Tony Stark as played by Robert Downey Jr. is a fan favorite for many Marvel movie fans. He is the perfect Iron Man, and losing him would be such a big blow to the success of the Marvel cinematic universe that Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige has made sure Downey is extremely well compensated for his time. While the actor previously said he likely wouldn't be returning for a fourth solo "Iron Man" film, his comments in a new interview with Entertainment Weekly say otherwise.

"It's down to Kevin [Feige] and Ike [Perlmutter, CEO of Marvel Entertainment] and Disney to come to us with what the proposal is, and that's on us to agree or disagree," Downey Jr. says in the Entertainment Weekly interview when asked about the possibility of returning for "Iron Man 4." "When things are going great, there's a lot of agreement. Right now, this has just been swell, hasn't it? This has been a really good one and it feels good and we're having a good time."

That agreement likely won't last forwever, however. A recent Forbes article listed Downey as the highest paid actor in the world for the second year in a row, making $75 million last year alone, most of it off the back end deal for "Iron Man 3." Marvel reportedly paid Downey more than $50 million for his role in the "Avengers" (far more than any other actor in the film) and held out for negotiations with his current contract, securing even more money than ever up front for "Avengers: Age of Ultron" and "Avengers 3." When those films are a huge hit, he will earn even more off the back-end, but there may come a time when Downey is simply too expensive for Marvel to continue on with, and that time might be for "Iron Man 4."

Feige has previously said that if Downey ceased playing Tony Stark that the studio would take a James Bond approach to the franchise. "I hope Downey makes a lot of movies for us as Stark," Feige said in April of last year. "If and when he doesn't, and I'm still here making these movies, we don't take him to Afghanistan and have him wounded again. I think we James Bond it."

Downey has previously said despite riding high that he is keenly aware of wearing out his welcome, and echoes much the same in his Entertainment Weekly interview.

"It's that thing of: Why give up the belt when it feels like you can barely get jabbed?" Downey tells Entertainment Weekly. "Most people are saying that right when they get knocked out. The future is, as usual, uncertain."

Until that time comes, comic fans will certainly be holding their breath.

ⓒ 2021 All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.