Very interesting. In light of last night’s potential negotiations impasse at Marvel Studios, are telling comments that Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) and the Big Kahuna (Marvel Head Kevin Feige) made to Entertainment Weekly in this past weekend’s cover story. In case you missed the brouhaha yesterday evening, it goes like this: Marvel is notoriously cheap with their salary offers to actors. This is how the company has always operated since they jumped into the feature film game in 2008 with the first “Iron Man.” But “The Avengers” was a billion dollar hit, “Iron Man 3” will soon be a billion dollar hit and the Marvel casts are still being paid lowball figures. With deals not in place for the upcoming 2015 tentpole, “The Avengers 2,” this could prove to be problematic for Marvel. The Avengers want to get paid.
Late last week, everyone was consumed with EW’s small, but new details on Marvel’s Phase 2 and 3 plans; films that include, “Ant-Man” (which will start casting in earnest at the end of the year) and “Guardians Of the Galaxy” (Marvel’s first foray into the galactic-sized outer space/science fiction realm). But tucked away at the end of the article are some pretty eye-opening comments about the future of the “Iron Man” franchise and beyond.
The crux of the negotiations argument is that Robert Downey Jr. is their flagship star, and he’s still comparatively under-compensated (though he was paid $50 million for “The Avengers,” the four films he has appeared in for Marvel have grossed $3.4 billion dollars together). This will be a big sticking point for Marvel who clearly thinks they are probably paying him enough. Anyhow, when asked about the future films starring Tony Stark, Kevin Feige says Marvel can live on without Robert Downey Jr.
“I believe there will be a fourth ‘Iron Man’ and a fifth, sixth and a 10th and a 20th,” he told EW. “I see no reason why Tony Stark can’t be as evergreen as James Bond, Batman, or for that matter, Spider-Man.”
Could he actually be much more like Dirty Harry or Indiana Jones? Franchise heroes actually only played by one actor so far? Gwyneth Paltrow seems to think so. “Personally I think it would be very hard for someone to step into Iron Man because it is so Robert,” she said. “You’ve got pathos, you’ve got humor, you’ve got a facility with language and improvisation and an incredible pain underneath it all. It’s difficult to replicate that.”
Downey’s take on it all? He knows he’ll have to let go and can’t be Iron Man forever. “I wasn’t involved in the planning of Marvel’s phases, and I’m sure they don’t end with me,” he admitted. “Probably one of my finest days of stewardship would be discussing the matter with whoever is cast to carry the torch. That’s what life is about.”
Can Tony Stark exist on the big screen without RDJ or vice versa? Let us know below.