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Robert Downey Jr. Would ‘Happily’ Return to Marvel: Iron Man Is an ‘Integral a Part of My DNA’

Robert Downey Jr Would Happily Return to Marvel
Robert Downey Jr Neil Mockford/FilmMagic

Robert Downey Jr. is on a career-high now that he has an Oscar — but that doesn’t mean he won’t return as Iron Man.

The actor, 59, told Esquire that he’d “happily” return as Tony Stark after his character died in 2019’s Avengers: Endgame.

“It’s too integral a part of my DNA,” he added. “That role chose me.”

When he was cast as the lead in 2008’s Iron Man, the movie that launched the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Downey was rebuilding his career after a prison stint and getting sober. Insurance companies didn’t want to cover him, and to cover the high premiums, he was paid a reported $500,000 (a minimal salary for a household name) with a promise of backend profits if the movie was successful.

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The risk paid off with Iron Man earning more than $585 million worldwide, and Downey ended up being one of the most highly-paid actors in Hollywood by the end of his run, which included nine blockbusters. He took in an estimated $75 million for Endgame alone.

Robert Downey Jr Would Happily Return to Marvel
Robert Downey Jr Cover Images

Though Marvel movies have recently underperformed at the box office, Downey believes that Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige — considered the mastermind of the MCU — can be trusted to continue providing epic blockbusters.

“And look, I always say, never, ever bet against Kevin Feige,” the star added. “It is a losing bet. He’s the house. He will always win.”

Feige, however, has made it clear that bringing Tony Stark back to life — and unraveling the emotional impact of the character’s death — isn’t the plan right now.

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“We are going to keep that moment and not touch that moment again,” Feige told Vanity Fair in December 2023. “We all worked very hard for many years to get to that, and we would never want to magically undo it in any way.”

While no plans are set, Downey isn’t the only Avenger ready to put the superhero suit back on. Chris Evans, who played Captain America from 2011 until 2019, said he’d consider returning but admitted he has hesitations.

“Yeah, maybe. I’ll never say never, just because it was such a wonderful experience. But I’m also very precious with it,” Evans told GQ in a September 2023 profile. “It’s something that I am very proud of,” the actor said. “And like I said, sometimes I can’t believe it even happened. And I wouldn’t want the black eye if it felt like a cash grab or if it didn’t live up to expectations or if it just felt like it wasn’t connected to that original thing. So, no time soon.”

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