ByAngelo Delos Trinos, writer at
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Angelo Delos Trinos

It's been a while since audiences saw Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow) in a movie. Even though Tony Stark's (Robert Downey Jr.) personal assistant turned romantic interest was an important part of the very first Iron Man (2008) movie, she hasn't been seen since the third and supposedly final movie.

But during a recent interview, the Paltrow hinted that her character will be coming back at some point in the future.

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Paltrow Speaks Up

In a recent interview with Entertainment Tonight, Paltrow dropped a hint at a possible appearance from , saying she's contracted to make an appearance in one of the upcoming films, though she's unsure exactly which one.

Gwyneth Paltrow in 'Shakespeare In Love' (1998)
Gwyneth Paltrow in 'Shakespeare In Love' (1998)

has yet to confirm or deny Potts' future in the and while the next movie, Avengers: Infinity War, is currently in production, no announcement has been made about a possible fourth Captain America movie.

Given how is said to have the largest MCU cast to date by bringing in just about every living character in the MCU, it wouldn't be a stretch to think that Pepper may make her cinematic return in the upcoming fight against (Josh Brolin).

That, and Paltrow herself has said that she "would love to be Pepper Potts again at some point" in her life.

Pepper Potts: M.I.A.

The last time Pepper was seen onscreen was in Iron Man 3 (2013), where she temporarily gained superpowers from the experimental Extremis and punched a fire-breathing Guy Pearce into oblivion.

It was as jarring as it sounds. (Check out the scene in the below video.)

She was then merely mentioned in passing in both Avengers: Age Of Ultron (2015) and in Captain America: Civil War (2016). first explained Pepper's absence to his co-Avengers by saying that she was busy managing Stark Industries. One movie later, Stark admitted that his relationship with her fell apart before the events of Civil War, saying that they both needed some space before they could see each other again.

Stark's guilty conscience and personal problems would steer him towards siding with the government-sanctioned Sokovia Accords, which in turn tore the Avengers in half.

In the comics, he'd be drowning himself in booze instead of coffee
In the comics, he'd be drowning himself in booze instead of coffee

Where Is The Love

During the hype of Age Of Ultron, Paltrow revealed that she didn't appear in the second big Marvel team-up because she simply "wasn't asked" by the production, implying that her contract with Marvel was done after Iron Man 3. Her recent comments, though, hint at a possible comeback for her in the growing MCU. Pepper may have been absent in Marvel movies as of late, but the MCU has yet to kick her out.

The necessity for Pepper's return to the MCU, though, will surely split the MCU fanbase in half. While some would appreciate the MCU's continuity being acknowledged, others will see her return as unnecessary given Marvel's poor track record with female characters. For those in the latter demographic, it may be better to leave the problem behind rather than risking yet another misstep.

The first MCU couple
The first MCU couple

Despite possessing high intellects and awesome combat skills, Marvel's female characters almost always double as one-dimensional love interests for one of the titular heroes despite the lack of romantic buildup. Pepper, being the first female love interest in the MCU, set the standard for the MCU's onscreen relationships which are often seen as repetitive and formulaic.

Pepper is by no means a bad character, but the way she was written heavily limited her actions and presence in the movies. Giving her superpowers didn't help either, since this ended up looking more awkward and forced than empowering.

At least it was still better than that Mandarin twist
At least it was still better than that Mandarin twist

Pepper Potts deserves a proper onscreen conclusion that should amount to more than just a passing comment from any character that's not her.

Until the next set of MCU script writers figure out a fresh new way to reintroduce Pepper into Tony's life without resorting to the usual romantic cliches where the estranged ex-lovers get back together thanks to the powers of true love and corny quips, it may be better for Pepper to remain on the sidelines for the moment.


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