Warning: Major spoilers are ahead for Avengers: Endgame.
Many years ago (11, to be exact), Iron Man hit theaters, introducing fans to Tony Stark (Robert Downey, Jr.) and the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Over 20 films later, Avengers: Endgame wrapped up Tony’s arc, sending him off with the most heroic death ever as he sacrificed himself to save the world. But another major MCU character from Iron Man who also got quite the superhero moment in Endgame: Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow).
Tony’s longtime love interest and the woman keeping his company running while he flew around with the Avengers suited up for the first time since Iron Man 3 (and for the first time ever voluntarily) to help take down Thanos (Josh Brolin). She did it all with a brand new Iron Woman suit that was just as epic (if not even more so) than Tony’s own. But this wasn’t just a cool farewell moment for Paltrow, who's leaving the MCU alongside Downey, Jr. Her big superhero moment in Endgame actually has a lot of history in the comics.
Pepper's Superhero History In Marvel Comics
Throughout her entire run in the comic books, ever since she was first introduced in Tales of Suspense #45 back in 1963, Pepper has gone by a lot of different superhero aliases. The names include Hera, Coast Guard, Iron Woman, and even Iron Man when Tony couldn’t don his suit. Pepper's longest and best-known superhero run was under the name Rescue.
In this version of her story, what happened to Tony in the first Iron Man movie also happens to Pepper, who sustains extensive internal injuries and shrapnel wounds from an explosion and has to have a magnet surgically implanted in her chest to keep her alive. She then further enhances her body with cybernetics, giving her superhero abilities. During 2008’s Secret Invasion arc when Tony goes into hiding, Pepper finds a suit of armor he made for her named the Mark 1616. She begins operating under the name Rescue in his absence and has a long and storied history saving the world (and Tony’s butt) over and over again.
Pepper Potts Is Pretty Super In The Comics Without The Suit, Too
But it wasn’t just powers or a cool suit that made Pepper badass in the comics. Even before she became a superhero, she was already kicking butt just as a normal human. After the 2007 Civil War arc, she became the team leader of the Order, California's superhero team funded by the government to help keep the peace. Operating under the codename Hera, Pepper was an incredible leader, but she didn’t get into the action because, well, she just didn’t have the skills yet. When the team was dissolved, she joined back up with Tony Stark at Stark Industries, paving the way for her to become the superpowered hero Rescue, allowing her to finally go out in the field and fight.
Does Pepper Potts Have A Superhero Name In Avengers: Endgame?
We never actually hear Pepper’s superhero codename in Endgame, and Paltrow is done with the MCU, so we might never know for sure if she was Iron Woman or Rescue or something else. Her purple suit was a kind of nod to her comic book history as Rescue, as she wore red-purple armor in the source material. It’s possible that Marvel was hinting at a potential future in which Tony’s daughter Morgan Stark (Lexi Rabe) grows up to become a new version of Iron Man, taking up the mantle from her late father. But with the future of the MCU wide open, there’s no telling if that will actually come to fruition or not.
For now, Pepper’s epic fight scenes in Endgame will have to be enough for fans who have waited over a decade to see her fulfill her comic book destiny. It was definitely worth the wait!