Longtime fans of the MCU that have been around since Phase 1 hoping to see the multiverse reintroduce spearheading, renowned characters like Robert Downey Jr.’s Tony Stark/Iron Man have a bitter pill to swallow: Robert Downey Jr. won’t return as Iron Man in the MCU, according to studio head Kevin Feige.
Referring to the sacrifice Iron Man makes in Avengers: Endgame, Feige told Vanity Fair, “We are going to keep that moment and not touch that moment again. We all worked very hard for many years to get to that, and we would never want to magically undo it in any way.”
Endgame director Joe Russo corroborated Feige’s statement, stating, “We’d already said tearful goodbyes on the last day of shooting. Everybody had moved on emotionally. We promised him it would be the last time we made him do it—ever.”
Co-director Anthony Russo remarked that it was a “difficult thing” for Downey Jr. to deliver his last line as the MCU mainstay, but that the finality was what made the moment all the more poignant in the overarching story. Russo also noted that RDJ’s final MCU moment was also one that brought the actor full circle, literally.
“When he did come back, we were shooting on a stage directly opposite where he auditioned for Tony Stark. So his last line as Tony Stark was shot literally a couple hundred feet from his original audition that got him the role,” Anthony said.
Although it’s difficult to think of a different character who could’ve carried Iron Man to the prominence which RDJ did, Feige explained that prior to his role as Iron Man, choosing the previously troubled actor as the lynchpin of the MCU was a big risk.
“It purely came down to the Marvel board being nervous at putting all of their chips in their future films on somebody who famously had those legal troubles in the past,” Feige explained. “I wasn’t very good — and I’m still not great — at taking no for an answer. But I also don’t pound my chest to try to get my way. I try to figure out ways to make it as clear to other people why we should head in a direction. And that’s when the idea of a screen test came up.”
Are you disappointed that Robert Downey Jr. won’t return as Iron Man in the MCU or do you think it’s a good thing that the character had a full, conclusive story arc? Let us know in the comments.