Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) in Avengers: Endgame.

Robert Downey Jr. Won’t Let Us Put Our Hopes of an Iron Man Return to Rest

Robert Downey Jr as Tony Stark/Iron Man is considered to be one of the greatest casting choices in modern-day cinema. The character seemingly bowed out of the Marvel Cinematic Universe in 2019’s Avengers: Endgame, sacrificing himself to defeat Thanos and his army and save the world… but Robert Downey Jr would still be fine with revisiting Iron Man one day.

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“Vacation’s over”

Robert Downey Jr. picked up an Oscar for his role in Oppenheimer in March, and ever since, media outlets have been picking his brain about his past, present, and future roles. The subject of Iron Man came up in a recent interview with Esquire magazine.

Asked if he would ever return to the Marvel Cinematic Universe now that he has an Oscar, Downey Jr answered, “Happily. It’s too integral a part of my DNA. That role chose me. And look, I always say, Never, ever bet against Kevin Feige. It is a losing bet. He’s the house. He will always win.”

At the end of the interview, on a different subject, he referenced a line straight out of the Iron Man films, saying, “It’s like what Tony Stark says to Pepper Potts when he gets out of the cave and makes it home: ‘All right, vacation’s over.’” So it’s clear that the superhero still holds a place in his heart.

How could Tony Stark ever return to the Marvel Cinematic Universe?

The MCU has a handy way of getting around a character’s death: Just replace them with a variant of themselves from a different universe! The multiverse concept has been used to present different versions of Spider-Man and Scarlet Witch, among others. And it’s been used before to bring characters back from the dead—most notably Loki, who was thought to have died at the hands of Thanos but lived on thanks to time travel to get his own TV show, and Gamora, who had a very similar fate while her slightly different, more hard-bitten variant lived on. Yep, it’s just like how comic books used to use cloning to get out of deaths, but different in enough ways to form part of the basis for the MCU’s new Multiverse Saga.

Robert Downey Jr could therefore potentially return as a variant of Iron Man from another universe, perhaps (and I’m just spitballing here!) one where something big never happened—maybe the Avengers were never formed, or Tony Stark never became a hero in the first place. That would give Downey Jr a new character to play, in a sense, but would see get fans all excited to see Tony again.

Of course, there are other ways Downey Jr could pop back up in the MCU. He could appear in a flashback or vision sequence—perhaps a hero who was close to him, such as Spider-Man or War Machine thinks of him during a moment of crisis—or that hologram of him from Endgame’s funeral scene could become part of a story. (There’s already a fan theory that the hologram is actually an AI of Tony with a consciousness of its own.) Watch this space! But for now, it’s just nice to know that Downey Jr still loves his most famous character as much as we do.

(featured image: Marvel)


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Author
Sarah Barrett
Sarah Barrett (she/her) is a freelance writer with The Mary Sue who has been working in journalism since 2014. She loves to write about movies, even the bad ones. (Especially the bad ones.) The Raimi Spider-Man trilogy and the Star Wars prequels changed her life in many interesting ways. She lives in one of the very, very few good parts of England.