I’ve never really expected an Iron Man 4, however naive that may seem. I really, really liked Iron Man 3. So far, having not yet seen Guardians of the Galaxy, it’s my favorite film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. And I had always sort of taken the hint that it was the final Iron Man installment for Robert Downey Jr. It wrapped up his version of Tony Stark’s arc in a way that felt complete to me. Also, anyone who’s paying attention knows that, exempting his appearance in Avengers: Age Of Ultron, he might be getting too expensive for Marvel. Blockbuster dealmaking is a complicated game and once an actor is branded with a successful role it gets extremely expensive to keep them onboard after their initial contract expires.
But Robert Downey Jr. isn’t wiping his hands of a potential Iron Man 4 just yet. Despite Gwyneth Paltrow’s prognostication that a 4th film isn’t in the cards (and Downey himself seeming noncommittal over a year ago), there still might be another go-around for Marvel and the original Tony Stark. Hit the jump for more on the potential for Robert Downey Jr. returning to Iron Man 4.
Downey told Entertainment Weekly:
“It’s down to Kevin [Feige] and Ike [Perlmutter, CEO of Marvel Entertainment] and Disney to come to us with what the proposal is, and that’s on us to agree or disagree. When things are going great, there’s a lot of agreement. Right now, this [Avengers 2] has just been swell, hasn’t it? This has been a really good one and it feels good and we’re having a good time.”
He then added:
“It’s that thing of: Why give up the belt when it feels like you can barely get jabbed?”
Basically, it seems that he’s saying he’ll sign on for another round if the deal is sweet enough. Dealmaking in the press is nothing new for Downey and Marvel. Last year Kevin Feige threw down the gauntlet, essentially saying Tony Stark could be played by different actors (who in all mathematical likelihood would have a lower quote than Downey) a la James Bond:
“I believe there will be a fourth Iron Man film and a fifth and a sixth and a 10th and a 20th. 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.”
What does all of this really hinge on? The sliding scale of Downey’s value to Marvel (a notoriously frugal studio). They’ll project Iron Man 4’s profits with Downey against the film’s prospects without him and, if the difference in the plus column exceeds Downey’s quote, they just might go back to him. With a whopping eight untitled movies on their slate, there’s a chance we might hear more about this at the San Diego Comic-Con this week.