Robert Downey Jr.’s Tony Stark casts a long shadow across the MCU. His death in Avengers: Endgame leaves big iron shoes to fill; so big, in fact, that we’re hearing Marvel is planning on having two characters share the burden of replacing him.
According to our sources – the same ones who told us Now You See Me 3 is in development, a new Scream movie is in the works and a Justice League Dark show is coming to HBO Max, all of which ended up being accurate – the comic book giant will eventually introduce two new incarnations of Iron Man to its shared cinematic universe, and one of them will be a familiar face.
Apparently, Harley Keener will build his own Stark-inspired suit in a future movie and follow in the footsteps of his mentor, even calling himself the new Iron Man. If that name means nothing to you, it should. Keener is the kid Stark takes under his wing in Iron Man 3, and he was last glimpsed during Endgame‘s funeral scene. Looks like there’s a good reason Marvel brought him back for that cameo.
The second new Iron Man said to be suiting up in a future phase is none other than Stark himself. Not the Downey Jr. version back from the dead, but an alternate universe incarnation played by a much younger actor. How is this possible? Well, apparently Marvel’s MCU roadmap includes an adaptation of the Secret Wars event, and this will enable them to bring in characters from other timelines – like a new Stark. This would certainly be in keeping with current MCU tropes, as time travel played a major role in Endgame and upcoming Phase 4 movie Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is expected to visit a number of different realities.
Moreover, it seems inevitable that Marvel will introduce a new Iron Man at some point. After all, other members of its old guard are passing the torch onto new characters during Phase 4, with Sam Wilson inheriting Captain America’s shield and Jane Foster due to take up Thor’s hammer. But the prospect of seeing someone other than Downey Jr. playing the character might be tough for some fans to stomach.
On that note, there’ve even been rumors that the Dolittle star could yet return to the MCU in some capacity. Could we end up with three Iron Men on the big screen in the not-too-distant future? Perhaps, though if RDJ does return, it’d likely just be as an AI hologram to assist heroes like Ironheart.