“Tony Cast a Large Shadow,” Bringing Back Iron Man a “Non-Starter” at Marvel

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happy hogan, tony stark, and peter parker in spider man homecoming

Credit: Marvel Studios/Sony Pictures

If there’s one character that has arguably had a bigger impact on Kevin Feige’s Marvel Cinematic Universe than other, it’s Robert Downey Jr.’s Tony Stark/Iron Man.

tom holland as peter parker (left) and robert downey jr as tony stark (right)
Credit: Marvel Studios

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After launching the MCU with Jon Favreau’s Iron Man (2008), formerly troubled RDJ went on to star in 11 total Marvel Cinematic Universe films — Iron Man 2 (2010)The Avengers (2012)Iron Man 3 (2013)Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015), Captain America: Civil War (2016), Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017), Avengers: Infinity War (2018), and Avengers: Endgame (2019).

robert downey jr as tony stark iron man marvel
Credit: Marvel Studios

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The fan-favorite character sacrificed himself to save the world from Thanos (Josh Brolin) in Endgame, thus ending the Sherlock Holmes actor’s time as a Marvel star. Downey, Jr. himself has confirmed that he’s “done all I could with Iron Man,” but that certainly hasn’t stopped Marvel fans from hoping for his return.

robert downey jr as tony stark aka iron man in iron man 3 marvel christmas movie
Credit: Marvel Studios

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Now, Marvel Studios screenwriter Chris McKenna has spoken out about whether or not the super hero movie studio is likely to ever bring RDJ’s version of Iron Man back and, unfortunately for his huge fan base, it doesn’t sound like it’s going to happen — at least for now. We all know to never say never when it comes to the Marvel Multiverse, which has been blown wide open thanks to Disney+ Original series Loki and Spider-Man: No Way Home (2021).

iron man avengers endgame
Credit: Marvel Studios

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In a recent interview on Jeff Goldblum’s podcast, McKenna was asked if the MCU creative team would consider the beloved character’s return. He responded:

“I think honestly that’s a non-starter in the halls of Marvel, at least in our experience. They just don’t really like constantly evoking [Iron Man]. I mean, obviously, Tony cast such a large shadow even after Endgame — which we dealt with in Far From Home — but I think everyone felt like we can’t just keep on going to the Tony well.”

avengers infinity war iron man (left) and doctor strange (right)
Credit: Marvel Studios

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This isn’t to say, of course, that Stark’s influence will be lost. His legacy is clearly still playing a role as the Marvel Cinematic Universe moves forward.

In No Way Home, Marvel fans saw Stark’s continued impact on Peter Parker/Spider-Man (Tom Holland) in everything from arc reactor that was attached to Electro (Jamie Foxx) to the conversation the younger man had with Happy Hogan (Jon Favreau) at Aunt May’s (Marisa Tomei) grave in the final moments of the film.

hawkeye jeremy renner hailee steinfeld hawkeye mcu series disney plus
Credit: Marvel Studios

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And, in Disney+ Original series Hawkeye, Clint Barton/Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) and Kate Bishop (Hailee Steinfeld) use Stark tech arrows, further proving that Stark is still very much a part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s next chapter.

Most recently, Iron Man was “recast” with a voice actor in animated series What If…?, which has been renewed for a second season.

What If...? Logo
Credit: Marvel Studios

Related: Owen Wilson’s Iconic Catchphrase Cut From ‘Loki’

Although Downey, Jr. did not return for the show, the series did feature many MCU stars lending their voice talents. Among them were Tom Hiddleston (Loki)Samuel L. Jackson (Nick Fury)Chris Hemsworth (Thor)Mark Ruffalo (Bruce Banner/the Hulk)Josh Brolin (Thanos)Hayley Atwell (Peggy Carter)Paul Rudd (Scott Lang/Ant-Man)Natalie Portman (Jane Foster), Michael Douglas (Dr. Hank Pym), Michael B. Jordan (Erik “Killmonger” Stevens)RennerSebastian Stan (Bucky Barnes/Winter Soldier)Benedict Cumberbatch (Doctor Stephen Strange), and late actor Chadwick Boseman (T’Challa/Black Panther).

What do you think about Marvel Studios not being willing to bring back Tony Stark?

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