Look, we’ll admit it: We were all ready to get up on our high horses this afternoon, after a group of Marvel fans with extremely poor hashtagging skills bought a billboard in Los Angeles, demanding that the MCU #BringBackTonyStarkToLife. It would be easy to make fun of these people, suggesting that their minds—fresh off the “success” of Zack Snyder’s Justice League—have now been so corrupted by the interconnected web of entitlement that exists betwixt online culture and the superhero-movie-industrial complex, that they’re now essentially just wishing for things to wish for them, waiting to see how the genie bends over backwards to fulfill their latest request. But is the easy way the best way? We can think of one man—a near mythic figure, maybe even a hero, capable of both great sacrifice, and great accomplishment—who would argue that it isn’t.
His name is Kevin Feige, and he should fucking bring back Tony Stark to life.
Seriously: Why not? It’s been two years since Tony Stark died in Avengers: Endgame—the billboard is apparently meant to commemorate said anniversary—which is more than long enough for everyone’s favorite superhero Elon-alike to kick back and relax in the grave. It’s not like comics haven’t spent the last 80 years setting a precedent for improbable resurrections for beloved characters. The fans want the man back (to the tune of buying a billboard to prove their ardor) , and there’s literally no objection to the idea that we can think of that a Disney-sized pile of money won’t solve.
“Robert Downey Jr. doesn’t want to do it?” We’re pretty sure tossing enough cash his way to make 5 more Dolittles (and maybe some of those weird, “Am I really Tony Stark?” tech initiatives he’s been floating in recent years) will fix that right up. “There’s no natural way to fit such a resurrection into the narrative?” We all just spent two months losing our minds watching Wanda Maximoff resurrect her dead husboyfriend as robo-Dick Van Dyke. “It would cheapen the character’s sacrifice?” Man died from snapping his fingers too hard, no real nobility in that. “Tony Stark’s character arc is over, the character’s charisma has been spent, and the idea of seeing him try to maintain relevance in Marvel’s endless onslaught of new content is utterly exhausting?” Pretty sure that’s what writers are for.
It’s a common metaphor to refer to the MCU as a sort of toybox, the multi-billion-dollar equivalent of slamming your action figures against each other on a bedroom floor. Well, whoever stays dead in those kinds of fights? By giving in to the billboarded demands and bringing back Tony Stark to life, Marvel could establish itself as the most accommodating film studio of them all, a sure way to keep its fans happy and contented forever. It’s an arc reactor all its own, a perpetual motion machine of infinite desire meeting infinite capacity to fulfil it. Bring back Tony Stark to life*, Kevin! The people have demanded it. Who are any of us to say no?
(*By the way, our internet Spidey senses keep pinging the awkwardness of that hashtag, suggesting it might be some sort of elaborate irony trap. If this turns out to be a prelude to Nathan 4 You season 5 or something, we want it on record that we noticed something was up.)