Poor Marvel fans have already had to cope with an unprecedented number of major deaths.
Their great fear is that Avengers 4 will deliver even greater losses, since the original and main Avengers will have to put their lives on the line to defeat Thanos and somehow undo The Snap.
The preveailing theory is that Iron Man will make one last grand gesture and sacrifice himself, neatly bringing the first three MCU phases to a close as the very first movie hero who launched the entire franchise makes his dramatic exit.
Fans need to brace themselves after Feige’s comments this week in Spain seem to confirm Stark’s exit.
Stark already tried to sacrifice himself once at the climax of the first Avengers movie and the character’s very ego almost demands that he takes centre stage when all the existing MCU plots coem to a head in 2019.
Some fans still hope that Pepper will reveal a pregnancy and Stark will retire in some way to become a father.
Feige certainly seemed to leave no room for doubt that Stark’s days were done when he hosted the CineEurope presentation in Barcelona yesterday.
The first ever clips were shown from the Captain Marvel movie and they had a major point to make.
MCU Cosmic reported: “The Captain Marvel presentation did feature footage as opposed to Kevin Feige sitting in a chair the whole time, and it was meant to introduce people to Carol Danvers.
“The footage shown highlighted her as a character and talked about how she would become the new face and leader of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.”
Marvel has finally made it absolutely clear that Stark’s time as the cente of the MCU is over.
It has been widely reported that Robert Downey Jr and Chris Evans’ contracts are up at the end of Avengers 4. Both stars have had full and hugely successful runs in their own trilogies and the main Avengers movies, but the guard is changing, new replacing old.
Whether this means a heartbreaking death or heartwarming family montage for Stark remains to be seen…
AVENGERS 4 IS OUT ON APRIL 27, 2019