Iron Man died so everyone could live. The Avengers: Endgame hero sacrificed his life in order to save the rest of the universe from Thanos and his minions. But is that all he did with his all-powerful snap or is it possible Tony Stark's final actions were even bigger than we realize? So big, in fact, that they pave the way toward mutants in the Marvel Cinematic Universe?
Where are the X-Men?
The mutants are coming, we just don't know how or when. But Disney's purchase of 20th Century Fox means the previously Fox-owned Marvel properties Fantastic Four and X-Men are now fair game for the MCU.
We already know a significant amount about Marvel's plans for their first family, as Spider-Man: Far From Home director Jon Watts has been tapped to helm Fantastic Four. Here's what we don't know: where the heck are the mutants?
Rumors abound about a Wolverine anthology series on its way to Disney+, but that's unconfirmed at this point. As it stands, Marvel has made no official announcements about how it plans to bring the X-Men into the greater MCU, let alone lonely Logan. Many of us thought WandaVision would be the answer, but what if the answer's already here thanks to a certain hero's sacrifice?
Tony Stark and the X-Men
In his last act, Tony Stark destroys Thanos with nothing more than the snap of his Infinity Stone-powered fingers, killing himself in the process. As far as we know, that's the extent of his actions. But we underestimate Iron Man at our own peril.
Tony Stark is one of the premier super-geniuses in the MCU. Even in the heat of battle, is Iron Man only going to use the Infinity Stones to defeat Thanos, rather than consider ways to further protect his loved ones, and indeed, further evolve humanity?
Stark was already looking for a way out of the superhero game as early as Avengers: Age of Ultron, wanting to defend earth with suits of armor all across the world. The end result there was Ultron and the Iron Legion nearly destroying everything. After his time as a hero, Stark has learned that it's good people with pure hearts who use their power to defend the ones they love — and with that in mind, one can imagine Tony's Infinity strategy amounting to, "Defeat Thanos, and save the planet."
A potential interpretation of "save the planet," of course, is to arm it with even more heroes, which could lead to a wide-scale proliferation of people suddenly imbued with powers — aka, the birth of mutantkind.
The Inverse Analysis — If you tolerated my "Iron Man is the grandfather of the Fantastic Four" theory, then this one isn't much more of a stretch, is it?
Okay, so, it's a stretch. But it's a fun stretch! As with the Iron Man-Fantastic Four theory, this one connects the next wave of superheroes to the ambassador of the old guard: Tony Stark. The MCU is all about continuity — enhancing it, playing within it — and using Stark as a way to leverage the X-Men into existence feels like the exact kind of call-and-response strategy we have seen from Kevin Feige and the other Marvel masterminds.
Is Tony Stark bringing mutantkind to life a likely outcome? No. Is it a fun one to consider? Absolutely.
Avengers: Endgame is streaming now on Disney+.