Robert Downey Jr.'s tenure as Iron Man in the Marvel Cinematic Universe will be a portrayal that goes down in the annals of cinema, with the actor recently noting how his age was one of the contributing factors to why he wanted to leave the franchise, making a return at some point in the future seem less likely. The actor departed the franchise less than a year ago and, while some of his comments about the role of Tony Stark have been somewhat ambiguous, his most recent remarks make it seem as though the longer he waits, the less likely a return would seem.
"When I started, I was in my early 40s, now I'm in my mid-50s," Downey shared with The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon. "Remember by the time, Superman, the TV show, was over, the guy playing him, you were like, 'Dude, you are old. The girdle's not working anymore.' I always think it's better to fire yourself before you get fired."
Luckily, the sprawling nature of the Marvel universe has allowed for all sorts of variations of iconic characters to take part in storylines, so even if he doesn't return to the series as a full-fledged superhero, Tony Stark's embrace of cutting edge technology could potentially see the character return as a sophisticated operating system, similar to his original J.A.R.V.I.S. artificial intelligence that later came to life as Vision.
Following his debut as Tony Stark in 2008's Iron Man, Downey only had a handful of other feature-film roles, none of which matched the successes of entries into the MCU. Downey did find success, however, starring as the titular detective in two Sherlock Holmes films, so with a third film on the way, it's possible the actor could more heavily invest into building that franchise.
The first two films were directed by Guy Ritchie, who recently delivered audiences the live-action adaptation of Aladdin. For the third film, Dexter Fletcher will be taking over directorial duties, having previously directed the Elton John biopic Rocketman and having helmed reshoots on Bohemian Rhapsody. In addition to Downey, the upcoming Sherlock Holmes will also see the return of Jude Law as Professor Watson, who joined the MCU last year with Captain Marvel.
Stay tuned for details on Robert Downey Jr.'s possible return to the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
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