Avengers: Endgame was supposed to be Robert Downey Jr.’s farewell to Tony Stark, Iron Man, and the Marvel Cinematic Universe. And maybe it still will be. But Downey is not ready to close the door on never returning to Marvel.

Downey told Esquire in a new interview that he would “happily” return to the MCU under the right circumstances — even after Downey just won an Oscar playing a decidedly un-Iron Man-like role in a decidedly un-Marvel-like film, Christopher Nolan’s Oppenheimer.

Asked if he would consider more Marvel projects, Downey said he woud...

Happily. It’s too integral a part of my DNA. That role chose me. And look, I always say, Never, ever bet against Kevin Feige. It is a losing bet. He’s the house. He will always win.

 

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Marvel could certainly use the cache and attention a return from Downey would bring. Ever since Downey and several other longtime Marvel stars left the company following Endgame, Marvel’s projects have been far more hit or miss. Films based on lesser-known comics like Eternals have proven far less popular with audiences and with critics than the first era of Marvel movies. Their most recent movie, The Marvels, was essentially their biggest flop to date.

There are some big projects on the horizon for Marvel, especially this summer’s Deadpool & Wolverine staring Ryan Reynolds and Hugh Jackman set to formally begin to introduce the X-Men into the MCU. They’ve also got a Fantastic Four movie with Oscar Isaac and Vanessa Kirby that could easily be a massive blockbuster. But beyond that, the future is still a little murky.

And the biggest project Marvel has on its calendar, Avengers: Secret Wars, is theoretically a story about all corners of the multiverse crashing together to form a singular universe filled with variants of every Marvel character imaginable. If you could pull off a return appearance by Robert Downey Jr (and Chris Evans and Scarlett Johansson) in that movie, it would be a huge deal.

But it’s a pretty big if. Downey’s salary wasn’t cheap to begin with, and now he’s coming off an Oscar win. Speaking of which, you can now watch Downey in Oppenheimer on Peacock.

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