Robert Downey Jr. will not be returning as Iron Man in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, according to Kevin Feige.
In a recent Vanity Fair cover story about Downey Jr., the president of Marvel Studios addressed whether or not they would resurrect Iron Man/Tony Stark after his death in “Avengers: Endgame.”
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“We are going to keep that moment and not touch that moment again,” Feige said of Stark’s final moments in the 2019 film. “We all worked very hard for many years to get to that, and we would never want to magically undo it in any way.”
Downey Jr., who made his Marvel debut in 2008’s “Iron Man,” was nearly passed over for the role due to his reputation, which included being arrested in April 1996 for possession of heroin, cocaine and an unloaded gun. However, Feige and director Jon Favreau were determined to have the actor portray the titular superhero in the film.
“It purely came down to the Marvel board being nervous at putting all of their chips in their future films on somebody who famously had those legal troubles in the past,” Feige said of Downey’s arrests. “I wasn’t very good — and I’m still not great — at taking no for an answer. But I also don’t pound my chest to try to get my way. I try to figure out ways to make it as clear to other people why we should head in a direction. And that’s when the idea of a screen test came up.”
Back in June, former Marvel Studios president David Maisel also claimed that he played a key role in convincing Marvel’s board to hire Downey Jr. instead of their other candidate, Timothy Olyphant.
“My board thought I was crazy to put the future of the company in the hands of an addict,” Maisel said bluntly. “I helped them understand how great he was for the role. We all had confidence that he was clean and would stay clean.”
Downey Jr. appeared in nine Marvels films over the course of 11 years. In his interview with Vanity Fair, Feige remembered how supportive Downey Jr. was to his Marvel co-stars, saying, “We used to joke and say that Robert was the head of the acting department because everybody there looked up to him.”
Feige continued, “He took them all under his wing but not in a subservient sense. He just became their cheerleader.”
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