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At the end of Iron Man 3, all of the Iron Man suits are destroyed with the very strong indicator that they will not be re-done — rather, Tony Stark will go it alone without the suits.

However, in Age of Ultron, there are clearly Iron Man suits. Where did they come from? What changed? Or am I just getting the timeline wrong?

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    I was wondering that - the end of Iron Man 3 had a finality to it with regard to Tony Stark and Iron Man, and yet we go straight into AoU with Iron Man back in the action without any explanation. Is there a comic or other material which covers the intervening period? – Moo May 8 '15 at 10:47
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    Nice question.. One wonders as to how come suddenly Tony is a full fledged Avengers after the "Clean slate protocol". Maybe he just destroyed his "hobbies". – Stark07 May 8 '15 at 10:58
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    @PearsonArtPhoto: YOU SNOOZE, YOU L— oh wait, no you don’t. – Paul D. Waite May 8 '15 at 13:43
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    @Moo The very last line (not including post-credits scenes) in Iron Man 3 is "I am Iron Man", as he picks up a screwdriver and drives off with his original robot. I don't understand how people can see that as Tony Stark giving up being Iron Man. – Dr R Dizzle May 12 '15 at 8:10
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He built some new ones.

The newest suit we saw in Iron Man 3 is the Mark XLII, but a Hot Toys announcement of a new figurine for Age of Ultron reveals that he's using the Mark XLIII in Age of Ultron. He must be building new suits (along with the Iron Legion, although they seem to be unmanned drones rather than wearable suits), despite trying to start afresh at the end of Iron Man 3.

I don't think we've seen why he's decided to build new suits yet, whether in tie-in comics or anywhere else.

In an interview with Philly.com, Kevin Feige explained that we will see more of this arc:

For example, at the end of Iron Man 3, it looks like Tony Stark has decided to stop being Iron Man, but the beginning of Age of Ultron shows the team together, with Tony back in the suit, with no explanation about what happened in-between.

“There will be storytelling about that [in future films], as a matter of fact,” Feige said. “In terms of Tony's… journey, the fact that he's having a hard time putting down the suit will come into play.”

There are hints that this may be explained in Civil War, but nothing concrete. This may be all the information we have for now.

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    "Tony Stark has decided to stop being Iron Man"...that's not the ending I remember. I thought he was forever Iron Man. – Paul Draper May 9 '15 at 5:46
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    I think it's fairly clear that Tony WANTS to give up the suit, but circumstances won't let him. That's why he wants to create the Ultron program in the first place...so, in between IM4 and Ultron, circumstances draw him back in, and he's trying to lay it down again at the end. I suspect we'll see that aspect play a part in Civil War, as well. – Chris B. Behrens May 9 '15 at 18:03
  • This is speculation on my part, but as far as I remember, nowhere in the Ultron does anyone call Stark "Iron Man". At one point, he also goes exploring what may be a dangerous location without the suit at all. In other words, he's Tony Stark in a suit of armor. Or, in yet other words, Iron Man is Tony Stark, the suit of armor is just incidental. – Bobson May 11 '15 at 14:30
  • In Captain America: Civil War, Tony explains to Steve that he didn't stop building suits because he doesn't really want to stop. – Derek Nov 16 '17 at 21:06
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I was under the impression these weren't true “Iron Man” suits, merely humaniod robots powered by JARVIS. The difference between the suits and the robots is that the suits can be, well, worn.

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    Tony definitely wears at least one suit himself. Although there are lots of unmanned robots, there’s also one traditional Iron Man suit. – alexwlchan May 8 '15 at 12:00
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    @alexwlchan and hulk buster. – DickieBoy May 8 '15 at 13:41
  • I think there were 2 suits... The one Tony wears in the last battle looks a bit different. Counting that, 3... Well Veronica is a blockbuster(or hulkbuster) though :P – Stark07 May 8 '15 at 14:54
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It seems that the ending of Iron Man 3 was quite subjective. I got the impression that he was just giving up on his obsession to build more and more suits. And considering that he went through 30 something suits between Avengers and Iron Man 3 he certainly slowed down a lot.

However if it was his intention to stop being Iron Man I am sure the events in Captain America: Winter Soldier had a hand in him changing his mind.

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I think its clear to me that's he's given up being just "iron man" and instead has devoted all his time and energy into the avengers. This is why he builds the hulk buster, the working xliii suit and the iron legion.

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Don't forget in Iron Man 3 he said he would "shave it down a bit," giving the impression that not everything would be destroyed.

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