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Iron Man might return to the Avengers in an upcoming Marvel movie

Published Feb 27th, 2021 4:32PM EST
Iron Man Return
Image: Marvel Studios

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  • Iron Man might return to the Avengers much sooner than we thought, despite Tony Stark’s heroic sacrifice at the end of Endgame.
  • A new rumor says that a different group of superheroes will appear in an upcoming MCU Phase 4 film, including Iron Man — but he won’t be the Iron Man fans are hoping for.
  • Separately, actor Robert Downey Jr. addressed questions about Iron Man’s return in a new interview, leaving the door open to the possibility: “I have alighted, for now. Real world to save. But never say never.”

Marvel fans are currently witnessing Wanda’s continued experience with grief in WandaVision, the first show of MCU Phase 4. While the TV series is only about her and Vision, it also reminds us that this is the first MCU phase that won’t have some of Marvel’s most iconic heroes. Black Widow, Iron Man, and Captain America have either died heroically or retired at the end of Avengers: Endgame, so they won’t be part of the story going forward. Other superheroes will get to save the world in their place. But Marvel fans will deeply miss these iconic characters, especially now that Marvel’s MCU is expanding. The Fantastic Four, X-Men, and Deadpool will all appear in the MCU son, but they won’t get to interact with Natasha, Tony Stark, or Steve Rogers.

Or will they?

Bringing the fallen heroes back to life could ruin the legacy of Endgame. But we’ve been hearing plenty of rumors about all the different ways in which Marvel might bring Scarlet Johansson, Robert Downey Jr., and Chris Evans back to the MCU without voiding the events in Endgame. A brand new rumor says RDJ might reprise his Iron Man role very soon, in a very exciting way. And this time around, Downey Jr. isn’t denying these rumors as firmly as before. Mind you, various spoilers might follow below.

It was only last September that RDJ gave what seemed to be a categorical answer about his days playing Iron Man. He said “that’s all done,” and he didn’t seem to leave any door open for the possibility. Fast-forward to late February 2021, and Downey seems to be singing a different tune. Recent rumors did say that Marvel was interested in bringing RDJ and Chris Evans back to the MCU.

In an extensive Tom Holland profile, GQ Magazine also interviewed Downey Jr. The main topic was the young Spider-Man actor and their relationship, but Iron Man questions inevitably came up (emphasis ours):

“What I am saying is there was a Spider-Man before Tom Holland and there will be a Spider-Man after Tom Holland. That’s facts, Tommo. Sorry,” [RDJ said]. What about Downey, I ask, unable to resist: now he’s out, could he ever find himself stepping back into the MCU again? As Iron Man? “Well…” [RDJ] mummers. “I have alighted, for now. Real world to save. But never say never.”

Marvel insider Daniel Richtman said that Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness will feature an alternate-dimension version of the Illuminati.

Doctor Strange 2 will follow the events that take place in Spider-Man: No Way Home, which obviously comes after WandaVision. These three titles are part of a multiverse trilogy of sorts. Given what we’ve heard about Strange 2 in terms of cameos, the Illuminati makes plenty of sense.

Marvel fans must be thrilled at the idea that the Illuminati would join our Avengers. If you’re not familiar with the comics, you should know that the first group of Illuminati includes characters we already know (Iron Man, Black Panther, Doctor Strange) and characters who are yet to be introduced (Mister Fantastic, Professor Xavier, Black Bolt, and Namor). Captain America also happens to be a member of one version of the Illuminati.

If what Richtman says is accurate, then RDJ could play Iron Man again — and it could be happening as we speak since Strange 2 filming is underway in London. The sequel is expected to be released on March 25th, 2022.

Fans of Marvel spoilers should also know that the Illuminati rumor isn’t new. We heard in late July 2020 that Marvel’s Illuminati was already in development. In mid-October, a different insider addressed Stark’s return and explained that we would be getting a different version of Tony taken from an alternate universe. The Illuminati group came up in Mikey Sutton’s reports:

Not the Stark who died in Endgame but a Stark from a parallel Earth who is recruited by Reed Richards into joining the Illuminati. Marvel Studios wants Robert Downey Jr. back as Stark, and this is an opportunity for him to reprise the role without tarnishing his sacrifice in Endgame.

This would all be part of the Secret Wars storyline, where we’d also get to see Chris Evans reprise his role as Captain America.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.

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