Will Robert Downey Jr. Leave Behind 'Iron Man' When He Turns 50?

April 16, 2013
Source: GQ

Iron Man 3

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.

Find more posts: Development, Marvel, Movie News



Age is nothing but a number Robert is my Ironman for ever 😀

redskulllives on Apr 16, 2013


You can recast any of the Avengers and the franchise can go on... except for Robert Downey Jr. and Tom Hiddleston.

capitandelespacio on Apr 16, 2013


I love Hiddleston, but I really hope he's left out of phase 2. With such a vast array of characters to choose from in the Marvel world it would be a shame to see Loki show up again.

Matt Peloquin on Apr 16, 2013


There is a pitcher with the SF Giants by the name of Tim Lincecum. Sorry if I misspelled his name. He looks close enough to Hiddleston that it should be no problem. As for RDJ, I'm sure he will stay on as Stark until at least the 3rd Avengers movie. No matter how bad/good Avengers 2 will turn out, it will become a trilogy. And with RDJ, I don't think he'll pass up the paycheck for Marvel to keep the continuity the actors. My2cents

KerriganQoB on Apr 16, 2013


He has good genes, despite all the abuse he looks younger than he is. Maybe he is on the same stuff as Tom Cruise. HGH?

DAVIDPD on Apr 16, 2013



paranam on Apr 16, 2013


Human Growth Hormones

LosZombies on Apr 16, 2013



paranam on Apr 17, 2013


Facelifts can only do so much before they start to show your age and over stretch your face, maybe that's what RDJ is hinting at. I can tell he's had many jowl lifts, face fillers and skin laser therapy, and that can take its toll. After 50 the face loses a lot of its density around the cheekbones and it becomes a little more difficult to correct that 'tired' look a 40 - 50 year old face can get. Don't get me wrong, the surgery will still be effective, but the continuity with the age of Roberts face will slightly become compromised. The more a person uses these procedures, the less effective they are on your skin over time, because skin stretches, and can't really tighten as effectively at that age. You can see this happening with Tom Cruise when you see him walk the red carpets nowadays. He's got that sullen, tired, overdone surgery look about him now. Also I think the constant bulking up and getting ripped for the iron man roles would be getting harder, especially since RDJ doesn't try to maintain this look when filming is finished. Which means he has to redo his look for every ironman film

Thomas Carroll on Apr 16, 2013


He has to give up the mantle at some point. He's getting up there in age.

Val on Apr 16, 2013


I hope Downey Jr. does it as long as possible, but if not I agree with the James Bond approach. More franchises should be done that way.

Nielsen700 on Apr 16, 2013


kill him off in avengers 2

Timan Zheng on Apr 16, 2013


NOoooooooo !!!! Saboteur ! Sacrilege ! How dare you? I'm appalled !

Herbert Nenenger on Apr 17, 2013


Seems likely.

Xerxexx on Apr 16, 2013


Let's hope he quit the character of Tony Stark after The Avengers 4: Civil War. Never been anxious for a movie in a good way, than for Civil War. Unsaleable without RDJr.

paranam on Apr 16, 2013


I hope he quit after The Avengers 4: Civil War. Never been anxious, in a good way, for a movie. Unsaleable without RDJr.

paranam on Apr 16, 2013


Thought Avengers was going to be a trilogy?

JBrotsis on Apr 16, 2013


The Avengers; general set up. little aversion between Stark and Rogers. The Avengers 2: mediocre aversion between Stark and Rogers. The Avengers 3: full out aversion against each other, but still working for the sake of mankind. The Avengers 4: The amount of damages The Avengers make during A3 cause the government to control supes or outlaw them. Stark can live with that, Rogers no fucking way, thus divide between the supes, thus Civil War. Probably the best action movie ever.

paranam on Apr 17, 2013


Tough to replace his personality. Downey and Stark are almost the same person.

$126191 on Apr 16, 2013


Can't he stay on as tony stark and have someone else play iron man.

Joeyjoejoejohnson jr on Apr 16, 2013


Sounds like he's going to disappear up his own backside long before he gets too old for the role.

Chris on Apr 17, 2013


As sad as I would be to see him go, I can well understand why after a certain point, he may want to bow out, I mean compared to the other actors in the main Avengers cast, he is one of the oldest. Mind you, there is a storyline in the comics where the Avengers actually brought a younger version of Tony Stark into the present from an alternate timeline, so maybe they can do something like that in the movies? That way they don't have to focus as much on finding someone who looks and acts like Robert Downey, and the change will actually fit in well with the storyline 🙂

Clinton Owen on Apr 17, 2013


its okay if there is no Iron Man 4, as long you appear in any installment of Marvel CInematic Universe as Tony Stark/Iron Man in the whatsocalled Avengers!

IConsiderMySelfATeacher on Apr 29, 2013


I think it would be cool for Tony Stark to have a son by someone and pass on his Iron Man legacy and brain power to that son. Robert Downey Jr. will always be the best Iron Man!!

Berlin on Jul 26, 2013

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