If Robert Downey Jr. is Tony Stark, Where Does That Leave Iron Man?

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After tallying a $174 million opening-weekend haul, most studios would’ve wasted no time announcing that work already had begun on a sequel. However, Marvel isn’t most studios.

Director Shane Black’s Iron Man 3 has already grossed about $950 million worldwide, making it the most successful installment of the series and the second-highest grossing film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (after the $1.5 billion Avengers, naturally). Yet, an enormous question mark dangles over Iron Man 4.

That’s partly because of the way the studio has constructed its feature slate, as interconnected films released in phases, with each wave building toward an installment of The Avengers. The Marvel calendar is essentially set in stone through 2015, which means even if a fourth Iron Man is in the studio’s Phase Three plans, alongside Ant-Man and Doctor Strange, it wouldn’t arrive in theaters before May 2016.

But there’s also the matter of Robert Downey Jr., who’s made no secret that he’s thinking about retiring from the role that’s made him fabulously wealthy — with box-office bonuses and backend compensation, he earned $50 million from The Avengers alone, many times more than any of his co-stars — and, more importantly, a bankable star. (It’s hard to believe that just a decade ago, Mel Gibson had to pay his friend’s insurance bond for The Singing Detective, enabling Downey to leave behind stints in jail and rehab and begin a career comeback.)

“It got me thinking about how big the message from your cosmic sponsor needs to be before you pick it up,” Downey recently told GQ, referring to an injury he suffered on the set of Iron Man 3. “How many genre movies can I do? How many follow-ups to a successful follow-up are actually fun? Because, as quiet as it’s kept, I come from a family of very innovative writers and directors and actors and artists, and the circle of friends they were in were the people I heard having pun-offs playing poker at two in the morning, and it was just the most comforting aspect of my childhood. So there’s this kind of legacy of souls from what I consider to be a very particular time in entertainment, and I’m sensing a return to that — it’s what me and the missus are doing next. It’s not unlike: I heard Brady signed on for three more years with New England, and then he’s done being a QB, because he’ll be 40. I’m 47, and I’ll be 50.”

With the release of Iron Man 3, the actor has fulfilled the unprecedented multi-picture deal he signed with Marvel in 2007, leading to the current high-stakes negotiations for his involvement in The Avengers 2, which opens May 1, 2015, and The Avengers 3, which presumably will close out Phase 3 in May 2017. Downey will turn 52 the month before.

If, as Downey contends, Marvel is “so pissed” that the terms of his contract, and the record-breaking performance of The Avengers, resulted in that $50 million payday — not to mention a reported $35 million already for Iron Man 3 — what’s the likelihood that the notoriously frugal studio and the actor’s agents are going to settle on a number that encompasses both Avengers sequels and a fourth Iron Man? If we’re to believe the latest reports, Iron Man 4 isn’t even part of the current discussions. Where then does that leave Tony Stark, to say nothing of the Marvel Cinematic Universe?

Given that the Avengers sequel will have to move into production by next spring (writer/director Joss Whedon has already completed the first draft), it seems the studio has little choice but to pay Downey whatever it takes for him to reprise his role in that film. Beyond, that, short of a three-picture contract that would undoubtedly push the actor’s paycheck into the nine-figure range, Marvel’s options are somewhat limited:

“Retire” Iron Man
The Avengers’ comic-book history is one of change, with the team’s original roster being completely replaced by the 16th roster. It’s already been confirmed that Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch are introduced in Whedon’s sequel draft, so it’s not difficult to imagine that The Avengers 2 could see the old order changeth, to borrow a phrase, with new heroes entering as familiar ones exit. Why couldn’t Tony Stark decide to hang up his helmet by the movie’s end?

With properties ranging from Ant-Man to Doctor Strange to the Runaways in development, and Blade, Daredevil, the Punisher and Ghost Rider now back in Marvel’s hands, the studio isn’t short on potential new franchises. (Remember, it wasn’t that long ago that Iron Man was a second-tier character, unknown outside of comic-book circles). If Marvel can repeat the formula that’s been so successful for the past five years, combining a rising leading actor, an unlikely director (someone from television, or from outside the blockbuster arena), and a script that blends lots of action with doses of humor — all on a tight budget — then it’s certainly not impossible to repeat the success of Iron Man.

Of course, the studio’s other solo movies have yet to reach the heights of that franchise, a fact that’s been attributed directly to Downey.

Recast Iron Man
Retiring the character would mean sacrificing Marvel’s golden-armored franchise goose. So what about recasting Tony Stark with an actor who would be happy with a paycheck somewhere in the $1 million to $5 million range? In a word: No.

While other players in the Marvel Cinematic Universe have proved to be replaceable — three actors have portrayed Bruce Banner, two have been James Rhodes and, as of Thor: The Dark World, Fandril — Robert Downey Jr. is Iron Man. “The other individual franchises — Thor, Captain America, Hulk — etc., don’t have near the level of box-office potential that Iron Man does,” analyst Doug Cruetz told The Hollywood Reporter. “The other way to look at it is that Iron Man would probably look more like those other franchises in terms of box-office performance without Downey.”

But just as the comics have given us multiple Avengers lineups, they’ve also presented us with James Rhodes as Iron Man, at least for a time. Still, Don Cheadle is no Robert Downey.

Kill Iron Man
Although this route wouldn’t solve any financial problems created by Downey’s absence, it would make a tremendous statement that Marvel is willing to do what Warner Bros. so obviously wasn’t with its Batman trilogy: kill off its big hero (at least until enough time has passed for a reboot).

Tony Stark was ready to sacrifice himself to save the planet in The Avengers — that’s something Downey, Black and Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige have underscored in interviews about Iron Man 3 — so his death at the end of the sequel would create the perfect thematic bookend while also generating a ripple effect throughout the subsequent solo films. If Agent Coulson’s murder, or “death,” is what spurred the heroes into action against Loki and his allies, what would the death of Iron Man do?

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Comments

  • jb1975

    Just write Tony out of the sequel, but have Iron Man make an appearance to save the day. Iron Man = CGI and that means no Downey.

  • lewis4510

    I reject the notion that you can’t recast Ironman. I thought that Downey’s snarky humor and attitude started to wear thin in Avengers and more so in Ironman 3.

  • the_rock_says

    I think they can/should recast him, that the next actor can be as sucesful is another thing,

  • the_rock_says

    Maybe but still is what makes the character so popular and film succesful, women of all ages seems to love Tony, he is the new Jack Sparrow.

    I find it ironic that Iron man 3 was too much about RDjr given the circunstances. They basically state that he is Iron Man even without the armor.

  • LightningBug

    I think they’ll recast him eventually, but Avengers 2 will probably just have RDJ in an inexpensive, little-screen-time support role solving some problem in a lab someplace. Maybe Rhodey will be in the Iron Man suit in that movie. It has a great deal of precedence in the comics.

  • Benjamin Hall

    What about leaving Iron Man out of the movies but referencing that Tony is still alive in the comics, until either a reboot or enough time gone past for Arno Stark or Another Stark in the suit. Meaning wait and recast the suit-wearer in several years possibly with a new character.

  • Blade X

    Even though I didn’t enjoy his voice as Tony Stark/Iron Man in the IRON MAN ANIME TV series (he did a much better job as the voice of Tony/Iron Man in the ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN cartoon), I think that Marvel should hire Adrian Pasdar (from the HEROES TV show) to play Tony/Iron Man. He’s not expensive and seems to be able to do his own brand of snarkiness to the character.

  • loki4ever

    why not rejuvenate tony as in the comic after “the crossing” as we have a young actor who could make films for several years.

  • LorrieKR

    Why exactly would someone think Iron Man is a character that needs an endless film franchise? I actually read comics and my interest in the movie character is based entirely on Robert Downey, Jr., so I can just imagine the lack of interest the average non-comics reading adult viewer would have in a recast. Marvel has a lot of other characters they should focus on developing into the next big superhero movie.

    Sure, they could recast Tony Stark for Iron Man 4, but they aren’t going to make IM3 money. The films will be increasingly dumbed down (the better to attract kids and sell toys) and eventually we’ll end up with another “Batman and Robin”. They should quit while they’re ahead. Give RDJ whatever he wants for Avengers 2, and if that’s going to be his last hurrah, let it go.

  • unpaidpundit

    Iron Man is not a hit because of Robert Downey. Remember, the first Iron Man movie had a huge opening weekend when most movie audiences didn’t know who Robert Downey was. It is simply that the Iron Man concept is highly visual, and works even better on the big screen than it does in comic books. People went to see the first Iron Man based on the amazing look of the trailers. On film, Iron Man even appeals to the illiterate and the preliterate. A six year old boy knows he wasn’t born a thunder god, but he could be awesome if he had a high tech suit of armor. Marvel would be foolish to keep shelling out the big bucks to keep Downey as Shell Head. There are a lot of great actors out there who are younger, sexier and cheaper than Robert Downey.

  • Captain MarVell

    The was one of the worse stories to come out of the 90′s. Worse than Heroes Reborn and almost as bad as the Clone Saga…no…just no.

  • Savonti

    Exactly.

    The notion that Downey “IS” Iron Man is insane. Yes he nailed the part of Tony Stark and that’s great but he’s not the only game in town.

    As the article points out, Downey will be in his 50′s before long, if this is about money or him wanting to do it, that time is going to come where he won’t be Iron Man, for whatever reason.

    Recast the man, it’s not that big of a deal. There have been a handful of actors to play James Bond over the years, this is no different. If Marvel does this right and continues to make good movies rather than dumbing it down for toy sales, then I’m sure we’ll all be arguing 20 years from now over who our favorite “Tony Stark” is and that sounds fine to me.

    Just…please don’t reboot for the new actors, that’s insane.

  • Byron

    The solution is simple: put a new guy or gal in the Iron Man suit and let RDJ/Tony be their mentor. I can even see an Iron Man army led by Tony with Rhodey out in the field as team leader.

    Other options include a less action-oriented mystery comedy that features lots of super science. You can have Pepper and Tony team up like Nick and Nora from the old “The Thin Man” movies (I wish they really were the team for the coming remake.)

    Also: SCIENCE BROS THE MOVIE. That would make the fangirls squee.

  • LorrieKR

    “Remember, the first Iron Man movie had a huge opening weekend when most movie audiences didn’t know who Robert Downey was.”

    So, presumably these adults in 2008 who didn’t know who RDJ was were living under a rock, right?

  • Happily LS

    “Iron Man is not a hit because of Robert Downey.”

    Yes, it is. (And John Favreau and Terrence Howard and lots of other talented people, but at the top of the pyramid is Downey.)

    “Remember, the first Iron Man movie had a huge opening weekend when most movie audiences didn’t know who Robert Downey was.”

    You’re clearly really young, and that’s ok, but Robert Downey has been a huge star since the 80′s. He had some bad times with drugs and didn’t act for about 10 years. His comeback _increased_ interest in the movie, not the other way around.

  • Mike

    With Disney $$$ behind you Marvel has no excuse not to re-sign Downey. He made Iron Man/ Tony Stark uniquely his own. He is Iron Man don’t recast or kill the character because you’re too cheap. You pay yor best player the best money.

  • D Yen

    This reminds me of the Batman series of the 80′s and 90′s. Michael Keaton stopped after 2 movies and I don’t think that Val Kilmer or George Clooney had as successful of a run afterwards. Might be better to retire Iron Man until the next reboot.

  • vodka_vixxen

    Sorry but just as no woman understands mens attraction to Jamie Lee Curtis, you men can’t possibly get how HOT!!! Robert Downey Jr. is to most women. You would loose a huge audience if he were “swapped out” for an almost no body. I have followed Robert Downey Jr.’s career from the 80′s. He has always been a fantastic artist and there has always been something charismatic about him. He was not a nobody going into the first film.

  • Vodka_Vixxen

    I agree. If you didn’t know who Robert Downey Jr. was going into the first film, you deffinately lived under a rock!!!!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=48805881 Michael Fitz-Gibbon

    RDJ wants to leave Iron Man to do what? Make more Sherlock Holmes?

  • Wellman

    I say retire Iron Man for a Phase and then bring him back as a new actor in for the role in either the next Phase or Avengers 4. Not much outside of that because if you bring in a new one too soon and they will bomb.

  • TheBaconAbyss

    I would like to state that killing Tony off and RDJ in Avengers 2 wouldn’t be such a bad idea. Marvel has done this before(along with DC) with killing a main character off for sales or dramatic value. Doing this would leave an opening for a new player, they would have to pull the new actor into the current universe by stating he is from a different universe. Hank and Steve and even Mr.Fantastic could develop and explain the story within their films.

  • SAX

    I get tired of hearing that any one actor is the end all be all of a character. Get over Downey Jr get over Bale, Iron Man & Batman (and there fore Tony Stark & Bruce Wayne) as characters get to live forever. Actors don’t. Deal with it.

    Many, many artists have had definitive takes on characters in comics. They didn’t stop making Batman comics after Neal Adams stopped drawing him, and if it wasn’t for Neal Adams we would all still be hating Adam West Batman camp.

  • Bravo

    Eventually, they will have to recast Iron Man – currently they don’t. Its all about the money – while its possible I’d say give RDJ a slice of the pie. He definitely makes the Iron Man franchise more successful. If Disney an Marvel want a new actor – that’s fine too – but don’t bitch when it doesn’t make as much or if they spend more on the production budget than would have been needed with RDJ as a draw (throwing money at a big production doesn’t always work, aka John Carter). Bottom line they have laid great groundwork – no just don’t screw it up because you regret the deal you signed with your star or want to pocket more of the outsized profits.

  • Perry Constantine

    I get people not wanting to see anyone but Downey play Stark, but we also have to face reality. Just ignoring the financial aspects, as Downey himself said, he’s pushing fifty. He can’t play this role forever, and the idea that there should never be another Tony Stark other than Downey is a bit ludicrous.

    The best thing to do would be to either write Iron Man out of the Avengers for a bit (easy enough, it’s been done many times in the comics) OR have someone else suit up as Iron Man, and by that I don’t mean recast Tony Stark. Rhodey did a long stint as Iron Man in the comics, he could do it in the movies as well (might be a bit backwards to have Rhodey first be War Machine and then Iron Man, but it could work).

    Then at some point in the future, you can relaunch (note: relaunch NOT reboot) Iron Man with a new actor playing Stark.

  • Perry Constantine

    Watch A View To A Kill and then tell me about what a good idea it is to keep an aging star in an iconic role. Downey is being smart about this, he knows he’s getting old and he knows he can’t keep playing this role forever.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=48805881 Michael Fitz-Gibbon

    A View to a Kill? Moore was starting to look crusty as early as Moonraker. But point taken.

  • JohnSmith1993

    I’m sure RDJ can pull off one more Iron Man appearance when he’s 52, but he’ll definitely have to move on after that. There’s no better replacement for him than Dominic Cooper, who played Howard Stark in Captain America.

  • beane2099

    Sign him through Avengers 3 then recast the role. It just makes sense. But if he asks for like 100 milion I’d dump him too.

  • Aaron

    Continue the story with a Don Cheadle War Machine trilogy and recast Tony in the second film, a la Cuba Gooding, Jr.

  • TallBoy6t6

    Make more Iron Man movies with Iron Man. Make a Civil War movie, at the end we have Tony Stark: Director of SHIELD and (Insert character here) as Iron Man. RDJ cameos as SHIELD director in some flicks, someone else is driving Iron Man.

  • unpaidpundit

    Robert Downey was not a big star before Iron Man, and he hadn’t made many movies at all because of his drug problems. So, I maintain that most of the people who saw the first Iron Man movie did not know who he was.

  • unpaidpundit

    I’m 45. Name the huge hit Robert Downey was in before Iron Man.

  • unpaidpundit

    $50 million is a lot of money, even for Disney. I would rather see that money spent on great special effects.

  • unpaidpundit

    I think another actor could step in as Tony Stark in “Avengers 2,” and the audience would not have a problem. In fact, it might create anticipation for the next Iron Man movie, since everyone will want to see how the new actor carries his own film.

  • scooby

    Downey had a career that was festering in its grave until Iron man. Folks love him now—but if he doesnt re-up, folks will turn on him. They dont mind him getting a 50 million dollar payday from Avengers—because he entertained. But he will be cast in a decidedly different role if he doesn’t re-up. The role of greedy, ungrateful bastich. Then the world will hate him.

    He needs to re-up.

  • Kradeiz

    One way or the other it doesn’t really matter so long as they keep putting effort into the movies.
    But whatever they decide to do with Tony/Iron Man, respect should be paid given that he was the one who got their whole ball rolling.

  • Ben S.

    Kill off Iron man? Recast? No. Iron man is RDJ. He’s been able to inject this likeable jerk quality to the character so much that the comic books have now taken on that quality. Before RDJ Tony Stark was a different man. And I think RDJ’s charm, charisma and acting chops has really given this other wise second-tier comic book character more depth and dimension than he had.

  • http://www.facebook.com/Kenoh Lester Romero

    He wants to direct. His dad was a pretty interesting filmmaker and he wants to try that out. With his kind of loot he’s got options now.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=42201574 Brandon Lee Dingess

    That’s a ridiculous thing to say. He wasn’t a huge star, but he was an extremely well-known actor.

  • the_rock_says

    Many comic book movies had record breaking opening weekends and then were considered phailures (Ang Lee’s Hulk, Spider-man 3).

  • the_rock_says

    They would need someone that can portrait the same charisma RDjr has in the role, for me the last 2 Iron man films were bad and only carried by him with the last one pretty much being all about him not even teh costume was needed.

  • http://www.facebook.com/scott.mortensen.353 Scott Mortensen

    I agree, it was pretty bad. But everyone knew it was temporary, whereas the Clone Saga was threatening to rewrite the last 20 years of Spider-Man history.

  • http://www.facebook.com/scott.mortensen.353 Scott Mortensen

    Agreed. I would be severely disapointed if he wasn’t in Avengers 2, but after that, it’s up to Downey. And it isn’t like he couldn’t return to the role in another decade if he gets a few dozen smaller films out of his system. That guy ages well.

  • http://www.facebook.com/scott.mortensen.353 Scott Mortensen

    He was a friggin’ 80′s brat-pack teen star, you don’t get much bigger than that. Plus he’d already won an oscar, and had plenty of juicy tabloid press. So, maybe the 10 year olds didn’t know who he was.
    The thing is, he owns the part now. I don’t think anyone wants to see someone else riding his coattails. They’d probably just be doing a bad impression of him.

  • http://www.facebook.com/scott.mortensen.353 Scott Mortensen

    Less than Zero immediately comes to mind as a child of the 80′s. Then Natural Born Killers. Then he won an Oscar for Chaplin, which may not be a huge lucrative hit but certainly makes the news.

  • http://www.facebook.com/scott.mortensen.353 Scott Mortensen

    At least give Downey as long of a cameo as he got in The Incredible Hulk, I can’t imagine he’d charge them 50 million for that.

    Really, it just comes down to what he wants to do. If he thinks the movies are fun to make and will be iconic for a generation he’ll want to play some part in them. They can certainly put someone else in one of Starks many suit designs if they need a guy in armor, but they don’t have to call him Iron Man. They could use Guardsman or the Iron Patriot/War Machine. And hey, we’re not enemies with Russia anymore, Titanium Man or the Crimson Dynamo could be enlisted by SHIELD, since they’re a global peacekeeping force not necessarily affiliated with any one Government.

  • http://www.facebook.com/scott.mortensen.353 Scott Mortensen

    Man, I just don’t want to see that happen. the switch from Norton makes the Incredible Hulk film the least essential tie-in of phase one, even though I think the switch to both Mark Ruffalo and Don Cheadle was generally an improvement, it kind of messes up the interconnected universe they are trying to create. Consider all of the MARVEL produced films just installments of the same huge movie. They didn’t have to do any origin stories in The Avengers because the individual films took care of that, so they were able to get right to the meat of the story. Switching actors in the middle of something like that is very unfortunate.

    Plus, Downey is so good at it. Every other character kind of plays the straight man. Cap, Fury, Thor, Hulk, Black Widow and Hawkeye are generally deadly serious and you need someone with Robert Downey JR’s sensibilities to play off of them.

  • http://www.facebook.com/scott.mortensen.353 Scott Mortensen

    It’s not really an either/or proposition when you’re planning on making over a billion dollars. Do you know how big of a number a billion is? It would take you over 30 years to count that high.

    I think they know their initial investment is going to be a safe one with any part of The Avengers franchise.

  • ddd

    Jack Black= Next Iron Man

  • Gavroche

    if rdj gets too old for iron man 4, fans will accept that he must be replaced. but for avengers 2 fans will never accept replacing him because marvel wont pay. this means if we get to love another actor from any of their future characters and he asks for more, marvel will again replace him. that is not the way to do movies. actors are the core of what makes hollywood great ever since. that is why we have starts, dating back from cary grant and all. they are the reasons why we go to the movies. or else we’ll just read the book, or in this case the comics.

    besides the $50 million rdj made from avengers is a very small percentage of what the movie made. hey marvel, this is what makes america great! if you work and do it right, you have your chance at the ball!

  • 010011010110101

    The basic problem with the marvel cinematic universe is that it can’t reboot, not really, not without sacraficing everything that lead up to it. you can’t Reboot Ironman, without also reboots Captain America, Thor, Hulk, etc, and sacraficing all the history that you just built.
    They were always going to have to replace RDJr. If they didn’t realize it, they should have. And really, as far as replacing him, it is easier than it seems right now. Sure, Robert Downey Jr. made Iron man what he is. But the idea that you could find another handsome, savy actor to bring a new twist on the role isn’t that far fetched, esepcially in this genre.
    Let’s face it. How many Bonds have we had? How Many Doctors? Sure with Bond there isn’t a direct connection move to movie, and everyone has their favorite, but replacing RDJr. Ironman is not only pracitcal, it’s necessary. As All the charcters Age, they are no longer going to be the eternally young super soldiers that you have in the comics, so you can either start doing stories about Thor’s arthritis, or you can get a new Thor.
    Since the Marvel Cinematic universe is open ended, you have to recast periodically. And really if you can get five movies out of RDJr, you’ve done your job.
    You have to take the risk on the next Stark, just as they took that risk on the next Bond, and it may fall flat, but the good news is, like Hulk, or Batman, you can always cast a new actor in the next series.
    The reality is, we often associate the changing of actors with a decline in a series, but I think that more often than not, it’s the writing that declines with ongoing series (due to a lack of interest from the studio in really telling compelling stories, instead of just cashing a paycheck) and that is what kills the franchise, not the fact that Val Kilmer or George Clooney gets cast as Bruce Wayne. Either one of those guys had the acting chops to do Batman right, that they got lesser scripts isn’t their fault, and you shouldn’t blame them.
    Likewise, so long as Marvel sticks with good scripts and good directors, they can get another good actor, and make another great Ironman film. Heck, we accept it when the comics get a new artist, and the character’s faces change dramatically, it’s the same thing, new run, new artist, new look, same great stories.

  • 010011010110101

    I would imagine, after Ironman 3 you might jsut stop numbering them sort of like what they have already done Thor and Cap. It’s not Thor II ot Captain America 2 it Thor: The Dark World and Captain America: The winter Solider. They are basically saying the characters are on going and every adventure is it’s own thing, without speciically calling it a sequel. So when you get to Thor: The seige of Asgard, you could have an entire new cast of heroes and villains,heroes and villains themses are all the same.

  • Chris Buchheit

    Apples to oranges really. Batman Returns was a terrible movie and neither Kilmer nor Clooney was working with a script half as well written as any of the Iron Man films. So long as Disney/Marvel continue to play to the strengths of the franchise and don’t dumb it down to increase toy sales, they *might* be able to pull off a recast. Just maybe. Because the other side of this is that Keaton didn’t totally own Bruce Wayne like Downey owns Stark.

  • 010011010110101

    There is a differnce between going to see a movie with a name actor, and going to see a movie because of a name actor. RDJr was a named actor, but one with a somewhat spotty record (Chaplin, though critically successful was not a huge box office hit lets not forget) So I don’t think it can be said that RDJr. Opened Ironman as much as the character and effects Opened Ironman. Sure there were probably a few RDJr. fans who went specifically to see a beloved actor put at the head of a major franchise, but it’s an assumption to think that he was the primary reason for all the viewers. He certainly is a part of the repeate viewing, and has earned his role right now, but if someone else had been cast, they might have done just as well, and could do just as well in the next series of films. Not to discount RDJr’s delivery, but he didn’t write the films, the snark, and humour, that was the writer, RDJr.brought it to life, but there is no reason to think the next really good actor couldnt’ do it just as well.

  • http://www.facebook.com/mark.gibson.5243817 Mark Gibson

    If Downey leaves the franchise, get Blake RItson of Davinci’s Demons to
    play Tony Stark/Iron Man. He has a close enough resemblance that it
    wouldn’t take much for the audience to feel comfortable with it,.

  • Savonti

    Yeah he was amazing in Chaplin.

    Anyone who hasn’t seen that yet, go give it a watch.

  • Shawn

    Above and beyond anything else, get RDJ locked in for Avengers 2. That’s the priority. As far as future Iron Man movies, would it really be such a bad idea to call it quits with #3?? It’s uber-successful and is making a ton of money. And it’s a sequel. Just go out on a positive profitable note and not take a chance that Iron Man 4 might suck air.

  • Shawn

    Terrence Howard not so much. If you go back and rewatch Iron Man, Howard kind of sucked. And the fact that he was the highest paid actor is just frickin’ ridiculous.

  • Oddball27

    I thought so too and until now I thought I was the only one. Glad to see I’m not alone. I still thought it was good, but I wanted a little more.

  • http://www.facebook.com/conner.sennett Conner Garry Sennett

    I thought it was cool.

  • Besoaria

    He doesn’t really look like all that much like Robert to me, or Iron Man, as amazing as an actor Blake is as well. They’ve got a bit of a similar feel to them, but Blake resembles a beaten up whippet or maybe some kind of a vampire, not really a superhero.

  • Adam Walters

    Make a deal for Avengers 2. Then sideline him for phase 3. Bring him back for A3 if you can reasonably. Otherwise, leave Iron Man out of A3.

  • paul

    please make anotheer movie

  • kneelB4zod

    RDJ has to come back for at least Avengers 2, and hopefully 3. But for more solo IM movies? I say RDJ is Tony Stark like Sean Connery was once “the” James Bond. Another actor will come along that can do Stark. Maybe not as well, or maybe better in his own way. Personally, I really disliked IM3, as the movie was a Stark/RDJ movie and not an Iron Man movie at all. Maybe it’s time for a smaller name and smaller ego to give us a solo Iron Man movie that is actually about Iron Man.

  • axehorn99

    Iron man 2020? Or let war machine be iron man or just never have the armor be taken off

  • http://www.facebook.com/tony.kelsey.7 Tony Kelsey

    You can recast Iron man, but you can’t recast Tony Stark. In the case of banner and rhodey it can be done because you still end up with a constant on when they count (hulk and when he gains the armor, respectively).

  • http://www.facebook.com/tony.kelsey.7 Tony Kelsey

    Arno stark and madame masque for iron man 4? One is the forgotten love and the other the end result of that love

  • http://www.jimmacleod.com JimMacLeod

    He lost to Pacino that year. But otherwise, you’re correct. He was a big star for a while before his downfall.

  • http://www.facebook.com/andybuckdawg Andy Buckland

    Just pay him MUCH less, have him just do a voice over instead,and just show the all CGI Iron Man. He could turn up and read all his lines in a day, on a much more affordable budget, and we’d still buy into it cos it’d still be RDJ.

  • Alex

    Teen Iron Man! HA! Yes, that’s a joke. A sick joke at that.
    …assuming you know what Teen Iron Man was all about.

  • Blah

    No, I’m sorry. Robert Downey Jr. Makes tony stark, tony stark. It’s true that u can put another man in the suit to play iron man but NOBODY can replace RDJ as Stark.

  • Zagreus

    They should retire the character for a bit after Avengers 2, it’s not like they don’t have enough other toys in the box. They can use either Banner or Pym as the science brain of the team. They can always dust Iron Man off for a reboot later if they want, but I don’t think they need to go full steam with Iron Man, let him say “I’m done!” for now, it’s a tried and true Avengers tradition. If they want an Iron Man stand in, it can be War Machine.

  • christian

    I think Jeffrey Dean Morgan or Johnny Depp could make a good recast.

  • Michael Bridgett

    Marvel has 5000 characters in the stable that they sold to Disney. The reasons the movies have done so well is because they’ve focused on Art over Cash. Oh its a thin line, but Marvel has walked it pretty well

    I say leave Iron Man behind and focus on building other properties and keep building the cinematic universe. Then recast IM in 2020

  • VasquezKay

    So, I have been reading the comments and this is what I have to say: In the comics Iron Man/ Tony Stark does not die. So killing him off would not work. Also, in the comics he always has a huge role in the Avengers. So putting him aside will again take a side turn from role. Here is where Marvel messed up, they took a risk and it paid off better than they expected and now Kevin does not want to own up and pay RDJ for further installments. Not only that, but RDJ is Iron Man. He proved that without the suit. In the comics he is a changed man but still has that arrogant attitude. He is the only one that can play that part correctly. Alone with him being Iron Man he has beaten any other Marvel movie franchise. Look at X-Men with all their movies they have made about $500 million. In this one alone Iron Man has made $950 million. It is because of RDJ. Lastly, he wants his co-stars to be paid properly and that is also what he is fighting for. They did not nearly get paid enough for Avengers and that bothers him. These are the faces of Marvel now and that is what RDJ wants Marvel to realize. Their risk paid off and now they should pay up. Recasting will hurt their box office. If they don’t pay him they are saying he is of no value and neither is the other actors. Besides, him as an actor they are going to make it right back plus more anyways. Same goes for the rest of them. I pray they understand that.

  • tony

    Downey’s personality and voice is what makes Iron Man come to life. The idea of flying, being bullet proof, and shooting energy out of your hand is literally Marvel’s and Hollywood’s oldest and most overused attribute in a hero. It was Downey’s ego and personality and humor that made Iron Man worth paying to watch. Having a voiceless CGI Iron Man would be an abomination and an insult to his fans.

  • http://twitter.com/The_Livewire Matthew Morris

    I could see Avengers 2 with Tony out doing something (or Pepper) and Rhodey is the ‘iron man’ in the film. Gives a sense of continuity and would allow us to see Rhodey in a film where he doesn’t get jobbed for a change.

  • Tim Buerger

    Read the books? That ending “I am Iron Man” has everything to do with the new armor that’s got to be coming in the new movie, and not with RDJ.

  • LightningBug

    What would this solve? You’d still have the huge pricetag for RDjr. which is the entire problem. If he’s in the movie why not have him be iron man?

  • LightningBug

    What are you talking about? Batman Returns is beloved.

  • Jai

    He didn’t win an Oscar he was nominated for one. Please get your facts straight.

  • Chris Buchheit

    For nostalgia perhaps. But the story is really all over the place. There are whole plot points that go nowhere. Largely an issue with the script I’d imagine. See: http://www.comicsalliance.com/2011/06/06/batman-returns-review/ for a critical review of the film. I know it’s written for laughs, but it’s basically spot on.
    Iron Man 2′s plot was a mess, but at least it was coherent.

  • JONES IS THE QUEEN

    I don’t think he’s doing it for the money…HE is IRON MAN, you CAN’T use someone else. I feel like everyone should just listen.

  • JONES IS THE QUEEN

    I totally agree!

  • Kyle

    Weird thing to say. The First Iron Man – a hit not because of Robert Downey Jr.? Please.

    Early reviews were already raving about Robert Downey’s performance as Iron Man. The fact that it grossed nearly 600m worldwide can be attributed to Downey’s performance. Haven’t you checked what was going on the net when that film was released? They all speak of Downey, not just the special effects used for the film. Also, the concept of a highly visual film – it seems that you’re implying that the actor has nothing to do with what the movie earned in the box office… your observation applies to Maguire’s Spiderman films. It was more Spidey than Tobey. Did Tobey earn any Best Actor nomination in any prestigious award giving bodies? No. Did Downey? Yes. And he won a Saturn.

    And yeah, there are a lot of great actors out there. But not all of them are lauded by “normal” people and film critics. Imagine any other actor playing Sgt. Lincoln Osiris or Detective Sherlock Holmes.

    I don’t think those great actors could nab a Golden Globe or even get nominated for an Oscar by playing a character who’s being the dude playing a dude disguised as another dude. =P Just saying. And oh, those films are raking in big bucks too. =)

    So there, he is his money’s worth.

  • LL11

    The studio has already made $950 M, and it’s only been out a few weeks. It will make more and they are complaining about paying their star a few percent of that?? Pay up Marvel. RDJ is the reason people go to see the Iron Man movies. He IS the reason YOU are making money.

  • Sakasa

    Wow didn’t think about how old he would be…But yeah the limitations of time that doesn’t effect comicsbooks have now come full circle. Its interesting to see how they will deal with this and how their casting style will change from this point on. There is the crab pot method though. Drop it for awhile to cook then bring it back with new faces but rides like it never left.

    But this story does spotlight the amazing casting job they have done up to this point even way way back with the Hulk.

  • cboulanger

    Batman Returns was a good movie and still stands up well after all these years. True, the writing was all over the place, but visually it was awesome, it had a grown-up feel to it (not really that dark in hindsight but more mature than you’d expect from a comic movie), and there was real chemistry between the actors. Pfeiffer gave one of her better performances and DeVito was obviously having a great time throughout.

    The later movies from Joel Schumacher were crap because they completely abandoned the grown-up tone that the first two films had with Keaton. It obviously became about milking the franchise for merchandising and licensing and not making good movies.

    Back to the present: I think that Downey has made Iron Man his own in the same way that Clint Eastwood claimed Dirty Harry & Depp has claimed Jack Sparrow. That type of relationship between an actor and a character is rare, but its gold when it happens. They will need to retire Iron Man for a while after Avengers 2 and then reboot.

  • mi2008

    I do not care if RDJ was the seed of iron man success or if it’s okay to recast him. All I know is I WILL NOT go to cinema to watch next iron man movie if RDJ is not in it. I might download it, but I wont pay marvel a cent if they do replace him. It will be a huge disappointment.

  • Neo

    I think that if they don’t keep Downey as Tony Stark/Iron Man, the franchise will die. Sure it may stagger on as a lifeless zombie corpse but it will NEVER live up to what it could be. They’ve also left quite the open door with the Clean Slate Protocol. At the least they could give us an Iron Man 4 to make a solid closure to the character, ‘though the franchise would still be crippled.

  • Andrew

    He quit being the thing that made the movie awesome. What’s left for him? oh he lives happily ever after in peace with Pepper. NO. Iron Man should be about IRON MAN, THE MAN AND HIS SUIT taking on the challenges thrown at him that only he and his trusty suit can battle.