Marvel Studios has revealed its release schedule through 2020 and the one noticeable film that was missing is ‘Iron Man 4‘. This means that the earliest we could see the movie is in 2020 and the last we heard Robert Downey Jr. was in negotiations to extend his contract but it hadn’t actually happened. While this means that it’s possible we’ll never see a fourth installment in the franchise, that seems unlikely as they’ve been money machines up until this point. If negotiations fall through, could we see someone else take over as Stark? They would have huge shoes to fill but Kevin Feige has previously stated that the role was re-castable and he saw Stark as a James Bond styled character which different actors could tackle.

While Downey may have become the unofficial face of the Marvel Cinematic Universe it is a face that isn’t getting any younger and during a ‘Captain America: Civil War‘ interview last year Downey Jr did say, “I also recognize that I’ll be turning 50 by the time I promote this movie. The clock is ticking down on the amount of memories and participation that I would allow myself and not embarrass the medium with.” While I think we can all agree that he still has a few good years as Tony Stark left in him, you have to wonder if they will still be there by the time 2019 roles around to film a 2020 movie.

On top of that, you’d have to wonder if Marvel can continue being able to pay the actor’s salary increases past that point and still have the movies able to make any money at all.

The current release schedule looks like:

  • ‘Captain America: Civil War’ – May 6th, 2016
  • ‘Doctor Strange’ – November 4th, 2016
  • ‘Guardians of the Galaxy 2’ – May 5th, 2017
  • ‘Spider-Man’ – July 28th, 2017
  • ‘Thor: Ragnarok’ – November 3rd, 2017
  • ‘Black Panther’ – February 16th, 2018
  • ‘The Avengers: Infinity War Part 1’ – May 4th, 2018
  • ‘Ant-Man and the Wasp’ – July 6th, 2018
  • ‘Captain Marvel’ – March 8th, 2019
  • ‘The Avengers: Infinity War Part 2’ – May 3rd, 2019
  • ‘Inhumans’ – July 12th, 2019
  • Untitled Marvel Movie #1 – May 1st, 2020
  • Untitled Marvel Movie #2 – November 6th, 2020

So unless one of those two untitled Marvel movies are ‘Iron Man 4’ we may very well see the last of Downy as Tony Stark in 2019’s ‘The Avengers: Infinity War Part 2’. From using a heroic death to endcap his saga to an Infinity Stone changing his look to give us another actor to just using it as his final installment in the role and have him quiet for a couple of years it seems as if 2019 might be the perfect time to transition to another actor if that is Marvel’s game plan.

Of course some very prophetic words were uttered by Downey when Whedon left Marvel in that “It’s funny, nobody really ever goes away entirely from the Marvel universe.” Will Downey be able to break the cycle or be trapped forever reprising Stark by the very statement he previously made?

Do you think we’re on the verge of seeing the last of Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark? Do you think the studio could successfully recast the character? Who do you think could play the part? Share your thoughts below True Believers!

Sources: Master Herald, Screen Rant