10 MCU Movies & Series Robert Downey Jr.’s Iron Man Could Return In After His Positive Comments (2024)

Iron Man

10 MCU Movies & Series Robert Downey Jr.’s Iron Man Could Return In After His Positive Comments (1)

By Felipe Rangel

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Why Iron Man 4 Never Happened In The MCU
What Every Original Avenger Actor Has Said About Returning In Future MCU Movies
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10 MCU Movies & Series Robert Downey Jr.’s Iron Man Could Return In After His Positive Comments (5)

Summary

  • Robert Downey Jr. could return as Iron Man in upcoming MCU projects, such as Deadpool & Wolverine, hinging on the multiverse, A.I., time travel, and more.
  • Ironheart offers the potential for RDJ's Stark to return as A.I. to mentor Riri Williams following his sacrifice in Avengers: Endgame.
  • Avengers: Secret Wars emerges as a top contender for Downey's Iron Man return, given its scope, multiverse story, and potential roster.

Robert Downey Jr.'s recent Iron Man comments have led to debates about when and where Tony Stark could return to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and there are a few movies and series that would be perfect for that to happen. Iron Man died in Avengers: Endgame. That moment is one of the most pivotal choices in the history of the MCU, which means that undoing it in any way could risk messing with one of the MCU's best movies and the perfect ending for the franchise's first star.

Still, there are plenty of ways in which Downey could return as Iron Man. While there is nothing solid at the moment, Downey Jr. has fueled Iron Man return rumors, as the actor revealed he continues to love the character and is now open to a return years after his last MCU appearance. If Marvel and Downey join forces to make that happen, a few upcoming MCU projects and other possible ones could see Iron Man return.

Related

Robert Downey Jr. recently fueled hopes that he will return as Iron Man, and I think Tony Stark does not have to wait for Avengers: Secret Wars.

10 Deadpool & Wolverine

The MCU's Major 2024 Multiverse Event

A sequel to the highly successful Deadpool and Deadpool 2 starring Ryan Reynolds as the Merc with a Mouth. The third film will be the first film in the franchise to be developed under the Marvel Studios banner following Disney's acquisition of 20th Century Fox. Ryan Reynolds is returning to play the character, alongside Hugh Jackman, reprising his Wolverine role in the Marvel Cinematic Universe for the first time.

There are many reasons why Deadpool & Wolverine would be one of the best choices for Downey to come back as Iron Man. Whenever the actor decides to return as Tony Stark, if that ends up happening, it will have to be in a major moment or a giant project. Deadpool & Wolverine offers Marvel the opportunity to do both. Anticipation for the movie is high, with trailer records broken left and right. Deadpool & Wolverine is also the MCU's only 2024 movie.

As Marvel's sole theatrical release this year, all eyes are on what will bring. The film's use of the multiverse would lend itself well to a possible Iron Man return. RDJ could appear as limitless options of Iron Man variants from other universes, keeping Earth-616 Tony Stark's sacrifice untouched. A cameo could be secretly filmed since RDJ is open to returning.

Related

There are many Deadpool & Wolverine theories, and one of them ties into Robert Downey Jr.'s MCU return comments, bringing Tony Stark back to life.

9 Ironheart

A Marvel Comics Story Is Perfect For Iron Man's Return

Ironheart

Set after Dominique Thorne's MCU debut in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, Marvel Studios' Ironheart series follows Riri Williams as she follows in Iron Man's steps as a high-tech superhero and crosses paths with Anthony Ramos' Parker Robbins a.k.a. The Hood, a magic user with ties to the dark arts. The six-episode Disney+ series is part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe's Phase 5.

Without a doubt, Disney+'s upcoming Ironheart series would make for one of the easiest projects to explain how RDJ is back as Tony Stark. Dominique Thorne debuted as Riri Williams in the MCU with a supporting role in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. The movie saw her don two versions of her Ironheart suit, with the character showing that she had Tony Stark's brains and the will to succeed.

Now set to lead her own series, Ironheart could be mentored by Iron Man in the MCU, just like in the comics. In one of the multiple times Tony Stark died in the comics, the character left a backup of himself in the form of an A.I. That version of Tony was essentially him, just without a body, though the A.I. Tony could control Iron Man's armors. Iron Man's Avengers: Endgame sacrifice could be left untouched while RDJ returns as the A.I. Tony Stark to guide Riri Williams.

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While Tony Stark is dead, Robert Downey Jr. has recently made a return as Iron Man very much possible, and it would fit the MCU's new direction.

8 Armor Wars

Iron Man Is Central To The Movie

Armor Wars

Initially conceived as a Disney+ series, Armor Wars is an MCU movie centered on Rhodey Rhodes' mission to honor Tony Stark's legacy and keep his Iron Man technology from wreaking havoc when they fall into the wrong hands. Starring Don Cheadle as War Machine, Marvel Studios' Armor Wars adapts the eponymous comic book storyline to the big screen in the Multiverse Saga.

Armor Wars would be one of the best projects for RDJ's possible MCU return as Iron Man. Don Cheadle's Rhodey and Tony Stark are best friends. In Secret Invasion, it was heavily implied that Rhodey was switched for a Skrull after his accident in Captain America: Civil War. That would mean that the real War Machine was in stasis and not by his best friend's side when Tony Stark died in Avengers: Endgame.

The A.I. Tony from the comics could play a pivotal role in Armor Wars. The movie focuses on what happens to Stark Tech when it lands in the wrong hands. With Tony dead, multiple powerful individuals could be after his technology, with War Machine, Ironheart, and a couple of others trying to stop them. One of the secret Stark Tech projects could be the A.I. version of Tony, allowing the MCU to bring Iron Man and War Machine back together.

Related

War Machine's upcoming feature, Armor Wars, is based on a Marvel Comics event of the same name. Here's what Armor Wars is really about.

7 Avengers: The Kang Dynasty

Reports Claim The Movie Will Have A Massive Roster

Avengers: The Kang Dynasty

Avengers: The Kang Dynasty is the fifth Avengers film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and will bring together heroes, new and old, to face off against the omnipotent Kang the Conquerer. The Kang Dynasty will also mark the beginning of phase 6 of the MCU.

Downey's last MCU appearance was in an Avengers movie, and it is possible that if he comes back, his next time as Iron Man could be in the first film for Earth's Mightiest Heroes since 2019's Avengers: Endgame. Recently, it was reported that Avengers: The Kang Dynasty will have a massive character roster. According to the report, more than 60 MCU characters could return for the next Avengers movie.

With so many characters possibly coming back, it would seem like the perfect project to see Iron Man, Captain America, and Black Widow return to the MCU somehow. Avengers: The Kang Dynasty could either use the multiverse for RDJ's Iron Man return or another tool like time travel — from Avengers: Endgame — or the A.I. Tony Stark plot from Marvel Comics. Perhaps after failing, the new Avengers recruit the original team to help fight the Council of Kangs.

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6 Vision

The Characters Are Linked

Vision

Marvel Studios' Vision is a limited series set in the MCU and released on Disney+. It reveals the fate of Paul Bettany's resurrected Avenger, which was last seen fleeing Westview at the end of 2021's WandaVision. After the original synthezoid died at the hands of Thanos in Avengers: Infinity War, his body was reassembled by the secret organization SWORD, and his consciousness was restored by Scarlet Witch's magically recreated version of the robot.

Recently, it was confirmed that Marvel Studios is moving forward with a Vision series. The WandaVision spinoff had been previously reported, though Marvel never made an official announcement on the show. Paul Bettany is set to return as White Vision. After Wandavision's ending, the series should follow White Vision as he comes to grapple with the thoughts and memories of the original Vision and his new life, coming to terms with who he is.

While a Vision-centered series might not be the first choice for Iron Man to return in, the project could very well include Tony Stark due to a key connection. In the MCU, RDJ's Stark and Mark Ruffalo's Bruce Banner created Vision. Trying to find himself, White Vision could go back to his origin, speaking to the Avengers who created him. Like in Ironheart, the A.I. Tony Stark would be the perfect fit for Vision.

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MCU Vision Show: Everything We Know

WandaVision's ending left a lot of loose ends, as it ended with White Vision fleeing Westview, but the Vision show will answer everything.

5 Spider-Man 4

Peter Parker And Tony Stark Need To Reunite

Spider-Man 4

Spider-Man 4 is the first sequel to the MCU's Spider-Man trilogy starring Tom Holland as the titular wall-crawler. After wiping his identity for the public's memory in Spider-Man: No Way Home, Peter Parker continues his crime-fighting adventures without the aid of Iron Man technology or the support of his former allies.

Tom Holland's Peter Parker has been linked to Downey Jr.'s Tony Stark since his MCU debut. Other than Spider-man's supporting cast, no other MCU character has helped shape Peter's journey in the franchise more than Iron Man. RDJ's character recruited Spider-Man for his team in Captain America: Civil War, mentored him through multiple movies, created different suits for Spider-Man, made him an Avenger, and was by his side when Thanos snapped him.

After Spider-Man: No Way Home, Holland's Peter Parker finds himself at his lowest point. Living alone with no friends or family who remember him, Peter could turn to Tony Stark for guidance. As the MCU established that Spider-Man and Iron Man have a special bond, RDJ's Iron Man could have left his A.I. version for Peter. Alternatively, as a genius, Spider-Man could somehow come up with a way to recreate Tony Stark and build the A.I. himself.

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4 Doctor Strange 3

The Multiverse Is Wide Open

Doctor Strange 3

Doctor Strange 3 follows the titular Marvel sorcerer after his confrontation with the Scarlet Witch and his first encounter with Charlize Theron's Clea in the post-credits scene of Sam Raimi's Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. Benedict Cumberbatch returns once again for an action-packed MCU release that broadens the franchise's exploration of magic.

Avengers: Infinity War and part of Avengers Endgame allowed MCU fans to see the great chemistry between Downey Jr.'s Iron Man and Benedict Cumberbatch's Doctor Strange. With Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness being the biggest multiverse movie in the MCU so far, as Doctor Strange traversed different universes while Spider-Man: No Way Home brought characters over to the MCU, Cumberbatch's hero has become one of the most important characters in the Multiverse Saga.

Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness' ending saw Charlize Thero debut as Clea and recruit Stephen Strange for a mission to stop an incursion. To complete his trilogy, Cumberbatch's Doctor Strange 3 could be all about that incursion or multiple such events, having the hero cross paths with several multiverse characters. RDJ could appear as one or more Iron Man variants that help Doctor Strange along the way.

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Everything We Know About Doctor Strange 3

Here's everything we know about Doctor Strange 3, including any new & returning cast, what the story might be, and its potential release date.

3 Avengers: Secret Wars

The Most Likely Choice

Avengers: Secret Wars

Avengers: Secret Wars is the sixth Avengers film and takes place during phase six of Marvel's Cinematic Universe. The film will see several heroes from the prior phases return and battle against a cosmic threat to rival Thanos, and borrows elements of the Marvel Comics event of the same name.

There have been several theories and rumors about Iron Man's return, and no matter how many possible paths are presented, the debates always end up leading back to Avengers: Secret Wars. The MCU movie just makes sense as the most likely project for RDJ to return as Tony Stark if he were to come back to Marvel. As the finale of the Multiverse Saga, Avengers: Secret Wars will have a similar job to Avengers: Endgame, and that requires bringing in the big guns.

To compete with the expansive scope of the comic book event it is based on, 2027's Avengers: Secret Wars will have to feature the biggest roster of any MCU movie by far. The movie is rumored to include both MCU characters and returning Marvel actors from non-MCU films. As the first hero of the franchise, Iron Man returning through the multiverse to save the MCU once more would be epic.

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The culmination of phases 4, 5, and 6 of the MCU will be in Avengers: Secret Wars. Here's everything to know about the sixth Avengers movie.

2 Iron Man 4

The MCU Hero's Last Solo Movie Was Over A Decade Ago

Marvel's Iron Man 4

Marvel's Iron Man 4 is the fourth solo movie based on the titular Marvel Comics character. After Tony Stark's death in Avengers: Endgame, the MCU continues his legacy with the movie Armor Wars, starring Don Cheadle as War Machine, as well as the Disney+ show Ironheart, starring Dominique Thorne as Stark's successor Riri Williams. The possibility of Robert Downey Jr. returning for another leading role in the Marvel Cinematic Universe is unlikely, but possible thanks to the concept of the multiverse.

Chris Hemsworth and Tom Holland are showing that MCU stars can go beyond their initial trilogies, with the Thor actor even being game to get started on Thor 5. Based on how Marvel has now shifted its focus to its more popular franchises and sequels after a couple of years of MCU controversies, RDJ returning for Iron Man 4 becomes a possibility. To maintain its popularity, the MCU could bring back its most famous character for another solo film.

Despite Downey's constant MCU presence up to Avengers: Endgame, his last solo movie as Tony Stark was 2013's Iron Man 3, which is now over a decade old. At that time, Marvel had no plans for its biggest heroes to go beyond their planned trilogies, though that has since changed. There are still so many solo adventures from the comics that the MCU could adapt for Tony Stark, and Iron Man 4 with RDJ would be a guaranteed movie to hit $1 billion for the MCU.

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Why Iron Man 4 Never Happened In The MCU

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1 Original Avengers Reunion

MCU Reports Are Exciting

Finally, Downey Jr. could also return in an unannounced Avengers movie, though not with the new version of the team that will seemingly be assembled in the MCU by Sam Wilson. According to a report, Marvel Studios is considering a new movie with the original Avengers cast. The decision is based on how the MCU has had some rocky years since the end of the Infinity Saga, with a few projects either underperforming or being panned by critics.

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What Every Original Avenger Actor Has Said About Returning In Future MCU Movies

Considering they played such a pivotal role in the MCU, there's great interest in the return of the original Avengers actors to the franchise.

The original six Avengers — Iron Man, Captain America, the Hulk, Thor, Hawkeye, and Black Widow — still hold a special place in the fans' hearts as the MCU's best heroes. As such, having all of them together once again would result in another hit for the studio. The report claimed that Marvel would resurrect Iron Man and Black Widow for the movie, and the comics have shown there are many ways to do so. With Robert Downey Jr.'s latest MCU comments, Iron Man's return is the closest it has been since his death.

Upcoming Marvel Movies

Release Date

July 26, 2024

Captain America: Brave New World

February 14, 2025

Thunderbolts*

May 2, 2025

The Fantastic Four

July 25, 2025

Blade

November 7, 2025

Avengers: The Kang Dynasty

May 1, 2026

Avengers: Secret Wars

May 7, 2027

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10 MCU Movies & Series Robert Downey Jr.’s Iron Man Could Return In After His Positive Comments (2024)

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