Iron Man 3 was the final film in Robert Downey Jr.’s deal with Marvel, meaning that if they wanted him in The Avengers 2, they’d need to get him agree to sign up. Many thought that might be difficult, as Marvel is notoriously wary of paying stars big bucks, except for RDJ, who got in early with a deal that netted him over $50 million for The Avengers.
The presumption was that Marvel would try to pay him less, but the actor would hold out for more.
However the two sides have now come to terms, and it’s been announced that Robert Downey Jr. will indeed return as Tony Stark/Iron Man in both The Avengers 2 and The Avengers 3. The agreement only covers those movies, meaning that at the moment there won’t be any more stand-alone Iron Man films.
RDJ has suggested that he wants to “retire” as Tony Stark/Iron Man, but he hasn’t said when that might happen. It may well be that these two films will play out the end of the actor playing Iron Man.
Some are now wondering whether this will spur the other Avengers actors to try and get better deals. Marvel is well known for signing actors to long, multi-film deals which pay far less than most other such Hollywood contracts. So far they’ve got away with it due how keen people have been to be part of the Marvel universe, as well as the studio’s willingness to replace actors who want more cash (even Chris Evans was threatened with being canned when he tried to renegotiate). With the massive success of The Avengers and RDJ likely being paid huge bucks to return, the others may now try to get a bigger slice of the pie.
The Avengers 2 comes to theaters May 1st, 2015 with Joss Whedon directing.