Robert Downey Jr. isn’t returning as Tony Stark, was promised ‘it would be the last time’

Spoilers from 2019 for Game of Thrones and Avengers: Endgame
The weekend of April 26, 2019 was an eventful one for us nerds. It was the weekend that The Avengers: Endgame opened in theaters and that the Season 8 episode of Game of Thrones, “The Long Night” aired. The Internet was abuzz trying to figure out which of our beloved characters from each franchise would survive the weekend. It was a whole thing. “The Long Night” ended up having one really cool moment for Ayra Stark, but otherwise, all of the main cast survived. The same could not be said for Avengers: Endgame. We *spoiler* lost the Black Widow and Iron Man, two superheroes that had basically been there since the beginning of Marvel’s incredible multi-phase journey. Both deaths, particularly Tony’s, were emotional.

Four years later, the MCU is struggling. My personal belief for that is threefold: 1. Fans gave their emotional-all over the course of 11 years for phases 1-3; 2. Phases 4 and 5 involved too much homework, requiring viewers to watch movies and subscription-only TV shows to understand everything going on; and 3. Superhero fatigue. Because of this, none of the newer MCU movies have really caught on with audiences. So, of course, rumors recently arose that the studio was trying to bring back the original Avengers, including Tony Stark/Iron Man, forcing Marvel’s captain Kevin Feige to release a statement denying this.

Marvel fans shouldn’t be checking for Robert Downey Jr. to reprise his role as Tony Stark/Iron Man in the Marvel universe. Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige revealed in an interview with Vanity Fair that despite reports otherwise, there are no plans to resurrect the character after Downey Jr.’s last appearance in 2019’s “Avengers: Endgame.”

“We are going to keep that moment and not touch that moment again,” Feige said. “We all worked very hard for many years to get to that, and we would never want to magically undo it in any way.”

Downey Jr. was hesitant to even do reshoots for “Endgame,” according to the film’s co-director Joe Russo. “We’d already said tearful goodbyes on the last day of shooting. Everybody had moved on emotionally,” Russo told publication. “We promised him it would be the last time we made him do it — ever.”

His brother Anthony Russo, who co-directed “Endgame,” added, “That was a difficult thing for him to do, to come back to pick up that line.”

“When he (Downey Jr.) did come back, we were shooting on a stage directly opposite where he auditioned for Tony Stark,” Anthony Russo said. “So his last line as Tony Stark was shot literally a couple hundred feet from his original audition that got him the role.”

[From CNN]

One of the things that made Tony’s death so sad was that his very last line was a repeat of the line that closed out the very first Iron Man movie. It came full circle. To me, that made it all the more final. I know Marvel is trying to go the comic book route in keeping its main players around by taking advantage of the multiverse. That may (emphasis on may) have worked if they hadn’t expanded to Disney+ shows, but it appears they may have f–ked around and found out by putting those shows (with complicated plots) behind paywall.

All that said, I would be remiss if I didn’t admit that I really liked RDJ as Tony Stark, Chris Evans as Capt. America, and Scarlett Johansson as Black Widow. Part of me would love to see them all come back again. But, all good things must end and we got pretty satisfying conclusions for two-out-of-three of those characters. I felt the same for Loki at the end of the second season of Loki and even that show was a multiverse of mindf–kery. Honestly, I think that Marvel Studios needs to regroup and make things simpler for viewers again. Salud to RDJ, ScarJo, Evans, and (I think?) Tom Hiddleston for all they gave to fans.

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Photos credit: David Acosta/Image Press Agency/Avalon, James Warren/Bang Showbiz/Avalon, Getty

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10 Responses to “Robert Downey Jr. isn’t returning as Tony Stark, was promised ‘it would be the last time’”

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  1. Immaculate Misconception says:

    I’m not too concerned if RDJ never comes back as Tony Stark, but I’ve got fingers and toes crossed for a third Sherlock Holmes movie. 🤞🏻 Maybe it will happen if he’s no longer tied up with Marvel.

  2. North of Boston says:

    I’m okay with him never reprising Iron Man. The character had a good arc, and as you said, that final line brought him full circle.

    Marvel hasn’t lost its shine because the OG Avengers are gone. It lost its shine because they put out some sloppy clunkers.

    If you’re producing a big CBM franchise you need to nail at least two out of the three of Storyline, Character and Effects. Sometimes even one of those will carry a single one off project, get you over the hump, if you do it well enough or have built up enough goodwill, momentum going in.

    But they’ve had multiple “off” projects that whiffed some or even all 3 of those, and have muddled things with a focused approach to introducing the multiverse. There have been a few gems or decent projects that work as standalones.

    (Plus how they landed some of the female characters left a bad taste in my mouth: BW, Gamora and then even Wanda, burning some goodwill there. – not to mention the shenanigans that went on with paying SJ for BW, something they never pulled with her male OG Avenger co-stars. I’ve liked some of the Disney+ stuff, but none of it is must see anymore)

    • SarahCS says:

      Yes to all of the above!

      We re-watched the first Iron Man last night but I have no desire to go back to the other two. I’ve watched all the phase 1-3 movies more than once (including a pandemic viewing in timeline order which was fun) but I’m losing interest now and have no interest in doing half the homework that is expected of us these days. I did want to see The Marvels at the cinema but that hasn’t worked out so I’m counting down to it appearing on streaming. I don’t think I’ll ever bother with the third Ant Man (loved the first) and we’ll probably watch GOTG3 at some point over the holidays.

    • Lightpurple says:

      As aside from the multiverse showing up in several storylines, there has been little to connect the new characters to anyone or anything else. How do The Eternals intersect with Moon Knight or Mobius or Ant Man or Dr Strange or Thor?

  3. Seraphina says:

    Rosie, I agree with EVERYTHING you wrote verbatim. It has been taxing to keep up with all the movies and when having to subscribe to certain channels – forget it (like the Nick Fury series recently released).
    And all three characters you named were great in their roles. That said, I fell down the rabbit hole of a theory that Black Widow was not BW but the adoptive sister (due to the change in hair color in Endgame). It’s a lot. But I enjoyed all the movies with my kids.

  4. Mimi says:

    I think the tv shows behind paywall did them in. When I saw the Marvels (in theatre), I realized I wouldn’t have understood 2/3 of it without the Disney+ shows.

  5. Twin Falls says:

    The last Guardians of the Galaxy and the last Dr Strange were too dark and the last Ant Man was just a hot mess. I didn’t really care for the most recent Thor either come to think of it.
    Spider-Man is still going strong and we all like the animated movies too.
    The only tv show I’ve watched was the Nick Fury one and I liked it.

    I’m going to take this opportunity to say I had no idea Disney+ pulled the Willow tv series and now it’s gone forever. I find this trend of destroying content for tax /profit purposes so disturbing.

    • SarahCS says:

      I agree with what you say about Dr Strange and Thor but haven’t bothered with the other two. I’m not going to bother with Ant Man and figured we’d probably watch GOTG at some point but now I’m doubting that!

      We finally watched the latest Spiderman recently but I can’t say it did much for me.

      As for completely getting rid of content it’s awful. I still occasionally buy stuff on DVD and don’t plan on stopping.

    • MinorityReport says:

      I recommend Guardians 3. It’s actually my favorite of them. Central story is about rocket’s origins. It’s heartbreaking and heartwarming.

      Also, I really enjoyed Nick Fury’s tv series.

  6. michel says:

    I loved Marvel movies and watched all of them. However, it is just too much. Having to watch entire series before the next movie comes out is a lot. It feels like homework now. I just want to watch a movie not live the lifestyle.