The Marvel Cinematic Universe will be forever changed after Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers 4. Some familiar faces will become fond memories while new stars step up to the plate. A new MCU, however, does not necessarily mean the complete and final end of the original Avengers, or at least not all of them.
Chris Evans, our dear Captain America, has been of two minds when it comes to staying or going after Avengers 4. Right now, it sounds like he is leaning toward the exit door. Robert Downey, Jr. is far more flexible regarding his Marvel future, as he sees another option besides retirement, or immediately reporting to set for the next chapter.
Downey discussed the future for the new heroes and the veterans during a set interview with the Toronto Sun.
“There’s been a quantum shift in the way that things are going now where all these different franchises are on the horizon. And they’re bringing new energy and some of us are maybe tapping out or going away for who knows [how long] in the future.”
Downey just described a sabbatical, which is an option that doesn’t get brought up enough in all the chatter about expiring contracts. Just because an actor has an expiring contract and perhaps does not want to sign a new deal immediately does not mean they’ll never want to return.
In another interview in the latest issue of Empire, it sounds like Downey is not sure what he wants to do just yet and is perfectly happy with that uncertainty.
“You know what, I’ve learned a lot from the missus [Susan Downey]. You don’t know what or how you’re gonna end until it is. That takes a lot of the edge off. She’s learned how to be like, ‘You won’t know until you’re there so you’re wasting your time on that equation. That’s not on the test.’
“I could project all kinds of stuff. I could get into the black dog. Whatever you want. Or I could stay, spiking it in the end zone until I have to be carried off. I’m looking forward to whatever resolution is in the cards.”
Marvel Studios has enough young, successful franchises (with presumably more on the way) that they don’t need fourth Iron Man and Captain America films from Downey and Evans, respectively. They, along with other actors whose contracts are up, can be on vacation from Marvel Studios for years before ultimately coming back.
Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman), Captain Marvel (Brie Larson), Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch), and Spider-Man (Tom Holland) already look like the next leaders of The Avengers anyway. When the next team-up happens, which probably will not be in production until 2021 at the earliest, those original Avengers who want to can come back will be able to and perhaps enjoy reduced roles as mentors or role players instead of team leads.
The only exceptions there are Scarlett Johansson, now that there will be a Black Widow movie, and possibly Chris Hemsworth, if he and director Taika Waititi embrace the new lease on life they just gave the Thor franchise.
Obviously, character deaths will play a role in which actors have a choice between retirement and indefinite vacation. The actors playing whichever Avengers survive Thanos’ (Josh Brolin) wrath, however, can enjoy a well-earned rest before even thinking about how they want to handle their MCU future, or if they even want one.