Rewatching Captain America this morning.
When he goes after Bucky in the factory, we see him bend back a steel bar so he can leap across to where Bucky is an escape. It takes him some effort, but he can do it.
In IM3 we see Pepper leap in the air and shove her arm right through the titanium alloy armor plating with about the same amount of effort.
Titanium is much stronger than steel.
So, I propose that Extremis Pepper is in fact significantly stronger than Steve Rogers. Making her one of the strongest supers in the MCU.
I also maintain that Tonys remarks about “getting her better” at the end of IM3 was about stabilizing Extremis, not removing it, because no way would he turn down the chance at her being the strongest badass around, mitigating his constant terror about the possibility of something happening to her. So, she should be remaining one of the strongest supers in the MCU.
…When I read this stuff, it kinda dumbfounds me, because it doesn’t seem people were really listening much to anything Pepper said throughout three entire movies. She hates violence, she hates seeing Tony go out and do things, she was not having a good time, and not just because of the physical pain of going through the Extremis process. It doesn’t just make you blow up, either. It makes you feel different. She isn’t happy when she’s kicking ass. She’s in a state of panic, and she’s doing what she has to, but at the end of the day, I don’t think that’s what she’d want for herself. She doesn’t like the super hero thing— she hates that Tony does it. And one thing that Pepper is definitely not, is a hypocrite. So why do people think she’d turn around and be perfectly ok with doing everything she told Tony she wasn’t comfortable with him doing?
Adding everything she says in the movie with what we know about her from the comics, and how she absolutely refused to allow Tony to weaponize RESCUE, Pepper really doesn’t like using violence to solve problems, and has even struggled with getting in the suit unless the situation absolutely calls for it. I don’t think she would keep it even just for emergencies.
Lastly, I don’t think Tony’s “fixed” Extremis would not be side-effect free. Maybe it would prevent you from blowing up, but all power has to have a cost. Maybe it wouldn’t make you as violent, but there’s no way to know what other side effects would arise until they happened. Would Pepper want to be a living test subject? Would she want a version of Extremis that may risk altering her emotions, or making her less human? There would be no way for her to know what she was risking, and I think she would worry even if Tony told her it was perfect. I think him telling her not to worry about it would alone make her worry! I don’t think Pepper would ever put her humanity at risk for power. Ever. Even if it meant she could save people. Tony Stark certainly would. Pepper Potts, however, would not.
Pepper Potts doesn’t need artificial enhancements to be one of the strongest female characters in Marvel. She already was. And frankly, to have such an amazing power, and then to say, no, I don’t want this, take this away, is, in itself, pretty amazing, and definitely not something just anyone would be able to do.