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
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  1. Ahahahahahaha…. no.

    • HELLZ no…

    • haha! Tell me about it! He struggled to be a teacher in The Happening, can’t imagine him playing a genius lol Iron Man needs someone relatively new.



    • LOL. I’m happy most of us are in one accord. No way this dude can play Tony Stark. I mean, I like Mark Wahlberg in other films he starred in, but I must say no to him playing Tony Stark/Iron Man. SMDH if he got the part.

  3. Who doesn’t ?

  4. Too short, among many, many other things.

    Stick to “The Transformers” , Mark….

    • HAHAHA seriously? They are the same height xD

      • He’s STILL too short….

  5. Eh

    • +1

  6. Tony Stark: Hey JARVIS, say hi to your mother for me, OK?

    • You mean JAHVIS?


    • Damn it Jarvis, I’m Iron Man, you gotta let me fly!

  7. NO!!!! Horrible idea.

  8. I hope RDJ be involved in talks with Marvel & Feige on who should be his replacement.

  9. An interesting ploy to keep RDJ from retiring.
    Well done, Marky. Well done.

  10. NO!!

  11. F**k No! Marky mark as Iron man/Tony stark?! Ain’t gonna happen. Not now, not Ever!

    • Nawt now, nawt evah! That would be wicked retahded!

  12. Yeah well I wanna be a paid film critic, but we don’t always get what we want

  13. Not like anyone is liking the idea of RDJ leaving. They could get someone equally as good and a great number would lash out at him for not being RDJ.

    Do I think Wahlberg is the guy to do it? Absolutely not.

    If anything, and people will rage for this choice, I think Seth Macfarlane would be the perfect guy to take the role of Tony Stark. It’s not like he’d be writing.

    • Yeah, um, Stark isn’t gay. Try again.

      • And Starks sexuality has what to do with this particular discussion thread?

        • Seth MacFarlane’s sexuality, actually.

  14. I said it before I say it again: kill off Tony Stark when RDJ leaves. I can’t think of a single actor who’d be not a disappointment trying to fill his iron shoes.

    • I don’t think they should kill him off. I like the idea of the whole James Bond like thing. Re-cast the character without doing another origin story and it will be fine. I agree that Mark Wahlberg isn’t the greatest choice, but he would be okay. I would like to see him in a Marvel or DC movie

      • I think Colin Farrell could pull it off.

        • +1

        • I…do not agree. About Farrell.

    • they should take the storyline where Tony Stark becomes leader of shield. and no iron man solo movies.
      RDJ can stay stark without worries for fysical restrictions and if they want to have an iron man armor
      flying around take War Machine or use cgi


      sounds better than an actor who can never match Rdj’s portrayal of Iron Man.


  15. N0 Mark Wahlberg, NO!

  16. No need for all the hate towards mark, just
    Cause he would like the role doesnt mean he is gonna get it. I like him a lot and find his acting very consistant if not improving overtime. I think he shtick is action comedies just not ironman. I dont feel RDJ is irreplacible if anything im tired of seeing
    his same act for 4 films now. He hasmy evolved or added anything new to his stark and i feel its the writers and marvela fault. They stick to what sells and will entertained. When he does get replaced. I will be excited to see what the new actor can bring to the character, even if they may not reach RDJ level.

    Also Mark Wahlberg is still a great choice for nathan drake imo

    • I don’t hate on him. I like Wahlberg and like most his movies. He just doesn’t fit the Tony Stark character, is all.

    • What? Hasnt evolved?

      He went from a supercocky a**hole one night stand guy to a commitet loving relation ship guy. He went from ‘Supercool im Ironman’-guy to ‘Im depresst and hidding in a basment.

      Of course he cant fundamentally change the hole way he is doing Ironman/Stark. A new acter cant totally reimagen everything, but as far as character development threw the movie goes, I was really impressed by his evolution.

      • Really? It was more like im depressed for 2 minutes but ill continue to be my cocky self saying the same type of jokes we have heard for 3 film. I thought the events in new york were suppose to shape and they only sort of did. Id like to see him stop with the jokes and take s*** seriously fkr oncee

        • I still stand that I love RDJ but he has only really played Tony Stark that is growing as a character in Iron Man and The Avengers.

          RDJ is always magnificent and more entertaining to watch, but only those two films nailed the character and a progression due to the writing.

          I mean Whedon redeemed the character in The Avengers presenting him another arc and setting up a great one in IM3, yet the filmmakers only half-succeeded in following up because “lets make it funny” shtick.

  17. Also mark wahlberg seems to be a class act which is why i like him

    • @Trey

      I thought he was a class act.

      Then he went off and shot his mouth off about how American Citizens should not have guns and how the government should take them away.


      • How is his opinion on guns make him not a class act. Political views dont effect my opinion on someone

        • Define Class Act.

          Beating a man unconscious with a stick.

          Or throwing rocks at school kids.

          Served 45 days in prison.

          Class act indeed.

          • Anyone taking away my gun had better remember which way it is pointing.
            Support the 2nd. Amendment!

  18. It’s good to want things.

  19. No way

  20. They should just have Tony Stark retire and have Rhodey take over as Iron Man. Just something but not Marl Wahlberg

    • +1

    • Rhodey/War machine is OK…just not that great. Keep Stark as Iron Man, and Robert Downey as long as possible as Stark. In the meantime, get Goliath and Wasp loaded up & trained into The Avengers, so they and Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch can be ready to run things if Iron Man, Hulk, Cap, and Thor (or any combination thereof) retire, resign, or whatever.

  21. Marky Mark is a great actor. I firmly believe he COULD play Tony Stark, but whether he should or not is a different question.
    Personally I think no. But maybe that’s because I’ve grown to know RDJ in the role.
    Should it ever happen I’d certainly give him a chance.

    • Agreed. I remember when people were talking down about Mark Ruffalo playing Bruce Banner for The Avengers, and he turned out great onscreen.

  22. I will cut my own F-ing face off if they let this clown take over the role of Tony Stark!!
    I just do not think he is ANYWHERE near the actor that would have to take over that role when RDJ does finally retire!

    I’m not one to think I know who could actually do it, BUT I really DO NOT Think he could pull off the cocky billionaire role! We will never get a Tony Stark that is as awesome as the one RDJ portrays, But Marvel has Not let me down in any casting yet (except Ed Norton) he played the role of (ME) OK but not nearly as good as Mark Ruffalo plays (ME), other than that misstep they have done a Marvel-ous job casting so all we can do is PRAY they DO NOT cast this 2nd rate actor to replace RDJ in what has become an iconic role!

    • I personally thought Edward Norton was a much better Bruce Banner than Mark Ruffalo

      • Popcorn anyone? haha! Great rant! I seriously hope you wouldn’t cut your face. It will be ok, I promise.

      • neither actor really impressed me as irreplacable as Banner. But then, I’m not a big Hulk guy.

        • I liked Norton a lot because it was like a modern Bill Bixby IMO. They found the genius of that show and modernized it so that silly tradition of Bixby getting angry at EVERYTHING didn’t return.

          • I got a little pipsqueak boss that gets mad at everything, but he is more like Rumplestiltskin!

      • At 007 I agree with u, I think edward norton was a much better hulk. But I dnt get all the hate for walberg. I think he will do a good job as iron man. weren’t most of us skeptacle when ledger was cast as the joker. Not I’m not camparing walberg to ledger but I think he will be good.

  23. Marky Stark, lmao.

  24. I see a lot of rejections, but nobody has offered up an ideal candidate. I like the idea of Rhodey going rogue on his military career and taking over. It would also be cool to see RDJ sort of find a replacement; the way Nolan was hinting at the end of DKR.

    In the end what MADE the role stick to RDJ was because his lifestyle WAS how Tony Stark is supposed to have been. He lived that life and you can’t fake, or act, it out. That’s what made it real to me.

  25. no

  26. Robert Downey forever as Stark! He will not be able to be adequately replaced now that Marvel has defined how they want his personality in the movies.
    However, since Fate probably will make me face reality that I won’t get my way at some point in time, I don’t actually know who I would want as a replacement. There is probably someone out there that could do it, but no names come to mind. Sorry for the brain-drain at this point in time. (Actually, I’m still scratching my head trying to decide who would be a good Henry Pym/Goliath…a character I really want in The Avengers ASAP…and with Wasp, of course).

  27. Avengers 4 Sequel…. HULK don’t like mark walhberg become Tin Man! HULK SMASH!

  28. I wanna be a lot of things.

    • I wanna be a crash-test dummy at a school of massage!