There are multiple other Marvel Cinematic Universe heroes who could have used in the Infinity Stones and Infinity Gauntlet to snap away Thanos at the end of Avengers: Endgame instead of Tony Stark aka Iron Man. Robert Downey Jr. has been the face of the MCU since its inception in 2008 and has been front and center for some of the most critical moments. Iron Man made what he thought was a one way trip to space to save New York in The Avengers, but he did survive and continued to be a major hero in-universe.
However, part of the journey of a hero is the end, and that is precisely the fate that fell on Iron Man in Avengers: Endgame. He knew that there was only one scenario where the Avengers were successful in defeating Thanos - a prospect that looked extremely grim following Avengers: Infinity War - and sure enough, the victory was a direct result of his heroic actions. During a scrum with Thanos, Tony took the Infinity Stones back from the Mad Titan. With this incredible power coursing through him, Tony snapped his fingers and wiped out everyone associated with Thanos.
While Iron Man was the one who ultimately saved the day, he was far from the only hero who lent their services to the fight. Only a handful of characters directly came face to face with Thanos or the Infinity Stones though during this time. And even though Tony was the one who ultimately sacrificed his life so the rest of the universe could live, he wasn't the only one who could've done this. Screen Rant's latest video (featured at the top of this post) highlights several different Avengers who could've used the Infinity Stones instead of Tony. Check out the video for a full list of candidates, but below are three of the best options.
If there were one other character in the best position to use the Infinity Stones instead of Tony, it would be Captain Marvel. She is insanely powerful and showed this the second she arrived in the final battle. Captain Marvel overpowered Thanos to stop him from snapping his fingers again, but she didn't try taking the glove off. Had she been able to take it from him, she is more than powerful enough to wield the Infinity Stones. She wouldn't have to die at this moment given her hopefully long MCU future, but it could have weakened her powers to make her a bit less all-powerful moving forward, which could've been an exciting story for a potential sequel.
Thor would be another prime candidate to use the Infinity Stones instead of Tony. After failing to stop Thanos in Avengers: Infinity War and selfishly going for the head at the beginning of Avengers: Endgame, Thor was desperate to help out in any way he could.
He wanted to be the one to use the Infinity Stones to bring everyone back, but instead, he could have been the one to sacrifice his life so they could all live. He was close to the gauntlet in the end but was thrown aside by Thanos, so he was certainly in position to make a play for it. It would be a definitive end to his redemption arc.
As one of the only heroes to wield an Infinity Stone successfully, Peter Quill and his Celestial DNA would make Star-Lord a fitting choice to use them all at the end of Avengers: Endgame. He never came face-to-face with the 2014 version of Thanos in the final battle, but Quill being the one to snap his fingers could work thematically. It would give him a way to kill Thanos and possibly get some closure for him killing Gamora.
He may or may not have been able to survive the snap (his Celestial powers also may be gone after the death of Ego), but a sacrificial play to end Avengers: Endgame by eliminating the person who murdered his girlfriend would be quite a heroic end - and maybe even help fans forgive him for his emotional reaction on Titan during Avengers: Infinity War.
- Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019) release date: Jul 02, 2019