Yesterday the news that was buzzing around the internet was the looming negotiations between Robert Downey Jr. and Marvel Studios since Downey’s contract had expired after the release of Iron Man 3. As one of the best paid actors in the Marvel movie franchise (reportedly earning $50 million for The Avengers), Downey has been in four movies total, and is now in talks to be in the remaining films of the Avengers trilogy. As of this morning, however, it has been reported that in these negotiations, there has been no mention of Iron Man 4. There could be several reasons for this including Downey’s other projects, a desire to retire in the near future, a discussion of a shortened contracted to allow for re-negotiations later, or perhaps that he is going to bow out as Iron Man after the third Avenger’s film.
The main theory that seems to be rampant about the whole affair is that Downey is using his leverage as Marvel’s biggest bread winner to force Marvel to re-negotiate for the rest of the cast by threatening to not appear for Iron Man 4. Marvel has a history with issues concerning actor’s salaries for various films. Samuel L. Jackson fought for better pay back in 2009, and Terrence Howard was dropped from the role of Lt. Col James Rhodes when he demanded higher pay, only to be replaced in subsequent Iron Man films by Don Cheadle. Chris Hemsworth has reportedly not yet been signed up for Avengers 2, and there are rumors that Scarlett Johansson is not going to take a pay cut for said film. Marvel has already threatened to replace Hemsworth in the film, or to remove the Thor character from the film all together. Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo, Jeremy Renner, and Samuel L Jackson are all signed on for the project, which is set to release in 2015.
If the negotiations do not work in Downey’s favor and he is dropped, many fans agree that it would be hard to see anyone but him piloting that iconic metal suit on screen.