Will Robert Downey Jr. Come Back For Phase Four? Fans Debate

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iron man suitcase suit

Credit: Marvel Studios

Some Marvel fans online are debating which actors have appeared in all four of Marvel’s phases — and who might show back up as Phase 4 continues. It’s hard to believe that the MCU began over thirteen years ago now.

rdj iron man suit
Credit: Marvel Studios Twitter

When Iron Man debuted in 2008, it seemed unlikely that any fan could possibly imagine where we are now. Phase 3 wrapped back in 2019 with Spider-Man: Far From Home,and with Phase 4 kicking off this year with streaming series WandaVision, all we can do right now is wonder where it will take us.

By the looks of Marvel’s schedule, it seems like it will be all over — multiverses and all!

A Reddit thread  started the conversation when a user pointed out that Sebastian Stan (Bucky Barnes/Winter Soldier) and Don Cheadle (Rhodey/War Machine) have joined Paul Bettany (Vision) as actors to appear in all four phases of the MCU to date.

sebastian stan as winter soldier with captain america shield
Credit: Marvel Studios

What did the fans say?

With a community of over 1.5 million, the comments on the “r/marvelstudios” thread quickly erupted, with users adding other actors to the list who will eventually join the “four phase club”, such as Tom Hiddleston (Loki), Jeremy Renner (Clint Barton/Hawkeye), and Scarlett Johansson (Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow). One commenter highlighted that everyone but Chris Evans would join Stan, Cheadle and Bettany at some point. They say:

“Really everyone from phase 1 except Chris Evans.”

However, where the discussion gets interesting is the follow up to this comment. The first reply says:

“And RDJ unless he has a confirmed cameo in something down the line”

What’s interesting here is that it really doesn’t matter about the character’s alive or dead status. Marvel plays around in flashbacks all the time — and some of the movies even take place before certain events, like the upcoming Black Widow (2021) feature film, which isa prequel that is set between Captain America: Civil War (2016) and Avengers: Infinity War (2018).

In another comment, a fan speculated about a possible Robert Downey Jr. cameo in Spider-Man: No Way Home, saying:

“I bet they have him as an AI like jarvis in the next one, Spiderman will find a server with 182,000 hard drives and iron man’s face will be projected […] Like the scene with Armin Zola from winter soldier”

So, if that were to happen, would fans count Downey Jr. as having appeared in all four Phases? Surely, we would have to, seeing as Paul Bettany only provided a voiceover in Phase 1 as Tony Stark’s AI, Jarvis.

WandaVision theory
Credit: Marvel Studios

Bouncing off of the idea that RDJ might appear somewhere in Phase 4, users suggested his possible appearance in some of the recently announced Disney+ shows.

“Yeah you expect him to somehow be in Ironheart”

“or Armor Wars”

“Read the synopsis for that. It is literally all about Tony Stark. Wondering how they’re gonna handle that.”

What are Ironheart and Armor Wars?

All we know so far about either of these shows is that they are somehow connected to the Iron Man trilogy and Stark Industries, but no clear details have surfaced yet. Here’s the official synopsis of Ironheart:

“Ironheart stars Dominique Thorne as Riri Williams, a genius inventor who creates the most advanced suit of armor since Iron Man.”

And Armor Wars is described as:

Armor Wars, based on the classic Marvel comic series, comes to Disney+ starring Don Cheadle as James Rhodes aka War Machine who must face what happens when Tony Stark’s tech falls into the wrong hands.

Credit: Marvel Studios

What else did fans point out?

As the conversation went deeper, comments brought attention to Chris Evans’s (Steve Rogers/Captain America) voiceover in the premiere of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier — and whether or not that constituted as a Phase 4 appearance:

“Also, if Paul Bettany counts as having appeared in Phase 1 because his voice was used, shouldn’t Chris Evans count for Phase 4 since his voice was used in the first episode of Falcon and The Winter Soldier?”

Someone was quick to reply, calling out how the actors should “show up and do new work […] to be counted.” Their full reply said:

“I’d argue that Bettany counts because those lines were written and recorded for those movies, whereas I’m pretty sure Evans’ lines in F&tWS were just recycled from earlier movies. I think they should actually have to show up and do new work for the project to be counted.”

With the MCU moving around the timeline like Spider-Man jumping through New York, it’s easy to see where the blurred lines are and whether cameos can constitute a full Phase credit. What is more interesting is how Marvel will tackle some of their new projects if certain actors don’t appear, like in the case of Ironheart and Armor Wars.

RDJ has previously indicated he has “done all he could” with the Iron Man character, but never say never in the MCU.

It is clear that the Kevin Feige-led does like to divert from the source material, though. As with any new MCU outing, movie or television show, we really won’t know…until we know.

Who do you think will appear in Phase 4? Let us know in the comments!

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