As the biggest and most commercially successful franchise in the history of cinema, the Marvel Cinematic Universe is about as bulletproof as it gets. None of the 23 movies to date have come close to bombing at the box office, and if you include WandaVision and The Falcon and the Winter Soldier as well, then every single project in the MCU also retains a Fresh critical rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
The brand is now the selling point as opposed to the people who star in it, but Phases One and Two were very much built around Robert Downey Jr.’s Tony Stark. Iron Man launched the series and the genius billionaire playboy philanthropist was positioned as its marquee character and main drawing card, but RDJ no longer needs the MCU anymore, and it arguably doesn’t need him, either.
Insider Daniel Richtman is now claiming, though, that Marvel Studios view Ryan Reynolds as their new Downey Jr., in the sense that he’s a major star. While that’s true, and both actors are known for their charismatic and fast-talking style, it’s hardly a like-for-like swap. For one thing, Reynolds is already firmly entrenched at the top of the Hollywood A-list, while Jon Favreau had to fight hard to have Downey Jr. cast in the first place after the previous decade of his life had become dogged by substance abuse issues, jail time and multiple stints in rehab.
If Marvel do want Ryan Reynolds to become the new Downey Jr., though, then they’ll have to get a move on. Not only is Deadpool 3 crawling through development at a snail’s pace, but the 44 year-old is older now than RDJ was when Iron Man was released in the summer of 2008, and the latter went on to rack up ten MCU appearances over the following eleven years.