Holy what?! This past week, storyboards from Iron Man 3 revealed that Tony Stark's bodyguard and friend, Happy Hogan, was slated to die during the film. There's no real reason why the death was scrapped, but I have a feeling that a certain other suited up, lovable guy with a receding hairline (Agent Coulson, obviously) had enough of an impactful death that, perhaps, Happy was spared. Perhaps Tony's newly repaired heart could only really take so much?
Regardless of my wacky theories, the storyboards by Daniel Sweetman show off a much more somber scene, where instead of passing out, Happy passes away.
Now that was a painful imgur album, especially for those of us that have known Happy for a while: the character first appeared in September 1963's Tales of Suspense #45, where he saves Tony Stark's life and is promptly hired as Stark's assistant. He doesn't learn of Tony's identity as Iron Man until issue 70, but that doesn't deter Happy in the least.
Does this erase the possibility of Happy's death? Absolutely not. See, after the events of Civil War (where he stood firmly by Tony's side, declaring that only Tony really understood both sides of the situation), Happy is knocked several stories down from a building after a fight with Spymaster, who attacks him on the night of his anniversary with Pepper. Happy falls into a coma and is put on life support.
Later, Pepper comes to Tony, and tells him the story of Happy's former boxing colleague Cobra McCoyle. Cobra currently lives as a vegetable, unable to eat, dress, or speak. She tells Tony that, while remembering his friend, Happy stated that he "never [wanted] to end up like that."
At the end of Iron Man vol. 4 #14, Happy dies. It's left up in the air whether he finally succumbed to his injuries, or, in an attempt to fufill his friend's wishes, Tony cut his life support.
A former boxer, Happy has a heavyweight punch and an even bigger heart, so seeing him on the big screen - and the moment where he may have kicked the bucket for good - is relieving for certain. Whether he'll be safe from his comic book counterpart's fate, though, is still up in the air.