Iron Man 4 remains an uncertainty shrouded in mystery, though appearances as Stark/Iron Man in future Marvel CU titles are definitely happening.
[dropcap size=small]R[/dropcap]obert Downey Jr is easily among the biggest names in Hollywood. Heck, I would even go so far as to say that he is the biggest name in Hollywood, and I would likely get very few rebuttals from an opposing side. That said, RDJ’s biggest role is one that will be tied to his name for the remainder of his days.
While on the ‘Ellen’ show, Downey Jr revealed that Iron Man 4 is on the table and currently being developed, though nothing had been announced about the film and if the timeline established for Phase Three serves as any indicator, it would not be likely to see the film before 2020. However, later that same day, the actor announced on the Late Show with David Letterman that there is not going to be an Iron Man 4.
Iron Man 4 probably won’t happen. It might. But it’s unlikely. Though it could. But it won’t.
This could be a ploy to misdirect fans until an official announcement, as is often the case in situations like this. I would be hard-pressed to believe that Robert Downey Jr is the type of guy to make this kind of mistake on such a large-scale so publicly and with all the money it could bring, any actor would be scoffed at for turning it down. Then again, RDJ already has more money than he could ever spend, and as a serious actor with a range that spans far beyond the outskirts of comic book films, it could be possible that the actor may decide to hang up his armors and do something else. The Sherlock Holmes films for example are part of another successful ongoing franchise that is said to be delivering its third film soon by director Guy Ritchie.
Tony Stark, a role the actor was born to play, is one of if not the most integral parts to the MCU. From his standalone film success that kickstarted it all, to the persona that is hateable and lovable at the same time, it is safe to say that Iron Man is not leaving the MCU any time soon. Keeping that in the forefront of your mind, it does not sound like there will be an Iron Man 4 (any time soon), and if there is, it is possible that it may not be RDJ in the role.
Considering the layout of what Marvel has planned over the next five years, Iron Man 4 does not seem to make a whole lot of sense. Dont get me wrong, another Iron Man film would be rad to have, but as far as timelines are concerned, there is nowhere to put it.
Recently, Robert Downey Jr walked out of an interview with Krishan Guru-Murthy after being asked about his long since forgotten, albeit troubled past. Downey Jr was caught off guard by the questions when he was under the impression he would be talking about the massive success of Age of Ultron and the possibility of Iron Man 4, though it did not seem like he was even able to get to those subjects much before leaving the interview.
Tony Stark’s next big screen featured appearance will be in the third Cap film, Captain America: Civil War, where a legislation is passed requiring all super-humans to register their identity with the government for safety and security purposes. Naturally, Cap and Stark rarely see eye-to-eye, but in this case, it goes to a whole new length adding to the paranoia and panic across the globe as more super-humans, meta-humans, enhanced beings appear either threatening the livelihood of our day-to-days, or attempting to enrich it through salvation.
Either way, the world at large is scared. And Tony Stark believes that if you have a unique ability that falls in this category of being a potential threat, you should show yourself. Steve Rogers, Captain America himself on the other hand, believes it is your god-given right as an American to keep that identity secret if it means keeping yourself and those you care about safe.
Due to the distress and the current state of being after the events of the battle of New York in Avengers one, and Ultron in Avengers two, the debate becomes an all out war with many casualties, and many new faces stepping up to pick aside, including the upcoming yet-to-be-announced wall-crawler, Spider-Man.
Asa Butterfield and Tom Holland are the two narrowed down for Spider-Man.
Okay, so Robert Downey Jr is signed on for Civil War, and Avengers Infinity War Parts I & II, all of which he will be a central focus or featured heavily. Let’s not forget that there are several other Marvel CU films coming out between now and then, all of which could have major cameos and appearances of primary Avengers members, Tony Stark included.
Next up for Marvel is their final Phase Two film, Ant-Man which stars Michael Douglas as Hank Pym and Paul Rudd as Scott Lang who takes on the role of Ant-Man after being trained and groomed by Pym, both of which are likely to be a major part of the Avengers in the future. Hank Pym in particular is unique in this case as he will likely join Ruffalo’s Bruce Banner and Downey Jr’s Stark in developing Stark tech and other gadgets for the heroes, but Pym most notably created the Ultron Project, a bit of information that was amiss and left out entirely in Age of Ultron.
This would be a strong indicator that Bruce Banner or Tony Stark could likely make cameos in the film as the two were the source behind the integration of Ultron into the plot of the film, though it sounds like Hank Pym does indeed have history with S.H.I.E.L.D. and the Avengers.
While talking to /Film‘s Germain Lussier about Ant-Man, Kevin Feige said,
“The truth is the phases mean a lot to me and some people but…Civil War is the start of Phase Three. It just is. And Ant-Man is a different kind of culmination of Phase Two because it very much is in the MCU. You meet new characters and you learn about Hank Pym and his lineage with the MCU over the years. But at the same time, it also picks up the thread of Age of Ultron in terms of heroes – major heroes, Avengers – coming from unexpected places… And in that way it connects a lot. Also, Hank Pym’s attitude towards Avengers, towards S.H.I.E.L.D, and kind of the cinematic universe in general, is much more informed after the events of Age of Ultron, and in a certain way, before the events of Civil War.”
The rest of the schedule (shown above) could feature Robert Downey Jr in a few ways, though as to how, we can’t be for certain. He could appear in Black Panther, as the hero of this film’s origins involves Wakanda, Africa a location visited in Age of Ultron where the villains attempt to gather up Vibranium (the stuff Cap’n America’s shield is made of), the only place in the world the rare metal can be found. After a battle between sides, Hulk falls victim to Scarlet Witch’s mind alteration technique and begins attacking a nearby city, which is where the Iron Hulk Buster armor comes in.
It could be possible that a portion of Black Panther will focus on the rebuilding of the damage left behind the Avengers during the battle in Wakanda, causing T’Challa to engage with the Avengers team as a foe at first, considering the innocent people who were injured during the Avengers arrival, but that is just my take on the matter.
Doctor Strange (who will be played by Ben Cumberbatch *swoon*) is the next most likely appearance of Tony Stark, and we base this on the fact that Steven Strange takes residence in New York, where Avenger’s Tower is located. Strange moves into the a townhouse in Greenwich called the ‘Sanctum Sanctorum’, guarded by Doctor Strange’s mysticism and servant, Wong.
Then of course there is Avengers Infinity War I & II, though Guardians of the Galaxy 2 could feature some Avenger cameos, the most likely of which would be Thor, as the Collector was featured in the after credits scene of Thor 2, and the Asgardian hero seems to be the most aware of the Infinity Stones, the catalyst for all the events in every MCU film thus far.
Captain Marvel (which will feature a female lead we are told) and INHUMANS both take place in between the events of Infinity War I & II so its curious to think if this timeline is constant, Infinity War II may not pick up right where the credits left off from Infinity War I, maybe in an effort to establish the INHUMANS and Captain Marvel along with perhaps some Netflix series tie-ins to bring about more characters for the colossal battle in Infinity War II.
Considering that a standalone Spider-Man film is also in the works, this could be something we see after 2019 has passed, as Spidey is said to appear in Civil War due to his heavy influence and story a part of the Civil War comic book plotline where Peter Parker is torn between sides and jumps ship in an effort to do what is right by his fellow heroes and himself. Though we do not know exactly when a standalone film is said to be released, it is rumored to be heavily in the works at this point and these same rumors suggest that Tony Stark will be training and aiding young Peter Parker in the hopes to make him a great addition to the Avengers team.
There is a long and interesting road ahead of Marvel fans and moviegoers alike, there are many current questions likely to be answered in the coming months or even years. Regardless of the speculation, and desire for more, there are countless high-profile characters who have yet to make it to the big screen. Whether you are looking forward to one of those or an existing character to come back, chances are, you won’t have to wait long.