Most actors signing onto Marvel Studios with long-term deals can't say much about what's coming next for their characters or potential movies. Much of the time they don't even know because of how guarded and secretive the studio is and how dynamic the script-writing process can be - even drastically altering scenes during production. Robert Downey Jr. however, is the exception.
He's not only the highest paid actor in Hollywood and the poster boy for the Marvel Cinematic Universe, he also has final say on any project he does for them. He's a master at playing with the press, teasing fans and generating buzz, and he's not afraid to let little things slip that perhaps Disney and Marvel don't always want out there. After all, he's the one who told everyone during The Avengers world premiere that the cast were getting back together that night to shoot one more special scene - the shawarma button scene that plays after the credits.
That's also how a week ago we found out Robert Downey Jr. was in "negotiations" with Marvel Studios to extend his future as Tony Stark aka Iron Man. He jokingly teasing Iron Man 4 and what friends he'd like to work with on such a project, but he was serious about major plans in the works at Marvel and incoming announcements. We didn't however, expect what came next. Robert Downey Jr. will not only be returning for The Avengers: Age of Ultron and The Avengers 3 (or some equally large event movie), but he is going to star alongside Chris Evans in Captain America 3 which hits theaters just a year after Age of Ultron.
What started out as a supporting role in the next project by directors Anthony and Joe Russo has increased in size and now RDJ is reportedly going to co-lead Captain America 3 in a story described as an adaptation (or the beginning of one) of Civil War - a momentous crossover event in Marvel Comics which pit Captain America against Iron Man and split the superhero community in two.
That idea in and of itself - combined with reports of other Avengers joining the Captain America 3 cast and it practically being another Avengers movie - position the film as a major event for Marvel (one that will have big impact on MCU). And it arguably needs to be since it kicks off summer 2016 just a few short months after Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice. So it's no surprise to hear Robert Downey Jr. tease as much when chatting with Yahoo about his current project The Judge.
"It sounds very exciting," he said smiling. Explaining that he can't comment on it without "regret[ing] it," the actor continued, "It's gonna be huge. Whatever it is."
After Age of Ultron potentially puts a lot of heroes in a lot of different places (and potentially, mindsets) next summer, fans will meet a new character in the Ant-Man origin movie that same summer. After that Captain America 3 seems to pick up the following year from the events of The Avengers sequel and changes the direction of the franchise. That could be why outside of Doctor Strange we still don't know what Marvel has planned for their half-dozen other unannounced titles with release dates.
What do you want to see after Captain America 3?
The Avengers: Age of Ultron releases in theaters on May 1, 2015, followed by Ant-Man on July 17, 2015, Captain America: Civil War on May 6 2016, Doctor Strange on November 4, 2016, Guardians of the Galaxy 2 on May 5 2017, Thor: Ragnarok on July 28, 2017, Black Panther on November 3 2017, Avengers: Infinity War - Part 1 on May 4 2018, Captain Marvel on July 6 2018, Inhumans on November 2 2018 and Avengers: Infinity War - Part 2 on May 3 2019.
Follow Rob on Twitter @rob_keyes for your Marvel movie and TV news!