One of the few downsides to playing one of the most recognizable and popular movie characters of the 21st Century is that when you finally decide to step away from the role and retire gracefully, everyone expects you to make a comeback anyway. Robert Downey Jr.’s Tony Stark may have bowed out of the Marvel Cinematic Universe after sacrificing himself for the greater good in Avengers: Endgame, but almost as soon as the credits faded to black, the rumor mill started churning about a potential return.
The actor has said he’s done all that he can with the part, but that hasn’t stopped him from being linked to literally dozens upon dozens of future MCU projects, many of which haven’t been officially announced by Marvel Studios and don’t exist anywhere other than within the realms of rumor and speculation. It’s something RDJ has no doubt prepared himself for, though, because any interview he does from now until the end of time will inevitably involve at least one question related to Iron Man.
On that note, insider Grace Randolph is claiming this week that Stark will be returning to the MCU to voice an artificial intelligence, and though she doesn’t say when it’ll happen, it’s still one of the more plausible ways to get Downey Jr. back into the franchise without compromising the narrative heft of Endgame‘s finale.
Some of you are saying AI Tony Stark is just for the toy line but mark my words – he’ll show up eventually the MCU
— Grace Randolph (@GraceRandolph) April 11, 2021
There’s plenty of previous precedent for this sort of thing in the MCU as well, with Paul Bettany initially a disembodied presence before becoming an increasingly integral part of the mythology as Vision. With Armor Wars and Ironheart on the way to Disney Plus, there are also a pair of ready made shows in the works that would make the use of Tony Stark‘s voice perfectly logical from a storytelling perspective.