Despite the repeated insistence by Robert Downey Jr and Chris Evans that they’re done with the Marvel Cinematic Universe, some fans still keep trying to contrive ways for them to return, whether it’s through flashbacks, time travel or some other improbable means. Now other fans are saying enough is enough.
Downey and Evans had careers before Marvel came along, and it’s clear they’ll have careers as long as they want them. When you’ve been in a massively successful franchise like the MCU, the world is an actor’s oyster.
That’s not to say some kind of small return is out of the question, but it’s easy to argue that Marvel may need Downey and Evans more than Evans and Downey need Marvel.
What do fans say about Robert Downey Jr. and Iron Man?
On a Reddit post about future solo Marvel movies, a fan made an elaborate and detailed suggestion about how both Iron Man and Captain America could come back, despite Tony being definitively dead and Steve Rogers probably being dead by now having ended his life as an old man.
The fan suggested how Captain America’s movie could explore what he did to get the time stones back, while the Infinity Stones could also resurrect Downey somehow.
In one of the first responses, a fan asserted:
“RDJ and Chris Evans are done. Let them both be done. There is no need to undo the noble sacrifice of Iron Man and Cap got his fairy tale ending. Let the characters be done, no need to bring them back. Any future 4th installment would be new iterations of the characters. Not Stark and not Rogers. Not being argumentative, that’s just how it is ….solo movies reviving the characters (are just not gonna happen.”
Another fan said, “I like both actors very much but a fourth Cap movie should be about a Falcon or Winter soldier Cap. Same with Ironman and Thanos shouldn’t get a movie after Endgame.”
Or as the Beatles put it 50 years ago, “Let It Be.”
Robert Downey Jr never needs to work again
There was some speculation that when Dolittle, the expensive boondoggle that was Downey’s first non-MCU movie in several years bombed, that might prompt him to come running back to Marvel.
Never mind that Tony Stark is dead, gets dozens of millions of dollars ready to pay him again, the wishful thinking went. But one unfortunate bomb is not going to torpedo Downey’s career so badly that he needs Iron Man to rescue him.
Downey never needs to work another day in his life. He’s too committed an actor to call retirement as of yet, but Marvel needs him more than he needs Marvel. He still has a third Sherlock Holmes that’s in pre-production, and he’s also slated to be in a biopic about John Brinkley, a con claimed to be a doctor and scammed his way to riches with a popular radio broadcast.
When he was named a Disney Legend last year, Downey said:
“I love that I was able to witness Chris Hemsworth transition into arguably the best third act of a superhero franchise ever with Thor: Ragnarok; that I was able to get to know Tom Holland and see him grow so gracefully into this leadership position he’s in; that Jon Favreau has outlasted me on the call sheets for the MCU; and that I’m going to fly to Boston to Chris Evans—just ’cause I kind of need to see him.”
Chris Evans is enjoying a post-Marvel boost
Speaking of Evans, the post-MCU world has been good to him. He enjoyed sizable success as a key part of the ensemble in the murder mystery Knives Out, and he won acclaim for his performance in Defending Jacob, a legal drama that has been a much-needed hit for Apple TV+.
Evans had been reluctant to join the MCU, but that franchise arguably made him more than it made any other actor. That established, it will take quite a carrot to lure him back to the MCU. He has made it clear he would not be interested if it was more of a cash grab than anything else. He told The Hollywood Reporter:
“Sometimes I wake up and don’t have any appetite to make a film. And then other times I can’t wait to get on set because I have a new ‘strength,’ maybe, in risk-taking: I’m more excited to get to set and take some big swings and not be so concerned about, ‘Will this end it all for me?’ And I think that’s where the best work comes from, especially on Defending Jacob.”