Fan petitions demanding changes to popular movies and TV series have grown in popularity over the past few years. They've covered a wide array of topics and, while some ended up influencing the discussion like the rehiring of James Gunn for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 following Dinsey's firing, while a majority of them remain ineffective. However, the latest one campaigning for Marvel to bring Iron Man back to life following his death in Avengers: Endgame is possibly the worst thus far.
The culmination of everything that transpired in the Marvel Cinematic Universe in the last decade, Endgame wrapped up the arcs of several of its principal cast, including Robert Downey Jr.'s Tony Stark. After multiple near-death experiences, Tony sacrificed himself in Endgame's final battle against Thanos, using the Infinity Stones to snap the villain out of existence. It was a tragic end to the once selfish hero, but one most agreed was totally fitting. But not everybody, it seems.
A Change.org petition titled "BRING TONY STARK BACK TO LIFE #savetonystark #TonyStark" already has more than 50,000 signatures argues that "Tony didn't deserve this [to die] and it's not fair, after everything he's been through, and done for everyone, he deserves to live and see his daughter grow up." But this fundamentally misses the point of the movie, ignoring the journey Tony went on for ten years. It highlights how, while there are always impassioned arguments behind petitions, they work against the ideas at the heart of the art in question.
Avengers: Endgame's story is Tony's arc. Every step of his narrative was meticulously planned to honor his past and set up his future. He redeemed himself by proving that he had the right idea creating Ultron - a major misstep on his part - considering Thanos' arrival. He had five years of family life and got closure from his father during the time travel adventure. With Peter Parker and all of Thanos' victims finally brought back to life through the Hulk's snap, there was really only one thing left for him to do - defeat the Mad Titan, something that he also accomplished, albeit in exchange for his life.
Unlike other fan petitions, the prospect of Iron Man's resurrection directly disservices his journey, not to mention works against Marvel Studios' plans for a sustainable future. Campaigns to rewrite Star Wars: The Last Jedi and the final season of Game of Thrones, while problematic in their own right, are rooted in fan dissatisfaction with how those stories panned out; they were reactions to admittedly controversial choices. Neither is remotely likely, but they come from a place of wanting to improve perceived issues with the resolved stories.
Bringing Tony Stark back to life would be a change to the ongoing story of the MCU. What the petition seems to be aiming for is to have Iron Man's death reversed in narrative, essentially making it another fake death ruse akin to the end of Avengers: Infinity War; something Marvel got away with based on the story's momentum. It's less about storytelling and more about character affection, something that those signing the petition are pushing for despite its shallow reasoning.
In-universe, yes, it's unfair that Tony got the life he always wanted but never had a longer time to enjoy it, but as he said in his Avengers: Endgame farewell message, "everybody wants a happy ending, right? But it doesn't always roll that way." This is the best send-off that effectively honors Tony's journey in the MCU. It's definitely better than prolonging RDJ's time in the role by relegating him to a side character.
- Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019) release date: Jul 02, 2019