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MCU Surprise: Robert Downey Jr. Returning as Tony Stark for ‘Black Widow’ — Report

"Black Widow" is kicking off the fourth phase of the Marvel Cinematic Universe in summer 2020.

"Avengers: Endgame"

“Avengers: Endgame”

Marvel

Comic book movie fans apparently have not seen the last of Robert Downey Jr.’s Tony Stark on the big screen. In reporting on this year’s Saturn Award winners, Deadline’s Geoff Boucher dropped a bombshell by saying that “Robert Downey Jr. will be seen in the role of Stark one more time, however, in the Marvel prequel ‘Black Widow’ in May 2020.” Downey Jr., who won this year’s Saturn Award for Best Actor in a Film thanks to his work in “Avengers: Endgame” (one of six prizes the blockbuster received) was supposed to make his final MCU appearance in the record-breaking “Avengers: Endgame,” which saw his character, Tony Stark/Iron Man, sacrifice himself to defeat Thanos and save the world.

“Black Widow” is kicking off the fourth phase of the MCU in summer 2020. The script from Jac Schaeffer and Ned Benson takes place after the events of “Captain America: Civil War,” so it’s not surprising that Downey Jr. would pop up as Tony Stark in a cameo appearance. Johansson’s Black Widow character was also killed off in “Avengers: Endgame,” making the upcoming “Black Widow” film a swan song for the actress in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Black Widow was introduced in the MCU in “Iron Man 2,” so the character’s long-standing relationship with Tony Stark also makes it appropriate for Downey Jr. to appear in the prequel film.

Downey Jr. has long been the face of the MCU as his 2008 superhero movie “Iron Man” kicked off the industry-defining franchise. Tony Stark’s “Endgame” death radically changed the MCU, and a large part of follow-up installment “Spider-Man: Far From Home” dealt with the emotional fallout of Tony’s sacrifice on the world and Peter Parker (Tom Holland). The chance to see Downey Jr. one last time as Tony Stark should drive even more interest to “Black Widow,” which inherently has the added bonus of also being Johansson’s final outing as Natasha Romanoff.

“Black Widow” is directed by “Lore” and “Somersault” filmmaker Cate Shortland. The supporting cast includes David Harbour, Florence Pugh, Rachel Weisz, O-T Fagbenle, Ray Winstone, and Olivier Richters. Disney will release “Black Widow” in theaters nationwide May 1, 2020.

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