Warning - This article contains minor spoilers for Black Widow.
Scarlett Johansson's Black Widow is now playing in theaters and streaming on Disney+ via Premier Access worldwide. The female-let solo film follows Natasha Romanoff after the events of Captain America: Civil War after her final conversation with Tony Stark.
Many fans wondered if Robert Downey Jr. would make a cameo in the prequel as he was still alive during the events of this movie.
It turns out that there was a point in time when Marvel Studios did plan on having RDJ appear as Iron Man in Black Widow.
TONY STARK INITIALLY IN BLACK WIDOW
Black Widow writer Eric Pearson recently told the Phase Zero podcast that "the end moment of Civil War with Tony and Natasha" was initially in the script. It would've acted as a "flag-planted reminder" of when the film is set:
"I do remember now that one version of the script, prior to me, literally had written into it the end moment of Civil War with Tony and Natasha, 'I'm not the one who needs to watch their back.' But it was old footage. It would've been 'Hey audience, remember where we are, we're going to key off this moment of her.' So, it wouldn't have been Robert Downey, at least, to the best of my knowledge. That's the only time I saw Tony Stark's name in it, and it was just kind of a flag-planted reminder, like 'Hey we're right at the end of Civil War.'
Pearson added that he was unsure where the report originated from, and then it got written out unbeknownst to him:
"I remember when those rumors came out, I was in London in our war room office, and I just looked around and was like 'Are we- Am I supposed to be- I have the script right here and Tony Stark is not in it.' I don't know where it came from unless someone got a very old version where this kind of scene, which wasn't even a new scene. I don't know where it came from."
WILL WE SEE TONY STARK AGAIN?
Naturally, the moment Tony Stark left the MCU, fans began asking when he'd return. If there was ever a time for the character to reappear in the film, a flashback to Civil War in Black Widow would've made a lot of sense.
Unfortunately, the writers and producers of Black Widow didn't bother with many cameos and focused on Natasha's final story along with introducing Florence Pugh's Yelena and David Harbour's Red Guardian. Jeremy Renner's voice can be heard during a flashback sequence and a photo of him as Hawkeye is shown in the post-credits scene, but that's the only Avengers-related cameo in the movie.
Robert Downey Jr. previously said "never say never" on a return as Tony Stark but that there are no immediate plans. The MCU is moving forward without Iron Man, and heroes like Doctor Strange, Sam Wilson's Captain America, Spider-Man, and Captain Marvel are paving the way for Phase 4 and beyond.
While a callback to Civil War in Black Widow would've made thematic sense, don't expect a Tony Stark return anytime soon.
Black Widow is now playing in theaters and streaming on Disney+ via Premier Access.