Pepper sorta suiting up back in Iron Man 3.
Image: Marvel Studios

This might tell us a little bit about what Pepper Potts is up to in what’s apparently her final Marvel movie, but it’s also a bit weird, considering Paltrow is 7 years younger than her Marvel co-star Robert Downey Jr.

Speaking to Variety as part of a wide-ranging interview, Paltrow acknowledged that Avengers: Endgame is likely going to be her last full appearance in the Marvel Cinematic Universe as Pepper Potts. Although she left the door open for potential short cameos down the line, intriguingly the actress framed her decision to leave as her seeing herself as past the age of pretending to be an action hero:

I mean, I’m a bit old to be in a suit and all that at this point. I feel very lucky that I did it, because I actually got talked into it. I was friend with [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 fans.

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Although quite a while ago we’d seen some leaked pictures suggesting Endgame would see Pepper adopt her “Rescue” alter-ego from the comics, at long last, this might actually be the first time Paltrow has acknowledged that she’s making the step up to frontline superhero in public.

But it’s also kiiiiinda weird that Paltrow would get her first extended experience with actually being suited up as an armored hero and be like “Nah thanks, got some psuedoscience to peddle for my chakras.” Especially when you consider that Robert Downey Jr. has spent the past decade-plus of his career slowly having the Iron Man armor broken down to just a chestpiece he can wear before the rest is CG’d in—and the fact he’s a good few years old than Paltrow.

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It’s odd for her to see herself as being put on Hollywood’s usual sexist shelf of considering actresses too old to do the same things their male counterparts get to carry on doing for decades more. Live a little, Gwyneth! Beat up some bad guys! Wear uncomfortable prop suits! Follow what RDJ did and get them to add 90 percent of it in post!

And kind of a shame, really, considering Rescue’s background in the comics as a specifically non-combatant hero designed to, well, you know. Rescue people. Having an Iron Man-esque figure in the MCU who isn’t specifically there to turn into 800 different kinds of explodey laser gun weaponry and vomit CG blasts everywhere would’ve been interesting to see. If Endgame is really Pepper’s one and only time out as Rescue, hopefully we’ll get to see that dynamic highlighted a bit.

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