“I’m sorry.” Those were Peter Parker’s final words before he turned into dust in Avengers: Infinity War, the most depressing big-budget superhero movie since… ever? (Something like Elektra is depressing in a different way.) Spider-Man joined Black Panther and Doctor Strange, among others, in the potential afterlife, while Iron Man was left trying to cradle his now-gone body. Tony Stark must have not taken his protégé’s death well, obviously, because in the first trailer for Avengers: Endgame, he’s now stuck by himself in space, telling Pepper Potts, “Part of the journey is the end.”
Things might not get much cheerier for Iron Man. A new theory posits that Tony will become the current Peter Parker’s (sorry, Andrew Garfield!) Uncle Ben, whose death we never see in Spider-Man: Homecoming. I thought it was legally required for a Spider-Man movie to show Uncle Ben dying, but guess not:
The reason we don’t see Uncle Ben die in Homecoming, even in a flashback is because they are prepping Tony to fill that role. Tony has this arc with Spidey where he recruits him, becomes his mentor, then watches Spidey disappear. When the “deaths” are undone, Peter is in trouble again at some point in Endgame and Tony will sacrifice himself to save the kid. It will complete his arc and will also mirror what we usually see with Uncle Ben.
This theory makes a lot of sense, especially when you consider that Chris Evans is moving on from the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and Robert Downey, Jr., who’s been there since the beginning in 2018, may join him. (Tony Stark also took on a fatherly, er, uncle-y role to young Peter Parker in Homecoming.) With Phase Three ending soon, it’s time for the new guard to take over in Phase Four, led by Captain Marvel, Black Panther, and, yup, Spider-Man.
Avengers: Endgame opens on April 26, 2019.