CinemaBlend participates in affiliate programs with various companies. We may earn a commission when you click on or make purchases via links.
The conclusive, deciding moment in Avengers: Endgame comes when Tony Stark steals the Infinity Stones from Thanos just as the Mad Titan is about to wipe out all life in the universe. Tony Stark then says, “I am Iron Man” and uses the stones himself, snapping away Thanos and all his forces. It was an incredible feat that arguably shouldn’t have been possible, but Avengers: Endgame fans found a clue to Iron Man’s snap in a classic MCU scene. Now that the streaming service has officially launched, you can sign up for a free trial by using this link.
Based on this theory from Reddit user WolverineKuzuri93, Tony Stark was able to wield the Infinity Stones and not be immediately incapacitated or outright destroyed because of the power of his Arc Reactor. This goes all the way back to 2008’s Iron Man, the first film in the MCU and the Infinity Saga, when Shaun Toub’s Yinsen told Tony Stark that the Arc Reactor could run his heart for 50 lifetimes.
Tony Stark responded that the Arc Reactor could alternatively run something very big for 15 minutes. The Infinity Stones may be very small but their power is much bigger than very big. Fortunately, Tony Stark didn’t need to use them for 15 minutes, he only needed to wield them briefly and use them once to accomplish what he needed to accomplish.
This theory addresses one of the perceived plot holes for some in Avengers: Endgame as to how Tony Stark was able to wield the Infinity Stones at all, let alone use them. Throughout the Infinity Saga, we’ve heard that normal mortals could not withstand contact with an Infinity Stone. It’s a point of discussion in Endgame when Bruce Banner knows that he’s the only one who can use the gauntlet to bring everyone back.
That act put the Hulk out of commission and resulted in permanent damage and he’s one of the strongest Avengers, a near god and Tony Stark is just a guy with a high tech suit. But this theory posits that Tony was able to do what he did because his Arc Reactor took the bulk of the energy to prevent the stones from killing him, giving him enough time to do what he did before the act ultimately did kill him.
It was already a poetic idea that Tony Stark, who started this journey, be the one to end it and this idea just adds a little something extra to that. Only Tony Stark could do what he did, not just because of who he was, but because he was literally built to do it. The Russo Brothers and the writers of Avengers: Endgame, Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely have offered their own reasoning on how Tony got the stones and how he survived as long as he did.
On the commentary track on the Avengers: Endgame home video release, they say that because the nanotech in Tony’s suit and the nanotech in the Infinity Gauntlet the Avengers made is the same, the two were able to talk to each other, resulting in the gauntlet handing off the stones to the Iron Man suit.
They also said that the Iron Man armor is keeping Tony alive while wielding the stones, but when he snaps his fingers, using the stones, it’s simply too much power for the suit to protect him. This explanation doesn’t really contradict this fan theory, so perhaps the nanoparticles of the suit and the Arc Reactor worked in concert to allow Tony the time he needed.
Next year the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s Phase 4 begins and we can once again watch new scenes destined to be future classics, all the while hunting for clues that may only reveal themselves once the new saga reaches its climax.
Check out all of the Phase 4 release dates in our guide and for all your movie news stay tuned to CinemaBlend.