Iron Man 4 - Know Everything!

If the Iron Man series is remembered for anything, it is for kicking off the veritable cyclone of comic book films that have come to characterize our current pop culture moment. The Marvel Cinematic Universe existed before Iron Man. The DC Extended Universe was not a rip-off.

For better or worse, the concept of shared universes has barely begun. To say the least, no one could have predicted the impact of Iron Man when it was released eight years ago in 2008—and now, what was expected to be a box office gamble, at best a mildly successful B-tier blockbuster, has the distinction of anchoring one of the most successful film franchises in history.

Iron Man’s impact will be felt for years to come. What about Iron Man 4’s strange absence? Will we get one at this point? Let’s look into the rumors to see if Robert Downey, Jr.’s invincible Iron Man will ever have another solo adventure.


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The cost of the cast is prohibitively high.

Robert Downey Jr. has been the charismatic heart of the Avengers initiative for years, taking the first movie, the first face-to-face with Nick Fury, and the first trilogy. However, the real-world monetary cost of this storytelling value is enormous. RDJ has become one of the most valuable performers in the world as Tony Stark. His earning potential is estimated to be in the hundreds of millions of dollars, with over half a billion dollars not out of the question.

These figures aren’t going to go down anytime soon, and Robert Downey Jr. isn’t the only star on the show. Gwyneth Paltrow and Don Cheadle are also in these films, and the more they appear, the more money they make—this isn’t a Spider-Man cameo for the sake of it. Simply because of the actors’ pay, making a profit on a Squirrel Girl film would be a lot less expensive than making a bloated Iron Man sequel.

Iron Man 4 - Know Everything!

Tony Stark’s narratives are running out.

Another issue with continuing Iron Man’s solo journey on the big screen is that many of his best-known comic book stories have already been filmed. The most renowned Iron Man storyline, the “Demon in a Bottle” addiction arc, will almost certainly never be made into a film, at least not while Disney is in charge. Does anyone really want to see Tony Stark, played by Robert Downey Jr., succumb to alcoholism after three films of a great adventure?

Telling an Iron Man story sans Stark would be one way to get around this dilemma.

It’s only a matter of time before the MCU’s hero’s mantle gets passed along. Commissioner Gordon has played Batman, Doctor Octopus has played Spider-Man, and Bucky Barnes and Sam Wilson have both played Captain America in comic books. This is no exception for Iron Man.

Currently, the comic-book Iron Man is a very different character than Tony Stark, and the tales she may get engaged in are very different from Tony’s. Riri Williams, the heroine of the current run of Invincible Iron Man, is a young woman who takes up the mantle of Iron Man before carving out her own identity as Ironheart. A scenario like that would almost certainly be more compelling than another RDJ film.

Iron Man 4 - Know Everything!

A new era of heroes is emerging.

Marvel’s strategy for the approximately 20 films that preceded Infinity War was to release them in three distinct “phases,” each one leading into the next, ensuring that no one felt compelled to stop going to the movies. However, the fourth Avengers film introduces a new element to the series: a sense of closure.

With the fourth Avengers film, all of the original Avengers performers, including Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo, Robert Downey Jr., Scarlett Johansson, Chris Hemsworth, and Jeremy Renner, are nearing the end of their contracts, and none of them are likely to return. It’ll be a final farewell, and now that the stakes in the MCU’s overarching tale are so high, it’s more vital to have all of those characters say their goodbyes together rather than wasting time in a Tony Stark solo film.

As the long narrative of the Infinity Stones draws to a climax, a new generation of Avengers is rising, with new characters such as Captain Marvel, Black Panther, Wasp, Spider-Man, and Doctor Strange taking center stage. Call it a shared universe handicap if you want, but for the MCU’s long-term survival, it’s more necessary to build up the entire expansive franchise than it is to see if lightning can strike a fourth time with another Iron Man.

Iron Man 4 - Know Everything!

Nick Fury becomes Iron Man.

When the MCU first began, the films were less connected, with clues and references rather than a fully serialized tale easing moviegoers into the “shared universe” notion. Nick Fury, played by Samuel L. Jackson, and the organization S.H.I.E.L.D. were the true ties in those pre-Avengers days. After a few films dedicated to completely undermining and destroying that institution—Hail Hydra, and all that—Nick Fury has recently vanished, and Tony Stark has emerged as the most significant link between the films.

The public is ready for a change.

Marvel Studios has learned that fans are willing to embrace the weird throughout the years. Guardians of the Galaxy, like Iron Man, established that a well-known franchise was not required for moviegoers to embrace a new film. Guardians of the Galaxy also shows that comic book adaptations may turn bizarre. A man floating around in an iron suit shooting beams from his hands is one degree of ludicrous, but once you have an audience on board, why not take it a step further and create a trilogy of space adventures?

The conclusion of Iron Man 3 was flawless.

Iron Man 4 - Know Everything!

We’re going into the domain of personal opinion now, but it’s difficult to argue with Iron Man 3’s finale, which felt like a rather conclusive statement on the character even at the time. The up-to-now final chapter of the Iron Man series had a lot of fun examining the meaning of the series and the character, playing around with a lot of metatextual thoughts about what Iron Man signified, and was scripted and directed by the acclaimed writer-director Shane Black.

It was a film in which Tony Stark was separated from his suit for a long time; the film forced us to see Tony Stark and Iron Man as separate entities before reconciling them at the conclusion. As he drives into the sunset before the title’s play, Tony remarks, “My armor was never a distraction or a hobby.”

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“It was like a cocoon, and I’m a different person now. You can remove my house, my tricks, and my toys, but you can’t take away the fact that I am Iron Man.” It’s a terrific way to end the series, and risking spoiling it with a fourth episode would be tantamount to tarnishing the entire franchise. With all of these other superheroes on the shelf, it might be best to leave the series alone. Iron Man 4 isn’t absolutely necessary. Right around the bend is the next greatest thing.