Tony Stark's Final Line In Avengers: Endgame Wasn't In The Original Cut

"Avengers: Endgame" eventually led to the death of Thanos (Josh Brolin in all his motion-capture glory) and saved Earth-616 from total annihilation. However, this victory came at a massive cost: the ultimate sacrifice by Iron Man aka Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.), who chose to transfer all six Infinity Stones into his armor, leading to the death of the beloved MCU character.

In an interview with Vanity Fair, "Avengers: Endgame" directors Joe and Anthony Russo broke down this scene in question, and revealed how Stark's final line in the film was absent in the original cut. The directors explained that after Thanos utters his "I am inevitable" line, Stark originally said nothing at all, and this is how the scene was planned to play out from the get-go. However, editor Jeff Ford — who had worked on a bunch of MCU entries featuring Iron Man — uttered what eventually became Stark's final words while reviewing the film's footage. The Russos explain how this came about (via The Direct):

"[Ford] hit play and Thanos says, 'I am inevitable,' and then beep beep beep, and then Jeff went, 'And I am Iron Man.' At that very moment, it was like we [the Russos] were struck by lightning all of a sudden."

Thanks to Ford, the "I am Iron Man" line was incorporated at the last minute, which helped add another layer of emotional weight to the character's momentous sacrifice. This decision also allowed Downey Jr. to properly say goodbye to the character one last time, bringing his arc to a bittersweet, yet satisfying finish.

Why Tony Stark's final line is important

2008's "Iron Man" not only helped launch the MCU but also introduced the film's titular character while setting up the stage for the crucial role he would end up playing as a part of the Avengers. In the 2008 film, Stark holds a press conference and decides to tell the world the truth about his superhero identity, saying: "I am Iron Man." The fact that a slight variation of this line appears right before Stark's sacrifice in "Endgame" points toward the growth and evolution of the character in many ways.

Tony Stark was never the "perfect" superhero — in fact, some aspects of his character highlighted in the three "Iron Man" films have aged pretty poorly. Even in the comics, Stark manufactured and sold advanced weaponry to anyone who could afford them, not caring about the consequences that accompanied this decision. For the most part, Stark has been solely focused on expanding his billion-dollar company, acting purely out of selfish interests.

However, his character underwent considerable growth as the MCU expanded, culminating with the selfless decision to save the world and kill Thanos by sacrificing himself. Stark's "And I am Iron Man" reaffirms his growth as a character, while retaining the core aspects of his personality — it is a fitting rebuttal of Thanos' declaration of being "inevitable," as the scene is followed by the Mad Titan's death and the hopeful promise that humanity is worth saving, after all.

How the Russos pulled it off

After the Russos decided to add Stark's final line in the film, Downey Jr. was asked to don the Iron Man suit one last time and say goodbye to the character for good. The directors explain how it went down in the Vanity Fair interview linked above:

"We called Downey. We said you gotta put the suit back on. He had already said goodbye to the character like twice now... [and to make the whole thing even more emotionally] devastating for Robert, we asked him to put the suit on and come back to where he had originally secured the role [at a stage in Los Angeles] and to give his, his final line. Say goodbye to the character, once again."

The Russos also reveal that while everything worked out well in the end, "Iron Man" director Jon Favreau (who also plays Happy Hogan) had voiced his concern about their decision to kill off Iron Man entirely, which added to the pressure of pulling off such an important scene. Favreau was concerned with how the death of a beloved Avenger would "devastate people" and the Russos justified this decision by saying that they had "earned the arc that...would feel redemptive and emotional and uplifting and hopeful."

Although Tony Stark's death is devastating for MCU fans and adds a sense of gloom to the ending of "Avengers: Endgame," the decision does pay off in many ways and rounds off the character's arc pretty well. Apart from this, we must also remember (and honor) the deaths of Vision (Paul Bettany) and Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), who also sacrificed their lives and helped save Earth-616 in one way or another.