Avengers: Endgame will mark a monumental denouement to everything we’ve seen so far from the Marvel Cinematic Universe. We’ve known this since the fateful presentation on October 29, 2014 at L.A.’s El Capitan Theatre, where studio president Kevin Feige unveiled plans for “Phase Three,” which set the film – then known as Avengers: Infinity War Part II – as the exciting early-summer-2019 terminus. Indeed, with many of the MCU OGs expected to retire after the film, we can, with certainty, add Gwyneth Paltrow to the list.
In an interview with Variety, Paltrow reveals that she’s retiring her longtime Marvel movie role as Pepper Potts, the ever-capable executive assistant-turned life-love to Robert Downey Jr.’s Tony Stark/Iron Man. Interestingly, the reason that Paltrow – the 1999 Best Lead Actress Oscar winner for Shakespeare in Love – divulged about the role retirement is somewhat self-deprecating. As she explains:
“I mean, I’m a bit old to be in a suit and all that at this point.” She adds, “I feel very lucky that I did it, because I actually got talked into it. I was friends with [original Iron Man director] Jon Favreau. It was such a wonderful experience making the first Iron Man and then to watch how important it has become to the fans.”
Paltrow, who, contrary to what she claims, is not “a bit old” for anything at age 46, has been fielding the role since the MCU’s launch in 2008’s Iron Man, has currently banked six appearances (including Iron Man 2, The Avengers, Iron Man 2 and Spider-Man: Homecoming), last seen in 2018’s Avengers: Infinity War, and set to close things out at seven with the upcoming Endgame.
Indeed, Pepper is expected to play a major part in the events of the film, evidenced by the fact that very first teaser trailer for Endgame depicted the post-Thanos-snap scene of a space-stranded Tony Stark sending an intended final a message to Pepper before he runs out of oxygen. However, it is speculated that the culmination of Pepper’s MCU arc will see her don one of Tony’s armors and set out into the spaceways to deliver him from his stranded fate; a tribute to her fate in Marvel Comics when she becomes the armored hero known as Rescue; a name that will be especially apropos in this case.
However, Paltrow, who has mostly left the hubbub of Hollywood behind for her other endeavors like the lifestyle website, Goop, is implying that she’d still be open to reprise the role in the smaller capacity of cameos or flashbacks. As she further teases:
“I feel honored to be a part of something that people are so passionate about.” She adds, “Of course, if they said, ‘Can you come back for a day?,’ I will always be there if they need me.”
Additionally, Paltrow qualifies her exit announcement by expressing pride in the mainstream acclaim that the MCU has achieved, most recently exemplified by the bevy of Oscar nominations bestowed onto Black Panther. As she lauds:
“So, if the vernacular in film is superhero movies and they’re great movies, then I guess why not, right?” She adds, “I loved Black Panther. I thought it was a really powerful movie and culturally very important. So that’s great that it was nominated. I mean that’s so cool.”
Avengers: Endgame will showcase the colossal climax to which the MCU has been building, set to hit theaters on April 26.