Robert Downey Jr. Open to Playing Iron Man Again

Robert Downey Jr. is willing to save the mega-franchise he helped start. In an interview with Esquire (which was published today but was conducted partly in January and partly in the days after he won the Best Supporting Actor Oscar for Oppenheimer),  Downey was inevitably asked about Marvel and whether or not he’d return to the role that made him a superstar, Tony Stark. His answer was a bit surprising, considering how cagey he’s been on the subject:

“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.”

Of course, this could have just been an off-the-cuff remark to a question in an interview (which is very good and a must-read for RDJ fans). It could also be that, now that he’s won an Oscar for an incredible performance in a role that challenged him in different ways than Stark did, he feels a bit more accomplished, like he’s proven something to himself and those who derided his Marvel years as “not serious acting” and feels comfortable putting on the Iron Man armor again. Those scenarios may even be the most likely. But a part of me wonders if conversations have happened and a deal has been struck. Despite Downey’s kind words, betting against Kevin Feige has been safer than not lately, as the MCU spirals down from the lofty heights upon which it sat when Robert Downey Jr. was around. And Feige has indicated that Tony Stark would not return, saying he would not want to “touch that moment again” and “would never want to magically undo it in any way,” referring to Stark’s self-sacrificial death that stopped arch-villain Thanos and saved the universe. But the language leaves at least one loophole, and the prevalence of the multiverse in the MCU suggests that a Tony Stark could show up, if not the Tony Stark.

Would that be a good thing? In artistic terms, probably not. First, there are the diminishing of stakes using the multiverse in this way results in; death need not matter if we can have Downey back as Iron Man, albeit with an asterisk next to his name. Second, ironically, is the asterisk itself; we’d know this was not the Tony Stark, that it was a veritable stranger with the looks and mannerisms of the character we loved and watched grow, fall, rise, and, eventually, die. That’s two fronts on which Tony Stark’s return wouldn’t matter. Another problem is that by and large, Marvel sucks right now; I don’t want to see them resurrect (by whatever means) Tony Stark only to have him defer to Riri Williams or accept a lecture from Ant-Man’s daughter without even attempting to defend himself. And even beyond that, I don’t want him to return in a half-assed story that doesn’t hold together in a movie with awful special effects and bad humor that cheapens Downey’s brilliant comic timing. But I think that, despite their determination to stay on their woke course, Marvel desperately needs a hit right now, and they’d do pretty much anything to get Robert Downey Jr. back for at least one movie.

Leave a Reply

Subscribe to our mailing list to get the new updates!