Much has been written about Robert Downey Jr.'s ongoing contract negotiations with Disney/Marvel Studios. Some have speculated that Robert Downey Jr. is done playing Iron Man for good, while others have suggested that he will return for Avengers sequels but might be finished with standalone Iron Man movies. However, Avengers director Joss Whedon has just given Disney one more good reason to make a deal with Robert Downey Jr. In his strongest statement yet, Whedon has gone on record saying that he will not do Avengers 2 without Robert Downey Jr. When asked by The Daily Beast how crucial Robert Downey Jr. is to the Avengers sequel, Joss Whedon said, "He is Iron Man. He is Iron Man in the way that Sean Connery was James Bond. I have no intention of making Avengers 2 without him, nor do I think I'll be called upon to do that." Pretty strong words from a man who is not only a crucial part of Disney's film strategy but also their TV strategy with Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. If Whedon won't make Avengers 2 without Robert Downey Jr., it's a pretty strong indication that Disney will find a way to bring him back, and Whedon himself seems confident that will happen. Whedon also said, "I don't think it's in my interest, Marvel's interest, or his interest, and I think everything will be fine. But I know that this is Hollywood and you roll with things. You have to be ready for the unexpected. But I loved working with Robert, and everybody knows he embodied that role in a way no one else can." The Avengers 2 is scheduled to be released in movie theaters in the United States on May 1, 2015.