Doctor Strange is gradually replacing Iron Man in the MCU, but this could mean disaster for the Master of Mystical Arts. During Phase 1-3 of the Marvel cinematic universe, the original hero of the franchise, Tony Stark, developed perhaps more than any other character, which led to his emotional sacrifice at the end of Avengers: Finale. However, during Phase 4, when Stark is gone, it is Stephen Strange who steps into his role, leading to speculation about how similar these two character arcs really are.
Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) contributed to the MCU’s debut back in “Iron Man”, providing viewers with a powerful origin story and enormously raising the character’s status in pop culture. During Phase 1-3 of the MCU, Stark received tremendous character development, turning from a selfish narcissist into a well-developed family man who was willing to sacrifice himself to save the entire universe. In the 11 years between Iron Man and The Finale, Stark became a mentor to several new members of the Avengers, but was also known for creating many villains that he and the Avengers fought in various projects. After his sacrifice in the final moments of Phase 3, a vacancy for a leader appeared in the MCU.
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Tony Stark’s first film helped lay the groundwork for future origin stories, and Marvel created a predictable formula that was repeated throughout the franchise. This is especially noticeable in Doctor Strange, where the brash, sarcastic, rich and successful Stephen Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) is presented in almost the same way as Stark. Both get into life-threatening situations, because of which they change their behavior and become superheroes. From the first moments of Strange’s appearance on the screen, it becomes obvious that his personality and life story imitate Tony. This is a theme that continues throughout Strange’s character arc, especially in MCU Phase 4 projects such as Spider-Man: No Way Home and Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. If these similarities persist, perhaps it could mean that Strange is moving towards his own victim in the MCU.
Why Replacing Iron Man Would Be Bad for Doctor Strange
Both Stark and Strange acted as mentors for the younger heroes. Iron Man’s most prominent student was spider-catcher Peter Parker, also known as Spider-Man (Tom Holland), while Doctor Strange also helped Parker in the movie “No Way Home”, and also took under his wing the multi-faceted traveler America Chavez (Sochitl Gomez) during the “Multiverse”. Madness. Both characters seem to have more in common than differences, and Marvel seems to have replaced their Iron Man Void with Doctor Strange. Despite their strong mentor abilities, both heroes also created enemies for themselves. Stark created infamous villains including Whiplash, Aldrich Killian, and Ultron, and Doctor Strange helped alienate Carl Mordo (Chiwetel Ejiofor) in his MCU debut, as well as produced many Spider-Man multiverse villains and provoked the Scarlet Witch during the MCU.4 phase of the film.
The similarities between these characters may indicate that Strange will meet his untimely demise in the coming years. While the Marvel trademark formula allows viewers to know exactly what to expect when they go to see an MCU movie, it has a tremendous predictability that can start to become obsolete. There are currently no signs that Doctor Strange’s story is coming to an end, so hopefully his superhero career will have many more years to differ from Iron Man’s narrative in the MCU. However, if Marvel continues with its Iron Man formula, it could unfortunately spell the end for Doctor Strange.