Robert Downey Jr. MCU Return Is The Worst Idea Ever

By Zack Zagranis | Published

robert downey jr

“I’ve become surprisingly open-minded to the idea.” That’s what Robert Downey Jr. recently told Jodie Foster when the veteran actress asked him if he would ever consider putting on his Iron Man armor again to rejoin the MCU. My immediate thought upon hearing this was, “Good grief, I hope not.”

The Beginning Of The End

robert downey jr

I’m sorry, but Robert Downey Jr. coming back to the MCU would be a terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad idea. Not only was Tony Stark’s sendoff in End Game perfect, but resurrecting the MCU’s first successful hero would be the beginning of the end for Marvel.

Allow me to explain.

I’ve always considered Robert Downey Jr.’s performance as Tony Stark to be a feather in the MCU’s cap. One could even argue that Downey was the backbone of the Marvel Cinematic Universe for its first 11 years. And that’s exactly why he shouldn’t come back.

Admitting Fault Is Not A Good Look

As a writer who covers Disney’s Marvel output, it’s my job to occasionally point out the MCU’s drop in quality over the last five years. Sure, you might get an exec here or there admitting that four or five movies a year is overkill, but Disney should still stand by its product. For example, you’ll know that it’s time to invest in gravity-defying boars if you ever hear Kevin Feige say, “Yeah, you guys were right. She-Hulk was terrible.”

If Robert Downey Jr. were to return to the MCU as Iron Man, it would be the same thing as Marvel Studios admitting that they screwed up. It would signify the beginning of the end for the MCU—which admittedly wouldn’t be the worst thing.

Marvel Shouldn’t Rest On Their Laurels

By bringing Tony Stark back, Marvel would be announcing to the world that they are a one-trick pony. They’d be making a statement that they are incapable of creating another Iron Man-level character—that despite a pool of some of the most interesting and diverse characters in all of fiction, they can’t survive without the aid of one snarky old white dude. Robert Downey Jr.’s return would only help to highlight just what a house of cards the MCU has become.

I’m not saying Robert Downey Jr. should never play Iron Man again, but it’s only been five years since his departure from the MCU. Bringing him back this quickly would be a mistake. Worse, it would set a bad precedent because bringing back Iron Man now would be the nuclear option and Disney knows it.

It’s A Slippery Slope For Disney

Kevin Feige isn’t stupid, however. He knows that a new Iron Man movie would bring back a lot of ex-Marvel fans. You know, the kind of fans that stopped watching Marvel movies after Robert Downey Jr. left the MCU. But from there it would be a slippery slope that Disney doesn’t want to deal with.

If Marvel can bring Tony Stark back, then couldn’t Star Wars bring Luke Skywalker back? Even better, why not just retcon the entire sequel trilogy? Lets have Episode X begin with Luke Skywalker waking up beside Mara Jade sighing, “Thank god, it was all a dream!”

If Disney asks Robert Downey Jr. to return to the MCU, those particular fans I described will, of course, assume that the company is doing it to try to win them back. They’ll draw the wrong conclusions and assume they can bully Marvel into doing whatever they want.

Out With The Old, In With The New

Look at what happened to Warner Bros. after they finally caved to the “Release the Snyder Cut” crowd. Were the Snyder bros satisfied? Heck no, they went on to make new demands. Like having Henry Cavill back as Superman and a push to release the Ayer Cut. If Marvel brings Robert Downey Jr. back to the MCU, the same thing will happen to Disney.

If Marvel Studios wants to stop its downward spiral, I suggest that they focus on giving fans better stories and new characters that are just as interesting as Tony Stark. As much as I love Robert Downey Jr., I sincerely hope that the MCU leaves Iron Man in his grave.

robert downey jr

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