Marvel’s Phase Three: A Robert Downey Jr.-Less ‘Iron Man 4′?
Is Robert Downey Jr. the only man who will ever play Iron Man? Marvel says 'no.' (Photo: Paramount Pictures)
It's no secret that Downey Jr. has expressed reservations about returning for another stand-alone Tony Stark adventure, especially considering that it wouldn't happen until well after "The Avengers 2," which doesn't hit theaters until May 2015.
"I'd go start another one tomorrow, but it’s not tomorrow,” Downey told Entertainment Weekly, with the 48-year-old actor admitting that he's not getting any younger. "And there are a lot of other considerations. But I also don't like the idea of leaving people hanging or leaving people in the lurch."
RDJ is also anticipating a career beyond Tony Stark and Marvel, which may include a third "Sherlock Holmes" movie and even some brand-new franchises.
"My intent is to launch another franchise, independent of any that I can even imagine right now," said Downey, who's also currently attached to David Dobkin's legal thriller "The Judge" and Jon Favreau's foodie comedy "Chef." "My intent is to dominate the playing field for as long as I can, with my own challenges, with myself."
That's swell and all, though Marvel has made it clear that there will be an "Iron Man 4" (and beyond) with or without its leading man. The series could certainly be rebooted James Bond-style, despite the fact that Downey Jr. is so singularly identified with the role.
Robert Downey Jr. and Kevin Feige in 2011 (Photo: Kevin Winter/Getty Images)
Don't think Marvel won't do it, either -- they've already replaced Edward Norton with Mark Ruffalo as Bruce Banner, not to mention Terrence Howard with Don Cheadle as James 'Rhodey' Rhodes. Heck, don't think Marvel just won't replace everyone in "The Avengers 2" if the ensemble doesn't agree with their terms.