For years, the majority of Marvel movie fans have considered Robert Downey, Jr.’s iconic Tony Stark/Iron Man to be the cornerstone of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
RDJ’s fan-favorite character kicked off the MCU in Iron Man (2008) and went on to appear 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).
Over 11 years, Stark turned from a billionaire playboy into the husband of Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow), the trusted confidante of Happy Hogan (Jon Favreau), the mentor of Peter Parker/Spider-Man (Tom Holland), the sometimes-adversary of Steve Rogers/Captain America (Chris Evans), and the fearless leader of Stark Industries.
He also sacrificed himself to save the world from Thanos (Josh Brolin) to end Marvel’s Infinity Saga in Endgame.
Even though Downey, Jr. has made clear that he has “done all I could” with the Iron Man character, fans have still held out hope for his MCU return, with some even going so far as to buy a billboard to beg the Sherlock Holmes star to come back.
Now, however, Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige has spoken out about who he believes is the true “anchor” of his Marvel Cinematic Universe, and it’s not Stark. Doctor Strange actor, Benedict Cumberbatch, received his Hollywood Walk of Fame star and Feige was on hand to share a speech.
In a Variety livestream of the momentous occasion, the Marvel boss said:
“There are so many roles you’ve played Benedict, that have made you worthy of this prestigious honor. You were an amazing Hamlet. You were an incredible Sherlock Holmes. You were the second best Khan ever, ever. You were brilliant in all the iconic roles, but to us and to millions around the globe, you deserve this honor for being the first, the best, the greatest and the only Doctor Stephen Strange.”
Feige went on to share:
“Benedict has turned this character into an icon, appearing in a historic three of the top six films of all time. It’s been quite a journey. I remember our very first meeting was set up as a general, and we wanted to pitch him this great character, and before we could, he said ‘So tell me about Doctor Strange,’ because you knew. Because somewhere you knew what this could be and you’ve always seen the tremendous potential in this character. Because of that, you’ve become the anchor of the Marvel Cinematic Universe and the only actor capable of guiding us through the madness of the Multiverse.”
Next up for Cumberbatch is Doctor Strange In the Multiverse of Madness, which is due to hit theaters on May 6, 2022. The film will also see the return of Elizabeth Olsen’s Wanda Maximoff/Scarlet Witch, and will pick up after the events of both WandaVision and Spider-Man: No Way Home (2021).
More on Spider-Man: No Way Home
Joining Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017) and Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019), the official description of Spider-Man: No Way Home reads:
For the first time in the cinematic history of Spider-Man, our friendly neighborhood hero is unmasked and no longer able to separate his normal life from the high-stakes of being a Super Hero. When he asks for help from Doctor Strange the stakes become even more dangerous, forcing him to discover what it truly means to be Spider-Man.
Tom Holland (Peter Parker/Spider-Man) and Zendaya (MJ) are joined by Benedict Cumberbatch (Doctor Stephen Strange), Jon Favreau (Happy Hogan), Marisa Tomei (Aunt May), Jacob Batalon (Ned Leeds), Willem Dafoe (Green Goblin), and Alfred Molina (Doctor Octopus) in the film.
Former Spider-Men Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield also star.
What are your thoughts on Feige’s comments?
You can stream Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow and the five 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, Marvel’s What If…?, and Jeremy Renner’s Hawkeye— on Disney+ anytime.