[Editor’s note: The following post contains spoilers for “Avengers: Endgame.”]
There are numerous full circle moments in “Avengers: Endgame” that tie the movie to previous entries in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but none are as fulfilling as the moment Tony Stark proclaims “I am Iron Man” before snapping his fingers and using the Infinity Stones to disintegrate Thanos and his army. The moment occurs at the climax of the movie’s final battle. Thanos believes he has acquired all the Infinity Stones and says, “I am inevitable.” Tony quips back like only Tony can and says, “And I am Iron Man,” before snapping his fingers and ending the battle.
The line of dialogue is a notable one since it calls back to the same declaration Tony made at the end of “Iron Man,” the 2008 origin story that kicked off the MCU. In a sense, the “I am Iron Man” line brings the entire 11-year history of the MCU full circle, and it’s made all the more poignant since it defines Tony’s last selfless act before his death. Surprisingly, the line was not written into the “Endgame” script or even filmed during principal photography.
During a recent hour-long Q&A in Washington D.C. (via /Film), directors Anthony and Joe Russo revealed the Tony’s defining line was not included in the movie until reshoots. The moment was only filmed back in January, just over three months before the film opened in theaters around the world. Furthermore, the idea didn’t even come from the Russo brothers or from screenwriters Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely.
“Tony used to not say anything in that moment,” the directors said. “And we were in the editing room going, ‘He has to say something. This a character who has lived and died by quips.’ And we just couldn’t, we tried a million different last lines. Thanos was saying ‘I am inevitable.’ And our editor Jeff Ford, who’s been with us all four movies and is an amazing storyteller, said, ‘Why don’t we just go full circle with it and say I am Iron Man.’ And we’re like, ‘Get the cameras! We have to shoot this tomorrow.’”
Iron Man’s final moment was the last thing the Russo brothers shot during “Endgame” reshoots and it was the last VFX work the special effects department delivered on the film. As /Film pointed out, the moment was even more full circle since it was filmed at Raleigh Studios in Hollywood, California, which is just around the corner from where Robert Downey Jr. screen-tested as Tony Stark for “Iron Man” 12 years earlier.
“Avengers: Endgame” is now playing in theaters nationwide.