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Robert Downey Jr’s innings as Iron Man has ended, according to Kevin Feige. That is the update the Marvel Studios president shared during a recent event for fans who have been hoping for the resurrection of Tony Stark, after he died in Avengers: Endgame (2019). “We are going to keep that moment and not touch it again,” Feige maintained when asked if Downey would return in his superhero avatar in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). He added, “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 has also been quoted saying that the film’s cast and crew “bid said tearful goodbyes on the last day of shooting” the movie. “Everybody had moved on emotionally,” he said. “We promised [Downey] it would be the last time we made him do it—ever.” His brother, co-director Anthony Russo, added that it was “difficult” for the actor to return to pick up his final line as Stark. “When he did come back, we were shooting on a stage directly opposite where he auditioned for Tony Stark. So his last line [as Tony Stark] was shot literally a couple hundred feet from his original audition that got him the role,” Anthony said. 

Feige also opened up about how the studio executives were initially against the casting of Downey as Stark for 2008’s Iron Man. “It purely came down to the board being nervous at putting all of their chips in their future films on someone who famously had those legal troubles in the past,” he said. “I try to figure out ways to make it as clear to other people why we should head in a direction. That’s when the idea of a screen test came up.” Things worked in their favour, as the actor eventually took on the role of Stark in 10 films between 2008 and 2019—three of which rank among the 10 highest-grossing movies of all time. 

Back in May, Iron Man director Jon Favreau and Feige celebrated the 15th anniversary of Downey’s first appearance in the iconic armour suit when they sat down for a discussion on the film’s legacy. 

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