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)

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  2. As a Marvel fan, I want closure on that whole Trevor Slattery & Mandarin thing.

    Yes I saw a the One Shot on YouTube about Trevor being busted out of prison. I want closure. Also if possible, MODOK.

    Also bring back Jon Favreau as director in IM4.

    • Closure, yes. But about the only thing to assauge the wounds of the fake Mandarin (and it would be a little like closing the door after the cow escaped the barn) would be to bring in a real Mandarin, rings zapping all the way and him duking it out with Iron Man. That might get a little grumbly forgiveness out of the fans (and me).
      As for an Iron Man 4, who wouldn’t want to see that (despite IM#3 being a titzup of a mess)? I would definitely be up for IM#4, with Downey as Stark!

    • First off I’m glad we’re all mostly in agreement that IM3 was a travesty.
      (except for 2 super nice action set pieces)
      Shane Black must have thought he was so smart with that Mandarin fake out.
      (yeah Kiss Kiss Bang Bang sucked too)
      Regardless here’s what u do with IM4 – the same thing the comics did successfully:
      Bring in an apprentice Iron Man (young Tony clone?)
      keep RDJ around as an old-Batman-style adviser in the shadows.
      I like continuations better than reboots–they’re smarter.

  3. RDJ is IronMan!!!! To change his character would ruin the entire Marvel Universe… JuSayn!!!

    • Agreed, indeed, Shane!

    • So you never wan to see another Iron Man movie or see him in any future MU movies? They WILL have to replace him sooner or later. Along with all the other actors. Unless they get rid of these character (mysteriously they all vanish).

      • In the Marvel Comics, “The Avengers” is not solely the ones we see on the big screen today. There have been many variations of the Avengers team. Bring on some new heroes after Iron Man 4. Recasting Tony Stark, is a big no-no from me. RDJ is Tony. Tony is RDJ. The role was essentially made for RDJ. There’s no actor that could top his performance.

        • Who said anything about Tony? In the comics, we’re used to having the same characters being the same superheroes for decades without visibly aging. Obviously we can’t have that in the movies, so since a reboot is out of question, the characters are bound to pass the mantle at some point. It looks like Steve Rogers is heading this way with Bucky, so why couldn’t Tony do it too, maybe with the kid from IM3? All I know is I don’t want to NOT see new Iron Man films ever again, regardless of how many other heroes show up in the MCU.


    It would be cool if there was another side villain along with Mandarin like Radioactive Man, Living Laser or Grey Gargoyle. Also add Hammer back in there.

    Get Iron Man 4 directed by Favereau again

    Get War Machine and Iron Man a proper lengthy team-up sequence.

    Get a final show down with Mandarin

    • A lot of commenters have asked for Jon Favereau to return but I don’t get it. Apart from Iron Man 1 everything he has ever directed has been mediocre at best. Cowboys & Aliens anyone?

      People on screen rant are very vocal about how much they didn’t like Shane Black’s IM3 so if not him I’d love to see a fresh face have a go.

      • Iron Man 2 was decent but he was restricted cause MCU began “universe” building with their characters.

        Zathura was pretty darn good for a kids movie and for a “sequel” / “spinoff” of Jumanji

        Also, Elf is like one of the best Christmas movies ever!!

        Made was a decent film.

        Cowboys and Aliens sucked cause the premise is lame.

        • I must say that I recently got tired of Christmas. I got rid of everything (decorations, music, movies, etc.) The ONLY thing I kept was ELF.

    • Mandarin, Living laser, Radioactive Man, Grey Gargoyle…! Oh, I love it when you talk dirty! I want them all! And maybe toss Kang and Whirlwind in there as well! Just make sure it is a REAL Mandarin. I would also like to see Quicksilver and Whirlwind battle it out at super speed!

  5. This film universe is set to continue until 2028. If that is the case then RDJ, along with others, will either need to be re-cast, or given a heroic death or re-placed with another hero and a new actor on the active roster. RDJ being given a heroic death at some point could be an appealing option for him. The idea that he becomes director of SHIELD could also work. Keeping both Chris E & H is important as they are also difficult to replace. Marvel is encountering a good problem, how to keep a winning franchise together and plan for the next phase.

    Just an opinion, but not everyone should survive the fight with Thanos. Maybe one or more Avenger should perish or be maimed defeating Thanos. So assuming that RDJ/Stark survives Thanos then a good choice would be Titanium Man and other armored villains. Use parts spymaster storyline where Stark designs get widely dispersed. Intellectual property theft, weapons of mass destruction, etc.

    • Spymaster, Titanium Man, and maybe Crimson Dynamo…yes, those would be good to see. You could come up with a viable plot with them, I bet.

  6. I just hope that whenever the inevitable recasting happens, whomever it ends up being that plays Tony Stark will make the performance his own, rather than trying to just be Robert Downey Jr. This is the whole reason we all love RDJ’s Iron Man in the first place: he made the character his own. On a side note, that’s also why I loved Mark Ruffalo’s Bruce Banner as well.

  7. July 2015- Ant-Man
    May 2016- Cap 3
    July 2016- Dr. Strange
    May 2017- Thor 3
    July 2017- Iron Partriot (teaming up with Black Panther or Hulk)
    May 2018- Avengers 3

    • Oh no, please no more Iron Patriot crap! We don’t need War Machine cosplaying Cap, let him be War Machine again.

  8. Honestly, as a fan, Robert Downey Jr. is still a long way from overstaying his welcome. I would be happy to see him in Iron Man 6 (yes I meant six) or beyond. To quote Iron Man “The truth is: [he] is Iron Man” – I would much rather see a grey-haired Tony Stark using a cane than a recast Tony Stark. The beauty of the Marvel Universe is there are already characters like Iron Maiden for example who could believably kick butt when the “older” (frankly RDJ is far from that category) actors/characters can no longer believably do so. But they could still mentor and suit up when really necessary.
    Nothing Marvel hasn’t already thought of I’m sure.

  9. No more ironman for me. Ironman 3 are so much disappointment. This the last superheroes that i will not watch.

  10. Iron Man 10? Or is that 10 a IV?

  11. I could go with Iron Man 4.Just as long as the Marvel Movies start to build up The Masters Of Evil and introduce them into each solo movie and then bring them all together for Avengers 4.

  12. Why not have Thanos reset the whole Marvel U with the infinity gauntlet? That way you can recast with younger actors and start the whole mess over again…

    • Not when Bucky just came in for 9 movies. Also, to hell with reboots! It has to stop already.

  13. Iron Man 2 and 3 were horrible
    Hopefully 4 is actually decent

  14. While I want to see more of Iron Man, I’m kind of done with exploring his character. I really only want to see him in Avengers movies from now on to make way for other characters to have solo movies.

  15. Have the big set up film for ‘Avengers 4′ be ‘Iron Man 4′ and that can be Robert Downey Jr’s “grand finale” as the character. The time between Avengers 2 and 3 will give the character time to be missed and give Robert time for other projects too! Then he can come back for one final double shot with the 4&4 combo (Iron Man 4 and Avengers 4)

  16. Iron Man 4 would be a great closure for the character. I felt Iron Man 3 left a wide open ending for something new.

  17. We want to see THE real Mandarin for Iron Man IV.

    • Fin Fang Foom!!!!!

  18. If Stark is recast I can only really see a few guys doing it…Bradley Cooper, but that might be problematic with him being the voice of Rocket Raccoon. Maybe Josh Brolin…I dunno he might could do it well. I’d rather they either just kill Tony Stark off in A3 or IM4 or however many in the future, or have him maybe break his back and just become the head of a new SHIELD or become the brains behind the Avengers soley. War Machine can take his spot in the combat lineup. I’d like to see two Avengers teams start up. You have Thor, Captain America (Rogers and/or Winter Soldier Bucky), Black Widow, Falcon, Antman…then maybe the West Coast Avengers with War Machine, Scarlet Witch, Hawkeye, Quick Silver, and Doctor Strange. Tony could be the guy that coordinates those teams.

    I didn’t mention the Hulk because I’d like to see a Planet Hulk movie and a World War Hulk movie…that might be just dreaming but it would be cool.

    • Splitting Hawkeye and Widow? Having two magic-based characters in one team and none in the other? And forgetting the current Avengers already are West Coast since Stark is based in LA? You might want to rethink that…

  19. Am I the only one who DOESN’T want these original cast members RDJ, Evans, etc to be in these movies past Avengers 3? I feel like we as an audience are blessed to have this Marvel era. My only hope is that they don’t overdue it. It would be great for them to just finish up with Avengers 3 and tie it in a nice bow. Set up Sebastian Stan and others to change up the roster if they want to continue. I don’t know, might be an unpopular opinion.

  20. More Iron Man movies for Marvel fans to complain about? Ill pass. I believe I’m the only person who liked Iron Man 2 & 3.

    • I liked them both. I didn’t love IM 2 and I actually liked IM 3 more than 2. IM 1 was great, 3 was like a 3.5 out of 5 for me, and 2 was pretty average.

      • I concur… mostly. I did love IM3 almost (but not quite) as much as IM1. The reinvention of an über-kitschy and ridiculously megalomaniac villain (yes, I’m looking at you, original Mandarin) was brilliant.

    • Nah, most people liked iron man 3. I think the only people who didn’t like it were the comic fanboys. I loved iron man 3, actually thought that it was the best of the series.

  21. Marvel needs to do Thor 3 to establish Loki working with Thanos and delivering the Tesseract and the Gauntlet.
    They should also a Guardians of the Galaxy 2 (or suitable cosmic movie/spin off) as the direct lead in to Avenger 3: The Infinity Gauntlet.
    They have mentioned that they may start doing more than 2 movies per year and it would be nice to squeeze 1 extra film in before A3:
    Phase 3 should go:
    Captain America 3
    Doctor Strange
    Ms Marvel or Scarlett Witch & Vision
    Thor 3
    Guardians of the Galaxy 2
    Avengers 3

    Then after Phase split off into 2 different Phases: Cosmic & Super natural
    Super Natural phase anchored by Doctor Strange and the Midnight Sons (Ghost Rider, Blade, Morbius, etc)
    Cosmic Phase with Guardians of the Galaxy, Thor, Nova, Adam Warlock, etc..
    You could easily tie Iron Man 4 into the cosmic side with the Mandarin and his alien tech.

    • They don’t really have to split, since there are a lot of things already for both cosmic and supernatural.

      Don’t think they’ll re-boot Blade, Wesley Snipes was great doing him, and liked the movies more than the TV show (with Sticky Fingaz I believe)

  22. I hope they don’t use charge kryptonite again.

  23. Nah, I want Sherlock Holmes 3. Do that first, then RDJ can do whatever he wants.

  24. I believe, there will be an IronMan 4, and maybe even 5. If Marvel is really building the Universe they have been hinting at. I could see Iron Man 4 is when He’ll take on the Mandarin and 5 When he goes into space or As Director Of Shield after the Civil War (Avengers 3). Also, I think Thanos will also be saved for an Avengers 4 or 5. There building a universe like Star Wars or Harry Potter. This is gonna become the age of Heroes our generation is gonna look back to and Marvel wants to show the world not just 10 -20 of their heroes, they’re giving us their whole gallery!

  25. Iron Man 4 (3.1)
    - Written by the Cap 2 writers,
    - Produced by Favreau,
    - Directed by Neill Blomkamp,
    - Star Robert Downey Jr,
    - Have a Mandarin heavy story
    - Introduce Dr. Strange (if he hasn’t had his own film by then)
    - Get some damn AC/DC back in the soundtrack!
    …and his armour should be more durable…

    • Oh wow, it didn’t occur to me but Blomkamp might just be an awesome pick! Also, hell yeah for AC/DC! And Sabbath’s Iron Man song (maybe a re-recorded version since the original line-up has reformed). Here’s hoping Marvel are listening… Now about the armors in IM3, they were all unfinalized prototypes, hence the limited durability.

  26. The only one I really want to happen is Thor 2 and with resolution to the Loki storyline. I am not bothered if RDJ leaves Iron Man as I feel his performances are become a bit acting by numbers and Captain America is not my cup of tea. I would like to see both Loki and Thanos return to Avengers 3 but other than that I am not bothered.

    • Uh, you mean Thor 3, right? Cap’s not my usual cup of tea either (I loathe excessive patriotism, furthermore when it’s directed at a foreign country – I’m not american) but man, you just need to go see The Winter Soldier! It’s hands down the best superhero movie since The Dark Knight. More than that, it’s a great action film, period, that also hasn’t forgotten to think. Go. See. It. I promise you won’t be disappointed, it has nothing to do with its cheesy predecessor.

  27. I know it won’t happen because the Marvel films are such a cash cow for Disney, but couldn’t they wrap everything up with phase 3 and have the actors (and the characters they play) have their swansong with Avengers 3?

    • Why are people in such a hurry to reboot? Marvel is building a cinematic universe.

      • ^This.^ Reboots are getting quite annoying, when not downright infuriating.

  28. Will we all retain interest after so many superhero movies? Honestly, I feel burned out on superhero movies just reading about all those to come.

  29. In my honest opinion I would not want either of the current actors replaced. I love Downey as Stark, he is Iron Man. But if the day came when they have to be replaced, this is my tentative list:

    Iron Man/Tony Stark: Luke Evans
    Thor: Alexander Skarsgard
    Captain America: Sebastian Stan <— inevitable.

    I hope we get many more years of RDJ but you never know.