Mark Wahlberg Wants to Play ‘Iron Man’ After Robert Downey Jr. Retires

Published 2 years ago by

It’s not easy being a superhero. And, as this summer’s billion-dollar-grossing Iron Man 3 proved, the more existential crises a hero faces during the course of the story, the more audiences will flock to the theater. Hot on the heels of that movie’s wild success, Marvel faced some serious challenges in signing Robert Downey Jr. to play Tony Stark/Iron Man beyond the “Phase 2″ films.

Downey has publicly discussed the possibility that he’ll have to retire from the role eventually… so who could take over? Well, how about Mark Wahlberg?

In recent interview with Yahoo! Movies UK (watch it above) to drum up publicity for his action-comedy 2 Guns, Wahlberg was remarkably candid about the state of blockbusters these days, touching on the too-common “end of the world” plot running in so many of our summer movies and observing that “It’s all kinda the same s***.” 

When asked about which (if any) comic book or superhero roles he might see himself playing, Wahlberg replied:

“I would like to take over the ‘Iron Man’ franchise for Robert Downey… [but] it’s one of those things where I kind of like playing real people, [so] I’ve never been asked.”

Mark Wahlberg Iron Man Mark Wahlberg Wants to Play Iron Man After Robert Downey Jr. Retires

While the line does sound like he’s at least half-joking, Wahlberg might have been thinking about this line for awhile. He’s had an impressive and varied career, but his role in Transformers 4 is really the first time he’s been involved in a greased-up money-making machine established franchise (outside of Entourage, which he appeared in as himself and executive produced).

Wahlberg does note that he was apparently considered for the role of Robin in (presumably) Batman Forever, and acknowledges that “Somebody dodged a bullet!”  Max Payne was a non-starter as a potential series, a planned sequel to The Italian Job never happened, and the less said about Tim Burton’s Planet of the Apes, the better.

Marvel Studios is famous for securing talent for long-term, multi-picture deals (Chris Evans and Mark Ruffalo for six films each, Samuel L. Jackson for nine) while “low-balling” their salaries (Mickey Rourke received $250,000 for his turn as the villain in Iron Man 2; RDJ famously received upwards of $50 million for his role in The Avengers while his co-stars earned significantly less). Negotiations with RDJ briefly hit an impasse, with Marvel president Kevin Feige telling Entertainment Weekly that he could see multiple actors playing Iron Man in future installments:

“I believe there will be a fourth ‘Iron Man’ and a fifth, sixth and a 10th and a 20th. I see no reason why Tony Stark can’t be as evergreen as James Bond, Batman, or for that matter, Spider-Man.”

Iron Man 3 Spoilers Mark Wahlberg Wants to Play Iron Man After Robert Downey Jr. Retires

The statement seemed like a clear signal to Downey and his court that Marvel was willing to replace him, and it was also a way to prepare fans for the eventuality that another actor would take the role – and sooner rather than later. Of course, the comment was more of a negotiating ploy than a real mission statement, as Downey soon signed on for The Avengers: Age of Ultron and the inevitable Avengers 3.

But as we pointed out above, Downey is aware of his age, and beyond that, he’s an actor who in his pre-Iron Man years was known for a run of interesting, grounded roles in movies like Zodiac, Wonder Boys, and Good Night, and Good Luck. After the first Iron Man propelled him into the stratosphere, he’s taken on another franchise with the Sherlock Holmes movies and high-concept studio fare like Due Date and Tropic Thunder.

Just as we’ll have to get used to a new Batman (soon), and a new James Bond (eventually), Downey will walk away from the role of Tony Stark/Iron Man at some point… but not until the end of the decade, at least. Wahlberg won’t be too much younger than Downey by then, but he arguably possesses a greater aptitude for the physicality required for the role, so the idea makes sense on that level. Still, Downey is the superstar of the Marvel Cinematic Universe and is expected to keep the part at least until The Avengers 3, which is expected in 2018. If Transformers 4 manages to launch a whole new trilogy for that franchise, Wahlberg may want to stick with that.

What about you, Screen Ranters? Would Mark Wahlberg be able to erase our memories of RDJ and take up the power armor? Sound off!


Source: Yahoo! Movies UK

Follow Anthony Vieira on Twitter @malaclyptic
Get our free email alerts on the topics and author of this article:


Post a Comment

GravatarWant to change your avatar?
Go to and upload your own (we'll wait)!

 Rules: No profanity or personal attacks.
 Use a valid email address or risk being banned from commenting.

If your comment doesn't show up immediately, it may have been flagged for moderation. Please try refreshing the page first, then drop us a note and we'll retrieve it. Keep in mind that we do not allow external links in the comments.

  1. ugh who the hell cares? just put up some one who can act and everyone will else will fall in to place.

    • Ohh I can’t believe im going to do this . . I know what your after . . / / ? / / ? / / ? HO HO HOO . . . has the Jury reached the verdict “YES” not Guilty with his Dad’s *** in my hand ahhh.

    • We’ll in that case, it shouldn’t be this dick. He can’t act

  2. NO WAY! mark wahlberg is to serious to bring the dry humor slight comedy that robert does naturally. If they wanted to do like the comics where tony dies then rhodey becomes iron man that is ok because it continues with the same people. All in all mark wahlberg cannot be iron man.

  3. OMG! No please no! this will kill the movie!
    Sorry but he can go back to playing Born—- but not Iron Man!!

    • He wasn’t Jason Bourne. That was Matt Damon. I think Mark Wahlberg would do very well as Ironman. Not Tony Stark, but Ironman. He would be a great Arno Stark. Tony’s long lost half brother.

    • Please, no!!! I support Mark W in Born 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, hell!!! Born #2567 if you want, but just pleassssse, >:( stay f****ing away from the character of Iron Man. Thank you!!!!

  4. No.

    I used to dislike his acting skills but he has grown into a likeable screen presence in recent years. But not to replace RDJ. Too different.

    • Now if they ever wanted to portray an older Tony Stark Mel Gibson could do it.

      Maybe Charlie Sheen could replace Downie Jr.

      • Absolutely not. Charlie Sheen would be THE WORST choice by far. Idk. Like many of the fans of the MCU, I’ve come to know RDJ and Tony Stark/Iron Man as the same person. However, I’m conflicted on this idea of Mark Wahlberg replacing RDJ as Stark. I just don’t know. Like, my heart’s very confused about this.

  5. Hey guys marky mark rocks he could be the marky mark iron stark mark.2!

  6. Not a good idea. He should be the guy, who replaces the guy, after RDJ. Because whoever takes over for RDJ will be hated automatically.

  7. Looking at calendar …..

    Nope, it’s still August, not April 1st. But good try SR. :-D

  8. If anyone ever replaces RDJ I won’t be watching Iron Man any more only be hating the guy who takes over….
    RDJ is irreplaceable….

  9. Pretty difficult job,Mr Wahlberg….

  10. if need be replaced then mark is the best guy out there.. quite funny guy none the less. he looks like rbj too lol
    put that same tony beard on mark then your good to go….
    but keep RDJ till avengers 2 or 3.. till then mark can wait :D
    pain and gain! AWESOME MOVIE! this Michael bay guy is awesome with films

    I love marvel! don’t edit too much stuff out! some of it is cool! :D

  11. I guess if they will show in avengers 3 that he will retire and pass the iron man suit to a new character. We don’t want something like a reboot or just simply replacing rdj. put a story to it then we may think about watching iron man without rdj and tony stark. and anyway they could use the part in the comics where tony stark already built tons of iron man programmed to save the world.


    • I think the only person to replace RDJ as tony stark is english actor hugh dancy simular personality simalar look and he looks good with the face fuss he is 48 now but lets wait till after A2 age of ultron as RDJ will be 50 by the time and then ironman 4 he be 52 I think its good if rdj stays on cause in the comic books tony stark looks good abit older but hes signed for A3 so he will be pushing 55 so he might aswell do Im4 as it will be weird seeing another actor in IM4 then rdj returning to do A3

      • Ya u right about Hugh Dancy, just that he’s 38 not 48 that u have mentioned him to be

  13. RDJ is gold, he shouldn’t be replaced. I mean, lets take a look at Harrison Ford. He did the last Indiana Jones movie when he was in his 60′s, I think Robert can manage Iron Man 4 being in his late 40′s.
    I think Mark is a great actor and all but Robert is, and will always be, the real Iron man.


  15. rdj is amazing i think he should not be replaced.

  16. Robert Downey Jr. IS Tony Stark do not dare to replace him -.-

  17. I like Whalberg (my wife loves him) but RDJ IS Iron Man. It just wouldn’t be the same. It would be like someone other than Keifer Sutherland trying to be Jack Bauer or someone other than Arnold trying to be The Terminator, or someone other than Stallone trying to be Rocky, you get the jist

  18. I really don’t see why they have to bring him up. He doesn’t have the humor of Tony Stark. I mean it comes natural for Downey.

  19. As everyone has said, RDJ and the suit are one. He is irreplaceable-as Tony Stark. It would be nice to have Rhodey as Iron Man, like in the comics. It would work well, since Don CHeadle has signed up for six movies with Marvel Studios and a pretty decent actor.

    Now, onto Mark Wahlberg. Oh lord no, he can’t replace RDJ as Tony Stark! He can’t act and this genre is out of his comfort zone. I would hate to see Wahlberg in the MCU.

  20. Usually I don’t mind change and sometimes it’s good to mix stuff up a bit. That being said I don’t think I’ll be able to watch Iron Man once RDJ leaves…I kinda only watch it for him. RDJ will always be Iron Man for me so no one could replace him. It could be my favourite actor of all time playing Iron Man and I still think it would be too painful watching them put on the suit!

  21. I think Mark will be great as Iron Man/ Tony Stark yes RDJ was great and yes he should finish when he is 55 but listen Mark has a few successful action movies under his belt now: Shooter, Lone Survivor, and Transformers: Age of Extinction and actors lives are made to be flexible meaning that the same actor can play roles in two or three movies a year. Give it time you’ll see that Mark has what it takes to be iron man. And the whole Rhodes thing I personally liked Terrance Howard best instead of Don Cheadle but that is just my opinion.

  22. “it’s one of those things where I kind of like playing real people, [so] I’ve never been asked” – I don’t think that’s why you’ve never been asked. I loved Mark Wahlberg in Boogie Nights and Rock Star, but there is no way he’s a believable genius inventor.

    • That’s because in the comics, Tony remains influential as the “genius inventor” for Arno Stark, Tony’s half brother. Tony turned all the suits over to him in the comic books.

    • I’m not saying he would be exactly like RDJ. RDJ IS Ironman. But He would do a great job as Arno Stark, Tony’s half brother. Who Tony turns the suits over to him but continues to be influential in creating new technology.

  23. No.