Kevin Feige Says IRON MAN Could Go the James Bond Route and Change Actors If Necessary

     April 27, 2012


The release of The Avengers is now only a week away, but Marvel and Co. are already busy prepping for the beginning of production on Iron Man 3 later next month.  It’s no secret that much of the first Iron Man’s success is due to the charisma and talent of lead actor Robert Downey Jr., but as these things go, Downey most likely won’t be donning the suit for Iron Man 9.  Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige recently addressed the issue of what the studio would do should Downey decide to bow out of the role in the near future.  Hit the jump to see what he had to say.

kevin_feigeMarvel has famously locked many of their actors into very large multi-picture deals, contractually obligating them to appear in a certain number of Marvel films (Samuel L. Jackson signed on for 9 movies).  However, it’s important to note that Downey entered the fray very early in Marvel’s feature film days, so we don’t exactly know how many movies he’s locked in to.  Badass Digest asked Feige if they would reboot the series if Downey left or if they would simply replace him with another actor and give no explanation for the casting change, a la James Bond:

“I think Bond is a good example. Let’s put it this way: I hope Downey makes a lot of movies for us as Stark. If and when he doesn’t, and I’m still here making these movies, we don’t take him to Afghanistan and have him wounded again. I think we James Bond it.”

This is an interesting notion, as the go-to response for most studios when a franchise begins to lag is to “reboot” it and do the origin story again.  I sincerely hope Downey sticks around for a while, but it’s not hard to imagine him exiting Marvel after The Avengers 2.  An actor of his caliber likely has a million projects on his plate, and doing a big-budget superhero movie every couple of years takes up precious time.

robert-downey-jr-iron-manThe “James Bond” technique doesn’t work for all franchises, but I’m quite intrigued to see how Marvel would implement the strategy.  Given that all their characters are based on comic books, a medium that has been through countless changes over the years, it might be cool to see further Iron Man films done as “new issues” rather than re-doing the origin story with a slightly different take every six years or so.  Moreover, given that all the Marvel films are interconnected, it would be less easy to do a reboot with an entirely different tone and feel without making the character stand in stark contrast to the other films in the Marvel library.

Nevertheless, Downey is definitely around for at least Iron Man 3, so all this talk of reboot vs. James Bond is fairly premature.  If and when the time comes, though, we now have an idea of the route Marvel will take.

  • Notaurious

    I think they should go that route, no need for a reboot Iron Man has a good franchise, no need to reboot. I’m liking Marvel’s approach to their movies, too bad they can’t get their hands on X-Men and do the movies right.

  • Deepak

    I wish more studios would do this with their superheroes. If WB tries to show us how Bruce Wayne became Batman AGAIN after TDKR, then Hollywood has really hit rock bottom…

  • Deepak

    I wish more studios would do this. If WB’s reboot of Batman after TDKR means that we need to see the whole “his parents were killed and he became a tortured soul” routine one more time, then Hollywood has really hit rock bottom…

  • Josiah Rizzo

    A choice that can be respected as most super hero movies are sort of inherit to the whole “sequel” syndrome. A respectful way of dealing with it although, in my opinion, there is no other Tony Stark.

  • Anon

    RDJ IS Iron Man, might as well make it direct2Dvd otherwise

    • William R. Cousert

      Hopefully Robert Downey Jr. will continue to play the role of Stark until his son Exton is old enough to take over.

  • Josiah Rizzo

    a class response as superhero movies are inherit to the whole sequel crazy, although, in my opinion, there is no other Tony Stark.

  • That Guy

    Characters have been recasted in the past so as long as they hire a good actor who can play the character it’s all good.

    Rebooting it wouldn’t work because it’d ’cause for major riffs in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and would be just a mess in general.

  • mee

    i do like marvel’s approach to these movies, but i hate that they recast terrence howard as rhodey. really stood out to me in iron man 2, and regardless of the rumors about howard being difficult, i thought he was great in iron man and played well off of downey.
    was also disappointed with the recast of hulk. love mark ruffalo tho and can’t wait to see what he does with it in the avengers.
    i guess im just saying i wish they didn’t play so fast and loose with these actors and keep em around longer. that’s my one gripe with marvel so far, otherwise i love every movie they’ve put out.

    • Jesus

      Actor switches are an inherent part of any franchise, but at least studios have had the decency to not do what WB did with Batman back in the 90s, casting 3 different actors as Batman in just 6 years. At the moment, (save for the Hulk and Superman) studios seem content to let the same actors sit in their roles for at least 2-3 flicks.

  • Droncz92

    Do it like they make each new Doctor in Doctor Who

  • ScaredForMovies

    I see no problem with this as long as it’s done right. Everyone was complaining about Norton not being the Hulk and from what I hear Ruffalo is the best Hulk yet.

  • Dan

    It makes perfect sense, especially when the movies are interconnected with other Marvel movies. I liken it to a new artist drawing a character for the first time. They might make drastic changes stylistically but as long as the writing is good (or in a movies case the acting) then the story still works.

    How many times are people going to want to see a Batman Reboot? After Nolan kills off Bats (might even be literally killing him off in the movie) then were going to see the origin a 3rd time? How many reboots until the character is ruined?

    Kudos to Marvel for telling everyone their characters are bigger than the industry.

  • Spock Jenkins

    Being an 80s’ kid, I’d be happy seeing Jim Rhodes take over the mantle of Iron Man before they recast Tony, but I don’t imagine that will happen…
    RDJ has already left an indelible stamp on the role, I don’t know who they could cast.
    Will they A) go for someone who emulates RDJ’s fast talking Tony, or B) go for someone completely different?
    As we’re year-by-year closing in on 2020, can we hope to see Arno Stark depicted on screen too??

  • Jeff

    James Bond route would be the best idea. Not exactly looking forward to rebooted Spider-Man nor a possible rebooted Batman…

  • Sean

    Has the James Bond strategy worked for any franchise besides James Bond?

    • Spock Jenkins

      Batman, Doctor Who, Sherlock Holmes, Robin Hood, Superman….

      • Anon

        Neither Robin Hood or Sherlock Holmes work as examples of the James Bond strategy because though they have films based off the same source material they’re not directly related. The Guy Ritchie/RDJ Holmes movies are their own franchise because they’re produced by the same people. Same goes for Robin Hood movies, sure they’re based on the same source material but Errol Fynn’s Robin Hood is hardly in the same franchise as Robin Hood:Men in Tights.

      • Sean

        Batman, Sherlock Holmes, and Superman all have different continuities. You could argue that Batman continued the continuity between the Burton and Schomacher films, but I would hardly call that a successful transition since it fell apart with the 2nd Schomacher film.

        Dr. Who is a good example of successful transitions, but the change is also addressed in the story.

      • James Nelson

        First, the Superman example totally fits since the last Superman movie was in total continuity with the Christopher Reeves films. The movie sucked, but people were completely willing to accept another actor in the role.

        It’s a bit premature to start saying what would or wouldn’t work as it relates to someone else doing the Tony Stark role. Fact is in the comics Stark has evolved tremendously so there is lots of ways an actor can play the character. I like RDJ’s take, but I’m totally not against seeing what another actor could do with it. I can see an actor not wanting to repeat themselves and as long as RDJ is having fun, then I hope he stays with it, but when he wants to move on, I as a fan will tearfully wish him well, and be completely accepting of the next guy (who will have some big shoes to fill).

  • jay wright

    clint eastwood. next iron man



    • Dre Dre


  • Armand

    No way! Robert Downey Jr IS TONY STARK, that character is so tailored to him, only he can do the role justice, besides hes not leaving anytime soon, hes having way too much fun with this Avengers franchise

  • nkutzler

    You know what, Sam Rockwell was considered for Stark at one point. While it wouldn’t make a whole lot of sense for him to become Stark later on since he was Hammer, I’d personally still allow it because he could own the role.

  • Lo Sa

    Recasting is always a tricky thing, sometimes it works (Mark Ruffalo) sometimes it doesn’t (Don Cheadle) RDJ is perfect as Stark, but honestly I would hate to see him doing 10 more of the Iron Man movies. He should spread out and do some other stuff. I would love to see him work with some of the more younger actors who have gotten a lot of critical praise lately. (Hardy, Fassbender, Gosling, Garfield) I hope he does not go all established Hollywood as J. Depp, that would be a waste of his talent. As for Iron Man, yeah I could see a James Bond approach to this, it all depends on whether they cast an interesting actor for the role. I like the Sam Rockwell idea – he is awesome! Maybe RDJ can come back as Stark every now and then, when the have a cool and outlandish script for him to play with!

  • Paul

    But… he makes the perfect Tony Stark :/ I hope there’s someone out their that can fill his shoes.

  • Hazza

    Go the Bond route for sure. If u can still make great movies with other great actors then do it. I don’t like the reboot thing. Haven’t watched it yet so I can’t judge but when I see the amazing spiderman trailer I can’t help thinking “FFS, I’ve seen all this before”

  • Jazzy Jace

    Old news about Marvel being like Bond; Stan Lee said the very same thing when the first Spider-man was released.

  • SupBrah

    I bet they just replace Downey witha hologram next time. Look at that Tupac hologram. Crazy real. No need for real Downey.

  • IcemanHill

    Well there have been rumor of Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow) being pregnant in The Avengers why couldn’t Tony’s son or daughter take over the role…

    Samus Aran anyone? bah hahaha

  • Anon

    If Robert doesn’t play Stark in the next movie, I think we’ll all be disappointed. After his, “doesth my motherth knoweth you’re wearing her drapeths?” I fell in love 8D

  • Shadowhawk

    Robert not as stark would be a complete disaster. You can NOT get people to love a actor as a character then switch it up half way through series. Hulk worked only because there were barley any films and the first film was developed kind of poorly. If Robert looses the roll I am sure many including myself will stop watching the iron man films. He has done a fantastic job so far, why change it?

  • Shadowhawk

    James bond way does not work for super hero films. I should say rarely. It did with hulk because the first hulk film was poorly developed and a huge bond with that actor was never maid for most. Robert is highly loved playing the roll as stark. He does a fantastic job of it. Many including myself will stop watching most iron man films if he leaves and someone new steps in.

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