During his Reddit AMA interview, currently ongoing, Iron Man star Robert Downey, Jr. gave one simple answer to "the Mel Gibson question" that had at least three interesting parts to it.
Asked whether he was serious about saying that he would return for Iron Man 4 if Gibson were to direct, and whether he might do the movie anyway if Gibson did not, Downey said, "It was an offhanded remark to a journalist and friend. I have other projects in mind for Mel and I - sooner than later the Marvel Roster will be made public and all questions will be answered."
There's a whole lot packed into that one quote.
First of all, it's worth noting that, as he notes, the comment never seemed like a firm commitment. It was an offhand one, and one that the Deadline reporter seemed to lead him to to boot. That it got breathlessly re-reported as a straight story seems more a game of Internet-journalism telephone than anything else.
Second, it's intriguing that Downey says that he has other projects in mind for himself and Mel Gibson. Gibson, like Downey's Iron Man co-star and director Jon Favreau, is an actor-turned-director with some solid results, including Best Director and Best Picture Oscars in Gibson's case. The prospect of the two working together on anything, Marvel or not, is pretty interesting and the fact that Downey isn't just open to or enthusiastic about it, but has specific plans is intriguing.
Third is the suggestion that "The Marvel Roster will be made public and all questions will be answered" sooner than later.
Does this suggest that sometime in 2015, we'll get a look deep into Marvel's rumored long-term plans? Since Comic Con 2012, when they announced Captain America: the Winter Solder, Guardians of the Galaxy and Ant-Man, Marvel have been moving fairly slowly, announcing projects officially long after they're already widely known by the public and often just before production begins. An announcement that sheds light on the likelihood of an Iron Man 4 -- especially with enough detail to "answer all questions" -- would seem to be one that would specifically rule Downey in or out for the film. It also seems anything sufficiently detailed for that would give us a sense for where the Marvel Cinematic Universe at large is going, post-Age of Ultron.
More on this soon, almost certainly...!