Marvel Studios has been unequivocal: Yes, someday. They see Tony Stark as being just as evergreen as James Bond. But the unanswered follow-up is: Will a fourth movie be with Robert Downey Jr., the star who helped launch this entire universe of interlocked superhero films?
Everyone is playing coy on that front, but we may find out more this weekend when Marvel starts filling in the blanks on all those untitled movies that have been dated through 2019.
When EW visited the set of Avengers: Age of Ultron, we asked Downey point-blank: Does he want to star in an Iron Man 4?
His answer wasn’t so point-blank. In fact, he starts to sound a little like a Magic 8-Ball as he tries to keep it vague. But the answer we gleaned was: Signs point to yes.
“It’s down to Kevin [Feige, Marvel Studios president] and Ike [Perlmutter, CEO of Marvel Entertainment] and Disney to come to us with what the proposal is, and that’s on us to agree or disagree,” Downey said. “When things are going great, there’s a lot of agreement.”
So far, so good. Each Marvel sequel has outgrossed its predecessor, and Iron Man remains the MVP. And Downey knows it.
“Right now, this has just been swell, hasn’t it?” the actor said with a big smile, during a break in filming on Avengers sequel. “This has been a really good one and it feels good and we’re having a good time.”
If you’re counting, that’s three “goods.” But three isn’t the number that counts most.
Downey was also listed by Forbes this week as the highest paid actor in the world, having earned $75 million over the past year — mostly from his backend deal for Iron Man 3, the highest-grossing movie of last year at $1.2 billion.
Until his bosses decide he’s too rich for their blood, Downey says he’s happy to hold on to the iron mask. “It’s that thing of: why give up the belt when it feels like you can barely get jabbed?” he says — then adds a caveat. “Most people are saying that right when they get knocked out.”
He shrugs, and until Marvel says otherwise, Downey leaves us with points of ellipses and a grin: “The future is, as usual, uncertain.”