Having seen the twentieth instalment soar beyond the $2 billion plateau, and push the MCU to nearly $17 billion earned at the global box office, it’s easy to forget the humble beginnings of the highest grossing film franchise of all-time. Okay, maybe I’m exaggerating, if only slightly. After all, Iron Man was built upon a production budget of $140 million, but when compared to the $400 million it cost to make Avengers: Infinity War, the “big man in a suit of armour” was dealt mere peanuts.
Speaking of Infinity War, I’m just as surprised as you are that, essentially, only the OG Avengers survived. And apparently, so is famed Marvel comic book writer Bob Layton.
During a sit-down with the Tampa Bay Times, the man behind villain Justin Hammer – portrayed by Sam Rockwell in Iron Man 2 – and James Rhodes, a.k.a. War Machine, was asked if Avengers 4 will be Robert Downey Jr.’s swan song. Admittedly, he’s “only speculating,” but Layton did venture a guess that RDJ “is done.” Seeing as he’s “been doing the same role for over ten years now, and I think as with any actor sometimes, it is time to move on.”
Layton was then queried apropos of whether or not Tony Stark will die in the fourth supergroup installment, and here’s what he had to say.
“That is one way of doing it, but I’d only be guessing. I know this — I wouldn’t want to recast Tony Stark. Who would want to try to top Downey? But, if Tony doesn’t come back, they can put somebody else in the armour and start a new generation of Iron Man.”
What began with Jon Favreau’s Iron Man back in 2008 has grown exponentially into a pop culture powerhouse. As such, it’d be undeniably devastating to see Tony Stark bite the dust, pun intended. Nonetheless, as Layton alluded to, a decade is a long time to be doing anything, let alone inhabiting the skin of another individual. With that in mind, it wouldn’t exactly catch me, or many others, by surprise if “Earth’s best defender” met his doom in Avengers 4.