Kevin Feige has confirmed that the chapter of Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man is firmly closed. In a recent Vanity Fair profile on the actor, the president of Marvel Studios provided an update for fans eagerly anticipating Tony Stark’s return. Downey’s iconic character met his demise in 2019’s Avengers: Endgame, and since then, the actor has not reprised the role.
Feige stated, “We are going to keep that moment and not touch that moment again,” when questioned about Downey’s potential return to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. He emphasized the collective effort invested over the years to reach that pivotal moment and expressed the studio’s commitment to preserving it without any magical reversals.
Joe Russo, director of Endgame, revealed that the cast and crew bid tearful goodbyes on the last day of shooting in 2019, affirming that everyone had emotionally moved on. Downey was assured it would be his final portrayal of Tony Stark. Anthony Russo added that it was challenging for Downey to return for his last line as Stark, shot in close proximity to his original audition location.
In a separate revelation within the Vanity Fair feature, Feige shared insights into Marvel Entertainment executives’ initial reluctance to cast Downey as Stark in 2008’s Iron Man. Concerns stemmed from Downey’s past legal troubles. Feige recalled facing opposition, but rather than insisting forcefully, he proposed a screen test to make a compelling case for Downey.
Ultimately, the gamble paid off, and Downey went on to embody Stark in 10 films from 2008 to 2019. Three of these films rank among the top 10 highest-grossing movies of all time. In May, Iron Man director Jon Favreau and Feige celebrated the 15th anniversary of Downey’s debut in the iconic armor suit, reflecting on how he almost landed a different role in the Marvel universe.
Favreau recalled meeting Downey for another project, possibly Fantastic Four, before casting him as Iron Man. Recognizing Downey’s spark and understanding of Stark’s character, Favreau emphasized how it made his role as a director easier. The collaboration proved to be a significant success, shaping the legacy of Iron Man in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.