Robert Downey Jr. will suit up as Iron Man at least one more time—he’s in negotiations to join Captain America 3.
The move, which The Hollywood Reporter has confirmed, is a stunner, as at this stage Marvel has no plans to make a fourth Iron Man movie and, by many accounts, Downey was to be done with the character in the second and third installments of the Avengers franchise.
Joe and Anthony Russo, the brothers who directed the popular and acclaimed Captain America: The Winter Soldier, are directing the third Captain America.
Marvel and Downey’s agency, CAA, had no comment, but the talks, which are at a sensitive stage, could see the actor reap a $40 million-plus backend. The actor made more than $50 million for his work in the first Avengers, and sources said he was looking for something similar.
But with a payday as large as this on the table, Downey will see what was initially envisioned as a brief role grow substantially, as some sources say the next storyline Marvel is seeking to adapt is the “Civil War” event series from 2006 to 2007.
That miniseries pitted Captain America against Iron Man in a storyline involving civil rights. In the comics, the U.S. government passes a superhero registration act with the two heroes falling on opposite sides (Captain America is opposed to it, has a bitter falling out with his friend Tony Stark and comes to form an underground superhero opposition that pits one half of the Marvel Universe against the other.)
Downey’s work as Iron Man has brought in big bucks for Marvel and Disney. The three Iron Man movies have earned $2.4 billion worldwide, while the first Avengers earned a record-breaking $1.5 billion worldwide in 2012.
Although Downey’s most recent work, The Judge, opened to only $13.1 million this weekend, the actor still has clout when it comes to the Iron Man character.
The news of Downey being in talks to return was first reported by Variety.