Disney +’s Moon Knight episode 5 suggests that Iron Man’s perfect Endgame death may be far more complicated than it initially seemed to be.
Warning: SPOILERS for Moon Knight episode 5.
The afterlife shown in Moon Knight episode 5 brings some unwanted implications to Iron Man’s death from Avengers: Endgame. Deaths in comic books are a complicated matter, as popular characters tend to come back to life not long after their supposedly definitive deaths, be it by means of retcons, doppelgängers, time travel, or other creative methods. Movies need a little more consistency, and the stakes must remain high enough for audiences to believe the heroes really are in peril. Avengers: Endgame succeeded in this area when it concluded the Infinity Saga with the most definitive death possible: Iron Man’s.
Iron Man’s death in Avengers: Endgame caused a lot of heartbreak to MCU audiences. But as painful as it is to see Tony Stark take his last breaths, it’s clear that Tony Stark had to die for the future of the MCU. Beyond the multiversal logistics of the MCU timeline and the concept of absolute points in time, Stark’s character arc had already strongly set up the hero giving up his life to save the universe. This is why the image of Iron Man wielding the Infinity Gauntlet is so poignant – everything in the first three Phases of the MCU had led to that moment.
The irreversible quality of Iron Man’s death made his sacrifice valuable. Without it, the decision to wield the Infinity Stones would lose all its weight. However, Moon Knight‘s introduction of an accessible afterlife implies that Tony Stark could be somewhere out there after his death, suggesting that it’s possible – albeit unlikely – to see him again. With the right tools, a mystical character like Moon Knight or Taweret could travel to wherever Stark’s soul rests and reveal what’s been of him since the events of Avengers: Endgame. Since giving up a peaceful life is what Iron Man’s sacrifice was all about, the idea of seeing him enjoy a happy ever after takes away part of the significance of his death.
The upside of Moon Knight‘s afterlife is that it opens a world of possibilities in the MCU. Not only is the MCU’s Phase 4 confirming that entire pantheons of mythical gods do exist, but also that different versions of the afterlife are possible. Taweret mentioned that Marc Spector and Steven Grant see the afterlife through a unique lens in Moon Knight due to their personal beliefs and desires. Similarly, Black Panther’s connection with Wakandan culture and traditions allows him to communicate with his ancestors in the Astral Plane. It’s possible that Odin and Heimdall went to Valhalla after their deaths, while Iron Man may have been sent to a version of the afterlife that resembles the traditional Heaven. Regardless of what this great beyond could look like, Iron Man may not have received a definitive farewell, but a retirement.
Bringing popular MCU characters back from the dead is a dangerous gamble. The original Loki, Gamora, Vision, Black Widow, Steve Rogers, and Iron Man said their final goodbye in Avengers: Infinity War spirit Avengers: Endgame, but Phase 4 has already brought back slightly different versions of Loki, Gamora, and Vision. Fortunately, the MCU is putting fresh spins on these characters, but still, the franchise needs to make death constant for the sake of credibility. Iron Man’s presence in an afterlife akin to that shown in Moon Knight episode 5 could change the meaning of Tony Stark’s perfect death – but on the bright side, it at least opens up the chance for a well-deserved reward for his heroism.
More: What Song Plays At The End Of Moon Knight Episode 5 (Translation & Meaning)
New episodes of Moon Knight release every Wednesday on Disney +.
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- Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 (2023)Release date: May 05, 2023
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