Kevin Feige Sets The Record Straight, Says Robert Downey Jr. Will “Never” Reprise The Role Of Iron Man In The MCU
Marvel Studios honcho Kevin Feige has shut down any rumours surrounding the return of Robert Downey Jr. to the MCU, making it very clear that the actor will “never” reprise the role of Tony Stark in future cinematic projects.
In a Vanity Fair cover story that focuses on Downey Jr.’s career trajectory, Feige specifically stated that bringing back Iron Man — following the events of Avengers: Endgame, which concluded with Tony Stark making the ultimate sacrifice to save the universe —would be a disservice to the character.
“We are going to keep that moment and not touch that moment again,” the Marvel Studios head declared, adding, “We all worked very hard for many years to get to that, and we would never want to magically undo it in any way.”
Avengers: Endgame co-director Joe Russo also commented on Downey Jr.’s last outing as the iconic Marvel hero, hammering down that they convinced the actor to read Iron Man’s last line of dialogue by promising it would be the last time.
“We’d already said tearful goodbyes on the last day of shooting,” recalled Russo. “Everybody had moved on emotionally.”
He added, “We promised him it would be the last time we made him do it—ever.”
Earlier in November, rumours about Downey Jr. agreeing to return to the Marvel Cinematic Universe were doing the rounds, lending credence to claims made by Variety’s Tatiana Siegel, who alleged, “Sources say there have been talks to bring back the original gang for an Avengers movie.”
“This would include reviving Robert Downey Jr.’s Iron Man and Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow, both of whom were killed off in Endgame,” Siegel maintained.
Feige’s comments agree with those made by Marvel Studios producer Stephen Broussard, who back in February told Gizmodo that Downey Jr. was no longer on the “table” for future projects, as the focus at Marvel — at least at the time, that is — was on passing on the mantle to legacy characters.
“Well, I think one of the meta-narratives of Phase Four was about new characters. It was about new people stepping into mantles,” he told the outlet. “If you look at, like, Cassie [Lang in Quantumania] getting a suit and Kate Bishop [in Hawkeye], new characters being introduced like Jack in Werewolf by Night.”
Broussard elaborated, “After these first 10 years of Marvel storytelling, torches are being passed, like with Robert Downey Jr. no longer being [on the] table and stuff like that. So it was kind of like a new generation stepping to the forefront which, again, has always happened in the comics.”
Last month, Feige had also addressed rumours about fallen Avengers returning to the MCU. Although his comments were less conclusive — playing coy and even admitting that Downey Jr.’s return to the MCU could still be on the table — he did, indeed, deny rumours going around at the time.
“Fallen Avengers returning? Is that a new [rumor]? I’ve literally not even seen that,” Feige told Entertainment Tonight’s Ash Crossan at The Marvels premiere in Las Vegas.
The Marvel Studios honcho, further inquired, “Is that a new rumor?” to which Crossan explained, “Yeah, it was like one of the things that was talked about at this retreat where Scarlett Johansson and Robert Downey Jr. possibly returning at some point.”
Feige then clarified, “We did not discuss at the retreat is the truth. We’re doing a project with Scarlett. I love Robert. He’s a part of the family. But in terms of them returning, we’ll have to see.”