Robert Downey Jr.’s already made it clear: There’s no Iron Man 4 currently in the pipeline at Marvel. And in giving interviews promoting his new movie The Judge, Downey’s also made it clear that outside of his appearances as Tony Stark in Avengers: Age Of Ultron, and Avengers 3 after that, he’s not exactly desperate to make more Iron Mans. He’s already the highest-paid star in Hollywood. How much more money does he need? Unless he’s planning on building an actual Iron Man suit, Downey’s family is set for life.
But Iron Man 3 was the second-biggest movie of 2013, grossing more than $1.2 billion worldwide, and fans would love to see Robert Downey Jr. play Iron Man as many times as possible. So people are going to keep asking him about Iron Man 4 until Downey says something definitive about never doing another solo movie as the Armored Avenger.
Quotes like the one I’m about to share with you certainly aren’t going to change that. Speaking with Deadline, Downey did acknowledge one scenario where he would make Iron Man 4: If his friend Mel Gibson was allowed to direct it. Here’s the exchange:
“DEADLINE: Marvel badly wants Iron Man 4 and you’ve said you aren’t doing it. How about the idea you’ll do that movie if Mel directs it?
DEADLINE: Is that our headline?
DOWNEY: Why not? That movie would be bananas.”
I have to imagine Disney can think of a few “Why not?”s when it comes to a Mel Gibson-directed Iron Man 4, mostly the various religious groups and genders he’s offended with his vicious outbursts over the years. After a very public battle with alcohol abuse (and a girlfriend who’d recorded his phone calls with her), Gibson has been making baby steps toward a comeback in the last few years; mostly as the villains in action pictures like Machete Kills and The Expendables 3. But he’s got a long way to go before he’s back in a position to direct an Iron Man movie; Gibson’s last feature directorial effort, Apocalypto, came out in 2006.
Then again, if anyone can get him that kind of a gig, Downey can. He’s used his star power to help Gibson in the past; at the American Cinematheque Awards ceremony in 2011, Downey (who struggled with substance abuse and legal problems of his own, and received a much-needed boost at a low point in his own career from Gibson) selected Gibson to present him with his award, and then used his time at the mic to ask Hollywood to forgive the troubled actor. If nothing else, Downey’s campaigning for Gibson three years later shows he’s a damn good friend. And I have no doubt that if Disney got desperate enough for an Iron Man movie that they actually would hire Gibson to make it, Downey would sign on in a heartbeat (following the promise of many dozens of millions of dollars).