In Age Of Ultron, Civil War and probably other movies I missed, Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow) is missing (though she's still mentioned by characters). Is there a real-world reason for that?
Gwenyth Paltrow's contract with Marvel Studios ended after Iron Man 3.
From an article on ComicbookMovie.Com;
While it was widely assumed that Gwyneth Paltrow was another star who had been signed up for a ridiculous number of Marvel movies, she has now told Empire Online that her contract expired with Iron Man 3! "My deal is over as well," she revealed when asked whether she think Robert Downey Jr. will make a return as the armoured Avenger. "When they signed us, they signed us for three. So that's it for the moment, but you never know." However, wasn't The Avengers her third appearance as Pepper Potts?! It turns out that she actually did that as a favour (although it would obviously be more than a little naive to assume she wasn't paid for the privilege).
It would seem that when Gwenyth Paltrow first signed on to play Pepper Potts in Iron Man, she signed a three picture deal that was exhausted after appearing in;
- Iron Man, 2008
- Iron Man 2, 2010, and
- Iron Man 3, 2013
Her appearance in Avengers Assemble (2012) was done outside the terms of that contract.
However, it's probably worth noting that Gwenyth Paltrow has said she'd love to return to the role at some point. From that same article;
As for whether or not Paltrow could ultimately be convinced to return as Pepper, she added: "I don't think they're going to make a Pepper Potts movie, so it depends on Iron Man and Robert. I'd be open to more Pepper because I love working with Robert and it's a great franchise. Most of the time I'm a full-time mother so it's nice for me to once in a while go and work on a big hit movie with great actors and then go back to North London and resume playdates and stuff like that! I'm always happy when there's an opportunity to do it."
So, I think it's safe to assume that if Marvel Studios wanted to use Pepper Potts in another film, Gwenyth Paltrow would be happy to reprise the role.
As such, it seems that the reason for Pepper Potts' continued absence from the Marvel Cinematic Universe since 2013's Iron Man 3 is simply because the films have not required the use of the character. In fact, it could be argued that her absence actually informs some of Tony's actions throughout Captain America: Civil War.
I have heard a fictional theory to why she is absent in the movie..
The theory states that Miss Pepper Potts grew tired of Tony lying to her. Apparently, Tony swore in Iron Man 3 that he was never going to make any Iron Man/Mark costumes and Artificial Intelligence systems (A.I's) again, a promise which was broken when Tony created Ultron and Vision in Avengers: Age of Ultron Movie. Therefore, they are currently separated, and that's why she is not in Civil War.
However, there is speculation that she will appear in future Marvel Cinematic Universe films.