Everyone collectively breathe a sigh of relief. I certainly have. The man who started it all, Robert Downey Jr., has officially resigned with Marvel to play Tony Stark / Iron Man in THE AVENGERS 2 and 3. Disney more than likely had a huge say in resigning the actor.
As Marvel themselves underscored: "Downey, Jr.’s last two Marvel films, 2012’s MARVEL'S THE AVENGERS and this year’s IRON MAN 3, rank as two of the top five grossing films of all time, collectively earning over $2.7 billion worldwide to date." Think about that. It's a no-brainer to resign him.
Yet there are no plans for IRON MAN 4.
It must have been a very difficult decision for Marvel to carry on with him because clearly his quote has escalated with each successive hit (Marvel likes to lock up their actors for multi-picture deals at lower rates) and the fact that he has adamantly supported his fellow actors in their quest to raise their quotes as well. But in the end, they know that the Marvel universe would take a huge hit if he were to not appear again from the box office right down to Joss Whedon's desire to have him back.
Speaking of Whedon, he will be starting production of THE AVENGERS 2 in March 2014 with the release scheduled for May 1, 2015.
Marvel also has standalone movies planned for a couple of their other Avengers, namely THOR: THE DARK WORLD (November) and CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER (April, 2014).
So raise a glass to Robert Downey Jr. for kick starting the whole Marvel comic book universe with his very solid acting and persona. He is Iron Man.