Wow! There are developments - and then there are DEVELOPMENTS!
After a surprisingly quiet New York Comic-Con, which was right on the heels of a very quiet San Diego Comic-Con, many were starting to wonder if the events of next year's "Avengers: Age of Ultron" had so many shocking repercussions for the Marvel Cinematic Universe that didn't want to spoil, that they might actually be waiting until after that film to announce the remaining 8 untitled films on their schedule from 2016-2019.
Even more people, following developments like Joaquin Phoenix reportedly turning down an opportunity to play Dr. Strange on the big screen, were wondering if the reason Marvel Studios was leaving so much to it's fans imaginations regarding it's future is that THEY didn't know which direction they were going in themselves.
Consider that "problem" solved.
Robert Downey, Jr.'s Iron Man will be a huge part "Captain America 3"!
"Civil War" is coming to the Marvel Cinematic Universe!
According to "Variety":
Robert Downey Jr. is on the verge of signing on to “Captain America 3,” with Tony Stark’s Iron Man set to play a key role in bringing the Civil War storyline from Marvel’s comic books to the big screen and trigger the start of a new phase of movies from Marvel Studios.
The actor is in final negotiations to play the billionaire in the yet-to-be-titled third installment, that is slated to begin production in the Spring for a May 6, 2016, release. Downey suits up as the superhero in next summer’s “The Avengers: Age of Ultron” as part of a previous deal that also calls for him to reprise the role in “The Avengers 3.”
The new pact is significant for the Marvel cinematic universe considering the plot will pit Stark against Captain America’s alter-ego Steve Rogers, played by Chris Evans, as they feud over the Superhero Registration Act, which forces anyone with superhuman abilities to reveal their identities to the U.S. government and agree to act as a police force for the authorities.
Stark supports the program, but Rogers does not, saying it threatens civil liberties, causing sides to be taken and Rogers, among others, to go on the run to avoid arrest. The moral question and battle with his Avengers teammate essentially makes Stark a villain of sorts in “Captain America 3,” providing Downey with a meaty role he could play out into future Marvel films, including a fourth “Avengers.”
But the deal for Downey to return as Iron Man almost didn’t happen. Since the deal for RDJ to be in "Captain America 3" was originally set to be a small role that would only take 3 weeks of shooting - yet it was Downey who pretty much demanded a larger role - which almost caused him to be written out of the movie completely.
As "Variety" states:
Originally, Marvel wanted to hire Downey for a small role, which would have required just three weeks of work. But Downey wanted Stark to have a more substantial role in the film’s plot, which would give him more screen time and naturally a bigger payday. This angered Marvel Entertainment chief Ike Perlmutter, who ordered the screenwriters to write Iron Man out of the script entirely, according to sources with knowledge of the situation.
Even though the deal appeared dead, Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige and Downey’s reps at CAA continued talks in hopes of working out their issues. Feige was bent on executing his grand vision for extending the life of the Marvel characters over many years.
The executive needed his boss to see the big picture, considering the introduction of the Civil War story is seen as a way to drive the plots of sequels and new franchises for the next seven years, given the dramatic possibilities it offers for future films. The fallout from the government and Stark’s actions would factor into a new “Avengers 4″ film and beyond that will assemble new characters being introduced like Ant-Man and Doctor Strange, among others, in their own movies.
See More: How Marvel Guards Its Properties But Isn’t Afraid to Take Chances With Its ‘Galaxy’
Downey, who earned $50 million for “The Avengers” alone, will collect around $40 million plus backend participation for “Captain America 3,” said sources, and will get an additional payout if “Captain America 3″ outperforms “Captain America: The Winter Soldier’s” $714 million worldwide haul. Since the actor did not appear in the first two “Captain America” films, the thinking is that if the third installment surpasses the last movie, its success could be attributed to Downey.
It’s also worth noting that Evans is clearly a bigger star now, evidenced by the fact that “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” grossed nearly twice as much as “The First Avenger’s”” $371 million in 2011.
Marvel still could have worked around Downey if need be. With the studio having already reworked plots from the comicbooks to fit its bigscreen agenda, it’s certainly feasible that Stark could have been turned into a different character to butt heads with Captain America — the Incredible Hulk’s Bruce Banner, for example. Another option could have been dropping the Civil War plot entirely, which would have required major rewrites.
Downey already has been open about wanting to remain in Marvel’s cinematic universe beyond his current contract that expires after the third “Avengers.” In early September, Downey told Variety in Toronto that currently “there is no plan for a fourth ‘Iron Man.'”
Yet Downey also has been wanting to play a larger role in future films as a way to remain creatively involved and close to his fanbase that would undoubtedly come out to see his non-Marvel movies. However, those fans didn’t show up in droves this past weekend to the actor’s latest picture “The Judge,” which debuted with just $13.3 million.
As for the future of Marvel movies, the Disney-owned studio already has 11 releases dated through 2019, including next summer’s “Avengers: Age of Ultron” and “Ant-Man.”
See More: How Marvel’s Success Will Help ‘Star Wars’
Anthony and Joe Russo, who directed “Captain America: The Winter Soldier,” will return to helm “Captain America 3.” The brothers are working on the script with Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely.
While Frank Grillo is expected to return as the villain Crossbones, Anthony Russo told Movies.com last month, “I can’t divulge who is going to be in the film, but I think fans are going to freak out when they hear about it,” clearly hinting at Downey being in the next sequel.
While Downey was instrumental in getting Marvel’s film franchises off the ground with the first “Iron Man” in 2008, the studio has since become a brand strong enough to launch titles that have little built-in audience awareness or major stars doing the heavy lifting — as evidenced by this summer’s mega-hit “Guardians of the Galaxy.” That film earned $687 million worldwide, surpassing “Iron Man 2.”
Marvel has long been known as a tough negotiator — and by some accounts cheap — but the studio hasn’t shied away from giving Downey what he’s asked for in the past. He’s reaped between $250 million and $300 million for the “Iron Man” trilogy, his role in “The Avengers” films, and a brief appearance in “The Incredible Hulk,” according to knowledgeable sources.
Now with “Captain America 3,” it doesn’t look like Downey is ready to hang up Iron Man’s suit anytime soon.
Marvel and CAA declined to comment.
I am beyond torn about this.
On the one hand, it seems like a dream come true for everyone involved. Disney and marvel Studio get their two most popular film characters in one movie and "Chris Evans and The Russo Brothers now may head a film that has a shot to break $$350 million domestically and $1 billion globally now. Take into account that it will be the first film featuring already established film characters from the MCU following "Avengers; Age Of Ultron", which should have an even greater effect than the original "Avengers" did of strengthening the individual franchises associated with it AND that it will open on the traditionally lucrative first weekend in May, and "Captain America 3" seems certain to break records for the franchise..
However, I feel bad that Chris Evans will now almost feel overshadowed in his own movie. He was poised to have the "Captain America" franchise soar to new heights. Now, he will have to possibly play second fiddle to Downey.
Plus, a "Civil War" story line could prove too dark for those used to Marvel's slightly lighter tone for their films. It's also worth noting that a "Civil War" like the one in the comics would have to be drastically changed. I mean, most of the heroes introduced so far already have their identities known, for one thing.
It is also worth noting that this is also not 100% official yet. It could still fall through.
Plus, "Civil War" might push a final showdown with Thanos all the way to "Avengers 4".
Plus, if Marvel does play it more serious and grounded, it means Marvel may both be introducing key grounded characters from "Civil War" like "The Punisher" AND balancing that with it's "Guardians of the Galaxy" franchise for sense of wonder and humor. It may also be there where Marvel decides to introduce Adam Warlock, Nova and others in their own films or as part of future "Guardians" installments to really make the lineup of those ready to battle Thanos truly formidable.
Of course, Iron Man has been rumored to be a part of the "Guardians" down the road as well.
So many possibilities.
What do the rest of you think?