“Still Very Much Alive,” Robert Downey Jr. Will Return to Franchise

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Robert Downey Jr as Iron Man

Credit: Marvel Studios

Iron Man may be dead as of Avengers: Endgame (2019), but Robert Downey Jr. hasn’t put his franchise days behind him just yet.

It’s hard to believe that back in 2008, Downey Jr. wasn’t the household name he is today. An often repeated tale saw Iron Man (2008) director Jon Favreau personally push for the actor to be cast in what would eventually become the first brick in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, with Marvel reluctant to cast Downey Jr. due to his infamous reputation.

Robert Downey Jr. in an iron man suit with the helmet partially open, revealing their face.
Credit: Marvel Studios

Fast forward over 15 years, and the risk most certainly paid off. While it’s been five years since his last Marvel appearance, Downey Jr. is still synonymous with the MCU, with many considering the franchise to have dipped in quality since he and his former co-star Chris Evans (Steve Rogers/Captain America) bowed out.

There are rumors aplenty about whether or when Downey Jr. could return to the MCU. Some believe he could play an alternate Tony Stark in Avengers: Secret Wars (whenever that actually hits screens), with one rumor suggesting that his character will reunite with Tom Holland’s Peter Parker (AKA Spider-Man)—potentially as a villainous version of Tony from within the multiverse.

Tony Stark sitting next to his Iron Man suit on a couch in a basement
Credit: Marvel Studios

For his part, Downey Jr. has been relatively mum on the subject, only teasing Esquire Magazine earlier this year that he would “happily” return should the occasion arise.

In the meantime, however, fans may be able to see him take on the mantle of another iconic figure. According to Susan Downey – presenter and wife of Downey Jr. – there’s still hope for her husband to reprise the role of Sherlock Holmes for his other cinematic franchise.

Robert Downey Jr. and Rachel McAdams in Sherlock Holmes
Credit: Warner Bros.

While she noted that she currently has no firm update on the project, Downey did say that they’re always discussing how to bring the third film in the series (whose last installment, Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows, was released in 2011) to life.

“I mean, look, no, there’s no update, other than it’s still very much alive in our hearts,” she told ScreenRant in a recent interview to promote the third season of Sweet Tooth.

“Every day we talk about “What is the best next version of that?” Because anytime I see Robert and Jude [Law, who portrayed John Watson] together, which fortunately, I do get to see a few times a year, we hang out, and I’m just like, “Can I get these guys back on screen together?”, it’s magic.

There needs to be a really strong reason; it needs to be a great story, and we do have some things in the works.”

Mark Strong and Robert Downey Jr. in Sherlock Holmes
Credit: Warner Bros.

While Downey Jr.’s two Sherlock Holmes films were nowhere near as financially successful as the Iron Man trilogy, the first still raked in $524 million at the box office on a $90 million budget. Downey Jr. was generally praised for his take on the iconic detective created by Arthur Conan Doyle, with his chemistry with Law receiving particular accolades.

Would you like to see Robert Downey Jr. star in a fourth Sherlock Holmes film? Let us know in the comments!

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