The partnership between Robert Downey Jr. and Marvel Studios turned out to be more beneficial to both parties than either could have possibly imagined, especially when it all started with a huge level of risk and a giant leap of faith.
Just four years before he was cast as Tony Stark, Downey Jr. couldn’t even mount a comeback because nobody would insure him, with close friend Mel Gibson putting his hand in his own pocket so the troubled talent could take the lead role in The Singing Detective, while 40% of his salary for Gothika was withheld until shooting had finished just in case he went off the rails again.
Meanwhile, Marvel had grown weary of watching Hollywood earn billion from their characters, so the startup studio took out a $525 million loan in order to fund their own slate of movies, with 33 year-old Kevin Feige named President of Production in March 2007. And if Iron Man had failed, the entire makeup of Hollywood as we know it would look incredibly different today.
Of course, at this point, the Marvel Cinematic Universe and Robert Downey Jr. have become so closely linked that even Tony Stark’s death in Avengers: Endgame and the actor’s recent admission that he’s done all he can with the character hasn’t done anything to dampen the speculation that he’s set for an imminent return as soon as Phase Four.
Nothing’s been officially confirmed just yet, but insider Daniel Richtman offers the latest addition to the rumor mill this week after claiming that RDJ is in talks for both Armor Wars and Ironheart, two Disney Plus shows with a direct connection to Iron Man. Whether or not this ends up happening remains to be seen, of course, but there are certainly no shortage of ways to have him appear without impacting the legacy of Endgame‘s emotionally-charged climax.