Now that Black Widow is out there for all to see on both the big screen and Disney Plus Premier Access, there are probably more than a few fans that have been tracking the project all the way through development and production wondering why Robert Downey Jr.’s Tony Stark didn’t drop by for a cameo appearance.
After all, we’d been hearing for close to two years that the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s biggest name would be appearing in Scarlett Johansson’s prequel, and there were plenty of narrative reasons to buy into the speculation. Both Iron Man and Black Widow may be dead in the post-Infinity Saga timeline, but Natasha Romanoff was on Tony’s side during Captain America: Civil War, even if she did ultimately lend an assist to Steve Rogers following the epic airport showdown.
At various stages, it was listed on both RDJ’s IMDb and Wikipedia pages that he was part of Black Widow‘s cast, but that’s most definitely not the case. It may have simply been an example of an erroneous rumor gaining traction and then spiraling out of control, especially when Cate Shortland’s blockbuster is notably short on MCU cameos with the exception of William Hurt’s General Ross and surprise post-credits guest Julia Louis-Dreyfus.
Marvel Studios wouldn’t have gone to the trouble of paying Downey Jr. for his time, having the actor almost immediately renege on his promise that Avengers: Endgame would be his swansong in the process, just to leave him on the cutting room floor.
Black Widow is jam-packed with dialogue referencing Earth’s Mightiest Heroes and the various members of the roster, but visually there’s not a hint of spandex or Stark Industries tech in sight, with leather very much the preferred material of the film’s bevvy of ass-kickers.