Robert Downey Jr. has been sending Marvel fans into anxiety attacks with his hardball tactics in negotiations of reprising his role as Tony Stark any further. But with The Avengers earning $1.5 billion worldwide, Marvel will make Avengers 2. But if they want Downey back, they will have to pay very handsomely for the privilege. Despite co-star Mark Ruffalo's plea for calm, this situation has some fans worrying that Downey might not return—or possibly worse yet that the role of Tony Stark would be recast. Thankfully, Avengers director Joss Whedon is weighing in, and it's what he says in between the lines that has us most relieved.
In an interview with The Daily Beast over his soon-to-open adaptation of Much Ado About Nothing, Whedon delved into a little Marvel talk. Asked how crucial Downey would be to Whedon's Avengers 2, he declared:
"He is Iron Man. He is Iron Man in the way that Sean Connery was James Bond. I have no intention of making Avengers 2 without him, nor do I think I’ll be called upon to do that. I don’t think it’s in my interest, Marvel’s interest, or his interest, and I think everything will be fine."
Whedon's not a filmmaker known for shooting his mouth off, and he seems pretty damn confident that Downey and Marvel will work out these negotiations. The truth of the matter seems to be that Downey has the studio—which is reputedly stingy on actor's pay dates—over a barrel, and that barrel may as well be named Iron Man 3. Already the latest Stark installment has taken in more than $1.1 billion worldwide, and a major part of its drawing power is Downey's unparalleled smug charm. Plus, his other entries didn't do too shabby either. So, at this point it seems all but certain that Downey will be back as Iron Man for The Avengers 2, whatever the cost.
In other superhero news, Whedon continues to talk about his desire to helm a superheroine movie, saying he hopes "The Hunger Games will lead to a paradigm shift" that wakes studios up to the commercial appeal of such movies. He add:
"It’s frustrating to me that I don’t see anybody developing one of these movies. It actually pisses me off. My daughter watched The Avengers and was like, 'My favorite characters were the Black Widow and Maria Hill,' and I thought, Yeah, of course they were. I read a beautiful thing Junot Diaz wrote: 'If you want to make a human being into a monster, deny them, at the cultural level, any reflection of themselves.'"
Asked what he has lined up after The Avengers, he mentioned an idea for a ballet, and then returned to superheroine talk saying, "And back to the female-hero thing, I’m not going to let nobody do it. It doesn’t have to be me, but it could be."
Joss, please. Do it.