Gwyneth Paltrow is leaving the MCU

The Marvel Cinematic Universe is going to go through some major changes after Avengers: Endgame. It looks like Robert Downey Jr. and Chris Evans are both saying goodbye, and they’re not alone.

Gwyneth Paltrow, who plays Tony Stark’s love interest Pepper Potts, has announced that she, too, is parting ways with the MCU after Endgame. We probably could’ve guessed this – it was unlikely Pepper would stick around without Tony, since they’ve only ever appeared together – but now it’s official. Gwyneth Paltrow is leaving the MCU.

Speaking with Variety, Gwyneth Paltrow confirmed her plans to leave the role of Pepper Potts behind. “I feel very lucky that I did it, because I actually got talked into it,” Paltrow said. “I was friend with [Iron Man director] Jon Favreau. It was such a wonderful experience making the first Iron Man and then to watch how important it has become to fans.”

However, while this is goodbye, the actress doesn’t rule out an eventual return:  “I feel honored to be a part of something that people are so passionate about…Of course, if they said, ‘Can you come back for a day?,’ I will always be there if they need me.”

I don’t know if Paltrow’s Pepper is anyone’s favorite MCU character, but I think she did well with what she was given. Her part in the original Iron Man was memorable, and her turn in Iron Man 3 gave her a lot more to do.

Mostly, though, she’s been delegated to quick cameos, popping up in the background of Stark Industries to quip with Tony. Her character appeared very briefly at the start of Avengers: Infinity War, before being left behind on earth. In the Avengers: Endgame trailer, Tony Stark, adrift in space, is seen recording a message for Pepper back on earth.

Technically speaking, we don’t know if Pepper survived Thanos’ world-killing snap. Tony was stuck in space when it happened, so he has no real knowledge if she’s alive, or dust. He’s likely recording the message to her out of hope that she survived, but we don’t know the full story yet. In any case, even if Pepper did go up in a cloud of dust, she’s going to appear somewhere in Endgame, as Paltrow has confirmed that will be her last outing as the character for the foreseeable future.

Which means you can now feel free to speculate what happens. The fact that Paltrow says she’d happily come back if they asked her to certainly suggests Pepper ultimately survives Endgame, but who knows – the MCU tends to make up its own rules as it goes, so anything is possible.

Avengers: Endgame opens on April 26, 2019.

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