Exclusive: Robert Downey Jr. Being Replaced As Tony Stark

Who could do it?

By Michileen Martin | Published

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robert downey jr

Yes, we know it sounds like a mistake, we know it sounds like blasphemy, but take a breath and let us explain. Our trusted and proven source has let us know that Marvel is looking for a new actor to replace Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark, but — as you might guess considering the current state of affairs in the Marvel Cinematic Universe — there’s a twist. Rather than resurrecting the Tony Stark who died in 2019’s Avengers: Endgame, our source tells us Marvel is looking for a younger actor — in their twenties or thirties — to play a younger version of Stark from another universe. The younger Iron Man will be appearing in the two upcoming event films, Avengers: The Kang Dynasty and Avengers: Secret Wars.

No doubt hearing that Marvel wanted to replace Robert Downey Jr. had some fans thinking of Tom Cruise, but considering how young the studio wants to go, the Mission: Impossible star would seem to be out of the running. Marvel tends to be very thorough in their casting process and it’s served them well, so sadly we can’t yet tell you exactly who will play this younger version of Tony Stark, but we can give you one name of an actor who is almost certainly in the running: Joseph Quinn, better known as the heroic Eddie Munson of Netflix’s Stranger Things.

joseph quinn
Joseph Quinn as Eddie Munson in Stranger Things

While it can be tough to recognize because we’re used to seeing Quinn with long hair and dressed like a Midwestern metalhead, Joseph Quinn has an absolutely uncanny resemblance to a young Robert Downey, Jr. We can’t take credit for being the first to notice the similarities though. As Pop Buzz reported in June, almost as soon as Stranger Things‘ fourth season started streaming, the fans falling in love with Eddie Munson noticed the resemblance and fan-cast Quinn for a potential Robert Downey Jr. biopic. To be clear — while we know Marvel is looking to cast a new, younger Tony Stark, we can’t confirm they’re looking at Joseph Quinn. But between the similarities, Quinn’s acting chops, and the popularity he’s experienced in the wake of his Stranger Things role, we can confirm they’d be bonkers to not consider him. You can see some fans comparing the actors in the tweets below.

Whoever plays the younger variant of Robert Downey Jr.’s signature character, they may actually not be playing Tony Stark; variant or otherwise. In 2005, Young Avengers #1 premiered featuring a group of younger characters whose looks and powers all seemed to be based on pre-existing Avengers, including the silver-and-red armored Iron Lad. Just as other Young Avengers like Hulking and Wiccan (the latter was originally called Asgardian and his look copied Thor) would prove to have little or no connection to the original Avengers line-up, Iron Lad ultimately is revealed to be a variant, but not of Tony Stark. Iron Lad is a variant of Nathaniel Richards, aka Kang the Conqueror. Considering how integral Kang will prove in the upcoming event films — not to mention different Young Avengers characters already popping up all over the MCU — it could be this young Tony Stark is a fake-out.