Iron Man from Captain America: Civil War

Does Robert Downey Jr. Want to Leave the Iron Man Franchise?

It sure seemed like it for a while. As I mentioned, the big announcements at San Diego Comic Con 2014 were held up because Downey reportedly was playing hard ball in signing a contract extension. As far as we know, Downey is currently only signed on to return for the two-part The Avengers: Infinity War films and a small appearance in Spider-Man: Homecoming. Earlier this year Downey expressed doubt about the prospect of a fourth Iron Man film, saying that Iron Man 4 wasn’t in the cards. A month later he said, “I feel like I could do one more.”

Of course there is a huge financial incentive. Its been reported that Downey’s Captain America: Civil War appearance earned the star $40 million upfront with backend participation. Another report claims that the actor will get paid $200 million for his appearances in The Avengers: Infinity War Part I and II — one-fifth of the total projected $1 billion budget for the event films. Who knows if any of those figures are actually true, but if they are you can see how it’s getting expensive for Disney to have Robert Downey Jr. involved. This especially if the company actually believes that Iron Man is the selling point of the franchise and not the star himself (although I think a good amount of that is posturing on the part of the mouse).

Even with Downey’s “one more” comment, it seems like his time inside the suit will not last too much longer. So regardless of whether Tony Stark survives the upcoming Infinity War or not, the question is…

Iron Man 3 Ty Simpkins

Who Could Replace Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man?

It’s possible that Marvel could replace Robert Downey Jr. with another charismatic actor we have not yet seen in the MCU. But could it be possible to replace him with a character we have already me?

In the comics James “Rhodey” Rhodes assumed the role of Iron Man after Stark lost his fortune and became an alcoholic (a storyline we won’t likely see in the Disney-produced films). Other out of chronology series have featured other characters in the role, like Arno Stark was Iron Man 2020. So unless they are going to have Don Cheadle’s Rhodey pick up the mantle after the events of Infinity War, we’ll probably see a new character step into the suit.

Another option that’s been floated around is Ty Simpkins’ character Harley Keener from Iron Man 3. The Insidious/Jurassic World star was a kid inventor when Tony met him in the last film, but but the time Infinity War ends the actor will be 18 years old.

Before Tom Holland was cast as Peter Parker/Spider-Man, I once pushed the idea of having Ty play Marvel’s version of the webslinger as I really liked the idea of Spidey being a kid amongst heroes. Marvel did go in that direction, but a little older. I’m not sure if Ty Simpkins could carry Iron Man by himself, but the moments between him and Stark in Iron Man 3 were great. It could be interesting to see Stark train and mentor the kid as the plot for Iron Man 4.

Riri Williams as iron man

About Riri Williams

And then of course there is the thing that started this entire discussion, Marvel Comics’ storyline which has a black teenage MIT student named Riri Williams take over the Iron Man legacy. The character was discovered by Tony Stark after she built her own Iron Man suit in her dorm room. We don’t really know much about how or why she becomes Iron Man — that’s a story to be told by the current volume of Invincible Iron Man by writer Brian Michael Bendis and artist Mike Deodato. But would Marvel Studios adapt this storyline for the future of the Marvel Cinematic Universe?

That much is unclear. We do know that Marvel seems intent on adapting stories and situations from their long history of comic book stories. So far they have been adapting mostly stories that have widely connected with their fanbases, stories like Infinity War, Civil War and Age of Ultron. This story might be too new at this point to be in consideration.

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