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Robert Downey Jr Confirms He's All Done With MCU Movies

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Actor Robert Downey Jr., previously the face of Iron Man in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, confirmed that he would no longer be acting in future films in the franchise. Downey first portrayed billionaire playboy and inventor Tony Stark, who creates a high-tech suit of armor to become a superhero, in 2008's Iron Man. It was the first film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, laying the groundwork for the highest-grossing film franchise in the world. Downey went on to portray Stark, who becomes the leader of the Avengers, in ten MCU films released over the past twelve years.

In Avengers: Endgame, Tony Stark makes the ultimate sacrifice to save the day, fatally taking on the destructive energy of the Infinity Gauntlet to undo Thanos's massacre. The death of a character the fans had grown to love over a decade had a stunning emotional impact on the fandom. It also gave Downey a way to exit the franchise permanently.

Speaking on the SmartLess podcast, Downey confirmed in no uncertain terms that he would be stepping away from the MCU and his role as Tony Stark/Iron Man indefinitely. The podcast, hosted by actors Sean Hayes, Jason Bateman, and Will Arnett, is about "learning through laughter," picking the brains of well-known guests in a casual setting. Asked by Bateman whether or not he was finished with the MCU, Downey replied, "Yeah, that's all done." The former Iron Man actor explains that acting as part of such a massive franchise was hugely demanding of his time, and cites his wife and family as a large part of his decision. It seems the actor will be taking advantage of some much-needed free time to spend more time at home.
It's touching to know that Downey is stepping away from the role on his terms and with good reason, but fans will eagerly theorize about the future of the MCU without one of its most iconic faces. The MCU could go the way of the comics, which set a precedent for replacing Tony Stark after his death. After a series of time shenanigans, an older, evil Tony Stark ends up redeeming himself by saving his younger self, who goes by Anthony Stark and becomes the new Iron Man. The plotline was poorly-received by fans, however, so the MCU may be reticent to follow its blueprint.

Whatever the case, the MCU will march on. The upcoming Black Widow was supposed to already be in theaters but saw a significant delay due to the coronavirus outbreak. Meanwhile, Downey's co-stars Chris Hemsworth, Benedict Cumberbatch, and Tom Holland are due for solo outings in Thor: Love and Thunder, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, and Spider-Man Homecoming 3, respectively. Additionally, new heroes will grace the silver screen in Eternals and Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings. The future is full for the franchise Robert Downey Jr. inaugurated twelve years ago even though it appears to be moving on without him.


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