Tony Stark, aka Iron Man (Robert Downey, Jr.), survived The Snappening in Avengers: Infinity War. But former Marvel Comics writer and Valiant Comics co-founder Bob Layton believes that the character could meet his demise in Avengers 4.
Layton's late 1970s run included the iconic Demon in a Bottle story arc and earned him recognition among comic book readers as a defining Iron Man writer. Even so, his comments during a recent Tampa Bay Times interview about the billionaire genius' death may not sit well with some Iron Man fans.
Layton told the interviewer that Tony was one of the most credible comic book characters of all time, and went on to sing the praises of Marvel Studios' latest release, Ant-Man and the Wasp. The topic then returned to Iron Man, and whether Avengers 4 might be his final Marvel Cinematic Universe appearance:
I am only speculating, but I will guess that (Robert Downey, Jr.) is done. He has been doing the same role for over 10 years now, and I think as with any actor sometimes, it is time to move on.
Asked whether he believed that Marvel would actually kill off Tony Stark in Avengers 4, Layton responded:
That is one way of doing it, but I'd only be guessing. I know this – I wouldn't want to recast Tony Stark. Who would want to try to top Downey? But, if Tony doesn't come back, they can put somebody else in the armor and start a new generation of Iron Man.
Layton cautioned a number of times that his opinions were based on nothing but conjecture. He has no involvement with the upcoming Marvel superhero extravaganza, and it's highly unlikely that the studio would hand him a copy of the script, especially since several cast members haven't even seen it.
Layton's remarks do make sense, and some fans have been speculating along the same lines. But things could go the other way. Tony might survive Avengers 4, pass his Iron Man mantle on to another character, and finally marry Pepper Potts. He could still return in future MCU installments as Nick Fury-like characters, or as the new director of S.H.I.E.L.D. We'll have to wait until May 3, 2019 to be sure.