During a new interview with Desde Hollywood (embedded below), filmmaker Joss Whedon took some time out at the Iron Man 3 premiere to talk about the possibility of losing Robert Downey, Jr, and what to expect from the Avengers 2 villain(s).
Asked about the rumors surrounding Robert Downey, Jr.’s potential departure from the Iron Man/Avengers franchises now that his contract is up, Whedon sounded hopeful, saying that the nature of the role gave Downey more leeway than most aging action heroes, but that he wouldn’t blame the star if he felt he needed to hang up the armor.
“I’ m not the guy who has to worry about him being replaced. He is Iron Man at this point. When I heard he was cast, I knew something had just changed and I usually don’t know stuff like that but I was like, ‘Oh, now we’re into a new phase,’” Whedon said. “And the way he embodies it, I loved working with him. He’s so perfect for it, Shane [Black] captures that so perfectly in this movie. So I’d like to be playing him forever and the great thing is he has a flying, metal suit, so it’s not like the Charles Bronson or the Roger Moore movies where you’re like, ‘Dude, you can barely stand.’ This dude has some fight in him. At the same time, if Robert decides to hang it up, he has a perfect excuse.”
Pressed for what he could say about Thanos, the mysterious villain seen at the end of the first Avengers film and mastermind of that movie’s events, the filmmaker said that Thanos is a powerful character who needs to be saved for a big moment and used properly; his talk of a “finale” will likely lead many to speculate that the Mad Titan won’t appear in the next film, but it’s difficult to say from context whether that’s a fair interpretation. In any event, Whedon does say that there will be “people”–plural–to shake things up for the Avengers in the next film.
“Well, Thanos is more powerful,” he said of the presumed Avengers 2 villain. “He’s not somebody who you trot out and then you punch him. Like he did in the comics, you want him to be threading through the universe and to save the big finale for the big finale but he’s definitely a part of what I’ve got going on. You know, the thing about the Avengers is that they are very powerful but they’re not very stable. So there will definitely be some people who are going to shake them up in the next installment.”