All good things come to an end. That's the message coming from anyway, with the Iron Man star hinting that his time wearing the suit could soon be over. In an interview with GQ, he revealed:
How many genre movies can I do? How many follow-ups to a successful follow-up are actually fun?
It seems his family's creative legacy is also pushing Downey Jr. towards a Tony Stark-free future:
I come from a family of very innovative writers and directors and actors and artists, and the circle of friends they were in were the people I heard having pun-offs playing poker at two in the morning, and it was just the most comforting aspect of my childhood. So there's this kind of legacy of souls from what I consider to be a very particular time in entertainment, and I'm sensing a return to that.
They might well be innovative artists, but I'm pretty sure they never earned $50 million for a single movie.
We've already speculated on how Downey Jr might gracefully depart the money-making juggernaut that is this franchise and considering his contract to Marvel expired with Iron Man 3, he could technically walk away now if he really wanted to. That ain't gonna happen though, especially with The Avengers: Age Of Ultron on the horizon and the buckets of cash that go with it.
My guess is we'll see him suit up and assemble with the Avengers for a second time, before going out in a blaze of glory in Iron Man 4. Downey Jr. then bows out of the franchise, buys Canada and begins building a real-life Jurassic Park with all the cash that he's earned.
Or something like that
When the time eventually comes for him to hang up his Shellhead suit, it's going to be pretty emotional for all concerned, especially for Downey Jr:
I'm going to have a bit of a crisis, because I probably haven't even fully ingested how much I've enjoyed it, how much it's meant.
It's meant a lot to us as well and I'm not ready to say goodbye to his Tony Stark just yet. As those brilliant philosophers KC & The Sunshine Band once said, Mr Downey Jr, please don't go.