Marvel fails Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) in three different ways in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. MCU’s latest blockbuster continues Doctor Strange’s (Benedict Cumberbatch) personal story beyond the Infinity Saga. But through his new adventures, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness inadvertently ruins Tony Stark and his legacy in the MCU. Directed by Sam Raimi with the story written by Michael Waldron, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness dives deep into the concept of the multiverse after the idea was briefly touched upon in the original Doctor Strange film and has since appeared in multiple MCU projects. In the sequel, the titular sorcerer finds himself protecting the MCU’s newest hero, America Chavez (Xochitl Gomez) who has the unique capability of easily traveling from one universe to another. Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen), on the other hand, also makes her Marvel return after the events of WandaVision as she tries to reunite with her kids, Tommy and Billy.
Unlike some MCU Phase 4 projects, Iron Man doesn’t have any direct involvement in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. After his death in Avengers: Endgame, it has been clear that the franchise is trying to move on from his involvement to pave the way for new leaders to emerge. Despite this, his presence continues to loom large through his legacy, including his heroic snap that defeated Thanos (Josh Brolin). Beyond that, his ties to heroes like Spider-Man (Tom Holland), Nebula (Karen Gillan), and Vision (Paul Bettany) continue to shape the MCU. Inadvertently, however, Doctor Strange 2 fails Iron Man in more ways than one.
Doctor Strange’s Illuminati Ignores Iron Man, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness introduced the Illuminati. Per the Marvel Comics, the Illuminati is a secret team of extremely powerful superheroes who make decisions on important issues. In print, the original line-up includes Iron Man, Black Panther, Black Bolt, Namor, Professor X, Mister Fantastic, and Doctor Strange — each one represents a superhero sector, with Tony Stark functioning as the Avengers’ delegate. Marvel Studios debuted a slightly different roster with Earth-838’s Illuminati, however. Peggy Carter’s (Hayley Atwell) Captain Carter, Mordo (Chiwetel Ejiofor), and Maria Rambeau’s (Lashana Lynch) Captain Marvel all joined the revamped line-up alongside the classics of Black Bolt (Anson Mount), Mister Fantastic (John Krasinski), Professor X (Patrick Stewart).
Ultron Was A Success – And His Iron Man Link Is Ignored, The Illuminati in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness uses Ultron bots as guards. Unfortunately, the film didn’t explain where they came from. But Ultron has always been associated with Iron Man in the MCU, although in the Marvel Comics, it was the original Ant-Man, Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) who spearheaded the Ultron Initiative. The creation of the Avengers: Age of Ultron villain significantly impacted Tony Stark’s Phase 3 arc in the franchise as he was racked with guilt for the damage that the corrupt artificial intelligence caused. But in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness’ Earth-838, the Ultron Initiative appears to have been a success with the Illuminati using Ultron sentries. This further proves that Tony Stark should have been part of the Illuminati.
Doctor Strange 2 Confirms There Were Other Ways To Defeat Thanos, Arguably the biggest way Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness failed Iron Man was how it explicitly established that there were different ways to defeat Thanos that didn’t include the hero’s sacrifice. In Avengers: Infinity War, the sorcerer used his ability to look into the future to find a path where they could defeat the Titan. According to him, he saw more than 14 million possibilities but there was only one way to take down the villain. From there, he set the Avengers towards that lone path, and in Avengers: Endgame, the idea was that to be able to win against Thanos, Iron Man should sacrifice himself. The whole scheme worked, the purple alien was defeated by Iron Man’s sacrificial snap. But in Doctor Strange 2′ Earth-838, Thanos was defeated by the Professor X led Illuminati. The exact terms of how exactly they beat the Titan are unknown and chances are that Marvel Studios may never reveal them, but it highlights that Iron Man could have survived the events of Avengers: Endgame and see Thanos lose.