The Marvel Cinematic Universe is about to explode back onto the entertainment scene with over two dozen new projects planned out for the next three years . This was all made possible by the franchise's first twelve successful years, which brought 23 movies that earned an astounding $22.5 billion in global box office revenue.
Those successes started off with 2008's Iron Man , which made its name as a revolutionary superhero movie back in the day mostly thanks to the efforts of starring actor Robert Downey, Jr. as Tony Stark. Through eleven appearances in the MCU, his performance became one of the most iconic superhero portrayals of all time before Tony sacrificed himself in 2019's Avengers: Endgame .
Downey recently took an opportunity to look back on his time playing the genius playboy, as well as how he has made peace leaving the role in his past.
In a recent interview with the Hindustan Times , MCU legend Robert Downey, Jr. reflected back on his experience playing Tony Stark / Iron Man from 2008 to 2019. Downey first addressed if there were any specific challenges or difficulties of bringing Stark to screen with the growing notoriety of the character:
Each project is different. Playing Tony/Iron Man was hard and I dug deep. I had an incredible 10-year run that was creatively satisfying.
While discussing how his run as the character was "creatively satisfying," he also dove into how much of himself was brought into Tony Stark after being asked how much of Robert Downey Jr. is still the Marvel hero:
Sure, some would think so since I’m doing tech-based climate solutions with my FootPrint Coalition and my technology focused YouTube original, The Age of A.I. but I believe in aesthetic distance. I’m not Tony.
Downey also explored what his future holds now that his commitment to the MCU has come to a close, offering this quote on how he has moved on from the most prominent role of his career:
I’ve done all I could with that character and can do other things now. Now, being middle-aged, you start looking at the back nine and realize this is all part of the journey and things end. I am fortunate and eternally grateful to have wound up where I have.
WHAT THIS MEANS
Robert Downey, Jr. has been completely straightforward since his last MCU appearance in Avengers: Endgame that the Infinity Saga conclusion would mark the end of his time in the MCU .
After top billing positions in eleven MCU movies which revived his career the second he stepped into the gold titanium-alloy suit, it's just as satisfying for MCU fans hearing that this role brought him so much joy and fulfillment. Even though he is adamant that he is a different person than Tony Stark, it's intriguing seeing how he has adopted at least a little of Tony's persona with his work off-screen in tech-based climate solutions.
With Downey now in his mid-fifties, he seems to be comfortable with the decision to leave the MCU behind after helping set it up for the incredible successes it has earned since 2008. Iron Man has become one of the most popular superheros in the industry over that time, and thanks to his overwhelming success in the MCU, the future is set to continue his legacy even though fans likely won't see him playing Tony Stark again.
Spider-Man is one of the heroes Tony influenced the most , and the web-slinger is set up for his biggest adventure in the MCU yet in 2021's Spider-Man 3 .
Just in the last few days, Marvel CCO Kevin Feige introduced Disney+ series entitled Armor Wars and Ironheart at Disney Investor's Day, both of which serve as direct connections to Tony's legacy. Don Cheadle will lead the way as War Machine as he deals with the consequences of Tony's tech falling into the wrong hands, while Dominique Thorne's Riri Williams is set to create some of the most advanced tech since the Iron Man suit itself.