When Can Marvel Studios Launch ‘Iron Man 4′?

Published 1 year ago by , Updated April 10th, 2014 at 7:43 pm,

Iron Man 4 Logo Marvel When Can Marvel Studios Launch Iron Man 4?

While Captain America: The Winter Soldier is earning positive buzz for its strong reviews and record-setting box office numbers for the month of April, even beating out last fall’s Thor: The Dark World’s opening, the two Phase 2 sequels come nowhere close to the success of Marvel Studios’ number one hero: Iron Man. Or should we say Robert Downey Jr.?

Sitting only behind its predecessor The Avengers as the biggest comic book film of all-time, Iron Man 3 solidified the armored, high-tech character as Marvel’s most bankable hero in cinemas worldwide. That makes Iron Man 4 a highly desirable (read: inevitable) commodity that Disney-owned Marvel will one day produce. The two questions are when and will Robert Downey Jr. be involved?

The Hollywood superstar – thanks to the Iron Man-powered career revival – can command the highest of salaries in the business and that means he works on the projects he wants to. It’s how he earned a reported $80+ million from The Avengers and at least $50 million for Iron Man 3. That put RDJ and his agents in a nice bargaining spot when they negotiated a contract extension to have him reprise the role of Tony Stark for The Avengers: Age of Ultron and The Avengers 3.

image2 When Can Marvel Studios Launch Iron Man 4?

Sadly for Iron Man fans – and the studio – that contract extension didn’t include Iron Man 4. That doesn’t mean Marvel and RDJ can’t work out a deal in the future to have him keep coming back, but such contract talks likely won’t come until around the release of The Avengers 3, likely in 2018. By then, Downey Jr. will be 53, and the actor – when asked about the future of the character post-Avengers - said he doesn’t want to “overstay [his] welcome” with fans and might retire from the character.

Marvel Studios president of production Kevin Feige on the other hand, when asked about the topic, admits that Tony Stark will likely be recast one day, comparing the billionaire industrialist to James Bond. While that may be inevitable, one day, such a thought is a tough pill to swallow for fans. How do you continue the shared universe and timeline and just swap out the most important actor? Is there a story that could lend the character to recasting?

Iron Man 3 co-writer and director Shane Black – and friend of Robert Downey Jr. – hinted that he believed the actor would come back to do Iron Man 4 and 5 one day. Again, another Iron Man movie will be made eventually. And again, it’s a matter of when and with whom. According to an interesting survey handed out by Marvel Studios representatives at certain public screenings of Captain America: The Winter Soldier over the last few days, it could be sooner than we think.

Kristy Puchko at Cinema Blend was at one of these screenings and snapped some photos of the questionnaire. Along with the usual demographic questions, one question asked viewers what Marvel Studios titles they were most excited to see next:

Marvel Studios Survey Include Iron Man 4 1024x764 When Can Marvel Studios Launch Iron Man 4?

We can only guess that Guardians of the Galaxy isn’t on there because it’s releasing this year as well, but it’s interesting to see Iron Man 4 listed among the given followups (and new property Ant-Man) we know are coming. Captain America 3 of course, just had its release date officially confirmed for May 6, 2016, in response to its successful opening weekend and writers Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely, and directors Anthony and Joe Russo, were already signed to return and are breaking its story.

Thor 3 doesn’t have a release date yet but it’s a relatively safe bet to release in May 2017 and already has writers in Craig Kyle (Thor: Tales of Asgard) and Christopher Yost (Thor: The Dark World). Or is it? For Phases 1 and 2 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Thor solo adventures released before the Captain America titles, but we can now confirm that’s no longer the case come Phase 3. Since Thor 3 has yet to lock down a date, it’s possible it doesn’t come until after The Avengers 3, although the delay in confirmation may have to do with the studio finding the right director for the project since Alan Taylor likely won’t return.

Thor three-quel in 2017 puts into question whether or not Guardians of the Galaxy gets a direct sequel in the next phase. Some rumors claim GOTG is a one-off that could launch spinoffs, so the cosmic-based property adds an interesting spin to the speculation game of what Marvel is going to do next and what they have on that roadmap of films planned until 2028.

Marvel Studios Assembling A Universe When Can Marvel Studios Launch Iron Man 4?

What we do know on the Phase 3 front is that each year there are two movies releasing and the first movie of each pair will be a sequel to an established property, with a new IP coming second. That’s why we’re getting Guardians of the Galaxy this year, Ant-Man the following year and in 2017-18 we’re likely getting Doctor Strange (according to Feige’s hinted timeline). As for the unannounced new property (or properties) in between, the common title that continues to surface is The Inhumans, with there being rumors of Black PantherMs. Marvel and another Hulk standalone feature as well. I’d love to see Nova in there since that could serve as a quasi-sequel to Guardians of the Galaxy that bridges it to the familiar Earth-based characters, and it gives Marvel room to essentially deliver Cap, Thor and GOTG followups in Phase 3 while still counting one of them as a “new’ property.

And what we know about future Iron Man films is that it comes down to delivering a unique and interesting story for Tony Stark, one that’s worthy of Robert Downey’s full-time involvement. With The Avengers movies, it’s easier for RDJ since there are more action scenes, and therefore less of him required on set thanks to his CGI armor doing all the work. Jeremy Renner barely ever saw him during production of The Avengers, as an example. With each Iron Man appearance, there also comes the need to introduce more armor suits, and it’s difficult to top there being dozens of them in Iron Man 3 and the biggest one of all being introduced in Age of Ultron. Yes, we’re finally going to see the infamous Hulkbuster armor.

The Avengers 2 Official Hulk vs Iron Man Hulkbuster Concept Art 570x324 When Can Marvel Studios Launch Iron Man 4?

Hulkbuster Armor – The Avengers: Age of Ultron Concept Art

How do you top that in merchandising the Ironclad Avenger? Maybe send him to space to meet up with the Guardians of the Galaxy just like he did in the modern Marvel NOW! books (see: Iron Man goes to space rumors). That, or Stark can become the director of a new and improved S.H.I.E.L.D. organization, which might fit nicely based on the events of Captain America: The Winter Soldier.

Despite uncertainty from cast members Robert Downey Jr., Gwyneth Paltrow and Don Cheadle, Marvel Studios is definitely thinking about Iron Man 4, but if it’s coming, it won’t be until after The Avengers 3. Will RDJ stick with the character through “Phase 4″ or will Marvel Studios need to recast? Could War Machine be put front and center? What about the other key characters whose contracts run out by The Avengers 3 (Chris Evans & Chris Hemsworth)?

There’s only one solution:


More: Marvel Plans Ahead All The Way To 2028


Captain America: The Winter Soldier is now in theaters, Guardians of the Galaxy opens August 1, 2014The Avengers: Age of Ultron on May 1, 2015, Ant-Man on July 17, 2015, and unannounced films for May 6 2016, July 8 2016 and May 5 2017.

Follow Rob on Twitter @rob_keyes for your Marvel movie and TV news!

Source: CB (hat tip Nicholas)

Follow Rob Keyes on Twitter @rob_keyes
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  1. I’ll tell you what, I’d be interested to see anything RDJ does. And while it may be his exit, I’d like to see the character of Iron Man/Tony Stark as a whole see a send off. No one else should play the character. Period.

    • That’s just ignorant.

  2. I love the idea of Marvel making a West Coast Avengers movie or Avengers West Coast. Eventually the Avengers roster will be too huge for a single team/movie. I would def put Hawkeye, War Machine (or just put Rhodes in Iron Man suit), Scarlet Witch in it. They would have to introduce Vision and Wonder Man, then have them join that team, too. It’ll be an amalgamation of the original West Coast Avengers (from the comics) with a later reiteration of it. I also wouldn’t mind Mockingbird being in it.

    As for future Iron Man films, I’d like to see at least one more, if not two, with RDJ. Don’t recast him. If RDJ no longer wants to be Iron Man after that, just have him retire and Rhodes becomes Iron Man (but not in any solo films, just in Avengers or WCA).

    Then the next iteration of the Avengers (3?) would be: Cap, Ant-Man/Giant-Man, Wasp, Black Panther, Thor, and any one of the following (Ms. Marvel, She-Hulk, Namor, Hercules, Star Fox, Quicksilver).

    • Yeah thats inevitable. We’re gonna have west coast avengers , due to the nextflix deal we’re gonna see the defenders eventually, there’s a runaways movie that is ready to be made that was put on hold due to the success of the avengers. that’s why marvel has movies lined up till 2028. There’s so much damn possibilities

      • Note that the “Defenders” in the Netflix deal aren’t the Defenders of the comics (Dr. Strange, Hulk, Namor, Silver Surfer, etc.), it’s just a crossover of all the characters getting solo Netflix shows (Daredevil, Luke Cage, Iron Fist, and Jessica Jones). Basically, Defenders-in-name-only.

  3. Thanks for the winter soldier spoiler…

    • I’d say you’re welcome but there are no spoilers in this post.

      • Actually, there is. “That, or Stark can become the director of a new and improved S.H.I.E.L.D. organization, which might fit nicely based on the events of Captain America: The Winter Soldier.” This sentence implies that ***SPOILER*** SHIELD is left in ruins at the end of CA:TWA. ***END SPOILER*** Then again, @Chris B, 1) what are you doing on ScreenRant in the first place if you don’t want your movies to be spoiled? And 2) what the hell are you waiting for, not having seen the movie yet? It rocks all kinds of awesome! Lightyears away from the cheesiness of the first movie and undoubtedly the best superhero film since The Dark Knight.

        • Rob, it’s not per se a big spoiler, as far as I’m aware yet. Still haven’t gotten to see CA2. But your sentence saying that Stark can become the director of a NEW and improved SHIELD, pretty much confirms what has been suggested in trailers and on the internet, that SHIELD falls.

          1) I come here for news, geek picks and the occasional speculation. Usually they don’t talk about stuff that happens in a movie, until after (over) a month since its release.
          And 2) I haven’t had the time yet…

          • “Usually they don’t talk about stuff that happens in a movie, until after (over) a month since its release.” That’s not true. Since I first came here, I’ve read plenty of articles where they do. Also, the comments are usually ridden with spoilers as soon as the movies are released. What I meant was that there are plenty of other film sites with a much stricter anti-spoiler policy where you can get all the info you want without risking to stumble on a spoiler. Here, the policy is rather permissive. I even remember a post a few weeks ago where the spoiler was in the title…

            • As far as I’m aware, they have not spoiled anything in an article for me before. Pages about movies that I haven’t seen before are a no-see for me on every site because there’s always people that are so enthusiastic that they want to talk about the awesomeness their eyes just got to witness.

              I like this site. They offer more than just a regular two line news report combined with basic information about the movie; cast, crew and date.

              Not trying to cause a fight or anything, but a few weeks ago, that wouldn’t be considered a spoiler but a speculation. Unless you’re not talking about CA2.

              • Not saying you’re looking for a fight. Your complaint is legitimate and I actually proved Rob wrong when he said there was no spoiler. I just found it odd that someone who’s not new to this site (I’ve seen your name here and there for a while now) complained about spoilers since they’re so commonplace on SR. You should consider yourself lucky not to have encountered more!

                Anyway, you really should manage to schedule some time to go see it ASAP, it will blow your mind! It’s a dense 2+ hours thrill-ride chockfull of awesome action and intricate storytelling like we haven’t seen since The Matrix Reloaded.

          • Spoilers?! Marvel revealed the ending of Cap 2 the Tuesday following it’s opening on Agents of Shield. The movie opened on a Friday and 4 days later AOS continues where Cap 2 left off and explains what happened at the end of the movie. Thankfully I’d seen it by then. Then again, they kind of spoiled the ending even in the trailer when they talked about Shield being infiltrated and showed the helicarrier falling from the sky.

  4. Yes, Definitely
    Hulk/Planet Hulk [x]

  5. IM3 sucked

    • No.

    • Yes.

      • No

      • Yes, yes, oh god yes!

        • Yes Agreed. Im3 wasnt great.

          And on a side note.



          Anything else is secondary.

          Black panther, gambit, spawn, X factor,

          That’s just some of the movies I would love to see before another iron man movie.

          • Spawn is DC last time I checked?? And don’t you mean X-Force? Which I don’t think will happen soon cause of Fox owning the rights.
            If there’s going to be a X-Force movie, I want to see a Deadpool movie, and I mean the original Deadpool! Not that abomination from Origins: Wolverine

            • Actually I did mean X factor.
              I would love to see forge, havoc, multible man etc and the rest in a X factor movie.

              I would prefer that than x force.

              But definitely gambit in an x men movie or a solo movie is highest on my list. Alongside black panther.

          • Well your wish for a Gambit movie is fulfilled, sadly by 20th Century Fox but still

    • Agreed. Im3 wasnt great.

      And on a side note.



      Anything else is secondary.

      • Check the original comment. That’s not what Randy said. He said it sucked, which it clearly didn’t. Yes it wasn’t great but still, it was much better than IM2, at least for the people who were able to get past the much necessary changes made to the Mandarin.

        Also, yes to Black Panther. Gambit, I don’t really care.

        • Yeah it definitely did not suck. It wasn’t a terrible movie by any means.

          Bfg666 you need to change your name dude. The 666 is really off putting.

          • My username is a direct tribute to the original Doom videogame, harking back to 1993. They don’t do this kind of games anymore. :( I was originally gonna go by bfg9000 (as in the game’s most powerful weapon) but it was already taken, so… But why would it be off-putting? Unless you’re a christian bigot, that is, in which case I don’t care one bit: I have neither the time nor the will to cozy up to mindless drones.

    • No

  6. IM3 felt like it was intended to wrap up the character, and to add anything would feel like an acknowledgement from Marvel/Disney that IM3 was the complete narrative failure it turned out to be.

    I get that it was the point of the story, but it made for lousy storytelling to have the fake villain be more layered and interesting than the “real” villain. Kingsley’s Mandarin is the only aspect of the movie I find worth re-watching at all. I mean, Killian got stood up by a rich drunk who was escorting a parade of women to his room and turned to evil, becoming the leader of his own think tank? Whaaaaaaaaaaaat?

    Also, that cutesy bit of storytelling effectively robbed fans and casual moviegoers (who just don’t know what they’re missing) of the chance to have an epic onscreen tussle between Kingsley’s Mandarin and RDJ’s Stark, which would also be the only acceptable reason to go ahead with IM4… once again acknowledging the missed opportunity. Instead we got Killian the Unwanted and his legions of drones against a small army of empty iron man suits.

    They also wasted a great potential direction for any possible future climactic Mandarin/IM battle by using up the Armor Army on Killian the Maligned and his legion of faceless “Extremis” drones. Mandarin and his rings vs. Iron Man and his army of drone armor guided by Jarvis? Yeah, I would’ve signed up for that; now it would just be redundant.

    The use of all the armors would also have been a great place for some Easter eggs of various IM armors from the comics over the years (stealth, outer space, undersea, etc); instead, the only “Easter eggs” we got was them name-dropping AIM, the Mandarin and Extremis for no reason, because none of them related in any way to the various stories those names have been a part of over the years.

    I get the PTSD subplot, but it was, like much of the rest of IM3, a completely half-baked effort that only served to make Tony Stark into a bumbling, incompetent clown… which tends to be more endearing when the character in question isn’t also a billionaire playboy inventor, as well as an unrepentant, egotistical smart-ass. Which is another problem: it seemed as if he was starting to grow after the first IM, only to have him revert and downright regress after that. And the ending monologue was about as close as you can get to literally hitting the reset button on a character, another example of poor storytelling, especially if you are intending to continue the story.

    Also, PTSD or not, after threatening a terrorist Tony wouldn’t have wandered around in prototype armor without perfecting it, at the very least making certain it was fully combat capable, especially after his speech to Pepper about protecting her. He would have used an older, combat-ready armor WHILE perfecting his new suit. The movie went completely against his nature just to set up the story they wanted to tell, which is just bad plotting.

    Speaking of incompetent, they also managed to make James Rhodes into a complete patsy for the faceless “Extremis” goon squad. I wouldn’t trust him to guard a sack of groceries from his performance in IM3.

    Which also played to their under-use of the solid supporting cast they had built up over 7 years and 2+ movies (since we got both Pepper and Jarvis in Avengers). Build them up, then remove them completely and replace them with a kid for the majority of the 2nd act. It wasn’t even endearing, it just felt forced, played for laughs, and largely full of hypocritical whining on Tony Stark’s part.

    All in all, IM3 felt like Black pandering to RDJ’s every whim and RDJ getting paid ridiculous sums of money to get pandered to by a friend who also happened to direct. That’s no small part of the reason, and I know I’m in a very small minority, but I think it’s time to move on from RDJ anyway, especially if he demands the $50-75m he’s reported to have made for IM3 and the Avengers to do IM4. If that’s the case forget him and recast.

    I feel like RDJ needed Iron Man more than Iron Man needed RDJ anyways. Tony Stark is, in his own words, a “genius billionaire playboy philanthropist” who is James Bond and Q rolled into one with a character defining origin story full of great pathos. Because of this, people have overestimated his performance on IM the same way Chris Evans is undervalued as Captain America. Iron Man is a hero that is easy to relate and sell to today’s generation: a brilliant rich guy who stays at the cutting edge of current technology; as opposed to an anachronism from the 40′s who could have easily slipped into a campy, cheesy mess and completely derailed the grand vision, and is more of a commentary on today’s hedonistic lifestyles and how much values have changed. Cap is also a HERO, which doesn’t play well in today’s culture where people want misunderstood, but still overly sadistic, antagonists fighting only-slightly-less damaged sociopathic protagonists under a sea of grey morality…

    But anyways… yeah. RDJ and his legions of fanboys actually have me not much caring for the idea of an IM4 after the hot mess that IM3 was and the way they missed their chance for a memorable finale. And yes, I know it made huge amounts of money, but like everything else, I can’t help but wonder if it would have made even more if it was actually done “right”.

    • Yes RDJ got a HUGE amount of money for IM3 and The Avengers.

      BUT he did mention that he’d break contract if his co actors didn’t get a raise too. Which happened.

      IM3 wasn’t the best movie of all times, and the reason why they kinda hit the reset button on Starks personality was due to the traumatic events from The Avengers. Tony was scared, and felt more comfortable in his suit that outside of it. It was what held him “together” although the grow in personality he had in IM1 and 2 was pretty much gone.
      He needed to grow again as a person. That was what it was all about.

    • Uh… Groot, this is somewhat embarassing for you. Did you even watch the movie at all or did you just gather your opinion from the cohort of whining fanbois?

      His “older, combat-ready armors” were all blown up along with his house during the VERY FIRST scene! Also, please explain how he possibly could’ve finalized his prototype with Jarvis and all his hi-tech tools now gone. Actually, it speaks volumes for his genius that he was able to fix his armor at all without his robots doing it for him…

      The PTSD bit and everything related has already been addressed by Payne here.

      As for the rest of your rant, it’s either nonsense blurted out of spite for not getting what you expected or… no, that’s pretty much it.

      Please note that I’m not saying the movie isn’t flawed, it just wasn’t the disaster you make it out to be.

    • Plus the real Mandarin is still out there somewhere.

  7. When can Marvel launch Iron Man #4? Well, looking at my appointment-book calender, I see I can pencil them in for RIGHT NOW!!!!

  8. It seems like they are going to have the real Mandarin show up. Which would be interesting, and give a lot of those people who felt cheated a sign of relief.

  9. I want lots of suits and the hulk buster suits in the avengers age of ultron movie and I WANT THE AVENGERS AGE OF ULTRON MOVIE ACTION FIGURE TOYS.

  10. i’m waiting avengers age of ultron@iron man 4

  11. It’s obvious it would have an Iron Man 4… The short movie ”All Hail to the king” proove the strike back of the true marvel’s comic character known as the Mandarin… Disney love to keep the story going on! Even if it’s not RDJ, we can keep hope to see the marvel universe continue to enlarge!

  12. i think the kid at the end of the movie will take over the role of iron man… and maybe stark will come back to help him

    • There’s one guy already tailored to fill in for Stark, as he did in the comics: Rhodey.

  13. A good story line bringing up Starks alcoholism causing him to lose his company to the hands of crafty industrialists, giving access of Tonys armor technology to criminals

  14. really… I like ittttttt