charge of Stark Industries, but he's just watched his legacy turn to dust before his eyes.

Fatherhood Part 3: We Are Who We've Left Behind(Avengers: Endgame)

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Well, here it is. The end so many, including Tony himself, have been fighting against for so long. The death of Iron Man. With three simple words, Tony saves the lives of everyone in the MCU. Tony, like many great fathers, leaves his children prepared to take on whatever the world may have in store for them. He’s given Peter an unattainable goal: Be better than I was. He’s seemingly given Harley the same responsibility. To Morgan, he leaves behind the memory of a powerful father truly devoted to his children. And to the MCU as a whole, Tony gave something much more powerful. A new beginning.

He also solved time travel. Just saying.

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Is Iron Man coming back to MCU? ›

Robert Downey Jr played Iron Man for ten years. Hollywood star Robert Downey Jr was once again asked about his possible return to the Marvel Cinematic Universe on the Joe Rogan podcast recently. However, the actor crushed his fans' dreams when he said that that is not likely to happen anytime soon.

Is Iron Man done in the MCU? ›

was asked if he would ever return to the MCU to play Iron Man and if Avengers: Endgame was really the end for the character. Unfortunately, he replied by saying that after the emotional sacrifice made by his character in order to save all of humanity, he has absolutely no plans of making a return.

Who is the new Iron Man after Tony Stark? ›

Stark has remained away from the MCU since, but Riri Williams (Dominique Thorne) is now set to take his place in the franchise. The young inventor plays a pivotal role in Wakanda Forever, which sees her build the first machine in history capable of detecting vibranium.

How to watch Marvel movies in chronological order 2022? ›

Marvel movies in chronological order
  1. Captain America: The First Avenger.
  2. Captain Marvel.
  3. Iron Man.
  4. Iron Man 2.
  5. The Incredible Hulk.
  6. Thor.
  7. The Avengers.
  8. Thor: The Dark World.
Nov 30, 2022

Who is Iron Man's MCU protegé? ›

Anthony Edward "Tony" Stark (May 29, 1970-October 17, 2023), also known as Iron Man, is one of the protagonists of the Infinity Saga in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Will the MCU ever end? ›

The MCU is still going strong with years of content planned, and one Marvel Studios executive indicated that there aren't signs of Marvel ending its story anytime soon.

Is Tom Cruise going to be Iron Man? ›

A May 2022 interview with Rolling Stone revealed the film's screenwriter, Michael Waldron, wanted Cruise to suit up as an alternate-world version of Iron Man in Multiverse of Madness. Unfortunately, scheduling conflicts stopped the opportunity in its tracks.

Is Iron Man 4 confirmed? ›

Technically, there are no official plans for Iron Man 4 but there are two MCU characters who could make it happen. The MCU's Armor Wars project was first announced in 2020 and was initially planned as a TV series.

Is Robert Downey Jr finished with Iron Man? ›

The rumours of Robert Downey Jr coming back as Iron Man in the future Avengers movies has been doing rounds for a while now. But, this time, it seems they are going to be true as it's been quoted by an industry insider.

Who took over Stark after Tony dies? ›

In Iron Man 2, Virginia "Pepper" Potts became the CEO of the Stark Industries.

Who is black Iron Man? ›

James Rhodes (Marvel Cinematic Universe)
James "Rhodey" Rhodes
Portrayed byDon Cheadle (2010–present) Terrence Howard (2008; Iron Man)
Voiced byDon Cheadle (What If...?)
In-universe information
Full nameJames Rhodes
12 more rows

Does Tony Stark's daughter become a superhero? ›

Riri WilliamsIronheart. Teenage super genius Riri Williams has taken Tony Stark's armor and reverse engineered it, adding her own modifications, and becoming a hero in her own right! 100 lbs., In Armor: 250 lbs.

What is the correct timeline Order of Marvel movies? ›

Here are the Marvel movies in chronological viewing order:
  • Captain America: The First Avenger (1942)
  • Captain Marvel (1995)
  • Iron Man (2010)
  • Iron Man 2 (2011)
  • The Incredible Hulk (2011)
  • Thor (2011)
  • The Avengers (2012)
  • Thor: The Dark World (2013)
Nov 28, 2022

What is the correct order of the Marvel series? ›

The entire MCU in chronological order - but only the feature films and Disney+ shows
  • Captain America: The First Avenger (2011 - movie)
  • Captain Marvel (2019 - movie)
  • Iron Man (2008 - movie)
  • Iron Man 2 (2010 - movie)
  • The Incredible Hulk (2008 - movie)
  • Thor (2011 - movie)
  • The Avengers (2012 - movie)
Jan 14, 2023

What is the best viewing order for MCU? ›

Best Marvel Movie Option #1: How to Watch in Order Chronologically
  • Captain America: The First Avenger.
  • Captain Marvel.
  • Iron Man.
  • The Incredible Hulk.
  • Iron Man 2.
  • Thor.
  • Avengers.
  • Thor: The Dark World.
Nov 14, 2022

Where did Tony's dad get Vibranium? ›

In February 1940, Howard Stark presented vibranium in Los Angeles, a metal Stark Industries researchers discovered in Africa.

Does Tony create Vibranium? ›

In the Iron Man 2 novelization, the new element created by Tony Stark to replace Palladium in the arc reactor is called Vibranium. This information would later be invalidated by Captain America: The First Avenger, where Vibranium is shown as a rare metal already existing in the 1940s.

Who is Iron Man's number one villain? ›

Mandarin - The archenemy of Iron Man, the Mandarin is a Chinese nobleman, scientist and former diplomat turned criminal mastermind.

Will Marvel have a Phase 6? ›

The films of the phase include Deadpool 3 starring Ryan Reynolds, Fantastic Four, and the ensembles Avengers: The Kang Dynasty and Avengers: Secret Wars. Two unannounced films are set for release in 2025, and one in 2026. Phase Six, along with Phase Four and Phase Five, constitutes The Multiverse Saga.

What year will Marvel end? ›

The official Marvel slate currently extends into 2026 with Avengers: Secret Wars set to be the conclusion of Phase 6 and the Multiverse Saga. Marvel Studios has 10 upcoming movies with confirmed release dates, but Kevin Feige has also revealed that they roughly know where the shared universe is going until 2032.

Will Avengers ever return? ›

Avengers 5 has taken its time, but we do know it's officially happening and it's going to be called Avengers: The Kang Dynasty. The exciting news was confirmed during Marvel's epic Comic-Con 2022 panel where we were told that we're getting not one, but two Avengers movies.

Who else auditioned for Thor? ›

Tom Hiddleston was one of the many young men who auditioned to play Thor, but Marvel felt he was a better fit for Loki. Those who also tested included Charlie Hunnam, Alexander Skarsgard, Joel Kinnaman, Kevin McKidd, and even WWE star Triple-H.

Why Iron Man is not in Doctor Strange 2? ›

Michael Waldron further revealed that Tom Cruise was indeed being considered, but things did not fall in place due to the actor's “availability.” He said it would've been “cool” to have Tom in Doctor Strange 2, but “he was shooting Mission Impossible 7 and 8”.

Who was offered the role of Tony Stark? ›

11/11 Sam Rockwell — Iron Man

Many may not know that before securing the role of Justin Hammer in Iron Man 2, Sam Rockwell was encouraged by executive producer Jon Favreau himself to give it a shot and audition for the role of multi-billionaire hero Tony Stark.

Does Black Widow come back to life? ›

Natasha Romanoff died in Avengers: Endgame, and it is unlikely fans will ever get to see that exact version of the character come back to life. Since then, however, Marvel has introduced the multiverse.

What is the next Iron Man movie? ›

Movie. #ironman4 #Marvel #morganHere is the New Iron Man 4 (2022) Trailer for the upcoming Marvel's Studios Movie Franchise Iron Man.

Is Iron Man 5 coming out? ›

It is the first movie of Phase Six and it will release in July 2024. It is a sequel to Iron Man 4. Robert Downey Jr. will again reprise his role as Tony Stark/Iron Man.

Why did Robert Downey quit Marvel? ›

While talking at length about his post-Iron Man ventures with Daniel Roth (via LinkedIn), Downey said he wanted to focus on his philanthropic work and didn't have the time while working long hours on MCU sets.

Why did Robert Downey quit Iron Man? ›

Marvel Studios then came up with a new contract for The Judge actor. Under this new contract, he demanded that he would not be doing another Iron Man movie but will appear in the following films of the MCU. The studio agreed with his terms after which the actor was seen in future movies.

Is Iron Man retired from Marvel? ›

Robert Downey Jr., who played the popular character of Marvel's scientist and superhero Tony Stark, aka, Iron Man for as long as a decade, retired from the role after doing the 2019 film, Avengers: Endgame.

Is Marvel coming out with an Iron Man 4? ›

Technically, there are no official plans for Iron Man 4 but there are two MCU characters who could make it happen. The MCU's Armor Wars project was first announced in 2020 and was initially planned as a TV series.

Will Iron Man return in Doctor Strange 2? ›

Iron Man, Captain America & More Appear in Final “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness” Trailer. Director Sam Raimi knows a thing or three about creating riveting superhero spectacles.

Is Marvel making an Iron Man 4? ›

Armor Wars, Marvel Studios' upcoming Disney+ series, is being reworked into a movie. The move, which essentially turns the six-part show into Iron Man 4, will also see the title get pushed further down the development slate.


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