There is no shortage of mysteries about Avengers 4, but one of the biggest ones is what is going to happen to certain fan-favorite characters that have been around since the MCU began. Chief among them is Tony Stark, whose rise to pop culture icon status has been incredible to watch. The same goes for Robert Downey Jr. and how heavily associated with the character he is. Will Iron Man be killed off or will they somehow recast the role? Bob Layton, a prominent Iron Man comics writer, feels that Downey's time as the character is coming to a close.

I am only speculating, but I will guess that (Robert Downey Jr.) is done. He has been doing the same role for over 10 years now, and I think as with any actor sometimes, it is time to move on.

Bob Layton doesn't have any inside information on Avengers 4, but he does know a thing or two about Iron Man. Layton is a writer and artist notable for his work on Iron Man in the 70s. He's responsible for a lot of Iron Man elements that would go on to define the character, such as his alcoholism and characters like James Rhodes. In fact, he also created the supervillain, Ghost, who can currently be seen in Ant-Man and the Wasp this weekend. While Layton can only speculate, he would have to guess that after 10 years, Robert Downey Jr. is done with the character.

It's rare for any actor to play a character for as long as a decade, but that's exactly what Robert Downey Jr. has done. He's played Tony Stark since 2008, and he's become synonymous with the character. It's really tough to picture anyone else playing this character, making the task of recasting extremely difficult. With that in mind, finding a way to retire the character might be the best option, and Bob Layton told Tampa Bay Times that killing Tony is a potential way to go.

That is one way of doing it, but I'd only be guessing. I know this --- I wouldn't want to recast Tony Stark. Who would want to try to top Downey? But, if Tony doesn't come back, they can put somebody else in the armor and start a new generation of Iron Man.

The idea of someone else taking over the mantle of Iron Man in Phase 4 and beyond is most certainly an intriguing one. Whether Tony Stark dies or rides off into the sunset, someone else in the suit is definitely a route Marvel Studios can take, but one can argue that with characters like Spider-Man, Black Panther, and Captain Marvel, the MCU might not even need a new Iron Man.

Iron Man can next be seen In Avengers 4, which is set to arrive in theaters on May 3, 2019.

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