The issue with the death of Hollywood has always been. Yes, if you need to ramp up the drama, it’s a very efficient plot tool. But when you kill your primary personality and thus increase public demand for them to reappear, it is uncomfortable. Science fiction and fantasy all use prequel, cloning, time travel, and alternative universes in Hollywood from the 20th and 21st centuries to bring back loved ones with a variety of success styles. Most fans of Ellen Ripley’s Sigourney Weaver would like to have never returned to Jean-Pierre Jeunet, the tacky and unplausible Alien Revival, as a freaky xenomorphically infused clone.
Is it artistically appropriate to return deceased characters in the world of Marvel? The jury has yet to come out. After the film’s reversal of Thanos’ nefarious finger-snap in the preceding Avenger: Infinity War, the resurrection of scores of superheroes in Avengers: Endgame was performed flatly. What we hadn’t necessarily expected was the news of a kind of return in Cate Shortlands next Black Widow movie, two of Endgame’s biggest losses– the characters that didn’t come back this time.
If the Marvel Comic Universe is to maintain continuity, Scarlett Johansson must be in the lengthy overdue film. And since the film is set after Captain America’s events: a Civil War, it’s also plausible for Tony Stark / Iron Man from Robert Downey Jr to return.
But it’s pretty much a trick. Marvel wishes tears flow down his face, as the heroic and always flawed Stark finds redemption, just as he has discovered a soup of peace, settled down with his family and stopped chasing many younger girls. But also for the last adventure, the studio wants the chance to launch its large metal weapon.
This is very much like the choice Disneys made to restore Luke Skywalker’s Luke to the screen at the next The Rise of Skywalker, where the similarly faulty cosmic paladin has also gotten himself back by figurative dropping on his own laser sword for the better. That in JJ Abrams ‘ return to the saga Skywalker is supposed to be some kind of supported force ghost doesn’t excuse the fact that Hollywood is attempting to get her space-cake and to eat it again.
Maybe Hollywood eats too much space cake, so it plays on the injured feelings in the name of a quick buck. In the best part of a dozen movies, Downey Jr’s classy multi-layered performances like Iron Man were always the garlic and chili sauce of the delicious shawarma in the MCU. Just over a year since he died (in real-time), it’s like grabbing a delicious bite of compost and eating it the next day for breakfast, no matter how plausibly.
And who is saying that Downey Jr won’t get black widowed for more episodes? That can’t and ought not to occur. Nobody wants to see something suddenly repeated by them they have already eaten.