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Marvel Indicates Tony Stark May Live After Robert Downey Jr.’s Departure

Written by on April 27, 2012 

I was among that large throng of moviegoers who entered Iron Man without a shred of knowledge about Tony Stark, yet still left the theater enamored with Robert Downey Jr.‘s treatment of the character — i.e, making him fun, likeable, and different from almost any other big-screen superhero. Even four years later, I associate Iron Man with nothing but the verve and snark of his line deliveries.

So, needless to say, Marvel has to be careful here. The in-demand Downey Jr. might only have two contractually-obligated turns as Stark in his future — those being Iron Man 3 and The Avengers 2 –and then his involvement is entirely up in the air. BadassDigest spoke to Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige about this very issue, and the man’s explanation was… a little inconclusive.

When asked whether they’d reboot the character or take the old Bond route, in which you simply substitute the lead actor, here’s what he had to say:

“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.”

(Does it matter that I subscribe to a theory where all the different actors in the Bond series play different characters, who only use “James Bond” and “007” as a code name? Well, not really; I just like perpetuating this [completely and totally logical] idea whenever I can.)

To go and make some kind of exclamation about the prospect of losing their main star would be insanely premature, especially when nothing is known — but, still, I have a tad bit of trouble imagining Iron Man working with someone else in the same role. Which is to say, why put Downey Jr. to the side and still keep around, say, Gwyneth Paltrow as Pepper Potts? Reboots aren’t really much fun to get through — I’ve seen the first enough times to recite his origin by memory, as it were — but I’d rather they move on, full-stop. Otherwise, we’re just treading water here.

Would you want to see Iron Man continue without Downey Jr.?

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