Marvel Willing to Replace Robert Downey Jr; No Plans for ‘War Machine’ or ‘Falcon’ Solo Films

Published 2 years ago by , Updated May 12th, 2013 at 7:16 am,

Iron Man Robert Downey Jr Marvel Willing to Replace Robert Downey Jr; No Plans for War Machine or Falcon Solo Films

It’s been a roller coaster ride of a week for Marvel movie fans. First, Iron Man 3 launched with the second largest opening in U.S. box office history – despite a mixed response from some die-hard comic book fans. Then, we got word that the contract negotiations between star Robert Downey Jr. and Marvel Studios were expected to be “challenging” – since the Disney-owned production company is known for low-balling its cast members (while at the same time raking in record-breaking revenue).

Even before the reports of the arduous contract renegotiation process, studio head Kevin Feige once again prepared fans for the possibility that Marvel will (eventually) part ways with Robert Downey Jr. – claiming that the filmmakers could simply re-cast the character (a la James Bond).

Speaking to Entertainment Weekly, Feige said:

“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 Box Office Marvel Willing to Replace Robert Downey Jr; No Plans for War Machine or Falcon Solo Films

We’ve already broken down the issues facing the Marvel Studios/Robert Downey Jr. negotiations (as well as identified the likely outcomes) – so, until we hear something official, anything is still possible. Still, as evidenced by Feige’s James Bond comment (along with the hope of “Iron Man 20“), Marvel fully intends to make Iron Man (as well as Thor, Captain America, etc) films for as long as they can. As a result, fans need to be ready (in the long run) to see fan-favorite actors swapped out of these iconic roles. Not only is their already a precedent for it in the Shared Universe (since Edward Norton’s Incredible Hulk is a Phase One film), Feige has already, on multiple occasions, asserted that they won’t hesitate to recast Tony Stark or any other character. While that might not be what fans want to hear, even if Robert Downey Jr. returns for The Avengers 2 (and 3) as well as Iron Man 4 (and 20), eventually the studio will hand the Iron Man armor (and possibly the Tony Stark character) over to someone else.

It may be awhile before we have a clear idea of how involved Downey will be in future Marvel installments but Feige also took the time to clear-up other rumors that have been causing a stir in the Screen Rant comments.

First up, in an interview with Collider, Feige outright stated that the studio has no current plans for either a standalone War Machine (aka Iron Patriot) or Falcon (seen soon in Captain America 2: The Winter Soldier). Speculation had surfaced that Marvel could be interested in tapping either character for a solo adventure – mainly because both Don Cheadle (War Machine) and Anthony Mackie (Falcon) were out promoting their latest films, Iron Man 3 as well as Pain and Gain, respectively. This doesn’t mean that either character couldn’t eventually get the green light for a solo film – nor does it rule out the possibility that Falcon and/or War Machine might make an appearance in The Avengers 2 or enjoy further sidekick duties in other Marvel films.

Iron Man 3 Preview War Machine Iron Patriot Colors Marvel Willing to Replace Robert Downey Jr; No Plans for War Machine or Falcon Solo Films

For the time being, we can put rumors of these solo films to rest – unless of course Feige is outright lying. Anyone who follows the constant back and forth of comic book news, leaks, denials, and confirmations, knows that studio heads will sometimes downplay in-development projects as nothing but unsubstantiated rumors to help keep the focus on the current batch of films that are ready for promotion (i.e. Phase Two not Three). That said, given the roster of forthcoming releases and confirmed in-development projects (like Doctor Strange), War Machine and Falcon are probably not at the forefront of Marvel’s plans.

So what other film projects are Marvel Studios actually developing? In addition to Thor: The Dark World, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Guardians of the Galaxy, The Avengers 2, Ant-Man, and Doctor Strange, we also know that Iron Fist, Black Panther, and The Runaways have at least been discussed. Now we’re getting word that the studio has also toyed with a Ms. Marvel script as well as a rebooting Blade (after the rights reverted back from New Line Cinema).

Blade should be pretty familiar to comic book movie fans already after Wesley Snipes introduced the character to mainstream filmgoers in 1998 (continuing with two more films through 2004). Though, it’s unclear exactly how Marvel would approach rebooting the character – specifically how they could differentiate the new installment from the prior trilogy as well as whether the character has any place in the larger shared universe. Maybe they’ll use Blade to launch a MI-13 team-up? Probably not.

Ms Marvel Avengers Marvel Willing to Replace Robert Downey Jr; No Plans for War Machine or Falcon Solo Films

Ms. Marvel, while probably less familiar to casual movie fans, is a more obvious fit for tie-in with The Avengers – given that she’s been a member of the team before. Rumors within the last year even suggested that the character would appear in The Avengers 2 – possibly played by Emily Blunt (Looper) or Ruth Wilson (Luther). Given that Disney interested in upping the number of female heroes in their Avengers roster, there’s no reason to think they wouldn’t also want to add a few female-centric solo films too.

Nevertheless, the THR report that revealed the studio has scripts for Ms. Marvel and a Blade reboot also suggests that they were the result of an internal writing program that serves as a “concept generator” – meaning that the scripts might only be thinly drawn blueprints at this point – not projects that are actively being prepared for the inevitable Marvel Phase Three.

Iron Man 3 is now playing in theaters, Thor: The Dark World on November 8, 2013, Captain America: The Winter Soldier on April 4, 2014, Guardians of the Galaxy on August 1, 2014, The Avengers 2 on May 1, 2015, Ant-Man on November 6, 2015, and Doctor Strange sometime after that.

Follow me on Twitter @benkendrick for more on Marvel Studios as well as future movie, TV, and gaming news.

Source: Entertainment Weekly [via The Playlist], Collider, and THR

Follow Ben Kendrick on Twitter @benkendrick
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  1. We need rdj until avengers 3, then it can be a clone or whatever excuse they want.

    • No, we don’t. If the guy is asking too much, just let him go.

      • YES. WE DO. it’s essential for the trilogy of the avengers films to complete the actual trilogy with the original stars.

      • And you can watch the character go to sh*t lol

      • You really dont have a clue jeff, its not about finance, its about what fans want, yknow the people who make these films successes by buying tickets, dvds and merchandise.

        Rdj started the marvel cinematic universe and he needs a true exit, my vote is epic death by thanos. But say beforehand he finds a protege and trains him, maybe like a college prodigy like how he was.

        • Actually the Incredible Hulk did!

    • RD for The Avengers 2 and 3 of course!

      • Sorry, folks, I;m with Nick and Cody on this issue.

    • perhaps a life-model decoy???

  2. Replacing Robert Downey, Jr. in a sequel? What??? In a reboot, sure. But in this particular series Tony Stark IS Robert Downey Jr.

    • I agree I prefer keep him for sequels when they reboot it all 1000 years later feel free to recast

    • Can you really ‘reboot’ a character in an on-going universe aka the MCU? They can always go back and tweet the origin and such, but I think it would be hard and dumb to reboot a character. Just replace the actor and build off what has been done.

    • So every time they need to replace one actor, they reboot the entire Universe?

      They’re all going to be replaced sooner or later and it won’t all be at one convienient time.

      I like RDJ but I don’t love him. He’s gotten a bit stale for me. I think they should keep the replacement option on the table.

  3. Lol I am tired. After reading the title I googled Michael Willing to find out if he looked like Robert Downey Jnr

    • Ditto lmao

    • Lol

  4. Oh, and if Downey, Jr. doesn’t appear in The Avengers 2 and 3 then I’m officially worried.

  5. hmmm….

  6. They shouldn’t replace tony stark but somehow pass the torch to a younger character that way if possible RDJ could still make a cameo as Tony

    • Bingo.

    • That is exactly what they should do! New Iron Man, who is not Tony Stark!

  7. Learn to let go people. Let him do Avengers 2 and 3, then recast him.

    • exactly.

      • When different artists draw tony stark very diffetently.. Yet people still read the comics and identify with the character as being stark. Live action is no different from that persective. If he is wtitten the same as he’s been so what if a diffetent actor plays him. The bonds have done it for years. People initially complained when the latest bond was picked but could u know imagine anybody else in the role? There may yet be an even better stark out there for all we know.

        • EXACTLY!!! Having said that, don’t recast him too soon.

    • “Let go”…now that would stink.

  8. I’m perfectly fine with him letting the mantle fall to another after at least 2 more films, Avengers 2 being the MUST!

  9. replace the bum!

    • Hey screw u Pal RDJ is no bum!

  10. I’d like to see Marvel Studios expand their Marvel Knights branch with a series of lower-budget, more-adult films like Luke Cage, Iron Fist, and Daredevil (potentially with Blade and Ghost Rider, too). They could all be set in the ’70s like Joe Carnahan’s Daredevil would have been, and that would keep them away from the current series of films.

    • That would actually be pretty freaking cool.

      • I definitely think so. They’d hinted at maybe doing some lower-budget movies like that before, and I’d say having them connect in the same way their “Phase One” films have would be awesome. Putting them in the ’70s would just seem to be a good idea; not only because it serves to keep them separate from the other series, but those characters would seem to work better in that less advanced world without the modern technology of today.

  11. Anyone else kind of tired with Kevin Feige/ Marvel announcements two to three times a day? I mean its every site all day. Just sayin’…

  12. It’s true no actor is irreplacable when it comes to body but in personality, no one is going to come close to RDJ as Iron Man. I can maybe see them casting a new tony stark in a reboot but in this series, if RDJ quits, I rather they just kill Iron Man off and have War Machine replace Iron Man.

  13. This will be interesting to watch going forward. If Marvel intends to keep the Phase I crew in the shared universe for the long term, they’re going to have some big decisions to make about casting, which could potentially alienate audiences.

    Personally, I think it’s time to retire Iron Man solo films. Bring RDJ back for Avengers 2 at least and just start cranking out new characters. Keep digging deeper and deeper in the vault until the comic book movie trend ends.

  14. They need to leave the trilogy alone and just make tony into wise old mr. Stark teaching all the newcomers

  15. How about replace Kevin Feige.

    • Yeah!!!

  16. First off, when is it enough? Does RDJ need 100mill or whatever insane amount for two apperances? No. Can “DisMarvNey” shell-out some more dough? OF COURSE! Besides RDJ, Marvel should give the rest of the Avengers cast a pay raise and some backend deals.

    Anyways,the RDJ problem, figure out a reasonable dollar amonunt for future Avenger movies and a few cameo apperances. Yes, he has earned it and Marvel did right by him with Avengers and IM3. He’s been paid, taken care of big time. Help your co-stars and Company that gave you LIFE/ A SHOT when no one would, moderate the negotations with reasonable pay increases. Marvel had some big brass-ones casting an unknown Thor and Chris Evans, which really hasn’t had a huge breakout movie as their future franchises’.

    Marvel gave RDJ new life, and Downey gave the MCU a poster boy. With that being said, people saying they shouldn’t recast him?! Why? That is insane from a business and creative move. You just can’t not have Tony Stark in the MCU. Use RDJ in the upcoming Avenger movies and a few cameos and be done with the character for a few years. Recast Tony Stark in phase 4 or later, but don’t kill off the character. Killing off Tony would hurt the MCU in the long haul, because Comic Book Movies are here to stay. The CBM is it’s own genre; From here, they can mold and form into sub-genres: spy, thriller, horror or hell, a love story.

    Marvel, lock Rick Remender in a closet and bust out a live-action ‘Secret Avengers’ script. This would be a great team-up and have War Machine along with other secondary characters to fill the roster. I like Don Cheadle as War Machine, and really do wish he could gets more screen time. Roster for the team: War Machine. Falcon, Winter Soldier (Assuming he reverts back to the good guys in Cap 2), Black Widow/some other female presence, another new character and hawkeye? Have them do battle against present day Hydra and AIM forces. And not the Fire breathing Extremis AIM soldiers, something more traditionally from the comics. Villains? Take your pick, lots of great ones.

    • I completely agree. Marvel doesn’t have to crank out an Iron Man movie in every phase. But you have to keep RDJ around even if its only in the Avengers 2 and 3 and some cameos. He is the face of the MCU and no one could ever play Iron Man like he does.

    • Agreed completely 100% racked in over 700 million w/ IM3 alone, they can give the man 200 mil! BS

    • Agreed completely 100% racked in over 700 million w/ IM3 alone, they can give the man 200 mil!

    • Agreed completely 100% racked in over 700 million w/ IM3 alone, they can’t give the man 200 million?!

      • To Bobby L, Bobby L, and Booby L,

        It’s not like Disney gets all of that money back. The theaters take some in. They’ve got a long way to go before they get a return on the 4.5 Billion sale of Marvel, and they just bought Star Wars for 4 billion and haven’t made anything new from it.

  17. Pretty sure RDJ and Tony Stark are the same person IRL so i fail to see how you can take RDJ out of them 😛

  18. This whole conversation about Robert Downey Jr is getting tiring. I understand that he brought the character to life, anchoring the franchise, but how much is he really worth? Is 70 million not enough to finish the art project you started? If you are upset about your employer making more money than you are, start your own production company and do things your way. Guess what, my boss makes more money than me. They take all the risk, put up the millions to make the movie, pay all the cast and crew, pay for the marketing…THAT’S what makes the money. If RDJ has that high of an illusion of grandure than let him go. It’s a big cinematic universe and it will tick on without him. He isn’t sticking it to the studio, he is sticking it to us. Good riddance.

    • There was no risk with making Iron Man 3. Downey Jr’s interpretation of Iron Man is as bankable as anything in the film industry right now. This money was rumored to make huge money even before they started shooting. There’s a reason why Iron Man is their highest grossing non collaborative film. In my opinion you get paid what you’re worth in any business. If I’m Downey and I’m coming off of making Marvel close to 2 billion dollars with my solo films alone, then yes I’m asking for what I’m worth.

      • “There was no risk with making Iron Man 3.” I completely agree and it showed up in the movie. I did enjoy the movie aka RDJ being RDJ and didn’t have a huge problem with the ‘twist’.

        That being said, Marvel just let Shane Black and Downey run amok and do what ever they wanted. Sorry, but there is no way Feige was that “ok” with the twist. Kevin Feige has a great track record in all the previous MCU films of keeping true to characters. Clearly, Shane Black and Pearce took liberties with interpretations of characters. I guarantee the brass looked the other way because Downey does draw so much $$$. I don’t agree with Mavel lowballing but the MCU needs Kevin and whoever else to keep the creative teams in check. It is obvious Black and RDJ were allowed to do what they want and tuned out great but IM3 could have help expand and strengthen the MCU if they approached it a tad bit differently. We love phase 1 so much because the continuity is so tight and each film builds/references another.

    • This is the type of thinking that helped the book end of Marvel flat line back in the 90’s. Iron Man was not that popular of a character, which is why Marvel still had the right in the first place. The films have done well probably more because of Downey’s drawing power then how much people actually care or know about Tony Stark. They can replace him of course, but they run the risk of turning it into the first Batman franchise where it just became a guy in a suit.

      • Well, that type of outlining is still going on at Marvel, today. And saw time I looked, they are killing it with sales and always have some stupid new event. Most Marvel NOW titles have been decent, so far. I agree with that creative teams should be able to do their thing and create but there has to be better communication between the editors/producers and the creators.

  19. Well, obviously RDJ will not live forever, so eventually they will have to replace him, but I think for as long as he is ABLE to play the role, they NEED him to. I don’t want to seem short-sighted, but it really is hard to picture anyone else in the role. I honestly think, unless we are surprised in the future, that 30 years down the road people will look back and say “You know, this guy is pretty good as Iron Man, but the best was the original, Robert Downey Jr.” Kind of like how Sean Connery is considered the best Bond for a lot of people, maybe except this very latest one, but that’s some 30 – 40 years after Connery…

    • Agreed completely 100% racked in over 700 million w/ IM3 alone, they can’t give the man 200 million?!

    • Agreed, Ken. Why fix the Twinkie recipe when it is not broken, so to speak? Keep Downey as long as he is able to do the job. Why mess up a winning formula needlessly…just to say you did it!?

  20. Robert Downey Jr. is NOT replaceable. He IS Iron Man. Kevin Feige, Marvel, and Disney need to stop being so damn cheap and pay these actors what they deserve. They made these films what they are today. Changing any of them will mess up the entire franchise.

    • straight up, agreed. thank you for having common sense cynthia. honestly recasting ANYBODY after Norton is a serious mistake.

  21. So Marvel is willing to let go one of their biggest draws over a money dispute? Lmao, Marvel you’re on track to make 1.2 billion dollars on Iron Man 3. You’re telling me you can’t pay RDJ 20 million bucks+ on top of back end? This is a move that could bite them in their butt. No other Marvel super hero draws like Iron Man. Thor 2 will ikely top out at 500 million worldwide. Captain might crack 350 million.

    • If they made an actually really good spiderman movie, I could see the sequel making more than Iron Man. Spiderman ranks higher in popularity.

    • You have got it right, josh!

  22. This is what I do not like! Marvel/Disney destroying a work of art. True the Tony Stark/Iron Man mantle will have to be passed down but since it has “worked” with RDJ, give that man 100 billion too finish his work lol. Gosh they make 2 Hulk movies(they both suck) then find a great Hulk(Ruffalo) and dont budge to shoot him his own film! DAMN!

  23. This is old news. Feige said in an interview awhile back that they will make Iron Man into a Bond like character where the actor will leave but the character continues with a new actor. And I like the idea. Batman has done the same thing.

  24. I hope RDJ makes at least avenger 2,3 and ironman 4 . when hes going to be recast its not going to be the end for ironman . there going to be a lots of ironman in my book there will be no ends for any future marvel movies super heroes like James bonds movies .

  25. They absolutely need to keep Robert Downey Jr. until at least through The Avengers 3. After that, I will be comfortable with Marvel recasting or writing off Tony Stark however they want. But until then, I feel RDJ should be in the next two Avengers movies and one more Iron Man film in Phase 3 or maybe a Post-Avengers type film.

    And as for Marvel refusing to give all of the other lead actors raises in their contracts, to be honest I think Marvel should just quit be big babies about it and give them the raise that they all deserve. While Robert Downey Jr. deserves what he’s getting, it’s not really fair Chris Evans and Chris Hemsworth that barely even getting half of what RDJ is getting. Although I do think that at this point, RDJ could take the next step in standing up for his Colleagues and take a pay cut. Not a lot, but just enough to where it’s not a big deal to him and his agents.

  26. Here is where Kevin Feige is an idiot:

    Iron Man is not a James Bond character. In fact, the Bond franchise learned the hard way that keeping things in continuity was a major problem with Pierce Brosnan’s era excluding “GoldenEye”. “Casino Royale” wiped the slate clean, it is a reboot with a desire to go back to what Ian Fleming wrote and how he would modernize it. Why is 007 so successful? The mythos is built on missions, not story arcs. They were always able to have a different guy doing it because nothing would be wrong in doing so. Iron Man has an actual firm and established history built on decades with the exact same guy evolving into whatever he may become.

    Batman is also a terrible example, knowing many people do not like Val Kilmer or George Clooney as the Caped Crusader, hence the existence of Nolan’s Batman reboot trilogy.

    Spider-Man is a mixed bag of hate or love so yet again, Feige fails to make valid points

  27. Let’s get Robert back for The Avengers 2, and The Avengers 3. After that, if they want to recast him, then so be it. but atleast have the main Phase I stars finish off their trilogies. (besides Edward Norton).

  28. I actually feel bad for the guy who replaces him. Bc no matter how amazing he is, he’ll be jumping in with a major deficit. He will automatically be hated by at least 60% of the moviegoers, simply bc he’s not RDJ.

    • yep. it’s gonna suck. but hopefully down the line (after 2020) his role as Iron Man will be soon forgotten (oh wait, no it won’t because of The Avengers 3)

      they’re fricked

    • People said the same about nicholsons joker. Just wait it could happen

      • No they didn’t.

  29. Also.. Ben.. you should change the title to “Marvel Willing to Replace Robert Downey, after The Avengers 2″


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