ByTyler Callaway, writer at
I have a passion for Superhero films, and love writing about them.
Tyler Callaway

We already know that the current Avengers actors cannot play their respected characters forever. With upcoming characters like Spider-Man, Black Panther, Doctor Strange, Ant-Man, Captain Marvel, and Vision it is safe to say that the next generation of Avengers is planned out.

Can we expect to see any of the current Avengers in Phase 4? It is doubtful we will see any of the current incarnations, but it is all but confirmed that we will see Captain America in Phase 4, only without Steve Rogers behind the mask. More than likely either Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan) or Falcon (Anthony Mackie) will take over the mantle and lead the new wave of Avengers, much like in the comics.

Will Mark Ruffalo continue to reprise his role as Bruce Banner, or make way for a new one? Hulk is a character that I think we all hope remains with the Avengers, but could it be easier to see She-Hulk take over?

It is probably safe to say current Avengers like Black Widow and Hawkeye will more than likely retire once Scarlett Johansson and Jeremy Renner do; no point in others taking over lesser characters. But what about Iron Man?

It is very hard to imagine a Marvel Cinematic Universe without Robert Downey Jr.'s, Tony Stark. With Downey's contract only lasting past Avengers: Infinity Wars it is widely believed this will be his last Marvel movie, either when Tony Stark retires, or dies.

Do we move on without a new Iron Man, or let someone else suit up? In the comics there has never been an heir to Tony Stark. Outside of brief stints when Rhodey has taken up the mantle in Stark's absence.

There are five options:

  • Recast - But seriously why would we wanna see anyone play Tony Stark other than Robert Downey Jr.?
  • A protege - In upcoming films, they could start to integrate an original character to take over after Tony.
  • Rhodey - He could drop War Machine and move to the big leagues. But honestly Don Cheadle is getting old and I am not that excited about him taking over the franchise.
  • Harley Keener - You remember the adorable kid played by Ty Simpkins in Iron Man 3? This is another original protege idea, but an already established one.
  • Let Iron Man remain retired - It is time to see some new heroes.

The way that I see it, options 1 and 3 are not even worth discussing. Tony Stark will never be recast, and I do not think Marvel will give Iron Man to Don Cheadle.

But what would people think if an original character was made in order to take over as Iron Man?

A protege type character was already established in Harley Keener played by Ty Simpkins. Simpkins has established himself as an on-the-rise child star, with plenty of potential. While currently he is only 13, by the time Infinity Wars is filming he will be 17.

I do not know about others, but I would be pretty interested in seeing a teenage Iron Man making his way through the Avengers ranks. Granted we will probably get this same feel from the rebooted Spider-Man. Ty Simpkins has a lot of potential, and his character would make a lot of sense as a Tony Stark protege. Hell, the kid was given a whole lab of Stark Industries tech in his garage.

If you're behind the protege idea, but dislike Simpkins or having a teenager as Iron Man, then how about integrating one within the next few films?

Actors like Mark Wahlberg have came out and said that they would be interested in taking over after Downey leaves Marvel. Wahlberg may be a little old to be a "protege" but it is a decent example.

One idea for an original character: an illegitimate child? Tony got around, it would not be much of a shock that he could have a son or daughter out there.

Perhaps the answer is simple: Robert Downey Jr. and Tony Stark are too amazing to ever be replaced. It is time to let other heroes get their time to shine. I have no problem with this at all, I love all of the new characters they are bringing in and they are more than capable of leading the next era for the Avengers.

But maybe Marvel thinks they need to keep the well known heroes involved to keep more common movie-goers interested. If so, then my choice is to keep the talented Ty Simpkins in the MCU and let him take over as Iron Man.

What do you guys think? Retire Iron Man all together, or find a new option to continue Iron Man's legacy? Also, on a somewhat random note: how would you guys feel about She-Hulk being the new big green in Phase 4, and who do you prefer as Captain America: Bucky Barnes or Falcon?


What should Marvel do with Iron Man after Robert Downey Jr.?


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