Fans Put Up a Billboard Begging Marvel to Bring Back Tony Stark
In recent years, fan campaigns, boosted by the power of social media, have become increasingly influential in Hollywood productions. When the first trailer for the Sonic the Hedgehog movie came out, fans complained so loudly about the bizarre design of the title character that Paramount pushed back the movie for months and completely reworked movie Sonic. Without vocal fans online, there would be no Snyder Cut of Justice League (or at least, you wouldn’t be able to watch it — in two different versions! — on HBO Max right now). Fans always existed, and they always had gripes about the things they loved. But increasingly, griping ... seems to actually work?
We’ll see how far this new campaign goes. This one is engineered by passionate Marvel fans, who apparently want Tony Stark to return to life. (Spoilers for Avengers: Endgame, if you happened to miss the second-biggest movie in history.) A billboard spotted over Los Angeles reads “For Our Beloved Hero, Please Bring Back Tony Stark” with the hashtag #BringBackTonyStarkToLife. It also includes the date April 24, 2021 — this coming Saturday — at the bottom, though it’s not clear what exactly happens then.
To be perfectly blunt, we’re not sure this campaign is going to work. Marvel didn’t prematurely end Tony Stark’s character arc because of Robert Downey Jr.’s contract demands, or because he quit abruptly for personal reasons. This was the way Marvel mapped out the character’s story, and it ended in an emotionally satisfying way. It might not have been the happiest conclusion, but it worked perfectly within the overarching Marvel Cinematic Universe, and as part of Tony’s story from selfish playboy arms dealer to selfless universe-saving hero. Bringing him back now would undo a lot of that.
Of course, all is not lost for Iron Man fans. Even without Tony Stark, the character’s legacy will continue in the MCU. Marvel has already announced at least two Disney+ series that will further the Iron Man corner of their cinematic universe: Ironheart, about a brilliant young woman (played by Dominique Thorne) who invents her own suit of armor, and Armor Wars, starring Don Cheadle’s War Machine as he fights to keep Tony Stark’s tech out of the bad guys’ hands. With enough billboards, maybe they could #BringBackTonyStarkToLife for a brief cameo in one of those shows.
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