02.09.2020 Bad news for all Marvel fans: Robert Downey Jr. confirms once again that he’s done with the Marvel Cinematic Universe. He won’t be re-enacting the role of Tony Stark.
Robert Downey Jr. made an appearance on the SmartLess podcast, hosted by Jason Bateman, Sean Hayes, and Will Arnett, where he said straightforwardly that “it’s all taken care of” regarding his MCU obligations when asked how he reconciles the time between family and Marvel movie time after the great death of Iron Man in “Avengers – Endgame”. So for the fans who still had some kind of hope of a return of the great Iron Man in the MCU, the following applies: there will very likely be no return!
Of course, Robert Downey Jr.’s statement is marked with a small asterisk. “That’s all taken care of,” refers to his commitments to film Marvel movies – it doesn’t necessarily speak of his time on screen in MCU projects. A potential leak on Marvel’s “Black Widow” film revealed that Tony Stark aka Iron Man has a cameo moment in the film – but the devil (as always) is in the details. Soon after word got around that RDJ might appear in “Black Widow”, other rumors speculated that it was just a deleted scene from “The First Avenger – Civil War”.
In this scene – which has been shown before but was never released as bonus material – Tony Stark meets Natasha Romanoff and tells her to be on the run. This scene should then serve as a direct bridge to the events of “Black Widow”, since the solo film takes place in the period between “Civil War” and “Avengers – Infinity War”. For Marvel fans, this would be a strong moment of nostalgia as this recycled scene would be a happy reminder of better times when both Iron Man and Black Widow were still living in the MCU and doing well.
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Of course you never want to say “never” at Marvel. Downey really seems to have left his role as Iron Man in the franchise, but there are so many ways Marvel Studios could get him back into the MCU – with the change, of course. Flashbacks and resurrections are common themes in the comics that are on the table – and when Riri Williams aka Ironheart comes into the MCU, RDJ’s voice is the one fans want for their armor’s AI system …
About Iron Man in the MCU
Anthony Edward “Tony” Stark was an eccentric, self-proclaimed genius, billionaire, playboy, and philanthropist, and a former head of Stark Industries. With his great wealth and exceptional technical knowledge, Stark enjoyed the Playboy lifestyle for many years until he was kidnapped by the Ten Rings. With his life at stake, Stark created an armored suit that he used to escape his kidnappers, return home, and become the armored superhero known as Iron Man.
Tony Stark enjoyed the fame that came with his new secret identity and decided to share it with the world by publicly calling himself Iron man presented. After defeating enemies around the world as Iron Man, Stark himself was dying as his own arc reactor slowly poisoned his body while challenged by vengeful terrorist Ivan Vanko who tried to destroy his legacy. With her support in many struggles, Stark reluctantly agreed to serve as an advisor to Director Nick Fury’s Peacekeeping Intelligence Agency SHIELD, where he used his position to improve her technology while he began a relationship with Pepper Potts. When the world was threatened again, Stark was convinced to join the Avengers and helped defeat the Chitauri and Loki. As a result of the battle, he suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder that led him to create the Iron Legion to protect the world and help him withdraw.
Threats from the Mandarin forced Stark to come out of retirement to protect the world. Stark continued his mission and found out that Aldrich Killian was behind the attacks and Trevor Slattery was a sham Mandarin and Stark defeated Killian, almost losing Pepper Potts in the process. After the battle, Stark destroyed all of his armor using the Clean Slate Protocol. However, when the Avengers were officially remobilized due to the war against Hydra, Stark built more armor and resumed his role as Iron Man, helping them capture Wolfgang von Strucker and gaining Loki’s scepter.
After the threat from Hydra was finally over, Stark, with the help of Bruce Banner, built Ultron as a new peacekeeping Artificial Intelligence. To protect the world and allow the Avengers to retreat. However, Ultron believed that humanity was threatening the world and therefore decided to wipe humanity out. Through the work of the Avengers, Ultron was defeated, but not without massive civilian costs and many deaths. After the Ultron Offensive, Stark withdrew from active service. The guilt of creating Ultron and causing so much destruction and loss of life eventually convinced Stark to support the Sokovia Accord. However, Stark’s own strong support for the deal led to a disagreement with his ally, Captain America, who opposed the matter and what it meant to the team.
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Then when Rogers broke the law further to protect the Winter Soldier, Stark was forced to lead the manhunt for his old ally and spark the Civil War. Eventually, Stark learned that Helmut Zemo had manipulated her into a conflict only to show that the Winter Soldier was responsible for the murder of Stark’s parents, which prompted Stark to take revenge and fight both Rogers and Barnes. With Rogers and Barnes on the run, Stark returned to New York to mentor and guide Spider-Man to make him a better hero than ever.
Stark then got engaged to Pepper Potts and was recruited by Doctor Strange and Bruce Banner to protect the earth from Thanos and the Black Order. Strange was captured and that prompted Stark and Spider-Man to rescue him from captivity and travel to the planet Titan to fight Thanos with the help of the Guardians of the Galaxy. Stark later fought directly with Thanos and was able to land some tough hits but was eventually defeated by Thanos. He was ready to die to save the universe, but Doctor Strange interfered. Strange gave Thanos the time stone in exchange for Stark’s life. Stark stayed with Nebula on Titan, where they watched their allies melt into ashes.
Stark and Nebula used the Benatar to escape from Titan but were stranded in space as the ship was damaged. They were rescued by Captain Marvel who took them to the New Avengers Facility. While Nebula was joining the Avengers, Stark retired, married Potts, and had a daughter named Morgan Stark. In 2023, five years after the decimation, Stark rejoined the Avengers after finding the key to the journey through time, traveling back to 2012 to retrieve the scepter with the Thought Stone and then to 1970 at around to regain the tesseract with the space stone. After the Avengers had all six Infinity Stones, Stark used them to eliminate Thanos and his army once and for all, sacrificing his life in the process.
About Riri Williams in the comics
As a 15-year-old student at MIT, Riri Williams made her own suit, also using salvaged parts from an Iron Man suit. Riri replaced Tony Stark as Iron Man after falling into a coma and later took on the role of Ironheart upon Stark’s return.
Riri Williams was born shortly after the death of her father, Riri Williams Sr. She grew up in the South Shore neighborhood of Chicago and lived there with her sister Sharon, her mother Ronnie, and her stepfather. When Riri was five years old, behavior problems prompted her parents to see a child psychologist, who after several tests confirmed Riri to be a super genius. On the recommendation of the psychologist, Riri’s parents sought special care in order to develop her skills and at the same time give her emotional support.
Riri’s intelligence led her to withdraw into her own mind and become introverted. She met her only friend, Natalie Washington, when she was ten after Riri caught Natalie’s attention while she was working on some inventions in her open workshop. A year later, Riri received a scholarship from MIT. The tragedy struck Riri when she was thirteen years old. During a picnic in Marquette Park, Riri, her family and Natalie got into the line of fire when a drive-by shoot hit some bystanders. Although Riri was unharmed, both Natalie and Riri’s stepfather were hit by stray bullets and died.
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What started as a challenge for herself ended up as a secret project to create her own suit. After reverse engineering the technology of the outdated Iron Man Mark 41, Riri began making her own prototype version of the Iron Man suit, using mostly stolen materials from campus. When security found out about her suspicious activities, Riri decided to put on the armor and fly away.
After flying around the country trying to control her suit’s flight capabilities, Riri intercepted a few inmates fleeing New Mexico State Prison. She managed to stop the speeding truck they were using as an escape vehicle, but at the expense of their armor. After learning of Riri’s performance, Tony Stark visited her and decided to support Riri’s desire to become a superhero. With a repaired version of her suit, Riri later supported Iron Man in the fight against the forces of Captain Marvel during the second Civil War.