Avengers: Infinity War Director Says Replacing Robert Downey Jr. Is Unthinkable

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All the heroes of the MCU have been exceptionally well-cast, but you can’t deny that the biggest stroke of genius in the franchise was hiring Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man. It was the perfect marriage of actor and character and the success of the star in the part ensured that the franchise cleared that first hurdle and has gone from strength to strength ever since. Much like Hugh Jackman as Wolverine, then, it’s unthinkable to imagine anyone else as Tony Stark.

Thankfully, it sounds like fans won’t have to worry about another actor ever taking on the role. At least, not for a long while. Avengers: Infinity War co-director Joe Russo was asked by The Hindu Times about Downey’s future with the MCU, and he made it clear that Marvel won’t simply recast the Armored Avenger. He even went so far as to say that Downey isn’t actively planning on vacating the franchise.

“There is nobody who can take over Iron Man from Robert,” Russo said. “I don’t think the audience would accept that. He never mentioned [anything] to us about leaving Iron Man, but it will happen at some point of time.”

Fans’ ears will likely prick up at Russo’s comment that Downey has never discussed leaving the MCU with the director. Of course, he could be point blank lying here in order to preserve some secrets, but let’s just assume he isn’t. If Russo’s telling the truth, this pretty much confirms that Downey will make it out of both Infinity War and Avengers 4 and Tony Stark will survive into Phase 4.

Of course, this doesn’t necessarily mean that Downey will play as major a role as he has for the past decade. After all, we’re pretty sure that Earth’s Mightiest Heroes’ line-up is going to look very different by the end of Avengers 4, so it’s likely that Tony won’t continue to lead the team. He could still appear exclusively in supporting roles, though, like he did in Spider-Man: Homecoming.

It’s certainly a possibility, and Downey Jr. himself has even said that he doesn’t want to leave the franchise behind without making sure it’s “in good shape” without him. Time will ultimately tell what happens, of course, but what we know for sure is that Iron Man will face his greatest challenge yet when Avengers: Infinity War lands in theaters on April 27th.

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