Yup! You heard that right, Robert Downey Jr. aka Iron Man/Tony Stark might suit up again for his return in Captain America 3!! According to Variety, Downey is close to signing on to play Iron Man in Captain America 3, taking up a significant role in the film that will help it introduce a new phase of Marvel movies.
This is really significant for the Marvel cinematic universe considering the plot will pit Stark against Captain America’s 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.”
The addition of Downey is certainly a surprise, as it had looked for a while now like he would only be returning for the second and third Avengers films, which he'd already been contracted to do. Variety reports that Downey has been pushing for a substantial role in the next Captain America and that he's expressed interest in maintaining a presence in Marvel's films into the future. The publication even speculates that the storyline that Downey's character kicks off could lead into a role for him in a fourth Avengers film. Separately, Badass Digest reports that the Russo Brothers — who were behind Captain America: The Winter Soldier and are working on its sequel — are in talks to direct the next two Avengers films.
While it isn't perfectly clear how the Marvel universe unfolds from here, news of Iron Man's return and the Civil War plot line give a sense of its direction. Variety reports that the battle in Captain America 3 may propel Marvel's overarching narrative for the next seven years. It'll also help the studio eventually bring together a new set of core heroes, such as Ant-Man and Doctor Strange, who will eventually be stars in an Avengers film. Older characters may ultimately be phased out due in part to contract issues.
Though there are currently no plans for a fourth Iron Man movie, it's still easy to see why Marvel would want Downey to stick around: Iron Man is its biggest star, and putting the character in another huge series seems like a good way to build a hit. Beyond that, a large, ongoing role for Downey could help to carry any future films that he's in — which may be necessary in helping sell the next cadre of Avengers.
Captain America 3 is currently planned for a release on May 6th, 2016. Be Sure to Watch it!!!