What Happens When The Marvel Cinematic Universe Loses Its IRON MAN?

A new interview with the Russo Brothers offers a glimpse into the MCU's thought process.

With Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice just days away from hitting theaters, it seems like everyone's talking about Captain America: Civil War, including Forbes, who just published a brand-new interview with Civil War directors the Russo Brothers.

The interview is a sprawling affair and well worth reading in full, but there's one moment I felt like singling out, and it concerns something I've long wondered about: what happens when the MCU wants to kill off Iron Man? Or, more likely: what happens when Robert Downey Jr. decides he's done playing Tony Stark? Here's Joe Russo's response:

It’s almost impossible to replace Robert, he’s the biggest movie star in the world. One close up from Robert is worth another actor’s entire performance, he’s incredibly gifted and insanely talented. I think if and when he is done with the character I think you will find that Iron Man might disappear for a while. I think the only way that you could reboot that character is to give a generational gap that would allow another actor to at least have a chance to redefine that character without the enormous spectre of Robert hanging over it. There are so many characters in the Marvel universe that can pick up the ball and run without it through the next phase or two before you need to see Iron Man again, frankly.

Interesting! Downey Jr. leaves, the character gets retired, and maybe somewhere up the road you bring on a new guy to play the role. That leaves us to wonder if this newcomer would be playing a reborn Tony Stark...or an all-new character wearing the Iron Man armor? It's gotta be the latter, right? I'm sure our more superhero-educated readers can weigh in on that front in the comments below.

Other interesting moments from this interview include: the Russos saying that the Marvel one-shots may be resurrected and put directly online; a frank discussion re: the internet's reaction to Spider-Man's new Ditko-inspired costume; and how Spider-Man may or may not factor into Infinity War. Definitely swing by Forbes to check out the full version; it's a good read.