Robert Downey Jr. Has a Definitive Answer for Whether He'd Return to the MCU as Iron Man

The 59-year-old Oscar-winner appeared as Tony Stark in 10 Marvel movies spanning over a decade.

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No one really dies in superhero comics, and Robert Downey Jr. seems to believe the same thinking can be applied to the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

"Happily," Downey told Ryan D'Agostino in a new Esquire cover story when asked if he'd return to the MCU. "It's too integral a part of my DNA. That role chose me. And look, I always say, never, ever bet against [Marvel Studios president] Kevin Feige. It is a losing bet. He’s the house. He will always win."

We are now nearly five years removed from the death of Downey's Tony Stark/Iron Man in Avengers: Endgame. Since then, the 59-year-old actor has branched out as an executive producer on Netflix's Sweet Tooth, starred in and produced a documentary about his late father titled Sr., and earned an Academy Award last month for Best Supporting Actor in Oppenheimer.

Given how much Downey has accomplished over the past half-decade, one can't help but wonder if he closed that chapter of his life and career for good. After all, Stark's death is probably as clear-cut of a conclusion to a character as you can get.

In a Vanity Fair profile on Downey last year, Feige shot down speculation regarding the possibility of resurrecting Tony Stark. Even though Feige knows as well as anyone that death is never permanent for superheroes or their foes, he also wants to preserve that moment for everyone who worked behind the scenes in getting the Infinity Saga to successfully cross the finish line.

"We are going to keep that moment and not touch that moment again," Feige said. "We all worked very hard for many years to get to that, and we would never want to magically undo it in any way."

For more from the Esquire profile, see Downey's Explain This video up top.

Comic book movies are not the box office juggernauts they once were. Disney CEO Bob Iger announced last year that there will be a scaling back of Marvel properties after a string of MCU films failed to reach the box office returns of years past.

Even when things have looked bleak, Feige still has an ace up his sleeve with Avengers: Secret Wars, the Multiverse Saga conclusion currently slated for May 2027. The existence of the multiverse (and the nature of the Secret Wars comic) allows for any character to drop in from a different universe. That could come in the form of an actor's return—say, RDJ's Iron Man, Chris Evans' Captain America, or Scarlett Johansson's Black Widow—or a bit of fan service, like John Krasinski as Fantastic Four leader Reed Richards in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. (Pedro Pascal will claim the role in 2025's The Fantastic Four.)

Stark's return will likely all come down to whether or not Downey even wants to reprise the role, and we now know how he feels.

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