5 Ways Robert Downey Jr. Can Return In Marvel’s Armor Wars Movie

By Russ Milheim Updated:
Robert Downey Jr MCU return Marvel

Fans of the Marvel Cinematic Universe were shocked recently when it was revealed that Armor Wars would no longer be a Disney+ series. Instead, it was being retooled into a movie.

With the concept being about Tony Stark's technology getting into the wrong hands and generally being sought after across the board, it would make sense that Marvel Studios might need a bigger budget to play with. After all, it is called Armor Wars; there'll likely be plenty of high-tech suits in action.

However, with the big shift and given the subject of the movie, there's one big question hanging in the air: will Robert Downey Jr.'s Iron Man make an appearance?

While the answer isn't known yet, there are several ways in which the dead Avenger could make a big appearance.

1.) A New AI

Tony Stark, AI

The most likely scenario for Robert Downey Jr.'s eventual return is for him to provide the voice and potential video for a new AI. In a project all about his technology getting into the wrong hands, tech specific to his armor suits, no less, this seems like a no-brainer.

Being an AI is something he has done in the comics, most notably after he's put out of commission following the events of Civil War 2. In fact, it's a key part of Riri Williams' earliest adventures as Ironheart.

While it doesn't seem like the AI will factor into the character's introduction in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, that doesn't mean it won't ever arrive. Armor Wars might be the perfect place for it.

2.) Revisiting the Past

Tony Stark, Iron Man

Armor Wars sounds like it'll be heavily focused on Stark's legacy in the MCU, especially for those close to him. This means that, on a narrative level, it would make sense to explore those deeper connections these characters have to Iron Man.

This opens the doors to having flashbacks for nearly anyone in the film who knew Tony. For example, Stark's daughter may think about a sweet moment she had with her father when she was young, Rhodey could recall an important moment of touching banter, and Pepper Potts might think back to when the two of them were first meeting.

These scenes would help enforce the emotional core of the movie. Having them would be quite beneficial on a storytelling level, making Downey Jr.'s return more than just a glorified cameo.

On top of traditional flashbacks, Stark could easily appear in more hologram messages, much like the one that plays at the end of Avengers: Endgame for Morgan Stark.

3.) The Multiverse Equation

Tony Stark, Iron Man

With the Multiverse being the big focus of the current MCU saga, it seems only fitting that it be used to bring back some of those who died—whether it be for good or only a temporary appearance. Tony Stark would easily be one of the top contenders if this ever happened.

However, instead of bringing back a past version of the same Stark audiences knew, it's as likely a completely different Variant could show up as well. After all, it does seem that having an alternate version of the character make an appearance was a real possibility for Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness—even if it was probably not going to be Robert Downey Jr.

However, it is hard to see how something like that might factor into the plot of Armor Wars. Though, it is still within the Multiverse Saga—so anything is possible.

4.) A Secret Invasion

Tony Stark, Skrull

Ever since the Skrulls were introduced in Captain Marvel, fans have been wondering when they would be used to mimic the heroes audiences have come to love. It hasn't quite happened yet, but with Secret Invasion on the horizon, there's a good chance that it's only a matter of time.

It's not clear what the status of the Skrulls and their related conflicts will be once Secret Invasion comes to an end. But, if they stick around Earth, having a copy of any superhero will always remain a possibility.

After all, at D23, it was revealed that Armor Wars and Secret Invasion are far more connected than audiences may realize.

Seeing as Stark's technology is so sought after, maybe those on Earth aren't the only ones looking for a piece of the pie. This is what could bring the Skrulls into the equation, as they try to maneuver themselves into a position to steal some much-sought-after tech.

5.) Tony Stark Duplicated

Tony Stark, Iron Man

Finally, there's the potential of Tony Stark being cloned. Admittedly, this isn't likely to be the case for Armor Wars, but with comics, anything can happen.

Stark has been cloned in the comics before, so a precedent is there. In the Spider-Verse event, the clone version of the character fought several Spider-People on Earth-802 during their struggles with the Inheritors.

Another incident of cloning involves the supervillain Magus, aka the dark personality of Adam Warlock. The big bad ended up visiting the Dimension of Manifestations (because, of course, that's a thing), where he created doppelgangers of some of Earth's Mightiest Heroes.

Cloning hasn't been touched upon properly in the MCU yet, which is what makes this option the least likely of the bunch. But it'll no doubt crop up at some point and time. After all, maybe stolen Stark tech will be the cause for some major breakthroughs in technology that'll lead to something like clones being possible.

After all, X-Men's Mister Sinister hasn't yet had a big screen adaptation. He could easily be in Marvel's future plans.

The Eventual Return of Tony Stark

Tony Stark Iron Man RDJ

There's no denying that Robert Downey Jr.'s Tony Stark will return to the big screen at one point or another. He's one of the biggest characters in all of cinematic history—he'll show his face again.

But will Armor Wars be that instance? It's hard to say, but with it becoming a movie instead of the Disney+ series it started out as, the project has more money than it originally had. This means the studio might actually be able to afford to have Tony Stark on screen.

With that said, the most likely place in which the original Avenger may show up is during Avengers: Secret Wars (with The Kang Dynasty also being a solid option). The big culmination of the Multiverse Saga does seem like the perfect place to have such a grand return, even if it's only temporary.

Armor Wars does not have a release window, while Avengers: Secrets Wars is set to hit theaters on May 1, 2026.

- In This Article: Armor Wars
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- About The Author: Russ Milheim
Russ Milheim is the Industry Relations Coordinator at The Direct. On top of utilizing his expertise on the many corners of today’s entertainment to cover the latest news and theories, he establishes and maintains communication and relations between the outlet and the many studio and talent representatives.