Robert Downey Jr. Reflects On Leaving Iron Man Behind

RDJ in Avengers: Endgame

It's no secret that the Marvel Cinematic Universe is a behemoth force in the film world. But it all started back in 2007 with Jon Favreau's Iron Man movie. Robert Downey Jr. was the hero who began the giant franchise, and his tenure as Tony Stark finally came to an end with Avengers: Endgame. And with the MCU in the rear view, RDJ is reflecting on leaving the role behind.

Robert Downey Jr. was arguably the biggest character of the MCU throughout its first three phases, appearing in a whopping nine movies in addition to a few cameos. It's hard to imagine the franchise without Tony Stark, but that's exactly what we'll be getting in Phase Four and beyond. Downey was recently asked about what it's like moving on from his iconic tenure at Marvel, saying:

I’ve done all I could with that character and can do other things now. Now, being middle-aged, you start looking at the back nine and realize this is all part of the journey and things end. I am fortunate and eternally grateful to have wound up where I have.

Well, there you have it. It looks like Robert Downey Jr. feels satisfied with where his signature character went in the MCU over the past decade and change of filmmaking. Tony Stark/Iron Man changed and grew, and his story came to an end in a tragic but satisfying way. And his presence will surely be felt moving forward.

Robert Downey Jr.'s comments to Hindustan Times show exactly how the 55 year-old actor feels about his acclaimed tenure in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. While his time as Iron Man seemingly came to an end with Avengers: Endgame, there don't seem to be any regrets. Namely because he got to have such a fulfilling time as a superhero.

Marvel fans can re-watch Robert Downey Jr.'s time in the MCU on Disney+. You can use this link to sign up for the streaming service.

For ten years moviegoers watched Robert Downey Jr.'s Tony Stark in his career as a superhero. And while he might have a few more cameos in projects like Black Widow, Iron Man ultimately sacrificed himself to snap Thanos and his supporters out of existence. Some fans are holding out hope he might still be resurrected, but they might not want to hold their breathe.

Later in his same interview, Robert Downey Jr. went on to further speak to his decade spent playing Iron Man in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It's arguably the role that will define his career, but luckily the Oscar-nominated actor has nothing but positives to say about his tenure playing Tony Stark. As Downey Jr. put it,

Each project is different. Playing Tony/Iron Man was hard and I dug deep. I had an incredible 10-year run that was creatively satisfying.

Signing a multi-picture deal can be a daunting experience for actors. While it's an exciting and potentially lucrative career opportunity, one must also spend years playing one singular character. What's more, you must trust various writers and directors with handling your signature character, while also dealing with typecasting. Luckily, Robert Downey Jr. found his time as Iron Man creatively satisfying, which no doubt is why his performance as Tony Stark have been so consistently good.

It'll be interesting to see how the MCU moves forward without Robert Downey Jr. and other actors. Without characters like Iron Man and Captain America leading the massive franchise, other heroes will likely become larger presences. This includes Doctor Strange, as well as Spider-Man and Thor.

The next installment in the MCU is Black Widow on May 7th, 2021. In the meantime, check out our 2021 release list to plan your trips to the movies next year.

Corey Chichizola
Movies Editor

Corey was born and raised in New Jersey. Double majored in theater and literature during undergrad. After working in administrative theater for a year in New York, he started as the Weekend Editor at CinemaBlend. He's since been able to work himself up to reviews, phoners, and press junkets-- and is now able to appear on camera with some of his favorite actors... just not as he would have predicted as a kid.