Robert Downey Jr. will play Iron Man in "Marvel's The Avengers 2" and "Marvel's The Avengers 3." That's the word from Marvel Studios, which eschewed Hollywood industry trades like Deadline.com to make the announcement of Downey's "Avengers" return on its website.
According to Marvel, the agreement with Downey is of the two-picture variety, meaning any plans for "Iron Man 4" have not yet crystalized. That film is far from a guarantee, anyway: "I don't think there's going to be [an 'Iron Man 4']. I think we're done with 'Iron Man,'" "Iron Man" co-star Gwyneth Paltrow, who plays Iron Man love interest Pepper Potts, told Geek Nation in a video interview earlier this year.
Many expected Downey to return to Marvel for "The Avengers" sequel, notably director Joss Whedon.
"He is Iron Man. He is Iron Man in the way that Sean Connery was James Bond," Whedon told The Daily Beast. "I have no intention of making 'Avengers 2' without him, nor do I think I’ll be called upon to do that. I don't think it's in my interest, Marvel's interest, or his interest, and I think everything will be fine. But I know that this is Hollywood and you roll with things. You have to be ready for the unexpected. But I loved working with Robert, and everybody knows he embodied that role in a way no one else can."
"Marvel's The Avengers" grossed $1.5 billion globally after its release last year; "Iron Man 3," which also stars Downey, has earned $1.2 billion around the world since its release in May. For more on Downey's return, hit Marvel. "Marvel's The Avengers 2" is due out in theaters in 2015.