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Gwyneth Paltrow Will Leave The MCU After Avengers: Endgame

Auf wiedersehen, Pepper Potts. 

Gwyenth Paltrow revealed to Variety as part of the outlet's cover story for the week of February 18 that she is exiting the Marvel Cinematic Universe and stepping away from her post as the "most capable, qualified, trustworthy person" Tony Stark has ever met following the upcoming release of Avengers: Endgame

Paltrow has portrayed Stark Industries chief executive officer Virginia "Pepper" Potts, the former personal assistant and eventual fiancée of Robert Downey Jr.'s Tony Stark, since 2008's Iron Man, the film that marked the birth of the MCU as we know it today. Once the storylines of the 20-plus films in the Marvel movie world come together for the epic conclusion that is Endgame, Paltrow's Pepper won't play a pivotal part on the silver screen. 

"I mean, I'm a bit old to be in a suit and all that at this point," said Paltrow, who truly doesn't look her 46 years of age. "I feel very lucky that I did it, because I actually got talked into it. I was friend with [Iron Man director] Jon Favreau. It was such a wonderful experience making the first Iron Man and then to watch how important it has become to fans."

The actress admitted that she doesn't believe she will sign on for any upcoming franchise entries post-Endgame, as the MCU moves into its next phase, but she did state that she's leaving the door open for possible cameos in the future. Whether she appears in the present day or in a flashback sequence, Paltrow's Pepper could pop up again if the powers that be at Marvel Studios ever wish for that to happen. 

"I feel honored to be a part of something that people are so passionate about. Of course, if they said, 'Can you come back for a day?,' I will always be there if they need me," Paltrow shared. 

Outside of the fact that the MCU is apparently losing one of its stars who has been around since the inception of the overarching cinematic franchise, there are a few things of note in Paltrow's comments. 

The first is her mention of being "in a suit," which carries the implication that Pepper will gear up in Endgame. We don't think Paltrow is talking about a pin-striped pant-suit worn around Stark Industries during day-to-day business meetings and investors' calls, but rather is referring to a high-tech superhero costume. And Pepper has yet to rock in an MCU movie a superhero suit like her soon-to-be-husband Tony Stark or any of the Avengers crew have. 

However, there stands a chance that this will change in Endgame, which could see the MCU version of Pepper align more closely to the comic book version of the character, who is a little more super than her silver-screen counterpart is. A leaked photo from the behind the scenes of Endgame shows Paltrow wearing a suit of armor, suggesting that Pepper will indeed assume her alternate identity of Rescue in the forthcoming film. In the Marvel Comics lore, Pepper takes on the Rescue mantle when Tony gifts her a variation of his Iron Man suit. 

It makes sense that Pepper could become Rescue in Endgame simply considering the premise of the movie and remembering what Tony said in the Endgame trailer: only a handful of Earth's Mightiest Heroes are left following Thanos' (Josh Brolin) universe-splitting Decimation, and Tony is floating through space, barely hanging on without any food or water, and losing oxygen at a dangerous rate. The first look at Endgame heavily focused on Tony's struggle and his connection to Pepper, for whom he records a video to find in the event of his possible death. 

"This thing on? Hey, Miss Potts. If you find this recording, don't feel bad about this. Part of the journey is the end. Just for the record, being adrift in space with zero promise of rescue is more fun than it sounds," Tony says. "Food and water ran out four days ago, oxygen will run out tomorrow morning... that'd be it. When I drift off, I will dream about you. It's always you."

Perhaps Tony will perish at the start of Endgame, leaving Pepper to suit up, embark on a rescue (pun intended) mission to save the surviving Avengers, fight back against Thanos, and potentially turn back time and resurrect the fallen heroes — including her beloved Tony. Since time travel and Decimation-reversal are two huge elements in the most popular Endgame fan theories, the idea that Pepper acts as Rescue in Endgame, effectively acting in Tony's stead after his passing, really isn't all that far-fetched. 

Now, the second aspect of Paltrow's remarks to Variety that is worth exploring is her stating that she would love to return as Pepper sometime down the line. This hints that Pepper will survive Avengers: Endgame — and gets us thinking more about Tony's fate in the film. 

After the destruction and devastation of Avengers: Infinity War, fans have begun saying their goodbyes to inaugural MCU heroes like Iron Man and Chris Evans' Captain America, convinced that Endgame's title holds a double meaning in that it will mark the end of the road for certain characters. If Tony truly does die in Endgame and Pepper doesn't join the fight to undo Thanos' Snap, that would leave Pepper without the love of her life beside her and her child without its father. Yep, you read that right: apparently, Pepper, who told Tony in Infinity War that she dream she was pregnant, is either expecting or has already given birth to a child in Endgame

Paltrow previously told Titan Publishing during an interview for the Official Avengers: Infinity War magazine (via Twitter), "Pepper and Tony have had a real long journey together. She obviously starts as his dutiful assistant, and then the relationship evolves, and now this decade later they're married, and they have a child. Their relationship has evolved in all of the ways that great romances evolve." 

Maybe Pepper delivers the baby prior to Tony's death, and upon receiving his message, is even more motivated to save the Avengers and reverse the mass genocide Thanos carried out during the final moments of Infinity War. We would love for everything to work out perfectly, Tony to come back to life (assuming he does bite the bullet at some point), and the two of them have a big, white wedding and a happy life with their child together. But we'll have to wait for Avengers: Endgame to open in theaters this April to find out if that will genuinely happen. 

Additional rumors outside of the ones swirling around Endgame claim that Paltrow could play a part in Spider-Man: Far From Home, given that the trailer for the Spidey sequel featured her name on a giant check Happy Hogan (Jon Favreau) was delivering to Aunt May (Marisa Tomei). We know that Far From Home takes place after the events of Avengers: Endgame, so it's all but guaranteed that Pepper is alive and kicking. Whether Paltrow actually appears in the film remains to be seen, though the possibility is certainly there. 

See Paltrow take her (potential) final turn as Pepper Potts in Avengers: Endgame, out in cinemas on April 26.