Tony Stark and Steve Rogers continue to have a tense relationship on the big screen, but Chris Evans has nothing but good words for Robert Downey Jr., so much so that he sees him as his mentor in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The two are slated to reprise their respective superhero gigs in Marvel Studios’ next blockbuster, Avengers: Infinity War, which was recently crowned the most-anticipated flick of 2018.

RDJ’s casting as Stark is kind of a legendary story in terms of the MCU’s history. Execs at that point were understandably skeptical about employing an actor with that much baggage as the titular star for a movie that could seal Marvel’s fate. Fortunately, Iron Man director Jon Favreau relentlessly campaigned for the 52-year-old, and it took only one film for all naysayers to admit that the actor was born to play the role. Looking back 10 years after his debut as a superhero, with a slew of brilliant actors coming in the franchise to take their respective roles, RDJ remains the heart of the massive movie series. Evans, on the other hand, started as a reluctant player in all this, eventually embraced the role, and is now one of the cornerstone characters of the 17-film (and counting) series.

RELATED: Robert Downey Jr. Celebrates 2018 With An Infinity War Reminder

It’s no secret that Evans turned down the role of Cap a few times, until RDJ stepped in and convinced him personally. Since then, the two have appeared in three films together (Avengers, Avengers: Age of Ultron and Captain America: Civil War) with another two on the way. Considering their years of working together, plus a long year of filming Infinity War and its sequel back-to-back, it’s safe to say that they have developed a good relationship beyond a professional one. So it’s not a surprise that Evans called RDJ his mentor during his appearance at Ace Comic-Con (via ComicBook):

“It’s low-hanging fruit to say [Robert] Downey. He’s such a wonderful guy and is so talented, so experienced, and so supportive… He’s always been in my corner and I’ve always felt supported by him. He really brings everybody in to the group and makes sure everyone feels welcome, especially on this last one…He really just opens his arms and it sounds so cheesy, but he makes it a family and none of this would happen without him.”

Battered Iron Man Robert Downey Jr. Chris Evans Praises Robert Downey Jr., Calls Him Irreplaceable as Iron Man

Evans continued showering his Avengers co-star with compliments by saying how he can’t imagine any other actor inhabiting the role of Tony Stark, echoing the sentiments of millions of fans who have been there since the start. Unfortunately, nothing lasts forever, and the idea of RDJ eventually retiring the role has been a recurring topic of conversation lately.

“No matter what it feels like for me, I try to imagine what it feels like for him, because he really did start this,” reflected Evans. “He really is so irreplaceable. Nobody can ever be Iron Man. It’s not a role like Superman or Batman that can kind of find different incarnations, no one can touch it.”

Those who have followed the MCU in its first decade know that the characters are as significant as the actors playing them. As much as these films are elevated by their action set pieces, what makes them so successful is how compelling the characters are, prompting people to get invested in them, and in turn, keep coming back every single time there is a new Marvel movie.  And while it is depressing to think that some of the principal heroes, which include Tony Stark, Steve Rogers, and Thor, could bite the bullet in the twin Avengers sequel, adding to fan woes is the thought of potentially losing anyone from the ensemble cast of the franchise.

MORE: Robert Downey Jr. Says ‘The Best is Yet to Come’ in Avengers 4 Set Photo

Source: Ace Comic-Con (via ComicBook)

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