Robert Downey Jr. has an idea of what the Marvel Cinematic Universe looks like when the time has finally come for him to hang up his Iron Man suit. The actor, whose first Iron Man film was what kicked off the MCU in 2008, has played the “genius, billionaire, philanthropist” Tony Stark a total of seven times with his latest outing being in the Tom Holland-starrer, Spider-Man: Homecoming as Peter Parker’s reluctant mentor.

It is no secret that Downey Jr. has been one of the most recognizable faces in the whole MCU – if not the most. Chalk it up to his effective portrayal of his character due to perfect casting and charisma that works wonders in terms of marketing the franchise. But we all know that there will come a time when the MCU would have to exist without the veteran actor – regardless whether they choose to re-cast Iron Man (which would be a very tall order) or temporarily retire the character and divert attention to other ones.

For Downey Jr., he wants to make sure that when he makes his grand exit from the famed franchise, he will leave it in best condition. Talking to ABC News while doing the promo rounds for Homecoming, the 52-year-old has shared his main goal is to leave when MCU can move forward without Iron Man/Tony Stark’s involvement:

“It’s like with a team if you’re going to hang up your jersey, you want to make sure the team is in good shape and they can still compete at a high level, because ultimately that’s what made the whole thing worth doing anyways.”

Spider Man Homecoming banner with Iron Man Robert Downey, Jr. Wants To Leave The MCU In Good Shape

This is not the first time that Downey Jr. has talked about asked his retirement plans. Just a couple days ago, while also on a press tour for Homecoming, the actor candidly shared that he wants to walk away from the gig “before it’s embarrasing.”  Over the last couple of years, the character has appeared in ensemble films like The Avengers and has also dabbled in other Marvel sub-franchises in like Captain America: Civil War and now, Homecoming. But we really haven’t seen him flying solo since 2013’s Iron Man 3. Fan interest on the standalone film that could potentially be Downey Jr.’s swan song to Iron Man has been persistent. Unfortunately, judging by MCU’s jampacked timeline, it does not seem like it is penciled in in the foreseeable future or probabaly ever.

There is no scarcity of retirement talks in the MCU, especially for its principial cast members . Like Downey Jr., Chris Hemsworth (who plays Thor) and Chris Evans (who plays Captain America) have also been plagued with questions about when they’ll hang the hammer and the shield respectively. This is only fueled by Marvel president Kevin Feige’s recent comments about some of the Phase 1 characters meeting their ends in Avengers: Infinity Warand possibly, its yet-to-be-titled sequel.

It is difficult to imagine MCU without Downey Jr. since he’s the one who has been there in the entirety of its existence. But at some point, he will have to walk away from the character – not because he’s no longer effective or that he has lost interest in the role, but because it’s time for the MCU to move on from its pioneering hero to make way for new ones. All that we hope is that his exit route will be nothing short of fitting.

MORE: Iron Man Was Always In Spider-Man: Homecoming

Source: ABC News

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