Robert Downey Jr. will reprise his iconic role as Iron Man in two more “Avengers” films.
The actor had signed a two-picture agreement to star as Tony Stark/Iron Man in “Marvel’s The Avengers 2” and “Marvel’s The Avengers 3,” Marvel officially confirmed earlier today.
Downey will look to continue his winning streak with Marvel. His last two films with the company, “Marvel’s The Avengers” and “Iron Man 3,” are two of the top five grossing films of all time, collectively earning more than $2.7 billion worldwide to date.
Robert Downey Jr. isn’t the only key component returning to the “Avengers” universe. Marvel also confirmed that Joss Whedon would be back for the sequel, which will reportedly feature a combination of familiar faces from the first film and the introduction of new characters.
Whedon will write and direct “Marvel’s The Avengers 2.” Production on the film is estimated to begin in March 2014, with a projected release date of May 1, 2015, Marvel said.
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The return of Downey was anything but certain. As Deadline points out, Marvel had entered into a series of tense contract negotiations with the actor to secure his return. He reportedly made $50 million on the first “Avengers” film and $35 million on “Iron Man 3.” His original contract with Marvel ended after the release of "Iron Man 3."
Downey is often credited with the success of “Iron Man” franchise due to his unique portrayal of the titular character.
“He is Iron Man. He is Iron Man in the way that Sean Connery was James Bond,” Joss Whedon told The Daily Beast earlier this month. “I have no intention of making ‘Avengers 2’ without him, nor do I think I’ll be called upon to do that. I don’t think it’s in my interest, Marvel’s interest or his interest, and I think everything will be fine. But I know that this is Hollywood and you roll with things. You have to be ready for the unexpected.”
Getting Downey to sign for two more “Avengers” films is big news for fans. Interestingly, however, Marvel’s announcement makes no mention of a fourth “Iron Man” picture.
Will Marvel cast a different actor as Tony Stark going forward?
“I believe there will be a fourth Iron Man film and a fifth and a sixth and a 10th and a 20th,” Marvel president Kevin Feige told EW.com. “I see no reason why Tony Stark can’t be as evergreen as James Bond. Or Batman for that matter. Or Spider-Man. I think Iron Man is a character just like that.”
After the release of the second and third “Avengers” films, it’s entirely possible that Downey will hang up his “Iron Man” suit for good.