The first MCU sequel to Robert Downey Jr.’s Tony Stark was announced in 2020 as Armor Wars, a Disney+ series that was characterized as a study of what the MCU would look like if Stark Technology fell into the wrong hands. This notion piqued fans’ interest because it builds on plotlines from Spider-Man: Far From Home and WandaVision. In addition, Don Cheadle was cast as the show’s lead, a first for the Iron Man sidekick.
Because there had been little news regarding the show’s production in recent months, some fans speculated that it would be delayed; others were concerned that the project might be scrapped entirely. But that all changed when Marvel surprised everyone by turning Armor Wars from a limited series on Disney+ to a full-fledged feature film that would be released in theatres.
Robert Downey Jr.’s return in Armor Wars
According to the news source, the studio changed gears on Armor Wars because it is devoted to “having the tale conveyed the proper way.” Many fans have speculated about what could be featured in Armor Wars to merit a theatrical release, and one popular belief is that Robert Downey Jr. could reprise his role as Tony Stark in Armor Wars (and it makes sense).
Almost immediately after it was revealed that Armor Wars would be reformatted and only available on Disney+ after a theatrical run, industry insiders on Twitter speculated that this meant that the Iron Man spin-off would feature the billionaire philanthropist returning to the MCU as Artificial Intelligence.
I'm guessing Robert Downey Jr is going to be making a return to Iron Man… pic.twitter.com/vV5v7JbhbD
— Christian Tizya (@WatsonStPics) September 29, 2022
Mark my words, Robert Downey Jr. will appear in this in some capacity as AI Tony Stark.
— Luca Brasi's Farts (@DonQuixoteFace) September 29, 2022
With ‘Armor Wars’ being a movie that’s about Tony Stark’s technology getting put in the wrong hands I think it’s very possible we could see Tony return as an A.I. pic.twitter.com/Kzedz6xgLx
— Matt Ramos (@therealsupes) September 29, 2022
Here’s my theory – #ArmorWars is now a movie because Tony Stark comes back as AI
— Grace Randolph (@GraceRandolph) September 29, 2022
During an interview, Robert Downey Jr. stated that he will reprise his role as Iron Man in future MCU films. “Well… I have alighted, for now. Real-world to save. But never say never.”
There are various possibilities for Marvel Studios to bring back Robert Downey Jr. for further Iron Man adventures, especially now that the Multiverse is a tool in the MCU sandbox. The most exciting method to reintroduce Tony Stark, though, is to make his artificial intelligence.
In Marvel Comics, Tony Stark constructs an A.I. backup of himself so that when he dies, he can be uploaded and continue to live in that form. Tony Stark, like his A.I. programs J.A.R.V.I.S. and F.R.I.D.A.Y., might have an animated version of himself uploaded to the cloud, prepared to rock and roll as soon as someone awakens him up from Standby Mode.
Why is Armor Wars a feature film rather than a series?
According to the theory, “Armor Wars is now a movie because Tony Stark returns as AI,” and would merit a theatrical release owing to the reappearance of actor Robert Downey Jr. This would be Downey Jr.’s first MCU appearance since his death in Avengers: Endgame and fans appear to agree that it would be too big a deal for Disney+.
Some fans believe Marvel previously showed the A.I. Tony Stark near the end of Avengers: Endgame, when an Iron Man helmet projected a hologram of the hero saying his final goodbyes. He winks at his daughter Morgan after telling her he loves her, causing many to believe that the blue-hued Tony portrayed was more than just a pre-recorded message.
Considering how many characters will feature in the film only due to their link with Tony Stark, this notion becomes even more realistic. After all, Don Cheadle’s Rhodey is the major character in Armor Wars, and he was Tony’s best friend.
Armor Wars is currently in the early phases of development, with Marvel reportedly planning to begin production in 2023.