As the MCU fandom prepares for two mega-event movies in Avengers: The Kang Dynasty and Avengers: Secret Wars, many are wondering whether one of these two movies could bring back Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man.
Avengers 5 and Avengers 6 are set to not only bring the current members of Earth's Mightiest Heroes together but also potentially include legacy heroes from the past three decades that originated both in and out of the MCU. And while this will make for unquestionably the biggest team-up movies in comic book movie history, original MCU actors like Downey Jr. have been high on fans' wishlists for potential comebacks in the next few years.
At the moment, Jonathan Majors is the only actor confirmed for both Avengers 5, and the MCU newcomer has already shared that his role as Kang the Conqueror is something of a dream role for him as he explores the villain and his countless Variants.
Jonathan Majors Wants Robert Downey Jr. in Avengers 5
Speaking with Lifehacker's Lauren Rouse, Avengers: The Kang Dynasty star Jonathan Majors expressed his hope to see Robert Downey Jr. return to the MCU as Iron Man in the next Avengers sequel.
Kang’s involvement opens up a world of possibilities, particularly as the MCU begins to dabble with Multiverses and Variants. When asked if there was "anyone that you're really looking forward to working with or hope that Kang gets to play off of [in Avengers 5]," Majors looked to the most well-known OG Avenger.
Majors explained that he's a huge fan of the Iron Man star as an actor, remembering what Downey did for the superhero movie culture:
"This is like a Robert Downey Jr. day, he just keeps popping in [to my head]. Like, I know he’s an OG. I mean, he’s one of the originals. I’m just such a huge fan of him as an actor. I think what he did with Iron Man was such a gift to the culture at large."
Majors imagined the two characters matching up with one another on multiple levels, calling Downey's portrayal of Iron Man "so fascinating" as he sees the energy that the actor brought to the Avengers team:
“I would love to be across from him on screen to see how our philosophies, acting-wise and character-wise, just personally, match up. You know, I find him to be such a fascinating artist, which is why Iron Man is so fascinating. His portrayal of Iron Man is so fascinating and he represents a very clear world view and energy of the Avengers. And I think Kang represents a different era.
He already has ideas about what an interaction between Kang and Tony Stark would entail, particularly when looking at their conflicting ideologies:
"It’d be really interesting to see those two kind of come together and have a bit of conversation"
He also noted how privileged he is to have such "a great deal of responsibility" that comes with playing Kang, which allows him to achieve incredible amounts of growth as an actor.
Admitting that he can barely think about Avengers 5 with how excited he is for his upcoming appearance in Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, he loves the potential that he has to expand on "the mythology of Kang" moving forward:
"I mean, I’m a franchise player. Kang is a very privileged place to be in with a great deal of responsibility. And because of that, I have the opportunity to really stretch and grow my artistry, selfishly, and contribute that and give that to audiences and to the rest of my teammates. So Kang Dynasty – I can’t even think about it because I’m so excited about [Quantumania] – but Kang Dynasty feels to me that it has the potential to grow the mythology of Kang, to grow the curiosity of Kang that much more, which is extremely exciting."
Will Robert Downey Jr. Return to the MCU?
The MCU has found a way over the past few years to move past Robert Downey Jr.'s Iron Man, with the actor's last appearance having come in 2019's Avengers: Endgame. It's become one of the biggest deaths that have actually carried through in all of Phase 4, even with a number of references to the original Avenger, although it's no surprise that Jonathan Majors wants Downey back for another round.
Many fans have already theorized that one of the next two Avengers movies will bring Downey back into the fray, allowing Kang to interact with at least a Variant of the hero that kickstarted the MCU's entire journey.
These would likely be the best choices in which to use Downey in order to keep his death from Endgame impactful, and considering how many other Variants Marvel is already looking at for Avengers 6, Downey should at least be in the conversation for an appearance.
Avengers: The Kang Dynasty will debut in theaters on May 2, 2025.