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
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. If RDJ doesn’t return, then neither will a huge group of moviegoers.

    • 100% agreed!

    • You got it!

  2. Marvel is making a huge fool of themselves thinking that iron Man can be replaced by a new actor when in fact, RDJ is the reason most people watched the Iron Man films (and the Avengers). I know Marvel has replaced actors before like Edward Norton but the Hulk was a CGI character created by visual effects. Anyone could replace him for Bruce Banner. RDJ made iron man for me. It actually pisses me off that they see Iron Man as replaceable. I know RDJ will get tired eventually but why not just kill Iron Man off and wait about 10 years to reboot him (even then, I don’t picture anyone else for the role.)

    • That just goes to show how well he’s done with the role. It’s a bit like with Bale and Batman, however unlike the dark knight, I believe people would still be interested in seeing an iron man movie without RDJ as long as they dont go back to the beginning again.

      • Its different. Bale was in the rebooted Batman, a completely different continuity. Any following Batman movie will also take place in a different continuity, to distinguish itself from that one. What Marvel is thinking of doing is convincing us that Tony Stark had some sort of accident offscreen and that required complete facial surgery. (Ok maybe not XD) But setting it within the same continuity as the first films.

  3. Yes they can replace Downey and eventually people will get over it but I am certain that without Downey the Iron Man and likley the Avengers franchises will not perform as well. To me DOwney is the face of thsi whole Marvel universe, and yes I know Cap America is the leader of the Avengers but watch the film, Iron Man was really the guy leading the group and Downey was the guy leading the actors. Downey is the core of this all and in my opinion I would pay the guy to do a few more flicks and then replace him when father time catches up and he needs to call it quits (probably late 50’s to early 60’s so we could have 10+ years more of Downey)

    Furthermore, while I am sure many would disagree, I think that ALL the other Avengers, besides Downey are replacable (maybe Helmsworth as Thor could be argued). So if other Avengers are complaining, give them the boot. Scarlett Johansan,Jeremy Renner, and Mark Ruffallo are the easiest to replace. Wo really cares about their characters anyway? Its all about Iron Man, Thor, and Cap…they’re the Avengers and the others are just fillers.

    Keep Downey

  4. Let it go straight to DVD then Marvel. If you want to hoard the money and aren’t willing to pay out as you should then I’ll boycott the next Ironman. I’m a marvel fan but I didnt realize how stingy you were. And if you can’t respect your actors (all of them not just RDJ) to pay them what they deserve and much of the reason why we come to see your movies – then Good luck.

  5. While we understand that eventually, RDJ will be too old to be Iron Man. I think fans could deal with replacing him when it IS NECESSARY to do so. What I don’t think fans will tolerate, is RDJ being replaced because Marvel wants to be cheap. Comparing the Hulk swap to replacing the face of the Marvel Universe is also asinine for two reasons: fans care about the Hulk, Bruce Banner is a side note, and Ruffalo was actually a better fit for Banner than Norton was. Stark is a bigger personality than Iron Man is, and they are not going to find a better Tony Stark than RDJ. Changing the lead actor in a reboot generally goes over much better than making a swap and still trying to pretend continuity with the previous films won’t be affected. Remember, it was all downhill after Keaton was replaced as Batman, so don’t try to tell us it’s been done successfully before, because it hasn’t.

    • Your absolutely right, Marvels being cheap and it’s sickening.

      Their not going to get a better “Avengers” line-up than they have right now. And a large part of that IS Robert reprising the role of Iron Man.

      As an Iron Man fan I agree with you, if he got too old in the distant future to play the role or if Robert decided enough was enough, I could accept that. But to know this is all about Marvel being cheapskates!

      What the hell is wrong with them, did they not get the memo that you have to speculate to accumulate?

  6. If Marvel Studio’s are stupid enough to let Robert Downey Jr go they are putting their whole future plans in jeopardy. All because they’re being skinflints.

    Robert’s excellent interpretation of Tony Stark kick-started this whole venture in 2008. I had wondered, seen as Robert has always made no secret that he loves playing the role of Iron Man, why there was still no contract signed yet. I had no idea all these shenanigans were going on behind the scene. No wonder he’s been cryptic in his comments about the future.

    One things for certain from this die-hard fan. I have no doubts that Marvel will find a replacement for Robert (unfortunately), that’s not their problem. THEIR problem is, Robert Downey Jr is Tony Stark, he is Iron Man – NO ONE will ever be able to top his performances as this character. And I’m disgusted with the company for the way they are handling their main stars.

    It reflects very well on Robert that he’s trying to help out his fellow actors and I wish him luck and success!

    If Robert isn’t Iron Man in the future I for one will not be interested in pursuing the franchise. I know I’m not the only fan who feels this way. Marvel are making a huge mistake.

  7. Disney is worth 40 billion dollars, it really pisses me off that they are being cheap pricks and trying to hoard all of the money.

  8. Disney isn’t to blame, they offered to foot the bill. Marvel has been cheap since day 1. The only reason the went with r.d.j. at the time was because he was washed up at the time. Now that he is a-list again theydon’t want to pay him the big bucks. Eventually Disney will step in.

  9. Is it just me or is Marvel pulling a Keaton (Warner Brothers got cheap after the original Batman part 2 with Micheal Keaton so they replaced him with Val Kilmer and we seen what happened next)SO I guess we will see Ironman with nipples and then they will bring in a George Clooney like actor to FINALLY bury Ironman.

    • Im praying that happens…..I want to see Marvel bury themselves
      (if in fact they are gonna screw this up)
      Did I hear Disney signed Johnny Depp for some ASTRONOMICAL amount per movie??
      BUT they are willing to let RDJ walk? They deserve to go belly up, even if it takes 5-10 years I WILL LOVE IT!
      Well maybe we will all have good CBM’s with DC here shortly, although they have not made the best decisions in the past Marvel is going to hand them the throne!

      What role would be a good one for RDJ in the DC-verse?? Im sure they would LOVE to have him!

  10. This may sound a bit rude but I never really liked the Iron Man movies. (I have only seen 1 & 2 though.) Don’t get me wrong the acting was good, story was good and even the animation. Although all of these things were good I just couldn’t get past the fact of Tony Stark’s arrogance. To me he is the Bruce Wayne of MARVEL comics. Only it isn’t an act like it is for Batman he really is obnoxious.

    I like Robert Downey Jr. in Sherlocke Holmes and such but this still is just plain mean of Disney to say they could replace him.

    • I only liked 1, because it had a good balance of humor and drama. 2 started a trend that I didn’t like at all (the emphasis on humor over the seriousness/sincerity of character). 3 was a big middle finger to “serious” fans.

      I also didn’t like RDJ in Sherlock Holmes, because again, the character wasn’t treated seriously. So, it’s no surprise that I really don’t care whether RDJ stays or goes. If he stays, I know he’s capable of delivering a good Iron Man movie (see 1), but if he likes the stuff in 2 and 3, then I’m glad to see him go. It could also be Marvel’s fault for going down this current track, I don’t know.

      I don’t read the comics, but I have to believe that Stark isn’t as “obnoxious” as he is on the silver screen. Regardless, audiences seem to have latched onto RDJ’s persona as Tony Stark, and they don’t seem to care whether or not RDJ is true to the character (read the mostly pro comments in this thread). So, I’m sure that my opinion is in the minority.

      RDJ knows that he has an advantage with the fans, and is using it to score more money (and why not; if you got it, you flaunt it). It would be ballsy of Marvel to let him go; if I were a betting man, I’d say they’ll cave in eventually (it worked for the cast of Friends).

      I would be very surprised, and some what impressed, if they DID give him the boot. Very surprised, because studios simply don’t work that way (ie. it’s all about the money).

  11. If Shane Black or anyone involved with the writing or directing of this movie returns I will not go to the next.

  12. RDJ canot be replaced at this time. Will need sometime… It will be a huge mistake if they do it too soon.

  13. It would seem everyone on this board is NUTS

    RDJ is not the end all, be all.

    Yet you all seem to think the world can’t revolve without him.

    “Keep him for Avengers 2 AND 3 then replace him”

    That’s like another 10 years!

    You kids need to wake up and smell the coffee. If RDJ wants so much money, then let him make his own damn superhero movie. Pay respect to the company that has developed these characters for the past 50 years.

    RDJ should as well.

    ‘Nuff said.

    • That is a pretty stupid comment. When you are driving movie profitability then you should reap the rewards also when the movie is making off the planet money. If IM3 goes on to make around $1Bill at the box office are you really telling me that $50million for the key character who is driving the attendance is to much? That is just dumb.

  14. Marvel is making far too many superhero movies. Please! Tony Stark is no James Bond and never will be. Bond is an iconic star that will forever be prevalent. Stark isnt even close, Bond is a tradition. I think after Avengers 3 Marvel needs to take a break for a decade before thinking about anything else. The quality is sinking.

  15. RDJ IS Marvel. It would be a colossal screw up by Marvel if they replaced him. The outrage would be huge, not just from hardcore fans, but from the general casual audience. Everyone loves RDJ. You could see it in the audience faces while watching one of the Iron Man films, or his scenes in Avengers. Hell, even my mom loves RDJ as Iron Man.

    I once saw a comment on an Avengers trailer on youtube that said “The Avengers would of been boring without Iron Man and Hulk” and it had 120+ thumbs up.

    This wouldn’t be like recasting Bond, or even Batman. This would be a huge blow, and I bet money a huge amount of people would stop watching the films. They’d be better off killing Stark off, because people would feel the emotional pay off, and it would be make the film more impacting. RDJ is established as Stark in everyones eyes. Recasting him would be a disaster.

  16. Sadly, Marvel thinks they can just replace these actors with anyone, much like switching artist abruptly on their monthly books. What Kevin Feige and Marvel studios fails to grasp is that these actors have breathed life into these characters and that’s what people are really going to see. They are not going to see Iron Man because of Iron Man, they are going to see RDJ’s portraying Tony Stark/Iron Man. Same with Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth and Scarlett Johansson. The quicker they figure this out, the better off they will be… We’ve had 3 different Bruce Banner’s so far and look how well that’s worked out.

  17. How soon we all forget.. Batman spiderman the hulk have been replaced n it always out.. I remember when batman was Michael Keaton n that was it.. Then they decided to cast Christian bale n every one was in an up roar.. This is no different have some faith.. RDJ will be back probably for sure so just chill out

  18. I think RDJ will be making the biggest mistake in his acting career by not at least doing the Avengers 2 & 3. If he doesn’t respect his fans enough to finish out this series then I will NOT go see any of his other movies he makes & others will do the same. I believe all actors can be replaced but it should be about your fans and also about making a nice living. Just do the movies, be loyal to your fan base and enjoy the millions you have already made from the franchise. Actors in the past having let money rule how they will continue in movies their fans enjoy them in, and to only see that they are faded from the scene because of this mistake.

    • Ann,
      You simply must be not so bright! Is RDJ supposed to work for NOTHING to please his fans?
      HE has a family that he needs to support, granted he has made more than most of us will in 10 lifetimes but he lives to his means so it probably takes a lot just to live the way he does!!
      But for you to even say that it will be the biggest mistake of his career is very nieve and a bit stupid…
      I am POSITIVE that he will do the movies as long as he gets paid a fair amount, IT IS MARVEL THAT YOU SHOULD BE PI**ED AT, they are the ones that think he is just another replacable cog in THEIR wheel!
      I dont think that RDJ will let money rule his acting choices but I CAN guarantee you that he will not a let Co. that is possibly gonna cross 3 billion dollars in movies HE HAS STARRED IN push him around and UNDER PAY him just because they are cheap!!
      I want him back as much as anyone and I am willing to promise that I will never watch another Marvel film if they let him walk, but IF THEY DO LET HIM WALK, I PRAY THAT IT WILL AFFECT THEM for years to come until they finally lose everything because they just wanted to jew very good actors out of what they deserve

  19. I need someone on here to answer this question for me. Who cares whether RDJ is being greedy or if Feige is being cheap, where else will he go and make 70 million on just one movie? Does it make sense to price yourself out of the biggest payday of your life. Leave…and you get even less. Good job Robert, you showed us…

  20. I need someone on here to answer this question for me. Who cares whether RDJ is being greedy or if Feige is being cheap, where else will he go and make 70 million on just one movie? Does it make sense to price yourself out of the biggest payday of your life. Leave and you get even less. Good job Robert, you showed us…

  21. I need someone on here to answer this question for me. Who cares whether RDJ is being greedy or if Feige is being cheap, where else will he go and make 70 million on just one movie? Does it make sense to price yourself out of the biggest payday of your life. Leave and you get even less Good job Robert, you showed us.

    • ,
      Where did you hear that he (RDJ) is asking for 70Mil. NO ONE has ever said that he is asking for that!
      HE (RDJ) has said that he does not expect to make that much and NEVER did expect that, he and Marvel negotiated a % of the b/o haul and HE JUST GOT LUCKY ppl went to watch the avengers in droves.

      He as said that he likes being a company guy and just wants to be fairly paid! HE is Marvels MONEY MAKER, look at the numbers for his films and then the numbers of the films he was not in!! OK he is not stupid and wants to be paid as THE guy that has made them (MARVEL) billions, WHAT he wants is Marvel to “take care of him” (IF YOU UNERSTAND WHAT THAT MEANS)

      It is NOT being greedy IN THIS COUNRY to get what you are worth.
      Do you expect the place you work for to pay you AS MUCH AS YOU CAN GET?
      EVERYONE IN THIS COUNTRY wants the same thing, that is why we ask for a raise and if your boss will not give you one, you go out find a new job that will pay u more, GO back to your boss and say HEY pay me (THIS Much) and if you dont here is my 2 week notice. NOW MOST times b4 the 2 weeks are up your boss says we will give you X amount! IF YOU ARE SATISFIED then good if not you leave and go to the other job… THERE YOU just got what your worth.

  22. It would be beneficial to Marvel to use sidekick characters in more movies to keep them open for possible stand-alone films in the future. And having several stand-alone films isn’t cost effective but having one film set up to feature a semi- team up of characters would be entertaining as well as a large team up.

  23. Lets say that RDJ asks for 50 million upfront which he more than desrves and Marvel doesn’t want to pay. They would go for an actor thats 30 million cheaper, but loses half of the box office for Iron Man 4 which means they would lose about 650 million.

  24. I just saw Iron Man 3. I guess that my expectations were too high. I didn’t really like it. I didn’t like the Mandarin twist. Still, Marvel should not recast Iron Man.

  25. One of the odd things about Tony Stark’s origin in the movies is that they NEVER showed or told the audience ANYTHING about his MOTHER, I find that to be very odd.

    • I mean, I’m sure Howard Stark was a womanizer too but they could have at least shown who the mother was. In the comics, Howard Stark was married to Maria Stark, why didn’t they explore this just a little.

  26. I think RDJ will finish off with Avengers 2 & 3 and that will be the end of his reign. I do however think he’ll do some cameos here and there.

  27. Can someone here answer this question for me, forgetting who is at fault, RDJ’s greed or Feige’s cheap nature, where else can RDJ go and make 70 million + for just one movie? Financially this doesn’t make sense, pricing yourself out of your biggest payday of your career. So leave Marvel and make even less than you did on The Avengers. You showed us Bobby thanks.

  28. So, who would replace him? If they’re holding a card and claiming they could replace him with this actor, then surely they must have some idea.

    Tom Cruise? I wouldn’t see it. Not a fan of either Cruise, or of Iron Man getting shorter.

    • Plus, you’d have to decide, do you want the actor to play Tony Stark, or do you want him to play Downey playing Stark? Stark in the 1994 cartoon was very different from Robert Downey Jr, but Stark in Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes is obviously imitating Downey.

  29. I’ll go so far as to say RDJ single handedly ushered in this latest popularity spike for the entire marvel universe. As such, he absolutely deserves a greater piece of the profit sharing pie.. Marvel is notoriously cheap and to be blunt: unless the split is amicable (kind of how hugh jackman got tired of being wolverine for a few years) then i won’t return to the movies for whatever replacement they throw on screen.

    Prior to him coming on board, what did we have from marvel but the natural waning attention that comes with comic book movie popularity spikes? It’s an ebb and flow 4+ decades long. So what did we have? 2 (3?) hulk reboots, spidey was wrapped up and nothing else was on the docket (and to be fair, the spidey IP isn’t even controlled by them anymore for the movies). There were longer and longer delays between xmen movies… we were resorting to origin stories, which lets face it.. while interesting, and nice for us comic book nerds to have… don’t sell out box offices to the wider audiences..

    and then they do iron man. I was interested but it wasn’t a must-see for me until i started seeing RDJ own the role in the coming attractions. He made it his, and enabled the takeoff for the franchise again without them experiencing the normal ebb and flow in interest. it’s been steady popularity since. So yah, if marvel were smart, they’d give rdj whatever the heck he wants out of this deal.