Robert Downey Jr. wants to retire Tony Stark at the top of his game, without feeling like he overstayed his welcome. That doesn't mean he's leaving anytime soon, but he is thinking about the end game.
RDJ joined the Marvel Cinematic Universe -- gave birth to it, really -- with 2008's "Iron Man." He is currently 52-years-old, promoting the 16th MCU film, "Spider-Man: Homecoming," and filming the 19th film, "Avengers: Infinity War." He talked to News Corp Australia Network about his future in the franchise, and they pointed out that he hasn't made a non-MCU movie since "The Judge" in 2014. Since that point, he's been in "Avengers: Age of Ultron," "Captain America: Civil War," and now "Homecoming," and "Infinity War." (And "Avengers 4"?)
He currently has no plans for an "Iron Man 4," but also no plans to quit while he's still ahead.
"It's this cyclical thing. I could have said when the first Avengers came out: 'It's never going to get any better than that. Everybody stop'. But to me it's always about people and opportunities, like the [Avengers directors Anthony and Joe] Russos, who I adore.
Everyone says to me it's like a glove that fits so well. I have to start over every time but I am starting over with a pretty solid base. I just never want to blow it for the last six or seven (MCU movies) I have done by dropping the ball because I decided to go do it one more time. I just want to hang up my jersey before it's embarrassing."
Chris Evans (Captain America) called Downey the leader of the franchise, saying, "If the first Iron Man movies hadn't worked, none of this would have happened. Downey is the patriarch. Everyone looks to him." Evans made headlines when it sounded like he might be reading to hang up his own jersey as Cap, but he later told USA Today, "Downey is far closer to reaching that point where he may walk away. And I don't know how you replace Downey as Tony Stark. I don't know who else can touch that."
But at some point you do have to think about the end game, for a franchise and as an actor/character. "Avengers 4" will be the 22nd film in the MCU, and the projects just keep going and going. They are very popular (and very good) so there's no urgency to put an end date on anything, but you can't blame RDJ for wondering when he should get off the ride.
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