Robert Downey Jr. Almost Quit MCU:
We’re now entering in an era of the MCU that will continue to grow and prosper without Robert Downey Jr.’s Iron Man. He is one of the main reasons why the MCU has become the biggest franchise of Hollywood. Iron Man’s fandom is probably the biggest of all, and all credit for that goes to Robert Downey Jr., who became the physical embodiment of a character who wasn’t as big of a deal before 2008. But you may not be aware of the fact that he almost left the MCU way before Endgame (even before Age of Ultron for that matter).
Iron Man 3 may not have been the greatest of MCU films (it is actually among the worst 5 MCU films), but it is still the 6th highest grossing MCU film having grossed over $1.2 Billion worldwide. At the time it came out, it was the second biggest MCU film after The Avengers. So, it is a crazy fact that Robert Downey Jr. almost left the MCU after Iron Man 3 even though he had so much to give to the character. In 2013, Robert Downey Jr. was reported to have made $75 Million. Knowing this, the fact that he didn’t want to do more becomes even crazier.
This exit that almost happened was fueled by two major reasons – Downey’s contract, and his age. His contract ended with Iron Man 3. Kevin Feige even hinted at the fact that a new actor could be cast. In an interview, he said:
“I think Bond is a good example. Let’s put it this way: I hope Downey makes a lot of movies for us as Stark. If and when he doesn’t, and I’m still here making these movies, we don’t take him to Afghanistan and have him wounded again. I think we James Bond it.”
Downey’s reaction to Feige’s comments came through an interview with Empire. He said:
“It would probably be the best thing in the world for me. You know, ego… but sometimes ego just has to be smashed. Let’s see what happens. I take the audience very seriously – I feel bad when I see folks doing movies and the audience is like, ‘Don’t do that anymore.’ I don’t have to overstay my welcome…”
Then in an interview with GQ, Downey talked about the fact that he was getting too old to continue playing Superhero roles. His injury on the set of Iron Man 3 had put him into a dilemma. He said:
“Fortunately I’ve been around the block enough—I’m not ill-prepared. And I love change. I love it when a lightning bolt hits the genny and you’re down for two hours on the set. Now, this isn’t a lightning strike, this is like the warning of a gathering storm.
[The Injury] got me thinking about how big the message from your cosmic sponsor needs to be before you pick it up. How many genre movies can I do? How many follow-ups to a successful follow-up are actually fun? Because, as quiet as it’s kept, I come from a family of very innovative writers and directors and actors and artists, and the circle of friends they were in were the people I heard having pun-offs playing poker at two in the morning, and it was just the most comforting aspect of my childhood. So there’s this kind of legacy of souls from what I consider to be a very particular time in entertainment, and I’m sensing a return to that—it’s what me and the missus are doing next.”
Well, things turned out well and Downey got to create a legacy that only a few actors have the opportunity to. His new contract obviously came with a massive monetary gain as he was reported to have been paid $80 Million for appearing in both Age of Ultron & Civil War. Then, his salary for Homecoming was reported to be $5 Million (for a mere screen time of a few minutes). And then Infinity War & Endgame fetched him around $135 Million in total. So, Marvel knew his value. And they kept him extremely happy in monetary terms. And now, reports have suggested that Downey has even agreed to return in a limited capacity for a lower sum of money. So, that’d be a good thing.
But the one thing we’d like to say is that the MCU wouldn’t have been the same without him.