Love & Thunder Secretly Kills All Iron Man Return Theories

In Thor 4, Gorr the God Butcher wishes back the life of his daughter, Love – but this actually reveals that even Eternity won’t bring back Tony Stark.

Warning: The following contains SPOILERS for Thor: Love and Thunder.

Gorr’s daughter Love, who gets brought back through Eternity in the Thor: Love and Thunder ending, subtly kills any chances of resurrecting Tony Stark as fans know and love him. Indeed, the existence of the god-like love, a potential Young Avenger, sidelines any possibility that any of the original Avengers who died can return. As Thor: Love and Thunder shows, wishing someone back from death is never a simple matter.

The endless theories about dead heroes returning stem from the fact that death has always been a fickle mistress in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Infamously, after Thanos’ Infinity Gauntlet snap, both Hulk and Tony did their own snaps with the Nano Gauntlet to reverse what Thanos did, bringing back Doctor Strange, Yelena, Spider-Man, and literally billions more. Meanwhile, Stephen Strange’s ex-girlfriend Christine, who is destined to die in some realities, exists in an alternate universe in Doctor Strange 2. This is why many viewers believe that Tony Stark and Natasha Romanov can still come back, and that Jane’s death in Thor 4 is likely temporary. After all, places like Valhalla, Heaven, Hell, and other concepts of the afterlife can be visited in the MCU, and the cosmic beings that preside over death accept deals, bargains, and on occasion, defeat. Whether in deep space or elsewhere in the multiverse, Tony, Nat, and even Thanos are bound to still exist somehow.


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That said, Thor 4‘s resurrection of Love is proof that even in the al plot lines of MCU Phase 4, fantastic Eternity has its limits. While Gorr uses his one wish to bring Love back, it’s not really her anymore, but an embodiment of Eternity that looks and acts like Love but has god-like powers. Considering Gorr’s disdain for the gods, Love getting cosmic powers is unlikely to have been part of Gorr’s wish, but Eternity’s djinn-like twist – Earth-1999999 itself restoring balance after Gorr’s genocidal actions. If Eternity itself couldn’t just bring back Gorr the God Butcher’s daughter, and instead turned her into Thor’s daughter, then there’s nothing that could possibly bring back the original Natasha and Tony from their deaths – not without a similar twist that would essentially make them different characters altogether. Iron Man or Black Widow’s return would have to come via multiverse variants, or they could return from the afterlife in a more literal way, as Jane and Heimdall might do from Valhalla.

Robert Downey Jr’s Iron Man Can Never Return From The Dead

Robert Downey Jr as Iron Man in Avengers Endgame

Unfortunately for many MCU followers, Tony returning from the dead as himself makes no sense, both from a narrative standpoint and with consideration to the MCU’s in-universe rules. As Doctor Strange explained, in the millions of possible outcomes to the Infinity War, the only timeline in which Earth wins happens because of Tony’s death and sacrifice. Unlike many in the Thor: Love and Thunder castTony Stark is not a god, but though he wasn’t born attached to some prophecy, Tony worked on his own destiny and legacy to get to this final shining moment in Avengers: Endgame. It is never explicitly stated, but considering the circumstances of how Tony dies, his death is likely a definite point in time, a key nexus in the Sacred Timeline. If anyone were to undergo the task of bringing Tony Stark back, they might have to go through some variant of Kang the Conqueror or negotiate with Death.

Thought Thor: Love and Thunder provides proof that Robert Downey Jr.’s Tony Stark can never truly come back from the dead, no one really knows how many variants of Iron Man actually exist across the multiverse. Around the time Thor 5 gets released, one or some of these Iron Man variants could finally make their MCU debut. Robert Downey Jr.’s version of Tony will never be replaced because, apart from his charisma and heroic sacrifices, the MCU’s Tony Stark has one of the most complete and perfect story arcs in the history of the superhero genre. This is why theories about Tony’s return are unlikely to bear fruit. That said, as MCU Phase 4 opens up to the multiverse, the theory about Tom Cruise entering the MCU as an alternate-universe Tony Stark gets more feasible with every new Marvel movie.

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