Robert Downey Jr. and Chris Evans were very explicit in naming Avengers: Endgame as their final movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and the film itself made that clear by giving both of their characters definitive endings. Gwyneth Paltrow also said she was done with MCU appearances, having been playing Pepper Potts in the franchise since it all began with 2008’s Iron Man, but her character never got an ending like theirs. Paltrow has said that she might return and doesn’t want to close that door forever, so here are 10 Ways Pepper Potts Could Return To The MCU In The Future.
Even though Gwyneth Paltrow spoiled the fact she’d be getting her own Stark-built suit of armor on social media, it was still a delightful surprise in Avengers: Endgame when she arrived on the battleground. Her back-to-back fighting with Iron Man was one of the movie’s greatest moments. Although she isn’t named in the movie, her superhero name in this armor is Rescue in the comics. Paltrow has said she’s done with the MCU for now, but the right offer would surely bring her back, and a solo Rescue movie might be the way for Marvel to woo her back into the fold.
One of the most shocking changes to the Avengers after the five-year time jump in Endgame was Tony Stark and Pepper Potts having a five-year-old daughter named Morgan. Although there is a character named Morgan Stark in the comics, that version is Tony’s male cousin, not his daughter.
So, there’s no template for the character from the source material. Still, there’s a good chance she’ll grow up to become a superhero, and when she does, a decade or so down the line in a Young Avengers movie or something, it would be great to see Gwyneth Paltrow make a grand return to the role of Pepper.
Right now, it seems as though Spider-Man is out of the MCU for good, but some fans have been suggesting that this is all just negotiation tactics between Sony and Disney. This is a deal worth billions of dollars, so sometimes drastic measures are needed to shift a percent or two one way or the other. If this hope isn’t completely unfounded and there is a chance that Tom Holland’s Peter Parker will return for a third solo movie, he’ll need an adult mentor to continue the tradition. Since his original mentor was Tony Stark, it would make sense for Pepper to take that role at some point in the future. They can bond over their grief.
When it was announced that Gwyneth Paltrow would be leaving the MCU and Iron Man’s fate in Avengers: Endgame was unknown, some fans hoped that it would lead to Bethany Cabe joining the MCU. Bethany was one of Tony’s other girlfriends in the comics, but she ended up taking on the Iron Woman mantle. Obviously, with Tony out of the way and Pepper still in the picture, her origin would need to be tweaked slightly, but Pepper is the best avenue for Bethany to make it into the MCU and become Iron Woman. Kevin Feige has already said that the focus of the MCU’s future is diversifying and bringing in more female characters.
In a lot of Pepper’s most recent appearances in the MCU, it’s been a mere cameo. She had a few substantial scenes in Endgame, but between that and Iron Man 3, she forgot she was in some of them. She didn’t realize she was in Spider-Man: Homecoming, she didn’t realize Samuel L. Jackson was in the MCU – she hasn’t been heavily involved. If she comes back, it’ll probably be for another cameo appearance. She’s said she’s open to returning, but only for a one-day shoot: “Of course, if they said, ‘Can you come back for a day?,’ I will always be there if they need me.”
There’s clearly still an appetite for Happy Hogan in the MCU, despite the death of his closest ally Tony Stark, based on the strong audience response to Jon Favreau’s self-deprecating scenes in Spider-Man: Far From Home (particularly in the museum scene when he tried to Frisbee a shield in the style of Captain America). So, as long as Happy is going to continue to appear – and it was mentioned in Spider-Man: Homecoming that he was after a promotion at Stark Industries – then there should be a way to get Pepper back into a movie alongside him. Stark Industries must factor into an upcoming storyline somehow.
One plot point from Iron Man 3 is finding its way back into the MCU’s ongoing narrative with the appearance of the real Mandarin in Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, so maybe another one will be coming back, too. In the final battle of Iron Man 3, Pepper seemed to fall to her death in a fiery blaze.
However, since she had been infected with the Extremis virus, she emerged from the wreck with an orange glow and killed Aldrich Killian. Her Extremis infection hasn’t been mentioned since, but at some point, surely someone like Hank Pym or Reed Richards will be interested in it.
When the characters are flying to Europe in Spider-Man: Far From Home, they browse a streaming service that hints at the in-universe movies in the MCU. There’s a documentary about Thanos’ genocidal finger-snap called The Snap, one about the fall of S.H.I.E.L.D. called Hunting Hydra, one about Black Panther’s home nation called Finding Wakanda, and one about Tony Stark’s life called Heart of Iron: The Tony Stark Story. If the MCU is ever going to show us clips from any of these movies through the eyes of other characters, the best bet would be the latter – featuring an interview with Pepper Potts.
At the beginning of Iron Man 3, Aldrich Killian waltzed into the offices of Stark Industries to pitch the Extremis virus to Pepper Potts. Now, exactly how that factored into his plan or why he bothered to do it at all remains unclear, but what it did tell us is that as the CEO of Stark Industries, Pepper has a very important place in the story. She can take meetings with shady businessmen who turn out to be villains. And a shady businessman who turns out to be a villain fits the description of the character that MCU fans want to replace Thanos as the MCU’s big bad: Norman Osborn.
Some fans may have called it pandering and others may have just plain objected to the idea of so many female superheroes in the same shot, but the truth is that on the whole, the “girl power” moment in the final battle of Avengers: Endgame inspired one of the strongest responses from the audience. There has since been calls for an A-Force movie teaming up all the awesome female heroes from the MCU. If this movie ever gets made – and there’s a good chance it will, since Brie Larson and Evangeline Lilly are both eager for it – it would be a no-brainer to bring back Pepper Potts and her Rescue armor.