It isn’t a secret that there is a loud group of fans that want Robert Downey Jr. back as Iron Man. Recently, some of these fans bought a billboard demanding his character return. It was 2008’s Iron Man that started the modern Marvel Cinematic Universe. It makes sense that fans wouldn’t want to let him go, even after the climactic finale for Tony Stark in Endgame. There have been rumors of him appearing in many different projects. Sometimes as part of the Multiverse, in a flashback, and sometimes as another character Marvel could resurrect.
According to a new rumor from insider Daniel Richtman, Kevin Fiege, the President of Marvel Studios, wants to bring Robert Downey back to play Stark so he can meet up with Mr. Fantastic in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. This rumor immediately begs to question just what Kevin Fiege knows about the plans for Fantastic Four. That movie is a ways off, but what could possibly happen in it that would justify bringing Tony Stark back on screen?
As the head of Marvel, Fiege of course knows more about the entirety of Phase 4 and what’s coming. But is anything really worth undoing the sacrifice Robert Downey Jr.’s character made in Avengers: Endgame? While many characters have been brought back to life by Marvel, there has to be a line in any universe, right? A line that, once you cross it, audiences no longer feel comfortable grieving for a character they assume will have to return. It ruins the emotional resonance of those deaths if they’re always returning, even in a poignant situation like Stark’s.
So, does Robert Downey Jr. want to come back to play Iron Man once again? Maybe. It’s impossible to tell from what the actor has said. Prior to 2020, it sounded like he very much believed he would never play Tony Stark again. He talked about distancing himself from the Marvel Cinematic Universe and taking on new projects. Then, in 2020, the actor very famously said “never say never” on the possibility of his return. It sounded like he had no particular intentions of returning, and definitely nothing soon, but that he was opening up to that possibility. This is the kind of vague response that gives hopes to fans who want to see him return, but just enough to be torturous.
If Robert Downey Jr. did come back though, why for Fantastic Four? All we know so far is that fans believed John Krasinksi would be in it as Reed Richards, aka Mr. Fantastic, but that doesn’t sound like it’s necessarily happening. We know that Jon Watts, the current Spider-Man director, is on board to direct the film. We know that it’s likely not coming in 2021 or 2022, since Marvel’s schedules are full and no more news has come out about the project. Really, the most we’ve seen so far is a tweet from Marvel announcing the director and showing off a pretty Fantastic Four graphic.
With only that much released and the project seemingly so far off, it’s hard to imagine that what Richtman has heard is true and Robert Downey Jr. is on board before any more decisions have been made. Of course, the rumor doesn’t say that Mr. Fantastic would meet Tony Stark in Fantastic Four. There’s the possibility that this rumor proves true and Feige wants to see the characters meet up in another film.
Will Robert Downey Jr. ever return as Iron Man? It seems unlikely. Will fans ever stop talking about the possibility of him taking on the role again? That seems even less likely. Somethings, you just love too much to ever give up on. Tony Stark would be the first to tell you that he is one of them.