Rumors about Robert Downey Jr. returning as Iron Man in the MCU have been circulating since the day Avengers: Endgame premiered in theaters. From Black Widow to now Secret Wars, it seems like the actor is rumored to appear in half the projects Marvel is developing, and yet, it hasn’t happened yet.
In a new interview with io9, Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania producer Stephen Broussard confirmed that the MCU has moved past Downey at this point, and is instead focused on bringing new characters into the fold:
“Well, I think one of the meta-narratives of Phase Four was about new characters. It was about new people stepping into mantles. If you look at, like, Cassie [Lang in Quantumania] getting a suit and Kate Bishop [in Hawkeye], new characters being introduced like Jack in Werewolf by Night. After these first 10 years of Marvel storytelling, torches are being passed, like with Robert Downey Jr. no longer being [on the] table and stuff like that. So it was kind of like a new generation stepping to the forefront which, again, has always happened in the comics.”
Many will still argue that his answer was still not definitive enough, and will look for loopholes like “Well, he could still play a minor role in Avengers: Secret Wars”. The truth is that this seems almost inevitable at this point — somewhere, sometime, inside the vastness of the multiverse, Downey Jr. will return as Iron Man. Even Chris Evans reportedly signed a deal years ago to return as Captain America and we’ve heard little else since then, and Hugh Jackman is coming back as Wolverine after swearing to himself he’d never do that again. There are no definitive deaths in the world of superhero movies, on- and off-screen.
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If he did, when would Robert Downey Jr. come back?
Let’s go down the rabbit hole for a second here, and assume that within the next five years, the actor came back to the MCU. There are two clear candidates for that to happen, and not mutually exclusive. The first is obviously Avengers: Secret Wars, which is going to be the big conclusion to the Multiverse Saga and supposedly bring all heroes across all the multiverses to defeat all the Kangs. Or something along those lines.
Marvel Studios wants to one-up themselves and defeat Endgame’s epic scope — instead of bringing all heroes from the past 10 years of MCU movies, now they want to pay off every single superhero movie ever made. Halle Berry’s Catwoman and Shaquille O’Neal’s Steel are on the table, rumor has it. (The next step will be for Marvel to pay homage to every single movie ever made, so look out Buster Keaton and Judy Garland!)
Jokes aside, from WandaVision casting Evan Peters, Spider-Man: No Way Home bringing back Andrew Garfield and Tobey Maguire, and Multiverse of Madness adding Patrick Stewart, and now Deadpool III incorporating Hugh Jackman into the mix, Marvel is on an escalating path of cameo fest. As the epic conclusion to the saga, Avengers: Secret Wars seems like a movie where many people will show up, and not the least of which could be Robert Downey Jr. Whether all of this will coalesce into an unbalanced and messy movie, only time will tell.
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There is another option that has been circulating around the Internet for a while now, and it is to have Robert Downey Jr.’s Iron Man as the new JARVIS in the upcoming Armor Wars. The Don Cheadle-led movie is reportedly going to start filming very soon and likely be added to the 2025 release calendar.
Now, the role would probably be voice-only, so Downey Jr. would only have to pop by the recording booth for a couple of days, but the plot of the film (“A classic Marvel story about Tony Stark’s worst fear coming true: what happens when his tech falls into the wrong hands?”) involves him from the beginning, so it’s a natural fit for him. Flashbacks or hologram sequences in that film involving Tony Stark are entirely possible too, though.
Do you think we’ll be seeing Robert Downey Jr. as Iron man any time soon? If so, where do you think it will happen next? Are you overall excited about the direction of the Multiverse Saga, or have you been somewhat disappointed so far? Let us know on our social media, and stay tuned for more Marvel news coming soon!
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