4. Kevin Feige's Hint
In chatting with /Film leading up to the release of The Avengers, Kevin Feige talked about his love of exploring the cosmic side of the Marvel universe, hinting ever so slightly at the possibility of Iron Man in space before Guardians of the Galaxy was even announced:
"I've always said that I love and would one day want to explore every aspect of the Marvel universe, with the street level heroes, the fantasy or cosmic with Thor, which really is a cosmic hero, period with Cap, magic some day with Social Supreme and some of those characters. But the Cosmic Universe is a big part of that and I love space movies... That will probably not be in another Iron Man movie, because it doesn't make much sense. That will not be in another Captain [America] movie. Thor does inhabit a certain part of that world and there are other characters and other properties that we've talked a little bit about, but have announced anything yet that will really bare fruit in that arena."
When Guardians was brought up next, Feige continued:
"That's where a lot of that will really come to fruition and to me it's okay and Avengers is the place to mash it all up, because that’s what Avengers is for and you can have Iron Man in outer space. How’s that going to affect him in Iron Man 3 or 4? Well the truth is that’s in there now. (Laughs) He’s seen some shit, but he’s also Tony Stark and can blow a lot of stuff off, so the story of Iron Man 3, as we've already talked about, is very insular and very Tony Stark centric as redefined by Shane Black. To me, Thor was a much bigger leap than Avengers. Thor was the one, 'Are they going to buy this?' 'Norse mythology… Intergalactic traveling on beams of light… Are they going to buy it?' They did and we constructed that whole movie to be about the intro to the worlds, a portal opening in space and aliens coming out seems frankly minor by comparison."
Iron Man went to space in The Avengers. No big deal now, right?
5. The Scoop
According to Latino-Review and their trusted and proven sources - especially when it comes to Guardians of the Galaxy - Tony Stark will leave Earth's orbit and "hook up"with the Guardians and that come time for the Guardians of the Galaxy film, Stark will also make a small appearance.
Guardians of the Galaxy represents the biggest risk for Marvel Studios to date. Introducing a big budget comic book space opera after the failure of Green Lantern and to do so with an entirely unknown-to-average-moviegoer cast of odd characters which includes a talking warrior raccoon would other be crazy, if it weren't for the "Avengers Assemble" branding power behind it and the inter-connectivity to the other films. The single, ultimate way to mitigate that risk would be to insert the franchise's biggest and most important star into it in some capacity.
Either way, expect an announcement this summer of Robert Downey Jr.'s contract extension with Marvel.
Iron Man 3 releases May 3, 2013, 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 Rob on Twitter @rob_keyes for all your Marvel movie needs.