When Robert Downey, Jr. first played Tony Stark/Iron Man in the original Iron Man (2008) movie, he not only kicked off the Marvel Cinematic Universe but cemented himself as an absolute icon for Marvel fans.
For over a decade, RDJ portrayed Howard Stark’s son in the Avengers franchise — including starring in the ever-popular Iron Man trilogy itself alongside characters like Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow), and Happy Hogan (Jon Favreau).
Then, however, after finally marrying Potts, becoming a father to a precocious daughter, and making an incredible 180-degree-turn from the playboy billionaire we all met 11 years before, Stark tragically sacrificed himself in Avengers: Endgame (2019).
Much to fans’ dismay, this marked the end of the Sherlock Holmes actor’s time in Kevin Feige’s MCU. Downey, Jr. said in no uncertain terms that he has “done all I could with Iron Man”, dashing fans’ flicker of hope for his future return to the Marvel universe.
Now, to let Marvel’s loyal fan base know he absolutely hasn’t forgotten about them, Downey, Jr. has penned a “love letter” to the MCU faithful. The lengthy, 1000-word letter appears in the new book, “The Story of Marvel Studios: The Making of the Marvel Cinematic Universe”.
Although we won’t share the entire thing here, one poignant section reads:
The Who, is YOU .. . If you made it to the “end credits” of this anniversary edition, you’re likely a fan, so there’s your Easter egg, darlings . . . a mirror! Folks who respond to mythological storytelling arc positively the propellant of all things Marvel. It’s always been that way, no supply required without demand. Ever since Comic Con 2007, it’s been apparent that the audience (no offense, THX) was no longer just listening. For ten years, YOU have copiloted the narrative.
Finally, I hope these films have evoked a dialogue on equality, justice, freedom, embracing diversity, and combating intolerance with the power of partnership, sacrifice, and love.
At this point, Tony might say: “You’re welcome.” I’ll balance that with a boundless eternal: “Thank you.”
The letter, written prior to the August 2020 death of Black Panther franchise star Chadwick Boseman, also included a touching passing-of-the-torch to the next generation of Marvel Cinematic Universe super heroes:
We are more than impressed with Pratt [Chrs Pratt as Star-Lord/Peter Quill], Lilly [Evangeline Lilly as Hope Pym/The Wasp], Rudd [Paul Rudd as Ant-Man], Cumberbatch [Benedict Cumberbatch as Doctor Stephen Strange], now Boseman [Chadwick Boseman as T’Challa/Black Panther], not to mention Larson [Brie Larson as Carol Danvers/Captain Marvel], whom we all agree will be a fitting and capable advance guard for the second decade of shenanigans. I would loathe not to include Holland [Tom Holland as Peter Parker/Spider-Man] (therefore Watts) in the mix, having somehow re-relaunched the most recognizable of all Marvel creations.
What do you think about Downey, Jr.’s letter to the Marvel fandom?
You can stream Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow and the four series in Marvel’s Phase Four so far — Elizabeth Olsen and Paul Bettany’s WandaVision, Anthony Mackie and Sebastian Stan’s The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, Tom Hiddleston’s Loki, and Marvel’s What If…?— on Disney+ anytime.