Tony Stark may have been introduced to the MCU first, but he was the one that made it the strongest in Avengers: Endgame. The entire MCU kicked off with Iron Man, making it clear that Tony Stark was one of the main connecting characters in the universe. As the franchise progressed, this only became more and more clear to the public.
Marvel Comics fans were hoping this meant they would see some of their favorite Iron Man stories from the comics on the big screen. Although stories like « Extremis » and « Civil War » were important to Tony in the MCU, this meant that there was not enough room for some classic Iron Man stories from the comics.
10 Tony Stark’s Confession
One of the most devastating storylines in all of Marvel Comics history was « The Death of Captain America. » After Steve Rogers is assassinated after « Civil War », Tony Stark faces a great feeling of guilt around Steve’s death.
10 classic Captain America stories the MCU never got around to adapting
10 Iron Man stories we’ll never see on the big screen
« The Confession », a story by Brian Michael Bendis and Alex Maleev, brought Tony directly to face with Steve’s death and guilt for it and for his actions during the Civil War. This also includes Tony’s heartbreaking confession to Steve Rogers’ corpse.
9 Tony Stark: Disassembled
When Marvel hired Matt Fraction and Salvador Larroca to write Invincible Iron Man, they kicked off one of the best Tony Stark eras in Marvel Comics to date. They completely deconstructed Tony and rebuilt him from scratch, showing everyone what makes Tony tick. No storyline deconstructed Tony as much as « Stark: Disassembled, » the storyline that spanned Invincible Iron Man issues # 20-24.
In this story, Tony Stark has to fight against one of his most difficult challenges: his own subconscious. Tony gets caught in an endless loop in his own brain before he finally reboots to before Civil War. For Tony to face himself in this way would have been exciting to many fans, although it was never intended to be that way.
8 Armor War
Another classic Iron Man story in the comics was « Armor Wars, » a seven-issue arc that spanned from Iron Man # 225 to # 231. Written by David Michelinie and Bob Layton, with art by Mark D. Bright and Barry Windsor-Smith, « Armor Wars » sees Tony Stark enraged that the villains have been using his armor for their own nefarious ends.
In this plot, Tony publicly fires Iron Man, Tony is expelled from the Avengers and stops allowing anyone to use his armor or technology. This storyline even continued with « Armor Wars II, » by John Byrne, John Romita Jr., and Bob Wiacek, when Tony had to fight his own living armor, which would have been a dynamic plot for the MCU as well. However, it seems that a variant of the plot is to come with Armor Wars on Disney +, at the very least.
7 Iron Man: Deadly Solutions
The plot « Iron Man: Deadly Solutions » doesn’t just star Tony Stark and Carol Danvers, Black Widow and War Machine, all of them introduced in the MCU. Written by Kurt Busiek and Richard Howell with art by Sean Chen and Patrick Zircher, « Iron Man: Deadly Solutions » has a Tony Stark deconstruction and reconstruction similar to that of « Stark: Disassembled. »
However, in this story, Tony Stark helps Warbird; On his journey and mission to help Carol, he finds himself fighting – and helping – himself, too. A movie starring Carol Danvers and Tony Stark, as Carol learns to lead the new Avengers and Tony breaks away from the old team, could have been a great way to adapt this story to Marvel movies. However, now it will forever be a missed opportunity.
6 Tony Stark’s Five Nightmares
Matt Fraction and Salvador Larroca found the gold in Invincible Iron Man as soon as they started with the plot « The Five Nightmares ». Issues # 1 to # 7 of Invincible Iron Man deal with Tony Stark’s confrontation with Obadiah Stane’s son (who was Iron Man’s antagonist, MCU fans recall), Ezekiel Stane.
Tony not only has to face Ezekiel, but also MODOG, and his five worst fears. As the title suggests, Tony Stark has to face his five nightmares: the things he fears the most. While Tony in the MCU has to face his demons, this straightforward plot adaptation would have been greatly appreciated.
5 Presentation of Doctor Doom and Doomquest
Fans kept waiting, waiting, and waiting for Doctor Doom and the Fantastic Four to appear in the MCU before Avengers: Infinity War. Most fans were even expecting the characters to appear before Captain America: Civil War and take sides in the fight, but unfortunately, rights issues delayed this and they did, so the team did not participate.
However, this also meant that the MCU was never able to adapt plots like « Doomquest ». Although « Doomquest », written by David Michelinie and Bob Layton with art by John Romita Jr., has only two issues (Iron Man # 149 and # 150), it packs a punch. It would have been a great way to introduce Doctor Doom to the MCU.
4 Tony Stark and the World’s Most Wanted
Matt Fraction and Salvador Larroca strike again in Invincible Iron Man with the story « World’s Most Wanted », which many fans consider one of their favorite Iron Man stories of all time. The second story in his Invincible Iron Man series, « World’s Most Wanted », saw Tony Stark attempting to destroy all superhero records from the Law of Registration, prompting Norman Osborn to try to get the information he wants directly from the brain of Tony Stark.
Introducing Norman Osborn into the MCU would have been absolutely a power move. Also, if Tony Stark had been declared a fugitive in the MCU like he was in « World’s Most Wanted, » fans would definitely have seen an interesting movie about it.
3 The beginning of the end
As Tony Stark began to retire toward the end of his MCU career as Iron Man, some Marvel Comics fans expected to see the story « Iron Man: The Beginning of the End » adapted for the big screen. Featuring the art of Archie Goodwin and that of George Tuska and Johnny Craig, « The Beginning of the End » saw Iron Man at his true end.
He had to fight one of his most iconic supporting characters, Madame Masque. Tony Stark also sees the first person who was not him replacing Iron Man: Eddie March. Exploring these iconic moments in the MCU would certainly have expanded Tony as a character and could have helped Tony find a successor in the franchise.
2 Stark Resilient
An interesting legacy villain for Tony Stark could have been Hammer. Although Tony fights Justin Hammer in the MCU, he also fights his daughter, Justine Hammer, in the comics. Matt Fraction and Salvador Larroca faced Tony and Justine in « Stark Resilient », the story that ran from Invincible Iron Man # 25 to Invincible Iron Man # 33.
In this story, Tony Stark struggles to rebuild his life from scratch. He has no company, no suits, no technology, and almost nothing. Tony decides not only to rebuild, but to improve: he tries to admit his mistakes and improve to do real good, not just the performative good he thought he was doing before.
1 Iron Man: Director of SHIELD
After SHIELD completely collapsed in the MCU. It would have been interesting to see a character like Tony Stark step in to save her. The storyline « Iron Man: Director Of SHIELD » was written by Christos N. Gage and the father-son team Charles Knauf and Daniel Knauf, with art by Roberto De La Torre and Jackson Guice, and this team clearly cared deeply about Iron. Man.
Tony Stark isn’t exactly a superhero in this story, but he does attempt to serve as SHIELD’s director, saving the organization from the villains and herself. Although Steve deals more with SHIELD’s problems in the MCU, Tony Stark getting involved in an adaptation of « Director of SHIELD » would have been more than welcome.