We're less than two weeks away from the premiere of Avengers: Infinity War and directors Joe and Anthony Russo have been clear that the latest Marvel flick is a culmination of sorts, to the point where some beloved characters are going to die. Although we won't know the fate of Robert Downey Jr.'s Iron Man for a few more days, the Rosso brothers have now explained that if and when Robert Downey Jr. eventually leaves the MCU, Iron Man isn't likely to be recast. Joe Russo explained why, noting,
There is nobody who can take over Iron Man from Robert. I don't think the audience would accept that. He never mentioned to us about leaving Iron Man, but it will happen at some point of time.
A lot of the early actors in the Marvel universe -- people like Robert Downey Jr., Chris Hemsworth and Chris Evans -- are reaching the ends of their contracts, leading much of the talk about potential deaths in the movie to revolve around characters like Iron Man, Thor and Captain America. (And possibly Vision, but that's a different story.) Of course, it should be noted that Avengers: Infinity War is setting up for Avengers 4, so the body count may not be particularly high in this April's outing. In addition, although some people are going to bite the dust during the events of this particular Thanos-oriented story, Iron Man could still be standing when the final post-credits scene in Avengers 4 rolls. What happens with his contract after is anyone's guess.
The point is, from what Joe Russo told the Hindustan Times, when Robert Downey Jr. eventually leaves the MCU to make room for newer talent, it's unlikely that the MCU would look to recast the role of Tony Stark, as has happened with iconic characters like Batman and Superman over the years. While there are some fans out there who might like to see Robert Downey Jr. in the role forever, Joe Russo also confirmed that eventually Robert Downey Jr. will be calling it quits, echoing comments Downey Jr. himself has made. Per Russo:
He can't play the character forever. I am sure there are lots other things he wants to do in his career. But he loves playing the character, I know that, and we love working together. We will see where it goes from here.
Although, the Iron Man armor could theoretically live on after the character does. We'll have to wait and see what happens. As for whether or not this will be happening sooner rather than later, we'll be able to find out just what exactly is going on with Marvel when Avengers: Infinity War hits theaters a wee bit early on April 27. It's expected to be a really big opening weekend for a movie, and if you can't see the flick opening weekend, we highly suggest avoiding Internet spoilers, because presumably there will be a lot of them. Unless you like spoilers, in which case you're a (wo)man after my own heart, and take a look at our full Avengers: Infinity War guide.