With the completion of his contract with Disney subsidiary Marvel Studios, Robert Downey Jr. is free now to leave behind Iron Man, his exoskeleton suit and all the gadgets. The ever eccentric (if now more blockbuster-backed) actor is said to be hesitant to return to create another Iron Man sequel.
However, as the last installment of the series was the second biggest grossing film in America to date (with his own Avengers as the first), the producers are likely to pay big bucks to cling on to Downey Jnr. Which begs the same question raised in Iron Man 3; does the man make the suit or does the suit make the man?
Mega Stark fans should hold up on cancelling their evening to stay at home clutching their Stark figurines and crying, however, as the in-demand actor is currently negotiating deals for an Avengers 3 and Avengers 4. With $381 made from the Avengers and Iron Man series combined, it'd be more likely that Downey Jnr would go to prison once again than walk away entirely from the franchise.
All these steely contract talks proves Disney isn't all Bambi and singing birds, and Downey Jnr is no fool. Speaking of his rising cost to GQ he jeered the institution by stating: 'Isn't that crazy? They are so pissed [...] I'm what's known as a strategic cost'. Yeah a whopper of one too, Mr Jnr.
With everything still in the negotiation process it's all pretty much still up in the air but can Marvel ever make it without their leading man? Surely not.
UPDATE: Marvel Studios' president of production Kevin Feige has retaliated against this recent surmising about Iron Man's doom by saying the franchise will go on without Downey if it has to. He stated "I believe there will be a fourth Iron Man and a fifth, sixth and a 10th and a 20th," he said. "I see no reason why Tony Stark can't be as evergreen as James Bond, Batman, or for that matter, Spider-Man". Uh oh Downey maybe you shouldn't be so cocky then.