RDJ’s new movie, The Judge, opens this weekend, which means that RDJ is making the press rounds and giving us so much to talk about that we actually had to split it into two posts. He’s already given us the glimpses into his family life and his relationship with Susan Downey, his producing partner and wife—and the unfortunate belly-cupping that we will all do our best to ignore—and yesterday he appeared on Ellen, talking again about his kids and the possibility of Iron Man 4. Obviously you know which one I want to talk about.
Whether or not Iron Man 4 will happen is a foregone conclusion—of course it will. The question is whether it happens with RDJ or someone else. RDJ has been coy, and shot down the persistent rumor that he’d take another solo spin as Iron Man when he said he’d only do it if Mel Gibson directed. There’s no way in hell that would ever happen—maybe someone will one day give Gibson the reins of a major franchise but it won’t be Marvel, which is helmed by the Israeli-born and legendarily petty Ike Perlmutter—and sure enough, RDJ is now walking that comment back. (You guys can fret over the belly-cupping, the thing that bugs me about RDJ is his very public support of Mel Gibson.)
But talking to Ellen it comes up again, and RDJ goes so far to say that negotiations are happening. Marvel has big plans, he says, and negotiations are ongoing. Because it’s in the context of Iron Man 4, the thing everyone’s been talking about this week, Ellen assumes he’s negotiating for Iron Man 4, so the headline is now that RDJ has confirmed Iron Man 4.
But wait. Everyone’s also talking about the possibility of Avengers 3, which is presumed to be the one in which the Avengers will finally confront Josh Brolin’s Thanos, being split into a two-part “Infinity event”. I said it on Twitter the other day and I’m going to reiterate it—EVERYTHING is on the table at Marvel. Iron Man 4, a two-part Infinity event, an Avengers/Guardians of the Galaxy cross-over—ANYTHING is possible, and at this point, I don’t think anyone outside of Kevin Feige’s office has a clue what is actually coming.
They’ve been building to the Infinity arc since the beginning, introducing Thanos at the end of The Avengers and bringing him more fully into frame in Guardians of the Galaxy, and it seems logical that Avengers 3 will actually be Avengers: Infinity. Does that rule out Iron Man 4? No, but if the rumors that Infinity will be a two-parter pan out, then I think the odds on another Iron Man movie go down. In order to make a two-part Infinity movie, Marvel will need to re-up RDJ and the Chrises Hemsworth and Evans.
I’m just not ready to buy Iron Man 4 real estate yet. I want to wait and see if Hemsworth and Evans start making noise about re-upping their contracts, too. If those two extend their contracts for another movie, then I think we’re dealing with a two-part Avengers event to close out the original cast before we move on to new characters and other actors. If they don’t, maybe we will see Iron Man 4 along about 2017. But I’m going to need more than a glib comment from RDJ to sell me on it.