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Robert Downey Jr has been playing Tony Stark, a.k.a. Iron Man, since the Marvel Cinematic Universe began in 2008, and while the franchise has introduced many more heroes since then, he still remains one of its primary figures. After Captain America: Civil War (a.k.a. his seventh MCU appearance) next month, Tony was already set to return for the Avengers: Infinity War movies, but now there’s word that we’ll see him before that in Spider-Man: Homecoming.
According to Variety, Robert Downey Jr. has joined the slowly-growing cast of Spider-Man’s first solo movie in the MCU. No details were provided about how big his role will be or what exactly he’ll be doing, though the article notes that Downey and Spider-Man actor Tom Holland had "great chemistry" in Captain America: Civil War. Along with Downey and Holland, Spider-Man: Homecoming’s cast also includes Marisa Tomei, Zendaya, Laura Harrier and Tony Revolor.
It’s been rumored since last year that Iron Man could show up in Spider-Man: Homecoming, but lately the signs were more concrete. Earlier this month, Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige mentioned that some previously established MCU characters would appear in Spider-Man: Homecoming, but didn’t reveal who. Then almost a week later, Robert Downey Jr hinted on Jimmy Kimmel Live! that he might be joining the Web-Slinger’s latest feature, but said he didn’t have a contract yet. Well, evidently that contract was ironed out, and now he’ll be interacting with Peter Parker in the midst of the high schooler’s latest adventure. Of all the main Marvel heroes who could have shown up in Spider-Man: Homecoming, Tony makes the most sense given Spider-Man is on Team Iron Man during Captain America: Civil War, so they already have a rapport established.
Now the big question is how big Robert Downey Jr’s role will be in Spider-Man: Homecoming. Given how Marvel likes to throw their major actors in for cameos, whether it’s Nick Fury in Iron Man or Captain America and Falcon at the end of Ant-Man, it’s possible that Tony is simply popping up near the end of Spider-Man: Homecoming for just a couple minutes. However, it seems much more likely that this is a bigger role, though not to the point he's among the more prominent players. With Peter busy with high school and Tony up to his own devices, maybe he’ll just appear in a couple scenes where he gives Peter some counsel on his troubles. There’s also no guarantee we’ll even see Tony in his Iron Man suit during the movie. After all, moviegoers are going to see this movie to watch Spider-Man kick ass, and having Iron Man fly in and shoot some energy blasts might detract from that. Still, if we’re lucky, maybe Tony will provide Peter with some cutting-edge tech to deal with whatever super villain the Wall-Crawler is battling, like Q in the James Bond movies.
Spider-Man: Homecoming swings into theaters on July 7, 2017.