Avengers Star Paul Rudd “Can’t Imagine” Anyone Other Than Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man: "He's Tony Stark"

Ant-Man star Paul Rudd "can't even imagine" anyone other than his Avengers: Endgame co-star Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man, lauding the Marvel Cinematic Universe veteran as an "amazing guy." Rudd's ant-sized and later giant-sized Scott Lang clashed with Downey's armored Avenger Tony Stark during an airport-set battle in Captain America: Civil War — where Ant-Man managed to compromise Stark's Iron Man suit, later tangling with War Machine (Don Cheadle) and fresh recruit Spider-Man (Tom Holland) — before Lang and Stark found themselves on the same side during a time-travel mission to 2012 New York in Avengers: Endgame.

Asked about working with the former Iron Man star during an appearance on The Ringer, Rudd said of Downey, "He's an amazing guy. People are drawn to him. He has this crazy, unique energy."

"He's very smart, really funny, and very sweet," Rudd added, also describing Downey as "a very giving person."

Remarking Downey has lived a "pretty full life of extremes," Rudd praised his Marvel co-star for not shying away from the "responsibility" of visiting with children who wish to meet Iron Man.

"There are a lot of kids at Make-A-Wish that want to meet Iron Man. That's a lot of responsibility, and he owns it," Rudd said. "He's a spectacular person. I'm really impressed with him, I really like the guy. If you asked everybody on that film set, they'd all [say], 'He's kind of amazing.'"

Following Downey's swansong as the character in Endgame, which culminated with Stark's death, Rudd continued, "He's one of those guys where it's, 'Where do you separate the actor from the part?' I mean, who else can play Iron Man?"

"He's Tony Stark," Rudd said. "I can't even imagine anybody else in that part."

In January, while promoting vehicle Dolittle, Downey shut down rumors of his return when he said reprising the role in another live-action film is "off the table."

"I feel like I've done all I could with that character," he said on the Joe Rogan podcast. "There would have to be a super compelling argument and a series of events that made [a return] obvious. But the other thing is, I wanna do other stuff."

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Marvel Studios and Kevin Feige launched the Marvel Cinematic Universe with 2008's Jon Favreau-directed Iron Man, which grossed $585 million worldwide despite being based on an at-the-time B-list Marvel Comics superhero. Downey appeared ten times across the currently 23-movie MCU, including a cameo appearance in The Incredible Hulk and a supporting role in Spider-Man: Homecoming.

Rudd next reprises his Scott Lang role alongside Evangeline Lilly's Wasp and Michael Douglas' Hank Pym in Disney's untitled Ant-Man 3, expected to release in 2022.