ANN/THE STATESMAN – Robert Downey Jr will not be returning to portray his iconic character, Iron Man/Tony Stark, in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), Marvel Studios’ president Kevin Feige affirmed.
Featured in a recent Vanity Fair cover story dedicated to Downey Jr, Feige explained the reasoning behind the permanent retirement of the beloved character.
The decision is based on the desire to preserve the impactful moment of Tony Stark’s demise in the 2019 blockbuster Avengers: Endgame. Feige emphasised that the MCU team is resolute in maintaining the emotional and pivotal nature of that moment, opting to leave it untouched.
“We are going to keep that moment and not touch that moment again,” asserted Feige, emphasising the collective effort and dedication that went into crafting Iron Man’s final scenes.
“We all worked very hard for many years to get to that, and we would never want to magically undo it in any way,” he added.
Downey Jr, who first donned the Iron Man suit in the 2008 film of the same name, faced initial skepticism for the role due to his troubled past. In April 1996, the authorities arrested the actor for possession of heroin, cocaine, and an unloaded gun. Despite these legal troubles, Feige and director Jon Favreau were persistent in their desire to cast Downey Jr as the titular superhero.
Reflecting on those early discussions, Feige revealed the Marvel board’s reservations about entrusting their flagship character to an actor with a controversial history.
“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,” acknowledged Feige. Undeterred, he and Favreau proposed the idea of a screen test to showcase Downey Jr’s suitability for the role.
Feige’s recollection underscores the pivotal role Robert Downey Jr played in shaping the MCU. It is also evident of the resilience in overcoming initial doubts. However, with the decision to lay Iron Man to rest, the MCU now looks toward new narratives and characters to propel the ever-expanding cinematic universe into the future.