After more than a decade playing Tony Stark in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Robert Downey Jr. ended his run as Marvel’s Iron Man with 2019’s Avengers: Endgame. While death doesn’t mean much in comic book movies – especially considering in that same film, multiple heroes returned from the dead – it seemed as though Stark’s death was a fitting end for the character. However, a new rumor hints that Robert Downey Jr. might not be done with the Marvel Cinematic Universe and could be making an appearance in another Marvel project.
We Got This Covered is reporting that Robert Downey Jr. is rumored to be appearing in the new Disney+ series Ironheart. However, We Got This Covered doesn’t say where this information comes from, only citing nameless sources, so this rumor might be more wishful thinking than close to reality.
Considering the character of Ironheart is a teenage genius who built herself a suit of armor akin to the one Iron Man wears, having Robert Downey Jr. appear as a sort of mentor would make quite a bit of sense. In the comics, Ironheart is guided by an artificial intelligence program that takes on Tony Stark’s persona, so if Downey Jr. were to actually appear in Ironheart, it’s possible it could just be as a vocal performance.
But this news directly clashes with what Robert Downey Jr. has said in recent interviews about his time as Tony Stark. Downey Jr. has said of Tony Stark and Iron Man, “I’ve done all I could with that characters and can do other things now.” Downey Jr. also points out that looking to further projects, he thinks about the time commitment that would take and how that would take him away from his wife and kids.
Though shooting a humongous action film certainly takes a lot of time for Robert Downey Jr., doing a voice cameo in a series wouldn’t take much of a time commitment at all. Even though Downey Jr. has said he’s done all he can with the character of Tony Stark, he will be reprising the role for another upcoming Disney+ series, the animated What If…? Since it’s uncertain in what capacity Tony Stark will appear in What If…?, it’s entirely possible the part could be pulled together from old material.
But it seems extremely unlikely that Robert Downey Jr. will come back in a physical capacity to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, despite how many rumors keep popping up that Iron Man could return to this world. We have seen that the memory of Tony Stark lives on in Peter Parker, and maybe that tradition will also continue with Ironheart. In a vocal cameo, Downey Jr. makes some sense, but considering the actor’s insistence he’s done with the character, don’t expect to see the physical Robert Downey Jr. in a new Marvel Cinematic Universe film any time soon.
Yet we will at least hear Robert Downey Jr. return to the Marvel Cinematic Universe in What If…?, which premieres some time in 2021. We’ll also see if he makes an appearance in Ironheart, but that might take a while since the upcoming series is still only in development at this time.