Iron Man’s Avengers: Endgame Death Scene Was Improvised
Tony Stark/Iron Man's death scene in Avengers: Endgame didn't have any script. One of the most emotional sequences in the Joe and Anthony-directed flick took place in the aftermath of Thanos' (Josh Brolin) defeat. Not wanting to risk any possibility that the Mad Titan wins again following the resurrection of everyone dusted by the Decimation in Avengers: Infinity War, Stark took it upon himself to ensure the future of the universe free of the villain's threat. He wielded the power of all six Infinity Stones, snapped Thanos and all his minions out of existence which killed him in the process. After that, fans saw a physically-wrecked Iron Man as the people he's closest with bid him goodbye.
It was Rhodey/War Machine (Don Cheadle) who first got into him after his heroic deed. Peter Parker/Spider-Man (Tom Holland) then swung in to check on his dying mentor. In denial of what's happening, he repeatedly told him that they won, hoping that it would keep him alive. Once the inevitable dawned on him, the young hero broke down. Lastly, Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow) came in fully knowing what's going to happen. She gave Tony the go-ahead to "rest now," because they are going "to be okay." Soon after, the light on Iron Man's arc reactor flickered before finally dying. It was possibly the most difficult scene to execute in the movie considering everything that's riding on it, but apparently, Marvel Studios gave all the actors the creative freedom while working in this bit.
Speaking to PINKVILLA while on the Spider-Man: Far From Home press tour, Holland shared how they filmed Iron Man's Endgame death, which he called as his "craziest day on set." Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige was there to supervise, as well as both directors, but it was only the four actors on the shot were present, despite the film also cutting to Steve Rogers/Captain America (Chris Evans) and Thor's (Chris Hemsworth) faces during the said scene.
"It was interesting because, when we shot that scene with Robert there was no real script, at all. It was just Kevin Feige, the two Russo brothers, myself, Robert Downey Jr., Gwyneth Paltrow and Don Cheadle. They kinda brought us to set, they kind of told us what was gonna happen, or what they wanted to happen and then we sort of just improvised if I can remember correctly. So, it was really, really interesting way to shoot such a kind of pivotal scene of the movie, but it was a really emotional day and I mean looking back on it now it was maybe the craziest day on set you know. But it was really amazing and turned out to be a fantastic scene."
It was Downey's choice to remain silent throughout Iron Man's death scene, and in hindsight, that made it more emotional since the character's known to be hyper-verbal. It also allowed the other characters to properly say goodbye to him in a way that was true to their characters - Rhodey reigned in on his emotions; Peter just let it all out; while Pepper stayed strong until he was really gone. This is not the first big Endgame scene that was improvised, however, as Downey was also off-the-script during Tony's intense confrontation with Steve at the start of the film.
All four actors have worked closely with each other in the last 10 years, no wonder they delivered this scene perfectly without a script. Downey and Paltrow started acting opposite each other since 2008's Iron Man, and Cheadle came in via 2010's Iron Man 2. While Holland only boarded the MCU in 2016, he closely worked with Downey for three films before Avengers: Endgame. The actor's familiarity with their co-stars, undoubtedly helped them execute the sequence. Otherwise, it's safe to say that Marvel Studios won't let them wing most of it since it a very significant shot not just in the film, but what this means to the MCU moving forward.