Ex Iron Man star Robert Downey Jr. downplays rumors his Tony Stark will appear in Marvel Studios' Black Widow before intimating a potential cameo will be made possible through the use of digital technology or archival footage. Downey officially retired from his Marvel role after an 11-year run that came to a close with Avengers: Endgame, which ended with Stark sacrificing his life to save the universe from destruction at the hands of Thanos (Josh Brolin). Because Black Widow is set primarily between the events of Captain America: Civil War and Avengers: Infinity War, Downey's appearance in the midquel centered on Scarlet Johansson's spy-turned-Avenger could be a repurposed deleted scene originally captured during filming on 2016's Civil War.
"Right. Great. I mean, it would be nice if they notified me. Forewarned is forearmed," Downey told Entertainment Tonight when promoting new movie Dolittle, his first post-Marvel role, alongside co-stars Michael Sheen, John Cena and Craig Robinson. "They can do anything now. This could be a deep fake interview for all we know."
A September report from industry trade Deadline, coming just months after Iron Man perished in Endgame, first reported Downey would be appearing as Stark "one more time" in Black Widow, taking place years before both Stark and Natasha Romanoff's deaths in the mostly 2023-set Avengers finale.
Despite persistent rumors and hopes Downey would one day again suit up as the armored Iron Man, the 54-year-old Downey says he's vacated the role.
"The war for me is over," Downey recently told Parade when asked about a return to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. "I personally have alighted to greener pastures." Appearing on The Tonight Show to promote Dolittle, the star, who first filled the role in 2008's Iron Man, said it's "better to fire yourself before you get fired."
Like longtime co-star Chris Evans, who similarly retired the Captain America role after eight years in Endgame, both Downey and Evans "had to get off" the proverbial bus.
"We opted to, and knew it was part of the job to get off the bus while it rolled on to other destinations," Downey said in a 2019 issue of Disney twenty-three magazine. "There's something very sobering about it. I'm glad he and I will be there to welcome others as they retire their jerseys."