MCU Writer Reacts to Fan Backlash of Tony Stark Always Getting Killed In What If

By Russ Milheim Updated:
Marvel, MCU, What If, Iron Man, Robert Downey Jr.

What If...? has been airing for a few weeks now, and for the most part, audiences are enjoying themselves

One thing fans have noticed about the show is that most of the episodes are pretty tragic, especially many of their endings. Even T'Challa's upbeat episode's closing seconds alluded to the world on a path of annihilation thanks to Ego finding Peter Quill.

Tragic endings are one thing, but many have realized that Tony Stark ends up dying in more than one of these hypothetical timelines––so much so that it has become somewhat of a joke amongst fans.

For one, in the third episode, Stark was silently murdered by Hank Pym, then a quantum zombie virus got him in the fifth installment (thanks again Pym), and, most recently, Killmonger stabbed him in the show's sixth outing––needless to say, things could be going better for Iron Man. 

So, what does What If...? head writer A.C. Bradley have to say about it?

What If... Tony Stark Kept Dying?

What If Tony Stark

Sitting down with Entertainment Weekly, What If...? head writer A.C. Bradley addressed the fact that a lot of the show's episodes end in tragedy.

Bradley confirmed that "there [is] a bit of a bigger plan," and that when it comes to all the tragic outcomes, "there might be a reason:"

"The most liberating part of What If…? has been writing things you'll never see in the movies, which includes killing off our heroes, ending the world, just going full out... I'm excited for people to see that we're not going in there clueless, that there was a bit of a bigger plan. I'm aware that many of the episodes end tragically, and there might be a reason. I'm hoping people have enjoyed the ride so far, and that the finale gives them everything we promised."

At one point, there was a tenth episode for the first season, one which Bradley said was "a more light, upbeat Tony Stark episode." The head writer then made a humorous comparison between Tony Stark and one of South Park's main characters Kenny McCormick, who has died over 100 times in the Comedy Central series:

"Our 10th episode was a more light, upbeat Tony Stark episode... I noticed on Twitter we're getting a lot of crap for killing Tony a lot. He has become the Kenny of the What If…? universe by accident."

Tony Stark, the MCU Martyr

With Tony Stark dying in so many timelines, it's hard not to think that his death is likely the reason everything went downhill. The man probably needs to survive if the timeline is going to make it to the end––just look at the MCU prime universe; without him, everything would be kaput.

Sadly for Stark, it looks like this next episode will once again feature his death. The murder bot that he had a part in creating who everyone knows as Ultron is going to come away with a big win: he gets all of the Infinity Stones.

It looks like this victorious Ultron will end up being the big bad of What If...?'s first season, as there has been plenty of footage shown that sees all of the various alternate heroes teamed up to fight Ultron bots.

As for how it will all go down, well, fans will have to tune in on Wednesdays on Disney+.

- In This Article: What If...? (Season 2)
Release Date
December 22, 2023
Jeffrey Wright
- About The Author: Russ Milheim
Russ Milheim is the Industry Relations Coordinator at The Direct. On top of utilizing his expertise on the many corners of today’s entertainment to cover the latest news and theories, he establishes and maintains communication and relations between the outlet and the many studio and talent representatives.