Robert Downey Jr. is one of the most beloved Hollywood actors after he cemented his comeback with his portrayal of the billionaire genius, Tony Stark, in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. However, in 2019's Avengers: Endgame, RDJ, as he's most commonly referred to, bowed out as the iconic character and has since not returned to the franchise.
Recently, rumors have been heating up that Downey Jr. will reprise his role as the character. However, Stephen Broussard, Marvel Studios Vice President of Production & Development, has now put an end to these speculations.
During a recent interview with io9’S Germain Lussier, Broussard was asked how Marvel intends to use the different pieces it established in its recently concluded Phase Four in the new Phase Five such that everything makes sense.
The executive’s response was coy. He stated that Marvel’s Phase Four was about new characters and pointed at Scott Lang’s daughter, Cassie, Kate Bishop in Hawkeye, and Jack in Werewolf by Night as examples of these new characters.
Broussard then went on to state "After these first 10 years of Marvel storytelling, torches are being passed, like with Robert Downey Jr. no longer being [on the] table and stuff like that. So it was kind of like a new generation stepping to the forefront which, again, has always happened in the comics."
Rumors of Downey Jr.’s return in a future MCU film started swirling last year. In December, a Twitter user reported that the actor is slated to make a cameo appearance in the Iron Man spinoff film Armor Wars before he returns as the fan-favorite character in Avengers: Secret Wars slated for release on May 1, 2026.
Furthermore, Hollywood scooper Heavy Spoilers stated last month that Marvel wants Secret Wars to be an Endgame-style film but with the multiverse instead of time travel. This report ties in with The Cosmic Circus’s claims in early February that an evil Iron Man from an alternate universe will appear in the MCU and that Downey Jr. could return to portray the character.
Unfortunately for fans of the character, Broussard’s comments have effectively dashed their hopes of seeing the actor back in the franchise that he kickstarted and led for a large part.
The good news is Vin Diesel recently expressed his interest in having RDJ play a villain in Fast 11, so we might get a chance to see an evil Iron Man, after all.
Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania is currently showing in theaters across the world. The studio’s next project, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 is slated for release on May 5.