Thanos Secretly Confirmed Iron Man"s Most Tragic MCU Replacement

  • Iron Man's replacement in the MCU may have already been established in Avengers: Infinity War, as Doctor Strange is also "cursed with knowledge."
  • Doctor Strange's role as Iron Man's replacement is supported by his knowledge of alternate futures and the multiverse, as well as his mentorship of other heroes.
  • While other armored heroes like War Machine and Ironheart have been set up to replace Iron Man, Doctor Strange's similar backstory and expanded role in the Multiverse Saga make him a fitting successor.
With one line in 2018's Avengers: Infinity War, the Mad Titan Thanos already confirmed who would be the perfect candidate to replace Tony Stark's Iron Man in the MCU. Robert Downey Jr.'s Tony Stark was the cornerstone of the MCU's Infinity Saga, guiding audiences through a solo trilogy after kicking off the MCU in 2008's Iron Man, and going on to appear in all four Avengers movies, and show up in other heroes' projects, too. Along with Chris Evans' Steve Rogers, a.k.a. Captain America, Iron Man helped to form and lead the Avengers on several missions, including their epic battle against Josh Brolin's Thanos during Avengers: Infinity War and Endgame.
2019's Avengers: Endgame saw the Avengers present their last stand against Thanos, embarking on the Time Heist to collect the Infinity Stones and reverse the Mad Titan's snap before facing a younger version of the supervillain in the Battle of Earth. Tragically, following Natasha Romanoff's death earlier in their quest, Iron Man sacrificed himself in Endgame's final battle, using the Infinity Stones to eliminate Thanos and his forces at the cost of his own life. Since then, legacy heroes have been introduced for the armored Avenger, but one moment in Infinity War perhaps hints at an even more perfect replacement for Iron Man already having been established in the MCU.
Thanos' Cursed By Knowledge Line Makes Doctor Strange Iron Man's Replacement Close During Avengers: Infinity War, the separated team (the Avengers disbanded during Captain America: Civil War) fought Thanos and his Black Order in several small battles before the film's finale. One of these took place on Thanos' homeworld, Titan, a previously lush and vibrant world that had been ravaged by the effects of overpopulation and ecological change - as Thanos had predicted. On Titan, Thanos was faced by the Guardians of the Galaxy, Doctor Strange, Spider-Man, and Iron Man, but shared a moment of connection with the latter, claiming that both he and Stark were "cursed with knowledge." In the MCU's Multiverse Saga, it's Doctor Strange who's "cursed with knowledge."
While Tony Stark seemed shocked to learn that Thanos knew him by name, this isn't too far-fetched. Iron Man obliterated Thanos' forces that he sent to help Loki during the Battle of New York in 2012's The Avengers, and the Stark family not only dabbled with one Infinity Stone, but two, as Tony had experimented with the Mind Stone, while his father, Howard, was connected to the Tesseract, a.k.a. the Space Stone. For Tony Stark, however, his curse of knowledge perhaps refers to the visions he experienced which showed all his friends dead and him as the sole survivor - something that Thanos would have gladly seen come to pass.
While Doctor Strange can continue Iron Man's legacy, other armored heroes have been set up to replace the fallen Avenger, including Rhodey's War Machine, Riri Williams' Ironheart, and potentially even the likes of Harley Keener, Morgan Stark, and Nathaniel Richards' Iron Lad, who has yet to debut in the MCU.
While several heroes, such as War Machine and Ironheart, have been set up to be Iron Man's replacement in the MCU's Multiverse Saga, it makes sense that Benedict Cumberbatch's Doctor Strange would assume this role, as he too is "cursed with knowledge." Not only did he previously have the ability to glimpse alternate futures, giving him knowledge of events he perhaps shouldn't have had, but Strange has also learned a great deal about the multiverse and its dangers in his more recent adventures. This could lead to Doctor Strange adopting a leadership role in the MCU's New Avengers team, carrying on Iron Man's legacy in a more subtle way.
Every Way Doctor Strange Is Already Iron Man's MCU Replacement When Cumberbatch debuted as Stephen Strange in 2016's eponymous Doctor Strange, many noticed striking similarities between his origin story and that of Tony Stark's Iron Man. Both were experts in their field, but this acclaim fueled their massive egos and made them arrogant and abrasive individuals with faltering love lives. However, a tragic accident and some time in a far-away land caused them both to reevaluate their lives and make sweeping changes, transforming them both into bona fide heroes. Despite trying to be heroic, however, both have made terrible decisions and have caused huge catastrophes, and they both routinely failed to learn from their mistakes.


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