Marvel has confirmed the signing of Robert Downey, Jr. to reprise the role of Tony Stark/Iron Man in “Marvel’s The Avengers 2” and “Marvel’s The Avengers 3.” Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, but the deal was listed as a two-picture agreement. This means there is no deal currently in place for Downey to star in another “Iron Man” solo outing.
The current absence of an agreement for “Iron Man 4” is not surprising. Marvel is wise to make sure Downey is lined up for its biggest, most important franchise first. Another deal can always be negotiated, but it does not appear Downey will go it alone in Phase Three. As I said over a month ago when reports of the negotiations first surfaced, the ending of “Iron Man 3” does not demand a fourth solo film. Tony Stark is still a hero and will not turn away from helping The Avengers save the world from massive, global threats, but he may not sweat the smaller stuff.
Meanwhile, Marvel has plenty of potential Phase Three films lined up ahead of the third “Avengers” movie. “Ant-Man” has already been announced, a “Doctor Strange” film has long been rumored, third movies for “Thor” and “Captain America” are possibilities, as is a sequel to next summer’s “Guardians of the Galaxy.” Marvel and Disney will miss the $1.2 billion bump the “Iron Man” franchise is solely capable of, but there will be plenty of other sources of income.
“Marvel’s The Avengers 2” and “Marvel’s The Avengers 3” hold the greatest earning potential, so this deal is in the best interest of the studio and its biggest star.