All the heroes of the MCU have been exceptionally well-cast, but you can’t deny that the biggest stroke of genius in the franchise was hiring Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man. It was a perfect marriage of actor and character and the success of the star in the part ensured that the franchise cleared that first hurdle and has gone from strength to strength ever since. Much like Hugh Jackman as Wolverine, then, it’s unthinkable to imagine anyone else as Tony Stark.
Thankfully, it sounds like fans won’t have to worry about RDJ leaving the part anytime soon. Though many expected the actor to bow out after his next two appearances – those being Avengers: Infinity War and the currently untitled Avengers 4 – co-director Joe Russo told The Hindu Times this week that Downey Jr. hasn’t mentioned anything to him about departing just yet.
Of course, he could be lying to hide the fact that Iron Man will indeed die in one of those aforementioned movies, but either way, here’s what the filmmaker said:
“There is nobody who can take over Iron Man from Robert,” Russo said. “I don’t think the audience would accept that. He never mentioned [anything] to us about leaving Iron Man, but it will happen at some point of time.”
While this will probably come as welcome news to most, some would actually argue that it’s the perfect time for Tony Stark to meet his maker. After all, when you sit down and take stock of it all, Iron Man has been the centerpiece of this universe and we’ve seen him as the heart and soul of everything. He’s fought all his villains (and friends too), resolved all his inner conflicts and demons, and embarked on several adventures with the Avengers. So really, what more is there for him to do now?
By walking towards the light (or getting squashed by Thanos’ gigantic hands), his arc will end in sacrifice. As one of the biggest narcissists in the MCU, there’s no better way for him to redeem himself and prove he’s more than his façade than through a heroic death. Of course, his teammates (and the audience) will cry once it happens, but it’ll only solidify his legend even more.
On the other hand, it could also be argued that there’s value in keeping the character around for a bit longer just in a smaller capacity. We’re pretty sure that Earth’s Mightiest Heroes’ line-up is going to look very different by the end of Avengers 4, so it’s likely that Tony won’t continue to lead the team. Perhaps Iron Man will appear exclusively in supporting roles like in Spider-Man: Homecoming in future, then?
If we had to guess, we’d say that RDJ is certainly on his way out of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Maybe not in Avengers: Infinity War, but we’ll almost surely be waving goodbye to him after its currently untitled sequel. And if that’s the case, let’s just hope Marvel sends the iconic hero off properly, ensuring that his legacy will be felt long after he’s gone.