Fans of what is now one of the biggest franchises of all-time can breathe a sigh of relief as Marvel has confirmed Robert Downey Jr. will return as Tony Stark in Avengers 2 and 3. The announcement, while not surprising, does come after some contentious negotiations. Downey is now set to be the armored Avenger for at least two more films. The announcement only includes the two Avengers sequels for the actor who kicked off the Marvel movie machine with Jon Favreau’s Iron Man. After the successful launch of Iron Man, Marvel made sure Tony Stark’s adventures became the launching pad for the Phase One films that would culminate in the record breaking Avengers.
While the details of the deal are still being held close to the vest, Downey was reportedly fighting for more lucrative deals for his Avengers co-stars. According to reports, the actor earned tens of millions of dollars for his participation in Iron Man 2 and The Avengers through back-end participation. Those deals were not nearly as generous for the other actors in the franchise, according to sources. Last month, when discussing the potential Phase 3 films with Entertainment Weekly, Kevin Feige cast doubt on whether RDJ would be needed for any future Iron Man sequels. “I believe there will be a fourth Iron Man film and a fifth and a sixth and a 10th and a 20th,” the producer said. “I see no reason why Tony Stark can’t be as evergreen as James Bond. Or Batman for that matter. Or Spider-Man. I think Iron Man is a character just like that.”