There is very little doubt that one of the reasons why The Avengers is hitting theaters next week is because of Robert Downey Jr. His performance as Tony Stark in the first Iron Man took an under-the-radar character and propelled him into the mainstream. The movie made over $300 million in the U.S. alone, and its success helped Marvel Studios green light the entire super hero revolution that we are in the middle of right now.
But at 47, it isn’t known just how much longer Downey will be willing to continue to don the armor. Compared to Chris Hemsworth and Chris Evans, Downey is the grizzled veteran of The Avengers, and there is always the possibility that 2013’s Iron Man 3 will be his last. And in an interview with Badass Digest, Marvel Studios president, Kevin Feige, talked about the future of the character and compared hiring a new actor as Tony Stark to how James Bond has been handled over the years.
"I think Bond is a good example. Let’s put it this way: I hope Downey makes a lot of movies for us as Stark. If and when he doesn’t, and I’m still here making these movies, we don’t take him to Afghanistan and have him wounded again. I think we James Bond it."