The Avengers: Endgame trailers are meant to leave us with many questions because that’s what trailers do, particularly when they are teasing the end to a decade-long film arc. But it’s easy to get stuck on just one of those questions, which is what happens to me every time Tony Stark starts recording that message through his Iron Man helmet at the start of the trailer. Because we know the message is supposed to try and make it’s way back to Earth somehow, but there is something that we don’t know—where is Pepper Potts?
There are many potential answers to this question, but the more obvious one is devastating, and the trailers won’t tell us, so I’m going to think it through for my own peace of mind.
Here are our options:
1. Pepper is Dead
The most upsetting thing about listening to Tony Stark record that message for Pepper is that half the universe has just been dusted out of existence, so there’s literally a 50/50 chance that he’s recording a love letter to a dead woman. What’s worse is the fact that Tony obviously knows this and is just deciding that she’s alive because, as he says in said note, she is pretty much the only reason he gets up in the morning at this point. Given the fact that nearly everyone has lost the most important people in their lives (Steve lost Bucky and Sam, Thor lost Loki and Heimdall, Okoye lost T’Challa, Rocket lost Groot, and so on), it would make sense if Tony’s losses went beyond his newly adopted superson, Peter Parker. And that makes the trailer’s focus on said vid-letter an act of cruelty, and I am billing Marvel for therapy over it.
Then again, there are other options…
2. Pepper is Acting as Iron Man/Rescue in Tony’s Absence
We already know that Pepper wears the tin can well thanks to Iron Man 3, and she’d have access to any previous iterations of the Iron Man armor that Tony made post-Clean Slate protocol (the one where he blew up all his current suits). If Pepper is still alive, you can bet that she’d want to use whatever resources she had at her disposal to aid the world in a post-Snap environment. So it’s reasonable to assume that she’d be using Stark Industries to help distribute whatever form of relief she could cobble together. In the comics, Pepper Potts did spend some time in the armor, and went by the codename “Rescue”—which is pretty freaking apt given the state of the world after Infinity War. It would be great for Tony to make it back to Earth, only to find that Pepper had been chugging along without him, and using the suits for a good cause.
Of course, you do need friends in times like these, so…
3. Pepper is Hanging Out at the Avengers Compound, Waiting to See Who Shows Up
Pepper would need a hand if she were intent on helping anyone, and the best possibility in that regard would be calling on any Avengers still left standing after Thano-finity-pocalypse. It would make sense for the remaining crew to regroup at the compound (which we already know they do based on post-credits scenes that take place there, plus what we see in the trailers), so what if they found Pepper there? Maybe she and Happy have been holed up since everything fell apart, waiting for some familiar faces. You know, just to make Steve Rogers feel extra guilty for not knowing where Tony is and not being able to tell her. That seems like the kind of sadness burden that Cap excels at taking on.
But if we’re saying that options #2 and #3 are even remotely plausible, we might as well go for broke and let our dreams guide us to shinier shores…
4. Pepper Potts is President of the United States
Hear me out. There is a line of succession to the presidency within the government, of course. Who knows who has been dusted, and who remains to fill in gaps. Some semblance of government may be instituted just to keep the entire world from slipping into chaos (no sure thing, but you have to imagine people will try). The line between the U.S. government and Stark Industries has always been weird and woolly, given Howard Stark’s position as a founder of SHIELD, and Tony’s joint purchase of the Department of Damage Control with the federal government. Pepper knows about all these relationships inside and out—she always has, she’s the business brain behind most of what Tony does—and also has extra information in the form of whatever Tony left behind, which she clearly has access to. After the snap, if she’s still around, she is one of the most knowledgeable people on the planet. Not hard to believe that she’d end up in a position of power. Maybe a really elevated one.
The point is “President Potts” sounds awesome, so Marvel should just give me this one thing. Okay?