From the early days of the MCU up until the end of Phase 3, Tony Stark was arguably the MCU’s flagship hero. Brought to life through a marriage of the inimitable Robert Downey Jr. and sharp, compelling writing, Iron Man was an undeniable fan-favorite.
Now, the Marvel Cinematic Universe continues without Iron Man four years later, following the character’s death in 2019's Avengers: Endgame.
Downey Escapes Iron Man 4 Questions
Speaking to ExtraTV at the premiere of his Max series, Downey’s Dream Cars, Robert Downey Jr. was asked about his interest in further sequels, such as an Iron Man 4 and Tropic Thunder 2, neither of which have been announced. The following exchange occurred on the red carpet:
ExtraTV: "Let me ask you one more question, 'Tropic Thunder.' Tom Cruise is saying he'd like to do a sequel. Would you do it?"
Robert Downey Jr.: "Um, look. All's I'll say is this. Tom Cruise and I have not done a project yet together. And that's kind of a 'yes,' and then we'll figure out what the title is."
ExtraTV: "What about 'Iron Man 4?'"
Robert Downey Jr: "Does he want to do that?"
ExtraTV: "We want to see you in that!"
It was at that point that Downey stammered a bit and eluded the question by beginning to walk away: "(laughs) Okay! Tom, don't take it! Don't take it!“
Will Robert Downey Jr. Come Back to Marvel?
There are a lot of factors to consider when trying to determine whether Downey would ever return to the role of Iron Man.
Make no mistake, playing Tony Stark revived his career. It was always a bit of a gamble on Marvel Studios’ part when casting him, given his well-documented past struggles with drug abuse. But ultimately, offering him a second chance turned out to be more than the right move.
His Tony Stark consistently put butts in theater seats. The audience couldn’t get enough of his snappy one-liners and abundance of charisma, to the point where many fans, even die-hard ones, jumped ship from the MCU following his demise in Endgame.
But his story just wrapped up so neatly. He defeated Thanos, saved the universe, and left a lasting legacy. To go back to the Marvel well now would arguably cheapen his arc. And Downey is surely well aware of this.
However, there still could be a bit of chance for more Iron Man, however slim. He could always appear as an A.I. program, or maybe in a flashback. And with the MCU currently exploring its vast Multiverse, there might be a chance for Downey to pop in for a cameo as an alternate universe doppelgänger of Tony. Perhaps in 2027’s Avengers: Secret Wars?
After all, the man himself has indeed said that he misses being in the MCU.