Robert Downey Jr. is not ruling out a potential return to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. In fact, he says he’s “become surprisingly open-minded” to the idea.

That’s what Downey told Jodie Foster in a conversation published on Variety. Asked whether he would ever consider reprising his role as Tony Stark in a new project, Downey replied...

It’s just crazily in my DNA. Probably the most like-me character I’ve ever played, even though he’s way cooler than I am. I’ve become surprisingly open-minded to the idea. Between Nyad and [Night Country] and, for me, Oppenheimer and then Sympathizer, it really is crazy because we look pretty good. I was actually looking at the stills we were taking, making sure: ‘Do we still look kind of OK?’ I’m like, ‘We look pretty good.’

Downey played Tony Stark and Iron Man ten times from 2008 to 2019 before the character died saving the universe from Thanos in Avengers: Endgame.

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That was supposed to be Downey’s final farewell to the franchise and the character, but Marvel’s fortunes have dipped in the five years since, as the characters and franchise brought in to replace Iron Man and other departing heroes have mostly failed to connect with audiences in the same way as the company’s earlier projects did. They could really use Downey’s star power and his return as the beloved character could be a huge selling point for an Avengers movie.

I personally don’t think we’ll ever see Downey starring in Iron Man 4. But Marvel is in the midst of its “Multiverse Saga” which is filled with alternate versions of classic characters. A climactic appearance from Downey as a variant of Iron Man at some all-important moment seems very plausible — and maybe even likely given comments like this one from Downey. Given this quote, why wouldn’t he do something like Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield’s “surprise” returns in Spider-Man: No Way Home? That would make a lot of sense.

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