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Joe Russo ponders if anyone other than Robert Downey Jnr could ever play Tony Stark/Iron Man

March 18th, 2016 by Matt Gault Comments

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When you strip away every character in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, you get the rock-solid foundation at its heart; Iron Man. Robert Downey Jr’s Tony Stark launched the MCU back in May 2008 and remains a central character, with a pivotal part to play in the upcoming Captain America: Civil War.

Iron Man has already wrapped up his own individual trilogy and will also feature in the two-part Avengers: Infinity War film, but beyond that is uncertain. Downey Jr has not spoken openly about his long-term plans for playing the character and it’s unsure if Marvel will offer the highly-paid actor a fresh contract for the future— although he is possibly the most bankable star in the world, so it would perhaps be advised on their part.

In a recent interview with Forbes (via Squareeyed), Civil War co-director Joe Russo teased that it would be “almost impossible” to replace Downey Jr., and there is only one way his Iron Man character could be rebooted.

“It’s almost impossible to replace Robert, he’s the biggest movie star in the world. One close up from Robert is worth another actor’s entire performance, he’s incredibly gifted and insanely talented. I think if and when he is done with the character I think you will find that Iron Man might disappear for a while.

“I think the only way that you could reboot that character is to give a generational gap that would allow another actor to at least have a chance to redefine that character without the enormous spectre of Robert hanging over it. There are so many characters in the Marvel Universe that can pick up the ball and run without it through the next phase or two before you need to see Iron Man again, frankly.”

Joe Russo‘s brother and directorial partner Anthony Russoalso teased in the interview that there has been “talk of recasting key roles like Iron Man,” but it isn’t clear if Marvel are seriously entertaining such an option. If that does happen, it wouldn’t be the first time that Marvel has recast a role. Don Cheadle replaced original Iron Man star Terrence Howard as Rhodey, and Mark Ruffalo replaced The Incredible Hulk star Edward Norton as Bruce Banner. Recasting Iron Man would be the Marvel equivalent of recasting Han Solo.

What do you think about Iron Man being reboot or recast in the future? Could you see anybody else in the role?

Let us know your thoughts below, @NerdFollowing on Twitter or on Facebook

Matt Gault is a sports writer and film fanatic. He is a fully-qualified journalist and has worked for BBCNI, Sunday Life and has been published on The Guardian's website. He interns at REDNI, sub-editing for the Belfast Telegraph. He studied at Queen's University pretending to like history and literature and then University of Ulster Coleraine, where he slacked off enormously for a year and somehow got away with it. He also enjoys Captain Morgans, The Sopranos, Led Zeppelin and Hunter S. Thompson which makes him a remarkably uninteresting person.