Rejoice and be glad, people, because your worries are over. Fresh from the Marvelsphere comes news that Robert Downey Jr. has re-signed to play Tony Stark and his shellheaded alter ego Iron Man in The Avengers 2 and 3. The studio tweeted the announcement.
It's exciting news and should put fans' minds at rest following RDJ's hints that he'd considering hanging up the ferrous suit in the near future. As recently as February, Downey Jr. confessed to having considered his, and Iron Man's future in the franchise.
"There's been a death and rebirth of egos three times", he told Empire earlier this year. "The third one being in Iron Man 3. Tony's ego and to a certain extent my own as well, when he comes out of the cave he's been made anew, when he comes out of the wormhole, he's gone to a different level of commitment and I think on this one by the end he's transcended his need to be identified with being Iron Man."
Iron Man 3's colossal success strengthened Downey's hand at the negotiating table, where we assume some juicy Tony arcs in the Avengers sequels - not to mention a cheque the size of Guatemala - helped Team Marvel persuade him to commit. It will no doubt come as a relief to all parties to have his scrawl on the doted line, especially with Avengers director Joss Whedon unwilling to push forward without him. “He is Iron Man,” Whedon stressed recently. “He is Iron Man in the way that Sean Connery was James Bond.”
A potential Iron Man 4, still very much in the 'maybe-one-day' basket, is not part of the deal. The RDJ-filled Avengers 2, however, is scheduled for May 1, 2015. For the full chronology of Marvel projects, past and future, head over to our all-singing, occasionally-dancing Marvel timeline.