ByJosh Wilson, writer at Creators.co

Back in 2008, we were introduced to Jon Favreau's film adaptation of Iron Man. The film, which had a $140 million budget and the wise-cracking, quirky persona of Robert Downey Jr., was pretty much garunteed to be a hit with comic book fans and film lovers alike, but no one could of predicted that this film was the start of a cinematic universe that would rake in over $9 billion for Marvel.

If Marvel have any common sense they'll put that money to good use and make a real life Iron Man suit...it's what the people want.

8 years and 13 films later and here we are, on the brink of Marvel's Phase 3, which will begin on May 6, 2016 with Captain America: Civil War.
As excited as i am for Civil War (especially after that intense trailer), i'm also quite curious. Curious as to what's going to happen to the MCU as we know it when Infinity War Part 2, the last film in Phase 3, drops in 2019. Marvel have confirmed Phase 4 but as far as information goes...well there isn't anything, plenty of fan theorys, but nothing solid, leaving us to wonder what will happen to the Avengers on the MCU as we know it.
Now Marvel could replace the actors as they become to old for example, Robert Downey Jr. will be in his mid 50's once Phase 3 has ended, so the chances of Downey staying on as Tony Stark for Phase 4 in my eyes, isn't very likely. The only probelm with recasting characters like Stark is that we've become accustomed to Downey and the same can be said for Evans and Hemsworth.

Just one big dysfunctional family.

Simply recasting these characters will be hard for the audience to digest compared to the simple recasting of Don Cheadle as James Rhodes in Phase 1's Iron Man 2 that no one seemed to bat an eyelid at (well apart from Terrence Howard but that's another story) but there is a reason why the audience took no issue, and that's because James Rhodes wasn't a fully fledged superhero to begin with, but Downey for example has held the mantle of Iron Man for 8 years, and replacing him would be...well...tricky. Chances are if Robert Downey Jr. hadn't been cast as Stark, the fan base and the box office takings surrounding Iron Man and the following films in the MCU wouldn't have been as large, mainly because Downey already is a reknown actor and a brilliant one at that, throw Evans and Hemsworth into the mix, and people end up going to the cinema for them as well as the film itself, it's that fine line between the character and the actor that makes or breaks a performance, we've created such an attachment to the actors playing them that anyone else attempting the roles would feel almost unnatural to a few of us. There are of course actors out there who could take on the mantle of Iron Man after Robert Downey Jr. and do an absolutely outstanding job but lets be honest, with shoes that big to fill, finding an actor that would be willing to take the role on would be an accomplishment in itself.

Something that Marvel could in fact do is pass the mantle in the films themselves, for example Tony Stark doesn't have to be the man in the Iron Man suit, just like Steve Rodgers doesn't have to be the force behind the shield. Robert Downey Jr. could hand over the title of Iron Man to a younger actor on screen either at the end of one film, or the beginning of another, meaning that instead of being replaced, the universe is simply progressing and so are its heroes.

They'll always be icons, no matter who is behind the mask and shield.

This also means that the actors would be free to return in films as mentors perhaps, or even just for the odd cameo. Tony could offer his knowledge and resources in order to help whoever Marvel have seen fit to continue the Iron Man legacy before the actor eventually leaves the universe. Bucky Barnes could carry the shield as Captain America, he's already been introduced to the universe and will take on a pivitol role in Civil War, meaning that the transition wouldn't feel forced and would go down well with fans in preperation for Phase 4.

Bucky Barnes, the likely candidate.

There is, however, something else Marvel could do in Phase 4...

Many comic book characters have been rebooted for the big screen, sometimes it goes well and sometimes it doesn't, that's a given. Marvel are in a different situation though, rebooting an entire universe and all the stories contained within? Unlikely. Perhaps Marvel might decide they want to tweak a few things, but a full reboot is very unlikely and a costly undertaking.

Whatever happens post-Infinty War, i can't wait. What a time to be a comic book fan.

This is my first post on Moviepilot, it's a short one i admit but i'd love some feedback from you guys, i'd also love to know what solution you think would be best for Phase 4 of Marvel's plan, and what else could they do for Phase 4 that i haven't mentioned (probably a lot then), let rip in the comments below.

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