At this point, it’s extremely difficult to imagine anyone else playing Iron Man other than Robert Downey Jr. For the past nine years, the actor has made the role his own, becoming an absolute highlight in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and delighting fans time and time again. But all good things must end, and RDJ playing Tony Stark is no different. There will eventually come a point when he waves goodbye to the role once and for all, and that time may be here quite soon.
Now that the core Iron Man saga has been placed on ice, and Phase 3 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe is coming to a head with the launch of Infinity War and its untitled sequel, many believe that Downey Jr.’s days in the Marvel movie machine are numbered. And though that may well be the case, at least the actor is well aware of the dangers of overstaying his welcome.
How do we know that? Well, because in a recent interview, Downey Jr. was asked about when he might part ways with the MCU, and said that he’ll “hang up his jersey before it’s embarrassing.”
“Everyone says to me it’s like a glove that fits so well. I have to start over every time but I am starting over with a pretty solid base. I just never want to blow it for the last six or seven [movies] I have done by dropping the ball because I decided to go do it one more time. I just want to hang up my jersey before it’s embarrassing.”
Further in the interview, the actor spoke about why he keeps making Marvel movies, revealing that it’s about the people and the opportunities.
“It’s this cyclical thing I could have said when the first Avengers came out: ‘It’s never going to get any better than that. Everybody stop’. But to me it’s always about people and opportunities, like the (Avengers directors Anthony and Joe) Russos, who I adore.”
While we still don’t know exactly when RDJ will bow out of the franchise, it’s starting to sound like it’ll be sooner rather than later. Aside from these comments, producer Kevin Feige has also noted that Infinity War will be the end for several of the characters, and Tony Stark is probably one of them. After all, he’s been around the longest and with no plans for Iron Man 4, it does seem like his days might be numbered.
Next up for Robert Downey Jr. and the Marvel Cinematic Universe is Spider-Man: Homecoming on July 7th, before that Stark/Parker duo carries over into Avengers: Infinity War on May 4th, 2018. Both RDJ and Tom Holland will likely share the screen once again for the as-yet-untitled Avengers 4, before Tony Stark/Iron Man is replaced by another Marvel hero in time for the release of Homecoming 2 on July 5th, 2019.