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. Oh…well…uh…no.

  2. No.

    • lawl, Tony Stark from Boston hmmm…. Mah name’s Tawny Stahk and ah ain’t afraid of yah


        • If you were Ant-Man, you could just shrink down, and slip under the door!


  4. Please no.

    When RDJ can’t do it anymore the character should be retired!

  5. I like Mark Wahlberg but I’m going to have to pass, I don’t think he’s an Iron Man at all. I also don’t think they should continue the Iron Man franchise for that many films, it gets bloated after a while, no matter how awesome RDJ is. Like some people have already said, if RDJ plans on leaving, simply send the character to retirement or kill him off. I feel like they’re depending on him way too much.

  6. Nope

  7. RDJ is Iron Man/Tony Stark. Sorry but there’s no one that can replace him. Wahlberg’s decent, but no

  8. He is a decent actor but if this ever happened i would be done with mcu.
    Get an actor in there who is hungry to perform and not get overpaid.
    Whats with some of these actors asking to be established superheroes?
    He should try and start a new franchise rather then ride iron mans cottails.

  9. unless hes doing the drunk one

  10. I’d lay off Iron Man for awhile before bringing anyone back in his shoes. Marvel’s got a ton of heroes to use anyways it’s not like they need to keep making Iron Man movies to stay afloat.

  11. The hate on Bostonians is strong here. Luckily I wasn’t raised in Mass so no accent for me :).

  12. They can replace RDJ becasue he is iron man and no one can take that away. he is the reason for most of the fan base replace him and they would probably lose 75% of fans. I love the iron man movies but I think that 3 had a really good ending and they should leave it at that becasue if RDJ retires iron man retires with him.

  13. After seeing 2 Guns then I’d be completely fine with it. Usually Marky Mark plays the straight man in comedic situations which doesn’t really work for Tony Stark, but in 2 Guns he was hilarious and had great witty humor. Would the character be exactly the same as RDJ? No, but nobody can do Robert Downey Jr. like Robert Downey Jr. can. So why not get someone who will do it well, but differently.

  14. Johnny Depp would be a much better fit. Clooney may have be too, but he’s pretty old now.

    • Not sure if trolling or mentally ill….

  15. Mark Wahlberg’s not a bad actor but he wouldn’t be my choice to play Tony Stark. All the people saying Robert Downey Jr. is so good that no one else should touch the character after he’s done are out of their heads. Downey does a great job, yes, but that is no reason at all to banish a character who’s become a beloved cultural icon from the screen. To think that there isn’t and never will be any other actor capable of delivering a satisfying portrayal is patently ridiculous. There are many more angles on the character of Tony Stark just as interesting as the one Downey’s taken that have yet to be explored on film. I love going to the movie theater and watching a man in a robot suit fly around shooting energy blasts and rockets at bad guys. Don’t take that away from me because Robert Downey Jr. got too old to be the man in the suit.

    • Dude, You are out of your head!!!

      I think we all know that the role MAY be re-cast one day, BUT I am 110% certain the reason Tony Stark has become “A BELOVED CULTURAL ICON” is because of 1 reason…. THE ACTOR PLAYING THE PART!

      Do you honestly think that Rob Lowe or some other SCHMUCK could have pulled this role off? If so you sir need to set the Crack pipe down long enough to let it cool down and use your melon while typing such a thing!

      There are NOT many actors that could do an acceptable enough job for Tony Stark/Iron Man to make a BILLION DOLLARS ever again! Is there someone that could still make this character interesting? MAYBE, but it will take one hell of an actor to fill the suit that RDJ owned + they will have a HUGE following of fans to please. (and the fans made marvel that BILLION DOLLARS you piss them off it will be over)
      Any A-hole could put on that suit! BUT that does NOT mean they will be successful! HE almost single handedly built Marvel (the production company) and I’m not sure that would have ever happened without RDJ BEING Tony Stark!
      Somebody WILL eventually take on the role BUT DONT under estimate what RDJ means to Marvel and to the FANS!!!

  16. Either keep RDJ or kill off Iron Man or pass it on to Rhodey. Do NOT I repeat NOT replace actors. RDJ IS Iron Man, no one will ever do better than him.

  17. I wouldn’t hate it, but here’s the thing: By the time RDJ does Avengers 3, he’ll be 53. That means Marky Mark will be 47. Which means by the time he’d get the chance to take the helm, he’s already really pushing the age limit for the character. The whole point is to get a younger actor that can hold onto the character for a few more movies and then pass it onto another actor. He’ll only be able to do one. Maybe two.

  18. Yah… sorry Marky Mark, you’re no Robert Downey Jr….

  19. Am I the only one that thinks it’s pretty scary that Marky Mark doesn’t even have the basic self-awareness to know not to even suggest such a thing?


  21. I can’t think of anyone else other than RDJ who would do Iron Man justice.

  22. Am I the only one who’s kinda stoked about this!!??!!

  23. It actually surprises me that Wahlberg hasn’t been mentioned for Batman….

  24. The only good that could possibly come of this is the idea of whalberg jammin out to “good vibrations” in the suit. That would be hilarious. Otherwise? Nah. I just don’t trust his sarcasm for this role.

  25. ITs not a surprise seeing so many people against the idea of changing an actor. Sure, the character simply grow and you’ve used to it. But Bond style is still ok. Ask yourselves. Do you want to see reboot after 3 solo movies or evolve the story further and tell more?