Was Iron Man 3 the end of the era of Tony Stark -- and Robert Downey Jr. -- dominating the Marvel movieverse?
Iron Man 3 made a nice swan song for Tony Stark, neatly wrapping up his story for the eventual exit of actor Robert Downey Jr, whose iconic performance launched the Marvel cinematic universe as we know it. Though Downey is signed for two more Avengers films -- Avengers Age of Ultron in May 2015 and a presumed Avengers 3 beyond that -- he says there are currently no plans for an Iron Man 4. When asked if Downey would allow the role to be recast, the actor laughed it off, saying "I like that the idea is that it would be up to me."
With Marvel expanding its cast of movie characters, bringing in new names like Ant-Man and Doctor Strange, it's not a bad time to let Tony Stark bow out. But have we really seen the last of Stark -- even if we have seen the last of Downey? Marvel's recast roles before, but none so central as Tony Stark. With Downey signed up for two more films, we'll likely have to wait and see where Marvel decides to go with the character when his contract is at an end.