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Who will save Iron Man in Avengers: Endgame?

The Avengers: Endgame trailer raised more questions than it answered. One of the biggest questions is how, with all of the surviving Avengers back on Earth, Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) is going to make sure Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow) never has to hear that final recording. He's made a lot of promises to his fiancee, not to mention the promise he made to Wong (Benedict Wong) — "Wong, you're invited to my wedding!" — just before chasing Ebony Maw (Tom Vaughan-Lawlor) into the sky. He's not going to keep any of them if he dies in space. 

Things might look bleak for Tony, but there are a lot of possibilities. Since Avengers: Infinity War finally brought the casts of all the MCU franchises together, the world of Avengers: Endgame will be much larger than the world Tony inhabited in the first two Avengers adventures. Endgame's cast includes spacefarers, gods, wizards, interstellar warlords, and more. In all likelihood, Stark's rescue isn't a question of if, but of who and when. 

Here are the heroes, villains, and everyone in between who might bring Tony back to Pepper in 2019's Avengers: Endgame

The fellow survivor

It's unclear whether Nebula (Karen Gillan) is on the ship with Tony in the Endgame trailer. We only see Stark in shots on his own. We do see Nebula on the same ship, but that could be before it takes off. Or Nebula could take off with Tony, but abandon him mid-flight. It is curious that the ship is adrift. Maybe it was damaged during the battle with Thanos (Josh Brolin) in Infinity War. But if not, then something or someone else had to have damaged it. Nebula may be the culprit. After the Decimation, Tony and Nebula will likely have different goals. Tony will want to get back to Earth, whereas Nebula will want revenge on Thanos for the death of Gamora (Zoe Saldana). 

But if Nebula isn't the culprit, she may be what saves Tony. While Tony's raw genius probably dwarfs Nebula's intelligence, the technology aboard the Benatar is just everyday stuff to her. Not to mention that by now a good chunk of Nebula is machinery and she might be able to use herself to fix the ship. Maybe Thanos was right when he said killing her would've been "a waste of parts."

Trash Panda to the rescue!

The absence of Rocket (Bradley Cooper) from the Endgame trailer brings up a lot of questions, but we've gotten to know the trash panda over the course of three movies, and he's got the potential to be Iron Man's savior. 

Even though he was on Earth at the end of Avengers: Infinity War, that means nothing as far as limiting his travel. In Guardians of the Galaxy we saw him slap together a bunch of components that allowed him to take over the Kyln's gravity and security systems faster than most people could make a sandwich. He could probably put MacGyver or The A-Team to shame when it comes to making killer weapons out of random stuff (fitting too since Cooper played Face in the film adaptation of The A-Team), so using Earth tech to make a spacefaring vessel probably wouldn't be a huge challenge. We know he wants to leave Earth. The Guardians are the only family he's ever known. After the Decimation, he's not going to have any idea what happened to the rest of them and he's going to want to find them, especially after enduring the heartbreaking death of Groot (Vin Diesel). If the Guardians could find Thor (Chris Hemsworth) on their windshield, it's conceivable Rocket could run into the adrift Tony Stark. 

The forgemaster

We don't know yet if Peter Dinklage will be reprising his role as Eitri in Avengers: Endgame. You might figure, hey, he made Stormbreaker, what else is there for him to do?

While Thor may think he's done with Eitri for the time being, Eitri probably isn't done with Thor. A big part of Eitri's motivation to make Stormbreaker was revenge on Thanos. Since the Decimation was universal, Eitri now knows that Thor didn't succeed, and he might fashion something new for Thor to use against Thanos. If the Avengers' plan turns out to be that they want to swipe the Infinity Stones from Thanos and use them to bring back all the people he killed, they'll need a new gauntlet to do it. And as we saw in Infinity War, Eitri already has the mold ready to go. 

The dwarf might be on his way to Earth as soon as Avengers: Endgame begins. And if so, he might run into another "tinkerer" on the way.

Point Break

Thor and Tony Stark aren't best friends. Their relationship began with them beating the tar out of each other. Still, Thor and Iron Man are both founding Avengers, and the Odinson isn't going to leave Stark hanging if he can help it. Because of Eitri the Dwarf, Thor may be able to save his insufferable teammate. 

In Avengers: Infinity War, Thor's new weapon allows him to access the Bifrost. He uses Stormbreaker to bring himself, Groot, and Rocket to the Wakandan battlefield. If it could bring Thor from Nidavellir to Earth, it's a sure bet it could bring him to wherever Stark is. 

Not to mention that with Stormbreaker, Thor may even be able to find out where Stark is. Remember that Stormbreaker didn't just bring Thor and his allies to Earth, it brought them right to Wakanda, suggesting Thor knew that's where his friends were and what was happening. It could be that Eitri had access to a device that could monitor other planets, or it could be that Stormbreaker possesses abilities we don't know about yet. 

The exiled

Sif (Jaime Alexander) has been missing from the MCU for a while. She wasn't in Thor: Ragnarok or Avengers: Infinity War. We haven't heard anything to suggest she'll be in Avengers: Endgame, but we also haven't heard anything that would dismiss the possibility altogether. 

Sif didn't appear in Ragnarok because of a scheduling conflict between the filming of Ragnarok and that of Alexander's NBC series Blindspot. Story-wise, MCU president Kevin Feige explained her absence by pointing out that since she was fiercely loyal to Thor, Loki (Tom Hiddleston) wouldn't want Sif around once he silently took over Asgard by disguising himself as Odin (Anthony Hopkins). So, just as he did with Heimdall (Idris Elba), Loki banished Sif from Asgard. 

The Russo brothers have said Sif didn't survive the Decimation, but we didn't see anything go down onscreen, so anything is still possible — and if she's heard of her home's destruction, she's going to want to find Thor. With Asgard gone, Sif would be heading to Earth. If that happens, she could very well run into someone else who was flying to Earth and whose engines went kaplooey somewhere along the way.

The last Valkyrie

It looks likely that Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson) will appear in Avengers: Endgame. First, we know Valkyrie survived Thanos' attack because Infinity War and Endgame director Joe Russo said she managed to get into an escape pod. Second, in September The Wrap reported that a post on Thompson's Instagram showed her disembarking a plane in Atlanta with Chris Hemsworth. That Hemsworth and Thompson were on a plane together could easily be explained by the fact that they both worked on the Men in Black reboot, but the fact that they were specifically landing in Atlanta while Avengers: Endgame reshoots were taking place in the same city makes it seem a lot more suspicious. 

Like Sif, after the Decimation Valkyrie might want to find Thor. It's not quite as guaranteed considering Valkyrie's reaction to watching her sister valkyries be killed by Hela (Cate Blanchett) was to hide on Sakaar for centuries, but she seemed to find a new spirit by the end of Ragnarok. Again, like Sif, if Valkyrie heads to Earth to look for Thor, she could very well run into the Benatar

The wedding guest

In Avengers: Infinity War, Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) thinks he can't get back to Earth on his own. Once Ebony Maw dies, Strange insists Stark tell him whether or not he can get them back home. 

But why couldn't a sling ring allow him to travel between planets? In Doctor Strange, the Ancient One (Tilda Swinton) travels to the Mirror Dimension and back without even using the sling ring. If the wizards of Kamar-taj can step between dimensions, why not planets?

It may simply be that no one in Kamar-taj has ever needed to jump between planets and so never tried. Also, wizards need to picture the place they're going to. They wouldn't know what other habitable planets looked like and so wouldn't be able to summon the mental picture necessary.

But, if Stark were able to get a video message to Earth, Wong might be able to save him. He probably wouldn't be thrilled with the idea of trying, but if he has the courage to stand up to Kaecilius (Mads Mikkelsen) and the Black Order, he's got courageous enough to jump into space without a net. And if saving Tony from Cull Obsidian got Wong a wedding invitation, saving him from space should get Wong a spot at the wedding party table. 

The Warbound

Like Valkyrie, the rocky Korg (Taika Waititi) and his de-limbed insect pal Miek were nowhere to be seen on the refugee ship in the beginning of Avengers: Infinity War. We don't know their fate and can only hope that, like Valkyrie and some of the other Asgardian refugees, they managed to get to an escape pod or found some other way to survive. 

If they are alive and have the means to do so, Korg and Miek may be headed for Earth — not necessarily because they have any strong desire to find Thor or join the fight against Thanos, but because that's where the refugee ship was headed before Thanos' attack. They might even have some of the Asgardian refugees with them and don't know where else to bring them. If so, they might run into the adrift Benatar. And can you imagine a more perfect way to re-introduce the kiwi-accented Kronan, or a more hilarious way to save Stark? "Hey there, friend. I'm Korg, this is my friend Miek, and we noticed your asphyxiation type thing going on. We're headed to Earth, wanna come along?"  

The Captain (no, the other one)

Captain Marvel (Brie Larson) was nowhere to be seen in the Avengers: Endgame trailer, but we know she'll be an important part of the movie. In Avengers: Infinity War's one and only post-credits scene, we saw Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) send off what seemed to be some kind of distress call to Marvel. If she received it, then hopefully she's on her way back to Earth to find out what the problem is, and if so, she just might run into an Earthling adrift in space who needs her help. 

We know Marvel can survive in space under her own power. We don't know exactly how or when she's going to meet the Avengers, but it seems like director Joe Russo is going to want it to be a pretty big moment. Considering all of that, having Captain Marvel save Iron Man from dying in space might just be the perfect way to introduce the spacefaring superhero to the rest of the MCU. 

The Collector

The Collector (Benicio del Toro) definitely isn't the most obvious choice for Iron Man's savior, but he has some potential. 

His involvement in Avengers: Endgame at all depends on a few ifs, not the least of which being if he's still alive. That's a pretty big if, but not a giant-sized one. We never actually see Thanos kill the Collector in Avengers: Infinity War. The entire interaction between the two ultimately proves to be an illusion Thanos creates with the Reality Stone, and even the illusory Collector is never killed. Once Thanos lifts the veil we see the Knowhere collection ablaze, but there's no reason Collector couldn't have escaped beforehand. What little we know about the MCU's Collector suggests if he caught wind of Thanos' approach, he wouldn't be foolish enough to think he could win. Del Toro has gone on record saying he doesn't think the Collector is dead.

If he did survive, the Collector would want revenge on Thanos. And since his collection is destroyed, he'd see the Infinity Stones as sufficient recompense for his losses, and he might see the heroes of Earth as pawns in his scheme. Saving Tony Stark from certain death would be a good way to get in the Avengers' good graces, particularly if one of our theories about Endgame involving Collector and Grandmaster (Jeff Goldblum) has merit. 

The Mad Titan

if there's anyone who's less obvious a potential savior of Iron Man than the Collector, it's Thanos. Though if you stop to consider, it could make a lot of sense. 

First, Thanos obviously has the ability to do it. The Gauntlet didn't look like it was in great shape after the Decimation and we don't know how much access Thanos has left to the stones' power, but we know he had at least enough to use the Space Stone to get out of Wakanda to whatever planet he ended up on. 

Second, from Thanos' point of view, if he were to somehow learn of Iron Man's plight he would have no reason to not save him. The Decimation's over. It happened. What could Stark do to change that? 

Third and finally, if Thanos somehow learns of the Avengers' plans (whatever they prove to be), a living Tony Stark might prove more useful to him than a dead one. He could torture Stark for intelligence and use him as a hostage. With the Mind Stone, he might even be able to turn Stark against the Avengers. 

The Princess

This choice may be moot, since Shuri's (Letitia Wright) face showed up on the scans of missing people Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo) was looking at in the Endgame trailer. So she may have been a victim of the Decimation even though we never saw her get dusted. But, there are three points to consider about that. First, we saw just about all the other Infinity War Decimation victims get dusted, so why not her? Second, Scott Lang's (Paul Rudd) face is the most prominent in the shot, and we know he didn't get dusted, so it's possible the same is true for Shuri. Third, Angela Bassett — who plays Ramonda in Black Panther – told Screen Rant in July that both her character and Shuri survived the Decimation. 

Putting aside the question of Shuri's survival, if she survived, she could save Stark. In a video for Wired, director Joe Russo confirmed Shuri is the smartest person in the MCU and she has access to the most technologically advanced assets on Earth. Not to mention that in the comics it's not only been shown that the Wakandans are spacefarers, but a recent storyline in Black Panther revealed that ancient Wakandans set up an intergalactic empire. If the savior of Stark proves to be an Earthling who isn't using magic, it will be Shuri. 

Rescue to the rescue

Tony spends the Avengers: Endgame trailer leaving a final message for his one true love, Pepper Potts. So it's only fitting that Pepper herself may be the one who finds a way to save him. Not only would it be an emotionally satisfying payoff, it also makes sense. Pepper was talking to Tony when he left Earth, so she knows where to start the search. As the CEO of Stark Industries, she has the resources to mount a rescue, and as Tony's fiancee, she certainly has the motive. Plus, we've seen her rescue him before, in Iron Man 3.

Perhaps the biggest clue, though, is the fact that leaks from the set of Avengers: Endgame suggested that Pepper would be donning her own suit of armor for the film. That's something she's done in the comics, where her superhero codename is... Rescue.

Yeah, it seems pretty obvious when we put it that way!

Stark himself

Maybe the strangest thing about the Endgame trailer is that Stark is adrift at all. 

Yes, the technology Stark is dealing with is likely far beyond anything he's used to. And he probably didn't have "get stuck in space" on his calendar originally, so he might not have his best tools with him. 

But, while he may not be Shuri, he's still one of Earth's top minds. He built a revolutionary power source in a cave while a car battery was stuck to his chest. He used it to keep pieces of shrapnel from entering his heart and to build a suit of mobile armor that allowed him to singlehandedly take on a camp full of terrorists. He may not have his favorite toolbox, but he does have an Iron Man suit composed of nanobots accessible by tapping his chest.

It may be that the only reason Stark believes he's about to die in the Endgame trailer is that he's deeply wounded by his defeat at the end of Infinity War. He survived only because of Strange's sacrifice of the Time Stone, and he watched almost everyone — including his protege Peter Parker (Tom Holland) — turn to dust around him. What Stark may really need to fix the Benatar is a dose of that confidence he's so well-known for.

No one at all

It doesn't seem very likely — regardless of whether or not Stark survives Endgame – that the Russos would kill Tony in such a lonely, unromantic manner. If Stark's going to die, it should be with his suit on, blasting away at his enemies, and fighting until the very end. 

But in a way, having Stark come to an end out in space would be thematically fitting. When he followed Ebony Maw's ship in Infinity War and both Pepper's and Friday's (Kerry Condon) voices cut out as the ship left the atmosphere, it was reminiscent of the first Avengers movie, when Jarvis' (Paul Bettany) voice cut out while trying to call Pepper after Stark entered the portal. Stark thought that was going to be the end for him and he accepted the cost. If Stark were to die out in the void in Endgame, in a way it could be a much longer version of what happened in the earlier movie, except this time without being sucked back to Earth. 

Probably not. Probably he'll be fine. But from the creative team that broke everyone's hearts with "Mr. Stark, I don't feel so good," it's better to be prepared for the worst.