The first Iron Man film, starring Robert Downey Jr., kicked off the proceedings for Marvel Studios to set up the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). The Iron Man franchise churned out three hit films, leaving fans waiting for the fourth installment. However, that never happened, and the MCU also bid adieu to Tony Stark’s character in Avengers: Endgame.
While the character appeared in several MCU movies apart from Iron Man films, his own franchise witnessed only three parts. The character meets his end in the epic conclusion of Avengers: Endgame, where he sacrifices his life to save Earthlings from Thanos’ wrath. But one question still haunts Marvel enthusiasts: why was Iron Man 4 never made?
Robert Downey Jr.’s Salary Became a Concern For Marvel
The reason behind not making Iron Man 4 was Robert Downey Jr.’s growing popularity and salary. The actor made $50 million for his appearance in The Avengers and $70 million for Iron Man 3. Marvel wasn’t ready to make another film at those prices, as Downey was ready to accept a more humble paycheck for supporting roles in other MCU movies.
Feige wanted the actor to appear in the third Captain America movie, named Captain America: Civil War. In Marvel’s Civil War comic books, the superheroes are divided into two groups, one supporting Captain America while the other one supporting Iron Man. The Russo brothers took charge of figuring out which superheroes would join Captain America and who would follow Iron Man without affecting anyone’s origin story.
Once the Russo brothers convinced Downey that Iron Man wouldn’t be shown in a bad light, the actor liked the idea of the Civil War. However, the Creative Committee wasn’t pleased by the idea, as they were worried that the cost of the movie would go higher.
The committee very specifically asked for a low-budget draft of the movie, one that achieved cost savings by excluding Iron Man from the lineup. Markus and McFeely, however, had to write the script around the idea that Bucky had killed Tony Stark’s parents.
Low Salary Almost Forced Another Iron Man Actor To Walk Out
Mickey Rourke played the villain in Iron Man 2; however, getting him on board wasn’t easy for the studio. The salary negotiations with Rourke did not go as the studio might’ve planned. The actor was initially offered only $250,000 despite the first film’s success. As Rourke considered rejecting the opportunity, Marvel eventually increased their offer.
Mickey Rourke fully immersed himself in the role of the comic-book supervillain, wielding electric whips, perfecting a thick Russian accent, and petting a white cockatoo, which can be seen in several scenes in the film.
Surprisingly, even Robert Downey Jr. was paid a reduced fee for the first Iron Man film. He received a sum of only $500,000; however, his salary was increased to $10 million for the second film and was raised significantly for the third installment.