Marvel Boss Kevin Feige Confirms Robert Downey Jr.’s Iron Man Not Returning to the MCU
Robert Downey Jr.’s iconic final farewell as Iron Man in 2019’s mega-blockbuster Avengers: Endgame will remain MCU canon. Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige confirmed this in an interview with Vanity Fair.
“We are going to keep that moment and not touch that moment again,” Feige told VF about Tony Stark’s sacrifice at the end of Endgame. “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 one of three major Marvel players to see their characters killed (Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow also sacrificed herself for the greater good, yet she was still able to appear in Black Widow as that film was set before the events in Endgame) or aged into retirement (here’s looking at you, Captain America). There has been scuttlebutt as of late about the possibility of Downey Jr. and Evans returning to the MCU fold somehow, but Feige has now made it clear that, at least for Downey Jr.’s Iron Man, that’s not happening.
The Vanity Fair piece, which is about Downey Jr.’s career, delves into how he was almost passed over for the role of Tony Stark, with the studio reticent about signing him up despite the vote of confidence from Feige and director Jon Favreau.
“It purely came down to the Marvel board being nervous at putting all of their chips in their future films on somebody who famously had those legal troubles in the past,” Feige told VF. “I wasn’t very good — and I’m still not great — at taking no for an answer. But I also don’t pound my chest to try to get my way. I try to figure out ways to make it as clear to other people why we should head in a direction. And that’s when the idea of a screen test came up.”
Downey Jr., who was coming off an Oscar nomination for his work in Chaplin, submitted to the screen test. The rest is history. Iron Man, which arrived in 2008, was a massive success, and he became one of the most crucial members of the Avengers and was more or less the face of the MCU, alongside Chris Evans as Captain America. Downey Jr. eventually managed to use his own contract negotiations to get higher pay for his co-stars ahead of the first Avengers in 2012.
“We used to joke and say that Robert was the head of the acting department because everybody there looked up to him,” Feige told VF. “He took them all under his wing but not in a subservient sense. He just became their cheerleader.”
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Featured image: Marvel Studios’ AVENGERS: ENDGAME. Tony Stark/Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) .Photo: Film Frame. ©Marvel Studios 2019