“We are going to keep that moment and not touch that moment again,” Feige said, referring to how Tony Stark was killed off in Avengers: Endgame. “We all worked very hard for many years to get to that, and we would never want to magically undo it in any way.”
Endgame director Joe Russo also weighed in and confirmed the same, definitively stating that Endgame was “the last time” Downey Jr. would ever have to don the Iron Man suit.
“We’d already said tearful goodbyes on the last day of shooting,” Russo said. “Everybody had moved on emotionally. We promised him it would be the last time we made him do it — ever.”
This puts an end to recent claims that Marvel execs were trying to bring Downey and Scarlett Johansson back to the franchise, despite the fact that both of their characters had been killed off in Endgame.
According to a recent report from Variety, Marvel Studios was allegedly exploring multiple options for how to move forward without Jonathan Majors after his arrest. They considered bringing back the original Avengers, but the report noted that the studio hadn’t “committed to the idea” yet.
Speaking to Vanity Fair, Feige also revealed that the studio wasn’t sure about casting Downey Jr. for the role, given his past.
“It purely came down to the Marvel board being nervous at putting all of their chips in their future films on somebody who famously had those legal troubles in the past,” Feige said. “I wasn’t very good—and I’m still not great—at taking no for an answer. But I also don’t pound my chest to try to get my way. I try to figure out ways to make it as clear to other people why we should head in a direction.”
He explained that they ultimately agreed after Downey Jr. did a screen test. Though Downey Jr. did a spectacular job embodying the swaggering billionaire, he maintains that they are not the same person — despite what everyone may think.
“I ain’t him, I’ll tell you that flat out,” he previously told his Vanity Fair profiler, writer Anthony Breznican, in 2018. “I’m just a fucking actor. I’m just a guy—who does have a very interesting past, who does not regret it, who wished to shut the door on it. I think that that translates.”