Fans of the "billionaire, genius, playboy, philanthropist" known as Tony Stark can rest easy, as Robert Downey Jr. will be playing who's arguably become the most popular of all Marvel characters (as far as the movies go, anyway) in at least two more films.
RDJ has signed a two-picture deal that confirms he'll be appearing as Tony Stark/Iron Man in Marvel's The Avengers 2 and 3, according to Marvel.com. This bit of news brings even more weight to the proud statement "I am Iron Man," Stark's closing line in this summer's Iron Man 3.
It should be noted that this deal does not include a potential Iron Man 4, which has me speculating that maybe Downey Jr. signing on for two more Avengers films was the result of something of a compromise between him and Marvel. It's been a point of speculation as to whether RDJ will return for more Iron Man movies or not since the release of the third film; while his appearance in the ensemble of The Avengers most certainly will please fans (and Marvel), his days of taking center stage in any stand-alone Iron Man adventures might indeed be over.
Then again, Iron Man 4 might be part of an upcoming separate deal, one that will garner the actor even more bajillions of dollars. Downey had expressed some ambivalence in the press about coming back to the role, telling GQ, "How many genre movies can I do? How many follow-ups to a successful follow-up are actually fun?" And the 48-year-old actor said his advancing age might cut short his action-hero days (which is a non-excuse, anyway — hasn't he seen The Expendables? He's got at least 20 more Iron Man years left in him!).
Oh, this news also confirms that there is probably indeed going to be an Avengers 3. But we pretty much assumed that already, right?
Meanwhile, Joss Whedon — who had gone on record as saying he wouldn't do Avengers 2 without Downey — is hard at work on the script for the sequel. Production will commence in March 2014 with a look toward a release date of May 1, 2015.