When Avengers: Endgame was released in May of 2019, not only was a chapter of the Marvel Cinematic Universe closed, but an entire book was closed when it comes to the character of Tony Stark, as Robert Downey Jr. made what will likely be his final appearance as the genius billionaire playboy philanthropist.
As we all know, Downey Jr. was the centerpiece of the MCU for the better part of a decade, as he was the man to kick off the legendary franchise when he headlined Iron Man back in 2008.
And while Downey Jr’s Tony Stark would go on to appear in nine MCU films, he was surprisingly only given three solo films. And according to Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely, Iron Man’s solo outings were capped at three on purpose.
In an exclusive interview with Vanity Fair, the screenwriting duo behind Avengers: Endgame revealed why Marvel Studios considered then ultimately decided against making a fourth Iron Man film.
“Whether you like all of the 24 movies or not, the capital that Marvel built up allowed them to do things like make a movie starring a raccoon and a tree, right? You would’ve already had Iron Man 4 if it was any other studio,” McFeely explained. “But they decided, no, we’re going to take chances on all these other things. To put a flag in the ground and say, We’re going to end something and take characters off the table, is, I think, kind of daring, but selfishly it was really great for us.”
“It needs an end or it loses meaning,” added Markus. “The end is what cements the thing, to actually sew it together and bring it to a crescendo, and yeah, take people off the board, finish their arcs. If Tony made it out the other side, and Iron Man 4 was waiting there, you’d be like, [shakes head] One too many…”
While Marvel Studios has yet to give a character a fourth solo film, that tradition will be broken in the coming years when Chris Hemsworth stars in the next Thor film: Thor: Love and Thunder.
Eric is a New York City-based writer who still isn’t quite sure how he’s allowed to have this much fun for a living and will tell anyone who listens that Gotham City is canonically in New Jersey. Follow him on Twitter @eric_ital for movie and soccer takes or contact him email@example.com