Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man is a top-tier casting by Marvel Studios. Tony Stark’s sacrifice in Avengers: Endgame touched everyone’s heart. There was not one dry eye in the theater when Downey Jr.’s hero said “I am Iron Man” in the $2.7 billion grossing movie. As such, fans still want to see the actor back in the iconic role even though Tony Stark’s Iron Man is dead in the MCU.
There have been speculations about a new actor coming in to play the character since some fans think that Downey Jr. might be getting too old for the role now. While the very thought of another actor playing Tony Stark is abhorrent to many, others like Samuel L. Jackson are more open to the idea.
Samuel L. Jackson Talks About A Possible New Iron Man Actor
In a 2013 interview with Yahoo, Samuel L. Jackson, who plays Nick Fury in the MCU, talked about the possibility of another actor playing Iron Man. Back then, there were rumors that Robert Downey Jr. wouldn’t return after Iron Man 3. Jackson said during those speculations that if the Iron Man star doesn’t return, Marvel can bring in another actor because audiences are fickle. Here’s what the actor said:
“Robert’s a great guy. We love having him around. He’s an integral character in those stories. [It] wouldn’t have been the same without him. But you know… Marvel is Marvel, things happen. And audiences are fickle too. At some point, if Robert decides he’s not going to do it, and they put somebody else inside that Iron suit… you know, it might work. They changed War Machine, and nobody noticed.”
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However, a decade has passed since the interview, and Downey Jr. has become one of the main pillars of the MCU. There are plenty of rumors about him reprising his role in Avengers: Secret Wars as the Tony Stark/ Iron Man of another Earth. But a Marvel executive has stated that these speculations are a waste of time because the actor isn’t the focus anymore.
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The MCU Is Creating A New Generation Of Heroes
In a recent interview with io9, Stephen Broussard, Marvel Studios VP of Production & Development, said that Phase 4 was about bringing in new heroes who will take up the mantles of the old heroes. As such, Robert Downey Jr. and the heroes of his generation are no longer Marvel’s focus.
“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… 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.”
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However, Hulk actor Mark Ruffalo thinks that his old buddies like Chris Evans and Robert Downey Jr. can return. Speaking at Emerald City Comic-Con, the actor said that “there is a time machine and there are alternate universes and realities, so anything could happen.” When he was asked to explain, he said “Man, are you trying to get me in trouble again? I’m not going to say it’s not possible, but I’m not going to say it is.”
There has been no official confirmation about Downey Jr.’s involvement in any future Marvel projects and there probably won’t be in the near future. But fans think that it’s only a matter of time till he appears. After all, if not in Avengers: Secret Wars, there’s a chance that he will show up as Tony Stark/ Iron Man in the Ironheart or Armor Wars project in flashback scenes. So it’s a wait-and-watch game right now.
The Iron Man trilogy is available to watch on Disney+.