Avengers Endgame: Why didn’t Captain America sacrifice himself instead of Tony Stark? Director Joe Russo has an explanation
Here’s why directors Joe and Anthony Russo chose to kill off Robery Downey Jr’s Tony Stark/Iron Man instead of Chris Evans’ Captain America in Avengers: Endgame.
Avengers: Endgame concluded what is called the 22-film Infinite Saga in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The movie ended with the unexpected death of probably the biggest and most popular MCU character, Robert Downey Jr’s Tony Stark or Iron Man, who sacrificed himself to save the entire universe.
The movie dealt with the aftermath of Thanos’ snap in Avengers: Infinity War, in which the Mad Titan wielded the Infinity Stones to annihilate half the universe’s living beings. Many superheroes like Doctor Strange, Black Panther, Spider-Man, almost the entire Guardians of the Galaxy, had seemingly perished.
Tony Stark snapped the supervillain Thanos and his army out of existence and died himself because of the irreversible damage inflicted on his body due to the toll of using all the the Infinity Stones at the same time. He also responded to Thanos’ “I am inevitable” line with his own mic-drop, “And I am Iron Man”.
Many had expected Chris Evans’ Captain America to make the ultimate sacrifice, since right from the beginning he has been a man who is ready to give his life for others and is in effect the most righteous superhero. Joe Russo, who co-directed Endgame with his brother Anthony, has revealed the reason they chose to kill off Tony.
While speaking to Deadline, Russo said that Cap’s sacrifice appeared too obvious to have an emotional impact on the audiences. It would’ve been something you’d expect him to do.
“If you think of Captain America as a character, you go ‘Okay, Captain America dying is fairly obvious,’ right? That is something he would do based on the character. 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,” he said.
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He added that Tony is a character who was supposed to die in the very first Iron Man and his sacrificing himself was more compelling to directors and writers, “That [Tony’s death] seems like a more interesting arc to us to take a character who had an ego because to die for others, you have to defeat the rights of that. It 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.”
Cap, meanwhile, went back in the past to spend his whole adult life with Peggy Carter, his love lost in time. Now an old man, he has retired from the superhero business and his fate is unknown.