Broadly speaking, it can easily be said that the birth and subsequent success of the MCU as a whole was due largely in part to Robert Downey, Jr. and his performance in 2008’s Iron Man. He was able to bring the charisma and charm needed to capture the audience and really sell the character of Tony Stark. It was a risky move on the part of Marvel Studios, especially considering that they were just starting out. In hindsight, however, it’s absolutely brilliant and perfect casting. Now, no one can picture anyone else donning the armor and taking on the role in Downey’s stead. That’s why fans started to worry about the future of the Armored Avenger back when RDJ’s five-picture contract with Marvel wrapped up in 2013 with the completion of Iron Man 3. Fans began to wonder if Iron Man would be a part of the MCU moving forward.

Much to the relief of the fans, Downey extended his contract to appear in both Avengers: Age of Ultron, as well as Avengers: Infinity War. With that contract extension nearing its completion in the next year or two, the same conversation about his continued role in the MCU has begun to surface. Kevin Feige, President of Marvel Studios, has recently teased fans with how much we can expect to see Tony Stark in the future. In a recent interview, Feige was asked whether Tony Stark will be recast, or if he would phase out the character once RDJ has moved on, and he had this to say:

“I think it could be either one,” Feige tells Postmedia Network. “These characters have been around for 50-plus years, and have been relatively ageless. Sometimes there are alternate stories where the character is younger than they usually are, or older, but they usually maintain a certain age. I think most of these characters that are iconic, like (James) Bond, like Batman, like Spider-Man, like Iron Man, someday will be portrayed by different actors. The good news right now is I don’t have to think about that for a long time.” . . . Marvel has a film slate that goes until 2023, Feige says. “We have story-lines for this cast for many years to come.”

Now, you may be wondering where his involvement in Captain America: Civil War comes into play; that’s where things get interesting. After Age of Ultron, Downey again signed a couple of one-off deals to star in supporting and cameo roles in both Captain America: Civil War, as well as next year’s Spider-Man: Homecoming, respectively. Downey hasn’t grown tired of playing Tony Stark, due in large part to his satisfaction with the development of the character as a whole. So, it seems that his involvement in the MCU will depend largely on where he and Marvel agree to take the character, and he will likely continue to sign on to one project at a time for the foreseeable future. With Feige confirming that Marvel has a slate of films in the works for seven years, there’s a fair chance that Iron Man will have at least a small role in several of those upcoming projects. And, with the MCU ever-expanding on the big screen, there are so many on-screen relationships we’d like to see develop between Stark and other Marvel characters. We’ve already gotten a taste of the chemistry between Stark and the newly-inducted Peter Parker, and with Infinity War beginning production in the next couple of weeks, we won’t have to wait too long to see how he interacts with the Guardians of the Galaxy, as well as Doctor Stephen Strange in Infinity War. However, the prospect of getting to see Tony in the future films has us excited to see how he may interact with Captain Marvel, or even Janet van Dyne as the Avengers continues to evolve.

Who would you like to see Tony Stark meet in any of the upcoming films? Sound off in the comments below!

Source: Toronto Sun