A bit of a hullabaloo was spread across the internet when word came out that Robert Downey, Jr. hinted at being done with portraying Iron Man. While salary negotiations haven’t begun yet for The Avengers 2, in which Downey, Jr’s Tony Stark will play a pivotal role, the actor has made it clear that, if he were to come back, he wouldn’t take a pay cut. However, in saying that, he also believes that his Avengers co-stars, which include other A-list actors Samuel L. Jackson, Jeremy Renner, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Evans, and Scarlett Johansson, should receive more than what they’ve received.
While all of this could be resolved if RDJ took a pay cut to allow his co-stars to earn what he believes they should, there’s a possibility that the Iron Man armor could be worn by another actor. The Avengers director himself, Joss Whedon, has shown his support in RDJ by stating, “I have no intention of making ‘Avengers 2’ without him, nor do I think I’ll be called upon to do that. I don’t think it’s in my interest, Marvel’s interest, or his interest, and I think everything will be fine.”
Fans of Marvel’s films can agree that Robert Downey, Jr. truly embodied who Tony Stark was, and his performances helped solidify Marvel Studios’ position in Hollywood. However, if RDJ were to indeed be replaced, who would replace him? Below are my Top 5 Actors to Play Iron Man… if RDJ were to leave Marvel.
Ben Affleck is no stranger to Marvel films, portraying the blind superhero Daredevil in the 2003 film. While the film (and his performance) received a lot of flack, I think Affleck could fit well as the playboy billionaire. However, would Affleck want to return to such a genre film as an ensemble superhero film? Probably not, but at least he would be on the same level as his co-stars.
Perhaps brother Casey Affleck would be willing to step into the Iron Man armor? He might not carry the same level of awe as Ben does, but Casey has shown the ability to pave his own path in Hollywood, attaining an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor in the process. While he’s mostly done dramatic roles, an action turn could be the next step in his career.
Johnny Depp, as we all know, is no stranger to outlandish characters, as his career is made up of outrageous characters. The one thing his illustrious career is missing is a superhero role. While he might not possess a physical presence that most superheroes have, he can definitely turn in a good Tony Stark portrayal. All he would need to do is lay on the wit and charm, and bam: Johnny Stark/Tony Depp. Plus, his name alone would attract millions in teenage girl sales.
Superhero film audiences are no stranger to Tom Hardy. His Bane in last year’s The Dark Knight Rises proved to be the physical and psychological superior to the Caped Crusader. Hardy, himself, is quite versatile when it comes to his acting. While it would be weird to see someone who’s associated with one of the most successful superhero film trilogies jumping ship for a rival studio, Hardy would make a fine Tony Stark. The challenge would be whether or not he could play debonair, but if his Stark portrayal is close to his Eames character in Inception, he should do fine.
Of course, nobody can truly fill in Tony Stark’s shoes better than Tony Stark himself, Robert Downey, Jr. Let’s face it: Despite Marvel’s refusal to negotiate new salaries (as evidenced by Terrence Howard’s dismissal following the original Iron Man film), Marvel Studios would not be the money factory it is now without Downey. To even flirt with the notion of replacing Downey, Jr. would be the hugest mistake Marvel and Disney could ever make.