Robert Downey Jr. Returning As Tony Stark Confirmed?

Mark Ruffalo says that it's possible that Robert Downey Jr. and Chris Evans could return to the MCU.

By Sckylar Gibby-Brown | Updated

robert downey jr

With a budget of $356 million, 21 preceding feature films, and 11 years of production leading up to the Infinity War finale, Avengers: Endgame (2019) is possibly the biggest movie ever made. Endgame saw the end of the war with Thanos as well as the end of the two most beloved Marvel characters, Robert Downey Jr.’s Iron Man and Chris Evans’ Captain America. But now, according to another original Avenger, Mark Ruffalo thinks that it’s possible both characters could be coming back in the next phase of Marvel movies.

According to The Direct, Mark Ruffalo may have spilled the beans on Robert Downey Jr.’s return to the Marvel Cinematic Universe while headlining an event at Emerald City Comic-Con. Although Marvel producer Stephen Broussard has previously said there is no way the studio is bringing back Iron Man or the original Captain America after exiting the franchise with Avengers: Endgame, Ruffalo thinks the executives at the MCU might change their mind.

During the Q&A portion of the “Mean & Green: Mark Ruffalo Spotlight” at the Comic-Con, the Hulk actor was asked how it felt to lose Robert Downey Jr.’s and Chris Evans’ characters. In response, the actor said it was “sad,” but “anything could happen.” The actor then listed off a bunch of ways the studio could bring the two characters back, including time travel or multi-verse hopping. 

Mark Ruffalo then pulled back before disclosing any more information on how he thought Robert Downey Jr. and Chris Evans might return. The actor joked about his track record for spoiling things in the past and ended the question with the vague conclusion that he would neither confirm if Iron Man and Captain America’s return was possible or not. Considering how Ruffalo had to reel himself back in, it seems as though the actor might know more than he is willing to let on, and it feels very optimistic for fans of Iron Man and the OG Captain America. 

As Mark Ruffalo has said, it isn’t entirely unlikely that either Robert Downey Jr. or Chris Evans will return to the MCU. In fact, even the president of Marvel Studios, Kevin Feige, has said that Captain America is still alive, and the current Captain America, Anthony Mackie, has also confirmed that Steve Rogers is still alive because audiences haven’t seen him die on screen. And while it would be interesting to see how Marvel would bring an old Steve Rogers out of retirement, it is much less likely they will bring Iron Man back from the dead.

chris evans

While Mark Ruffalo pointed out many ways that writers could pen Iron Man back into the script (especially considering that the stories for Avengers: The Kang Dynasty and Avengers: Secret Wars aren’t even completed yet), it might be much harder to feasibly get Robert Downey Jr. onto the set. 

First of all, there’s the consideration that after 11 years of playing the same character, Robert Downey Jr. might be ready to completely say goodbye to Iron Man and move on with other projects. However, even if the studio could get the Oppenheimer actor back on screen, it would probably cost them a pretty penny. It cost the MCU $75 million for Iron Man’s exit in Endgame and a whopping $15 million for Downey Jr. to appear in just a small cameo in Spider-Man: Homecoming

This means that any appearance of Iron Man in the upcoming films better be worth it to the plot and financial plan of the movies, no matter how badly fans want to see Robert Downey Jr. back with the Avengers again.

For the time being, it seems like Mark Ruffalo has said all he is willing to say on the subject, and Marvel is known for keeping its secrets held tight until the theatrical premiere. So, it may very well be years before we know for sure if Iron Man and Captain America will reappear in the MCU.

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