Sadly, there will come a day when Chris Evans and Robert Downey Jr. get too old to continue lifting the shielding or donning the iron suit. When that day comes, Captain America and Iron Man will live on in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, one way or another.
Will Tony Stark's role as Iron Man be one which is replaced or recast? Those are two different things, by the way.
Recast would mean someone else stepping in to the role, much like Don Cheadle did with Terrence Howard's War Machine and Mark Ruffalo did with Ed Norton's Hulk. Replaced would be passing the torch, as in Steve Rogers dubbing Bucky the new Captain America.
"There has been talk of recasting some key roles, Iron Man for example," says Captain America: Civil War director Joe Russo. "How much of a big decision is that, creatively and financially, and how much does it change the dynamic?"
"It’s almost impossible to replace Robert, he’s the biggest movie star in the world. One close up from Robert is worth another actor’s entire performance, he’s incredibly gifted and insanely talented," Joe Russo continues. "I think if and when he is done with the character I think you will find that Iron Man might disappear for a while. I think the only way that you could reboot that character is to give a generational gap that would allow another actor to at least have a chance to redefine that character without the enormous spectre of Robert hanging over it. There are so many characters in the Marvel universe that can pick up the ball and run without it through the next phase or two before you need to see Iron Man again, frankly."
Marvel does have thousands of characters it can pull from to put on the big screen before it needs to recast characters who run the show now. With several new additions coming in the next few years, the expansion of the Marvel Cinematic Universe is only just beginning.
Captain America: Civil War hits theaters May 6.