Avengers: Endgame completed the Infinity Saga and brought the MCU full circle by having Tony Stark sacrifice himself to save the world and defeat Thanos, but in doing so also fulfilled Iron Man’s character arc.
We knew that the last two Avengers movies would leave the fictional world with everlasting consequences, most of them involving the death of main characters who’d been there since the beginning. Besides, casualties and sacrifices seem like an inevitable ordeal when you’re faced off against a mad Titan who’ll stop at nothing to accomplish his goals of universal annihilation. Still, Tony Stark’s sacrifice in Endgame still managed to prompt gasps and exclamations from fans. It made perfect sense, too. I mean, who better to wrap the Infinity Saga than the man who started it all? But if you look close enough, you’ll understand what ultimately motivated Iron Man to give up his life wasn’t just hopelessness in the face of Thanos’ inevitability.
As it stands to reason, the writers didn’t just include a reunion scene with Howard Stark to pay tribute to the history of the MCU but did it to help Tony find reconciliation. After all, we’ve learned over the years that the duo’s relationship was strained due to the fact that Howard was “cold and calculating” and didn’t spend much time with his son. From the first Iron Man movie to Endgame, Tony’s journey is one of coming to terms with his responsibility to protect the world, just like his father once did. In the last film, the genius billionaire finally realizes the importance of his father’s work and that he, too, must do his part to make the universe a safer place.
This would even explain his strange conversation with a grown-up Morgan in one of Avengers: Endgame‘s deleted scenes in the Soul World, during which Tony second-guesses his decision, afraid that his daughter might end up resenting him like he did his father.
Some fans are of the opinion that the reunion scene serves as some sort of foreshadowing for what’s to come, but when you think about it, it’s more about Tony accepting the fact that his father wasn’t there for him and that he may, in turn, have to make that sacrifice as well, which, of course, he did, ridding the world of the Mad Titan and his insane crusade once and for all.