When Will Robert Downey Jr. Stop Playing Iron Man?

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Robert Downey Jr. has been playing Iron Man for nearly a decade now, but the actor knows he’ll have to hang up the arc reactor eventually. Downey recently hinted that he’ll have to retire from the successful Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) movies in the future.

“Everyone says to me it’s like a glove that fits so well. I have to start over every time, but I am starting over with a pretty solid base,” Downey told News.com.au. “I just never want to blow it for the last six or seven [MCU movies] I have done by dropping the ball because I decided to go do it one more time. I just want to hang up my jersey before it’s embarrassing.”

That’s not an exact timeline for when he’ll quit playing Iron Man, but it seems like that means he’ll stick around for a while. “Spider-Man: Homecoming” will be Downey’s seventh outing as Tony Stark, and he is signed on for the next two “Avengers” films. He admitted that he could have left several years ago, but he believed there would still be more successful Marvel movies.

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“It’s this cyclical thing,” Downey said. “I could have said when the first ‘Avengers’ came out: ‘It’s never going to get any better than that. Everybody stop’. But to me it’s always about people and opportunities, like the [‘Avengers’ directors Anthony and Joe] Russos, who I adore.”

“Spider-Man: Homecoming” definitely will not be Robert Downey Jr.’s last outing as Iron Man. Photo: Sony

The actor, who started playing Iron Man in 2008, is rumored to be leaving soon. Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige revealed to JoBlo that some superheroes would not return after “Avengers: Infinity War.”

“Yes,” Feige simply answered when asked him if “Infinity War” was the end for any of the Avengers.

Downey and Chris Evans are both rumored to be nearing the end of their time with Marvel, but it isn’t clear exactly when they’ll leave or what will happen when they do. “Spider-Man: Homecoming” serves as the third attempt at a Spider-Man franchise, so fans have to wonder if Iron Man could be recast eventually.

“Downey is far closer to reaching that point where he may walk away. And I don’t know how you replace Downey as Tony Stark. I don’t know who else can touch that,” Evans told USA Today in April.

Robert Downey Jr. said he wants to stop playing Iron Man “before it’s embarrassing.”Photo: Marvel

For now though, it seems like Downey is staying put. In “Spider-Man: Homecoming,” he’ll serve as a sort of parental figure for Peter Parker (Tom Holland). After “Captain America: Civil War,” the teenager is jumping to join the Avengers, but Tony wants him to stick to basics. There’s only so much petty theft that Peter can handle before he decides to tackle bigger, more dangerous villains though.

When Peter runs into Vulture (Michael Keaton), a villain who uses alien tech salvaged from the Battle of New York, he thinks he finally found a good target for Spider-Man. Tony, however, thinks Peter should stay out of harm’s way.

“Spider-Man: Homecoming,” directed by Jon Watts, also stars Marisa Tomei, Zendaya, Jon Favreau, Donald Glover and more. It hits theaters July 7.

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