Following “Iron Man 3,” Robert Downey Jr. has now wrapped up his commitment with Marvel Studios and now begins the arduous salary negotiation process to get him to reprise his iconic Iron Man/Tony Stark role in any future Avengers projects.
For his part, “Marvel’s The Avengers” Director/co-writer Joss Whedon plans to help make the negotiations go a little smoother by saying he has every intention of sitting out the sequel to the third highest-grossing film of all time if Downey isn’t back.
While making the rounds promoting his new film, “Much Ado About Nothing,” Whedon made clear his stance in an interview with the Daily Beast.
“He is Iron Man. He is Iron Man in the way that Sean Connery was James Bond, ” Whedon said. “I have no intention of making “Avengers 2″ without him, nor do I think I’ll be called upon to do that,” Whedon says. “I don’t think it’s in my interest, Marvel’s interest, or his interest, and I think everything will be fine. But I know that this is Hollywood and you roll with things. You have to be ready for the unexpected.”
There’s hardball and then there’s “I directed the third highest grossing film of all time so you’d best take my statement seriously.” Marvel Studios is already taking some PR hits in negotiating with Downey’s “Avengers” cast mates and they won’t do themselves any favors by making Whedon anything less than completely happy. The bottom line here is pretty simple – Downey’s the face of the Avengers franchise, Hollywood’s most profitable film series right now – and he needs to be paid like it.
What do you think? Any chance of Downey not returning for “Avengers 2?” And if not, do you think Whedon bails?