Exclusive: How Robert Downey Jr. Will Return To The Marvel Universe

By Faith McKay | 3 weeks ago

robert downey jr

Will Robert Downey Jr ever return to the Marvel Cinematic Universe? If he does, how will he do so? This is something fans have speculated about for what feels like forever. Further development of the Multiverse in Marvel has a lot of people turning their heads, but it’s never felt right as a possibility for Tony Stark. After Endgame, if the beloved character is going to come back, it has to be just right. Now, thanks to work from one of our trusted and proven inside sources, we have news on how the actor himself wants to see it happen.

We have learned that Robert Downey Jr wants to come back as an A.I. in Ironheart for Disney+. However, there’s one big problem. The actor wants a lot of money in order to return to play the character. While our inside source wasn’t able to learn how much money the actor is asking for exactly, it makes sense that the budget on a Disney+ series is different from what the actor was paid to play the part in Endgame.


Tony Stark’s return as an A.I. in Ironheart would make a lot of sense. The show will be based on the comics of the same name. It centers on Riri Williams. She is a 15-year-old inventor and a genius. She doesn’t have a big budget or come from a Stark Industries legacy, so she scavenges for parts. She develops a close relationship with Tony Stark and with Pepper Potts. Eventually, she takes over Iron Man’s responsibilities as her own superhero persona, Ironheart. It would make sense for her to then be having conversations with Artificial Intelligence versions of Tony Stark.

Previously, Robert Downey Jr has supported the idea behind the show. It would make a lot of sense as a place for him to return, both in terms of his character’s storyline and in terms of something the actor has shown some personal interest in. But, that budget. Will Disney want to pay Iron Man’s salary?

At first glance, it may make little sense for Marvel to want to pay the kind of salary that gets you Robert Downey Jr on a series for streaming. If you’re going to pay the kind of salary that gets you the character that started the Marvel Cinematic Universe, you may want to use that for feature films. Avengers: Endgame had a budget of $356-$400 million, but it earned back $2.798 billion at the worldwide box office. Whatever amount gets you Tony Stark is probably worth it when you’re in that arena.

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However, there are reasons to believe that Marvel may be willing to up their budget to get Robert Downey Jr on Ironheart, and also reasons to believe that the actor may also negotiate. On the side of the studio, they must be excited to see even a small opening to get the actor back in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Endgame gave Tony Stark a fitting ending. After that, the actor gave interviews making it sound pretty clear that he wouldn’t return. Then, in a much-discussed interview, he actually said, “Never say never”.

For fans, this was everything. For Marvel, that must have been a big moment, one they knew they had to approach carefully. With how hesitant Robert Downey Jr has been to reprise the role of Tony Stark after the character’s fitting end, any sign that he would consider returning must have been a big deal.

iron man 3 robert downey jr

If Marvel wants to see Tony Stark in their movies again, they’ll have to reestablish a working relationship with Robert Downey Jr. They’ll have to reestablish his character on screen again in a way that makes sense. And they’ll have to find their in with the actor on a project he has shown an interest in. If they have to break their budget on Ironheart in order to pay Robert Downey Jr’s fee, they may see that as a price they’re willing to pay in order to open the door for Tony Stark to return to future MCU projects.

As for Robert Downey Jr lowering that price tag, he may be convinced. Perhaps because of nostalgia. His role in Iron Man gained him a lot of respect after a lot of years of facing public doubt. He may also realize that while he’s picking up the role of Tony Stark again, joining a streaming project for Disney+ is a little different, price tag-wise. Also, he may be able to negotiate other things, like more control over his role, while he’s talking to them about the budget.

It’s hard to know what will be most important to Robert Downey Jr overall. Even though he’s asking for a lot of money to return, that could be an opening tactic to get the studio to budge elsewhere. We’ll have to wait and see how this works out in the end, but hopefully, it will be with a Tony Stark AI hovering over Riri Williams’ shoulder. Could there be anything better to get people excited about Ironheart? That’s hard to imagine.