Robert Downey Jr. Would ‘Happily’ Return to Marvel, but His ‘Avengers’ Directors Say ‘We Closed That Book’ on Iron Man After ‘Endgame’ Death

AVENGERS: ENDGAME, (aka AVENGERS 4), Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark / Iron Man, 2019. © Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures / © Marvel Studios / courtesy Everett Collection

Robert Downey Jr. elated Marvel fans earlier this month when he told Esquire magazine that he would “happily” return to the Marvel Cinematic Universe as Tony Stark/Iron Man following his Oscar win for best supporting actor in March. There’s only one hiccup: Iron Man died in 2019’s “Avengers: Endgame.” But the MCU’s ever-expanding multiverse certainly leaves the door open for Downey’s return (just look at Hugh Jackman, who is back playing a different iteration of Wolverine in this summer’s “Deadpool and Wolverine” after his original X-Men hero died in “Logan.”)

In a recent interview with GamesRadar+, “Avengers: Endgame” directors Joe and Anthony Russo expressed some confusion over Downey’s Iron Man popping back up in the MCU after they killed the character off so heroically in their record-breaking film.

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“I don’t know how they would do it,” Anthony said. “I don’t know what the road to that would be [laughs].”

Joe added, “I mean we closed that book so it would be up to them to figure out how to reopen it.”

For what it’s worth, Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige didn’t appear too interested in bringing Downey’s Iron Man back to the big screen when he spoke to Vanity Fair last December.

“We are going to keep that moment and not touch that moment again,” Feige said at the time about Iron Man’s death. “We all worked very hard for many years to get to that, and we would never want to magically undo it in any way.”

However, those comments were made before Downey went public saying he’d be open to putting the Iron Man suit back on. Given Marvel’s recent box office disappointments (including last year’s “Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania” and “The Marvels”), Downey’s return might be more appealing as Iron Man has proven to be box office gold for the studio.

“Happily. It’s too integral a part of my DNA,” Downey told Esquire about whether he’d return to the MCU. “That role chose me. And look, I always say, ‘Never, ever bet against Kevin Feige.’ It is a losing bet. He’s the house. He will always win.”

As with anything related to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the ball is in Kevin Feige’s court.

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