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Kevin Feige, the president of Marvel Studios, has unequivocally stated that Robert Downey Jr. will not be reprising his iconic role as Iron Man/Tony Stark in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). In a recent cover story by Vanity Fair dedicated to Downey Jr., Feige shed light on the decision to permanently retire the beloved character.
The decision is rooted in preserving the poignant moment of Tony Stark’s demise in the 2019 blockbuster “Avengers: Endgame.” According to Feige, the MCU team is steadfast in keeping that emotional and pivotal moment untouched. “We are going to keep that moment and not touch that moment again,” asserted Feige, emphasizing the collective effort and dedication that went into crafting Iron Man’s final scenes. “We all worked very hard for many years to get to that, and we would never want to magically undo it in any way,” he added.
Downey Jr., who first donned the Iron Man suit in the 2008 film of the same name, faced initial skepticism for the role due to his troubled past. In April 1996, the authorities arrested the actor for possession of heroin, cocaine, and an unloaded gun. Despite these legal troubles, Feige and director Jon Favreau were persistent in their desire to cast Downey Jr. as the titular superhero.
Reflecting on those early discussions, Feige revealed the Marvel board’s reservations about entrusting their flagship character to an actor with a controversial history. “It purely came down to the Marvel board being nervous at putting all of their chips in their future films on somebody who famously had those legal troubles in the past,” acknowledged Feige. Undeterred, he and Favreau proposed the idea of a screen test to showcase Downey Jr.’s suitability for the role.
Feige’s recollection underscores the pivotal role Robert Downey Jr. played in shaping the MCU. It is also evident of the resilience in overcoming initial doubts. However, with the decision to lay Iron Man to rest, the MCU now looks toward new narratives and characters to propel the ever-expanding cinematic universe into the future.