Marvel On Resurrecting Robert Downey Jr. As Tony Stark

Will Robert Downey Jr. return to the Marvel Cinematic Universe?

By Faith McKay | Published

This article is more than 2 years old

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You’ve seen Avengers: Endgame. As such, you know that Robert Downey Jr. ended his long run as Tony Stark with a character death that broke hearts around the world. It was a fitting end for the actor. Or was it? 

Many fans have questioned whether Robert Downey Jr. will be back. After all, this is Marvel. They have resurrected major and minor characters in movies long before Endgame. There are so many stories hitting the big screens or taking to Disney+. Fans could spend days just speculating on ways to bring Tony Stark back to life.

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Victoria Alonso sees things differently. As a producer on most of the Marvel Studio films, she is more in-the-know than most on what will and won’t happen in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. When asked about resurrecting Robert Downey Jr.’s character, she told Clarin, “Tony Stark is dead. And that’s our story.” She went on to add that Tony Stark lives on through what he has passed on to Peter Parker. 

However, this is unlikely to be the end of fan speculation. While many will argue that Robert Downey Jr. will never return to Marvel because his character death was so impactful, others will say that Marvel characters are never truly dead. The Marvel comics make a habit of bringing characters back regularly, and this isn’t something the movies have ever shied away from.

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Another major character recently dead, Black Widow, has her own solo film coming up. While this is reportedly a prequel, it’s also been widely speculated that should the movie do well, there will be more. And that she’ll likely be resurrected. As one of the few major female superheroes in the franchise, many feel this is a more appropriate move. But what about bringing back Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark? 

One way this may now happen is through the Multiverse. At one point, there was speculation that he could show up in the upcoming Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, though that idea seems to have lost steam.

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Bringing Tony Stark back through the Multiverse would keep Iron Man right and properly dead, brings back the fun of the character for more stories, and doesn’t undo the impact of that moment. Or, does it? When we see a character’s death undone, it can often feel like a betrayal. If it was a really meaningful death, we can feel like we were tricked into mourning their passing. This may sound dramatic, but many of us have big reactions to the deaths of fictional characters. While bringing Robert Downey Jr. into new films by way of the Multiverse doesn’t directly undo his passing, it does confuse the issue. 

Will we likely see another take on Iron Man someday? That seems likely. We live in a time of reboots. We’ve seen three Spider-Mans come and go in a very short time. But if Robert Downey Jr. never returns to play his part, who will ever want to follow him up as the great Tony Stark?