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Poor Robert Downey Jr. All the dude wants to do is talk about The Judge. But because he’s a leader in the Marvel Cinematic Universe – perhaps THE founding father of what has become a massive wave of cinematic endeavors – he has to field questions about his most popular character, Tony Stark, and his alter ego, Iron Man.
Right now, we know that Robert Downey Jr. is appearing as Iron Man in Joss Whedon’s The Avengers: Age of Ultron, due in theaters in May 2015. He’s contractually obligated for The Avengers 3, though Marvel hasn’t announced when that movie might open. And there has been talk – mostly from hopeful fans – that Downey would return for a possible Iron Man 4. Today, in a conversation with THR, Robert Downey Jr. kept that door slightly ajar with a bizarre wave metaphor to describe the current state of his Iron Man status. RDJ said:
I'm sure we'll ride that thing. You've got to surf that all the way in to shore. I think I was at the forefront of something that was coming into being, and I think it has carried me as much as I have informed it. That's the healthy way to look at it. It's so easy to become inflated by the successes, but what they really are are long, strong trends. It's just another wave."
Surf on, Robert. Keep in mind that Robert Downey Jr. has "surfed" several "waves" over the course of his career, enjoying multiple highs and enduring some crippling lows. It’s possible that he could come crashing down off of the wave that’s currently being powered by his unprecedented Marvel run, but with wife (and producing partner) Susan by his side, he seems to be making all of the right decisions right now. He has other franchises in play with the Sherlock Holmes movies (if they make another). He’s dabbling in standalone projects like The Judge. And he could do more Iron Man movies if he chose to… and if Marvel backed up the dump truck loaded with money.
To me, the factor for Robert Downey Jr. has always been and will always be age. He’ll be 50 when The Avengers: Age of Ultron opens in theaters next May. We don’t even know when The Avengers 3 could open. A fourth Iron Man would be later than that. Is Downey going to be in the 60s and still making Marvel movies? Unlikely.
If anything, I see Downey possibly cameoing in future Marvel movies, playing the "elder statesman" who continues to charm audiences as an integral factor of this expanding world. But Iron Man 4 I’d honestly be very surprised.