Throughout all of the excitement and anticipation regarding Marvel's Phase 3 and Phase 4 films, there's been one looming dark cloud hanging over them: Some of the characters we've gotten to know of the last few years are either going to die, disappear, or be recast. It's just a fact of Hollywood life. Contract terms are met, salary negotiations sometimes lead to turmoil, actors decide they want to make smaller films for a while, you name it. There are a number of reasons why we won't have an endless supply of Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, and Chris Hemsworth appearances for years to come.
The most obvious one that we'll have to bid adieu to is Robert Downey Jr. His Tony Stark has become the face of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but his price tag has also reached near cosmic levels. For a while now, we've been thinking that the actor was going to be exiting the world of Marvel. Those murmurs go back to the first AVENGERS movie in 2012, when it started to look like IRON MAN 3 may be one of RDJ's final rides as Iron Man. Somewhere along the way, though, his involvement in the MCU films was thrown a lifeline. Now we hear that not only will he be in CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR, but that he's also expected to feature in at least one of the next two AVENGERS flicks, and is rumored for the Sony/Marvel reboot of SPIDER-MAN.
While that's great news for Marvel Studios, the braintrust there knows that the end of the line is in sight. With that in mind, Forbes asked CIVIL WAR co-director Joe Russo, who will also co-direct AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR PT 1 & 2, what the current mindset is on whether or not Stark should be recast once RDJ makes his exit. Here's what he had to say:
"It’s almost impossible to replace Robert, he’s the biggest movie star in the world. One close up from Robert is worth another actor’s entire performance, he’s incredibly gifted and insanely talented. I think if and when he is done with the character I think you will find that Iron Man might disappear for a while. I think the only way that you could reboot that character is to give a generational gap that would allow another actor to at least have a chance to redefine that character without the enormous spectre of Robert hanging over it. There are so many characters in the Marvel universe that can pick up the ball and run without it through the next phase or two before you need to see Iron Man again, frankly."
What's interesting about Russo's stance isn't just that he thinks Downey Jr. would be nearly impossible to replace, but that he feels Marvel doesn't even need to bother going there. With so many characters, so many storylines, and such a rich history to pull from, Marvel doesn't need to keep going back to the Iron Man well. Sounds like they'd rather just shift focus elsewhere and, if several years from now they feel like telling another Iron Man story, they'll consider who should play him when that time comes.
What do you think?