This week is a major one for the Marvel Cinematic Universe. After patiently waiting for what seems like an eternity, The Russo Brothers' Avengers: Infinity War has finally arrived. The blockbuster has been teased to be the build up from ten years and 18 movies, ending the MCU as we know it in the process. It all started with 2007's Iron Man, the first entry into the shared universe that also helped to relaunch Robert Downey Jr.'s career into massive success. It's hard to think of anyone besides RDJ playing Tony Stark, although Tom Cruise was reportedly offered the role during the film's development. Cruise was recently asked how close he was to taking on the mantle of Iron Man, to which Cruise said:

Not close and I love Robert Downey Jr. I can't imagine anyone else in that role and I think it's perfect for him.

It seems that Tom Cruise was never actually going to play Tony Stark. This is no doubt a relief to all the fans out there, as Robert Downey Jr. provides a pitch perfect Tony that is layered and emotional.

Tom Cruise's comments to ComicBook.com seem to honor Robert Downey Jr.'s long tenure as Tony Stark. As the MCU has changed and expanded over the years, RDJ's Iron Man has been a constant throughline that kept the narrative evolving. Tony is always trying to do the right thing and keep the Earth protected, although his own personal issues and insecurities often keep him from doing so. Now all of his preparations will be tested, as Thanos is coming to possibly destroy the entire galaxy.

It should be interesting to see how Avengers: Infinity War honors and features Tony Stark. The trailers feature him with a variety of the MCU's heroes, while his Hulkbuster armor from Age of Ultron is set to make an appearance in the Battle of Wakanda. The stakes for Infinity War and Avengers 4 couldn't be higher, and the fandom has been preparing itself for possible character deaths. The Russo Brothers have maintained that the consequences of Infinity War were going to be very real, so it's just a matter of which beloved MCU character bites the dust when standing up against Thanos.

Tony Stark seems like a major candidate to be killed off in the next two Avengers movies, as Robert Downey Jr. is one of many leading actors whose contracts are up at thee end of Phase Three. Tony has nearly perished a handful of times attempting to do good, so perhaps Josh Brolin's villain will be the one battle he can't win. We'll just have to see.

All will be revealed when Avengers: Infinity War arrives in theaters on April 27th. In the meantime, check out our 2018 release list to plan your next trip to the movies.

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