Former Marvel star Robert Downey Jr. explains why he would have wanted to suit up as a different Avenger if he never won the role of Iron Man, who appeared in ten Marvel Studios pictures before sacrificing himself to save the Marvel Cinematic Universe in Avengers: Endgame. After agreeing it's the web-slinging Spider-Man (Tom Holland) who is most envied by young viewers, Downey reveals his "go-to" pick for a different superhero role would have been Clint Barton, a.k.a. Hawkeye, the eagle-eyed S.H.I.E.L.D. agent-turned-Avenger played by Downey's four-time MCU co-star Jeremy Renner.
"I can't think of any red-blooded American boy that didn't imagine themselves as Spider-Man growing up," Downey said when promoting Dolittle on BBC Radio 1, where he answered questions from children. "However, looking back on it now — also because I'm just such a Jeremy Renner fan, and he made it so cool, particularly when he turns into Ronin [in Endgame] — I would say Hawkeye would be my go-to."
Marvel Studios president and producer Kevin Feige credits Downey with helping launch the franchise that has amassed a collective $23 billion in box office receipts, saying if there were no Downey in Iron Man wouldn't be an MCU.
"I remember speaking to the marketing team at Paramount — because Paramount released that [Iron Man] — saying that if we did our job, Tony Stark will be as famous as Iron Man; Tony Stark will be as well-known and as much of a household name as Iron Man because that's how interesting the character has to be," Feige said during a recent Q&A hosted by the New York Film Academy. "Literally, the first decision I made and was allowed to make and allowed to try to pursue as president of Marvel Studios was casting Robert Downey Jr. and it felt fun to do that because we knew it'd either be great or the biggest dumpster fire ever."
"There's very little wiggle room," Feige added. "It ended up being great and I've always said 'No RDJ, no MCU.'"
Following Endgame, signaling an end to the first 11-year chapter of the MCU started with 2008's Iron Man, Downey admitted he's exhausted the character who completed his arc from selfish profiteer to selfless hero.
"To me, starting up again is off the table. I feel like I've done all I could with that character," Downey said on the Joe Rogan Experience. "There would have to be a super compelling argument [to return] and a series of events that made it obvious. But the other thing is, I wanna do other stuff."
Downey in recent weeks also addressed rumors Tony Stark will cameo in Black Widow, set between the events of Captain America: Civil War and Avengers: Infinity War.
Dolittle is now in theaters.