At the end of Avengers: Endgame, it’s clear that Tony Stark a.k.a. Iron Man was dead. If you haven’t seen the movie by now, I’m really sorry for that spoiler, but also, come on, it came out a while ago. Anyways, Tony dying is the least shocking thing in it, so go watch it now.
But after rumors that Robert Downey Jr. would return as Iron Man for Disney+ series called Iron Heart in which a young woman named Riri Williams takes up the armor, there’s a new wrinkle. Endgame may have already set-up how this will happen.
Some dedicated Marvel fans are adjusting their tinfoil hats and rewatching Endgame. They are theorizing that maybe the holographic recording of Tony Stark wasn’t a pre-recorded message but a “living” A.I. hologram that is basically a computer clone of Tony’s personality. You can go hard reading the Reddit theory here if you want, but that’s basically it: When Tony turns to his daughter in Endgame and says “I love you 3000” it’s not a pre-recorded message; it’s an artificial intelligence-powered hologram of Tony, that can be reactivated at any time and will, essentially, duplicate his personality. Basically, it’s Max Headroom + Tony Stark. (Sick reference right?)
The thing about this crazy theory is that it has several precedents in both the Marvel comics and the existing movies. In the actual Iron Heart comics, an A.I. is a mentor to Riri Williams, so it could happen again. Plus, Iron Man and other Marvel movies have made it clear that Tony’s other computer programs were based on real people. In Endgame we see Jarvis, the chauffeur and butler to Howard Stark (Tony’s dad) as a flesh and blood person in the ’80s. But, of course, Jarvis became the model for Tony’s first big A.I. that eventually resulted in the super-bot we know as Vision.
So, basically, Marvel has already said this kind of thing is possible, and if Tony did make a hologram/A.I. copy of himself, it means Robert Downey Jr. can return to any of these Marvel TV shows or films whenever he wants. Best of all, it means that maybe Morgan Stark doesn’t actually have to live in a world without her father. She can have her dad back! But this time, he’s a stay-at-home hologram.
And if Morgan has kids of her own? Well, that would make Tony hologramps.