With the recent comments in Variety from Robert Downey Jr. about the lack of plans for an Iron Man 4 (although he is signed on for another Avengers after Age of Ultron), that got me to thinking – where does that leave Marvel and the Iron Man franchise?
Unlike a lot of other heroes, no one else has ever actually been Iron Man. Multiple Spidermen, a few Captain Americas, and a few different Batmen (and Robins!), and sure, there have been alternative versions, but I think i’m correct in saying only Tony Stark has ever been Iron Man. Plus, Robert Downey Jr’s casting was so good, for most people, he just is Tony Stark… So what are the options? Here’s some ways they could possibly go…
If they hand the suit over…
If Marvel are clever, they could introduce a new character as Iron Man in the comics, then have Tony go off and lie on a beach somewhere, whilst play Iron Man video games (he does have that enormous ego after all!). But if you were to pick someone from the existing Marvel movie universe, here are some possibilities.
Don Cheadle (Rhodey) Takes Over
This would probably be the easiest switch. It gets around the issue of recasting, and Cheadle’s already wearing the suit as War Machine in the movies anyway. It wouldn’t be a stretch to have him step in as Iron Man for some reason. You could probably talk RDJ into filming a cameo to hand things over.
Gwyneth Paltrow (Pepper Potts) Takes Over
Slightly more off the wall, but Gwyneth did seem to rather enjoy her time being rather more kick ass in Iron Man 3. Maybe an Iron Woman could work. Heck, they’ve just made Thor a girl in the comics, why not do the same with Iron Man on screen!
Sam Rockwell (Justin Hammer) Takes Over
Also slightly off the wall, but it’s not inconceivable that somehow Hammer manages to get his hands on the suit. Maybe he leaves prison a reformed man, and manages to perfect his own designs, but something forces him to use it for good, rather than sell them for profit. Plus… Sam Rockwell is awesome. ;)
The alternative to handing off the suit would be to recast the role… It wouldn’t be the first time Marvel have switched out characters (Rhodey – Terrence Howard/Don Cheadle for example). But, as I mentioned in the intro, to a lot of people RDJ embodies that role so well, it’s difficult to see anyone else in it. Having said that though, if you were going to try it, here’s who i’d go for.
Having already popped up as the voice of Rocket Racoon in Guardians of the Galaxy, he’s already on Marvel’s radar. He’s got some swagger about him, and just about enough dickishness to pull off Stark.
Leo is no stranger to playing eccentric arrogant billionaires, having played both Gatsby, Howard Hughes and Jordan Belfort, so he’s got the experience. Like RDJ, he manages to play characters who are somewhat of an ass, but still come across as likeable. He’s probably a bit too high profile though, and i’m not sure if comic book movies would be his thing.
He looks the part, is lower profile that someone like DiCaprio, wears a goatee rather well. He’s got the acting chops for the role, and again, has the ability to play the arrogant ‘loveable a-hole’ character. Yes, he was Harry Osborn in the Sam Raimi’s Spiderman movies, but I think there’s enough distance between those and the new Marvel franchise for that not to be an issue.
So what would you like to see happen to Iron-Man? Leave your thoughts in the comments!