Will Robert Downey Jr. Leave Behind 'Iron Man' When He Turns 50?
No matter how heroic and fit he looks in Iron Man 3, knows that Robert Downey Jr. can't be Iron Man forever, and the time when we say goodbye to his perfect casting as Tony Stark might not be too far down the road. Downey is 47-years-old right now, and he's keenly aware of nearing his half-century birthday. So how much longer does the actor think he can spend as the metal-clad superhero? Downey doesn't give a definite timeframe, but it certainly sounds like he's ready to accept leaving the franchise behind sooner than later. In a recent interview over at GQ, Downey observed, "This period of time, this shall pass." More below!
The actor knows he will have to step down at some point, and while it's not going to happen suddenly, it sounds like the injury he sustained on set in North Carolina that delayed production of the sequel has him anxious to step out of the superhero spotlight and work with some other creative people. Downey says:
"Fortunately I’ve been around the block enough—I’m not ill-prepared. And I love change. I love it when a lightning bolt hits the genny and you’re down for two hours on the set. Now, this isn’t a lightning strike, this is like the warning of a gathering storm.
[My injury] got me thinking about how big the message from your cosmic sponsor needs to be before you pick it up. How many genre movies can I do? How many follow-ups to a successful follow-up are actually fun? Because, as quiet as it’s kept, I come from a family of very innovative writers and directors and actors and artists, and the circle of friends they were in were the people I heard having pun-offs playing poker at two in the morning, and it was just the most comforting aspect of my childhood. So there’s this kind of legacy of souls from what I consider to be a very particular time in entertainment, and I’m sensing a return to that—it’s what me and the missus are doing next. It’s not unlike: I heard Brady signed on for three more years with New England, and then he’s done being a QB, because he’ll be 40. I’m 47, and I’ll be 50.”
GQ dug further about what 50-years-old meant as a drawn line in his career, inquiring about whether or not that meant he would stop doing films like Iron Man at that point. Downey said, "Yeah, roughly," but he also backtracked a bit and merely said, "I don’t know. Right now I don’t have a contract to do anything, and I did for the last five years.” If anything, it sounds like Downey just thinks 50 is a good age to stop with the big blockbuster action as a superhero, especially if he doesn't have anymore contractual obligations once The Avengers 2 is completed and released in 2015.
Does that mean we would get an Iron Man reboot? Well, when Kevin Feige talked about Downey's potential retirement as Tony Stark nearly a year ago, he reference a certain secret agent as a good way to keep the franchise moving:
"I think Bond is a good example. Let’s put it this way: I hope Downey makes a lot of movies for us as Stark. If and when he doesn’t, and I’m still here making these movies, we don’t take him to Afghanistan and have him wounded again. I think we James Bond it."
Obviously, age has to catch with Stark at some point since the character is human, so there might be a reboot sometime down the road, but Marvel hasn't had to deal with that aspect of franchises as a studio yet (remember, The Amazing Spider-Man is at Columbia Pictures and Fantastic Four and X-Men: First Class are at 20th Century Fox). For now fans should just enjoy Downey as Iron Man while they can (the third installment is just a couple weeks away), and as we move through Phase Two of Marvel's cinematic universe and get closer to The Avengers 2, I'm sure we'll have a better idea of what the future will hold for Downey.