Though Iron Man 3 only just hit theaters a couple of weeks ago (and crossed the $1 billion mark at the box office today), many of the conversations surrounding the film have revolved around the prospect of Iron Man 4. A fourth film in Marvel’s most prominent—and successful—franchise seems like a no-brainer, but there’s the tiny matter of star Robert Downey Jr.’s contract. His agreement with Marvel is currently up for renegotiation, meaning there is no guarantee that he’ll don the Iron Man suit again. The actor is said to be in negotiations to return for The Avengers 2 and The Avengers 3, but an agreement has yet to be made regarding another standalone Iron Man film.
Downey and Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige recently talked a bit about the prospect of seeing Iron Man 4 pop up in Marvel’s Phase Three slate of films, and while Feige is confident that the character will live on no matter what happens, Downey seems keen on taking a break from Tony Stark for a bit. Hit the jump for more.
Speaking with the folks at EW, Downey admitted that the lengthy amount of time in between Iron Man movies might prove difficult for the 48-year-old actor to return:
“I’d go start another one tomorrow, but it’s not tomorrow. And there are a lot of other considerations. But I also don’t like the idea of leaving people hanging or leaving people in the lurch.”
Downey went on to note that he wants to launch a new, separate franchise that has nothing to do with Marvel:
“My intent is to launch another franchise, independent of any that I can even imagine right now. My intent is to dominate the playing field for as long as I can, with my own challenges, with myself.”
The actor doesn’t exactly sound assured about returning for Iron Man 4, but then again the contract negotiations with Marvel are said to be rather heated so this could all be part of some negotiating tactic. Downey certainly isn’t at a lack for projects, and he’s hoping to soon start production on a new Pinocchio film based on an idea of his own that Ben Stiller may direct. There’s also another Sherlock Holmes film to consider, in addition to any other exciting new offers that come his way.
Feige says Marvel Studios is talking with Downey about if and when he could reprise the character. But if it doesn’t happen, we could find ourselves with a reboot. It has happened before, though rarely with a character so singularly identified with one actor.
“I believe there will be a fourth Iron Man film and a fifth and a sixth and a 10th and a 20th,” the producer says. “I see no reason why Tony Stark can’t be as evergreen as James Bond. Or Batman for that matter. Or Spider-Man. I think Iron Man is a character just like that.”
Luckily Phase Three is still a long ways off, but Iron Man is most certainly the golden goose for Marvel so the studio will be approaching the fourth installment very, very carefully. We should hear more firm word about the film’s fate soon, and it’ll be interesting to see how Marvel proceeds should Downey opt not to return.
Check out a recent update on Ant-Man from director Edgar Wright here. And here’s Kevin Feige talking about BLACK PANTHER, PUNISHER, GHOST RIDER, BLADE, INHUMANS, DAREDEVIL, RUNAWAYS and MARVEL ZOMBIES Movies.