Marvel buffs can all agree that Iron Man is one role that our beloved Robert Downey Jr. was born to play.
However, there was a time when the part of the crowd-favourite Avenger almost slipped out of his hands.
Back in 2012, Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige had dropped a hint of Downey getting replaced as Iron Man.
“I think Bond is a good example. Let’s put it this way: I hope Downey makes a lot of movies for us as Stark. If and when he doesn’t, and I’m still here making these movies, we don’t take him to Afghanistan and have him wounded again. I think we James Bond it,” he had said.
Responding to Fiege’s comments in an interview with Empire, the Doolittle actor said: “It would probably be the best thing in the world for me. You know, ego… but sometimes ego just has to be smashed. Let’s see what happens. I take the audience very seriously – I feel bad when I see folks doing movies and the audience is like, ‘Don’t do that anymore.’ I don’t have to overstay my welcome…”
In 2013, he once again touched the subject while talking to GQ, hinting that his future with MCU seems unlikely.
“Fortunately I’ve been around the block enough—I’m not ill-prepared. And I love change. I love it when a lightning bolt hits the genny and you’re down for two hours on the set. Now, this isn’t a lightning strike, this is like the warning of a gathering storm,” he had said.
He went on to say that soon enough he won’t be old enough to play a superhero and how getting injured on the sets of Iron Man 3 made him realize how, “big the message from your cosmic sponsor needs to be before you pick it up. How many genre movies can I do? How many follow-ups to a successful follow-up are actually fun?”
“Because, as quiet as it’s kept, I come from a family of very innovative writers and directors and actors and artists, and the circle of friends they were in were the people I heard having pun-offs playing poker at two in the morning, and it was just the most comforting aspect of my childhood.”
“So there’s this kind of legacy of souls from what I consider to be a very particular time in entertainment, and I’m sensing a return to that—it’s what me and the missus are doing next,” he said.
However, Downey ended up signing a new contract after all for supporting roles in the Marvel Cinematic Universe from Captain America: Civil War to the Avengers films.
Speaking about the decision in 2015, Downey told Empire: “They said to me, ‘If we have you, we can do this, or Cap 3 has to be something else.’ It’s nice to feel needed. And at this point it’s about helping each other, too.”
“I look at it as a competition and I go, ‘Wow, maybe if these two franchises teamed up and I can take even a lesser position, with people I like and directors I respect, maybe we can keep things bumping along.”