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Robert Downey Jr. Might Not Make It To Iron Man 4

Given the scale of its big screen undertakings, Marvel can’t help but plan ahead. Late last week, the studio updated its release slate, promising to unveil two or three new films per year until the end of 2020. While the 2020 movies are just release dates at this point—all three titles are TBD—Marvel fans may be surprised to discover that Iron Man 4 is nowhere to be found on the updated schedule.

According to Master Herald’s Kazem Sedighzadeh, several factors have prevented Marvel from committing to another Iron Man movie, even though this franchise catapulted the studio to its current industry dominance. For one, Robert Downey Jr. might not be interested and his steep asking price is likely to put a giant dent in the company’s inevitable Iron Man 4 profits. Sedighzadeh also argues that the film could be on hold pending some kind of creative breakthrough about the franchise’s future direction.

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Of course, sequels are a relative concept in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Even if Iron Man doesn’t get another standalone sequel any time soon, he will return to screens later this year in Captain America: Civil War. Assuming he makes it out of that film alive, he is also likely to appear in the two-part Avengers: Infinity War.

But what about Downey? There’s always the possibility that Marvel will simply re-cast the role before the next Iron Man movie arrives. As unlikely as this may seem, Sedighzadeh makes the point that Marvel previously re-cast Bruce Banner/The Hulk and Iron Man’s own James Rhodes/War Machine, not to mention Peter Parker/Spider-Man. For the time being, Downey’s long-term fate remains a mystery, so we suggest you focus on the studio’s immediate future—by watching the trailer below.

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