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'Iron Man 4' Phase 3 Release Date and Robert Downey Jr Replacement Rumors [SPOILERS]

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Dec 10, 2013 07:16 PM EST | James Knight

Avengers

Avengers promotional poster. (Photo : Marvel Comics)

Iron Man 4 may have found its release date. The next film in the highly-successful franchise is rumored to be part of Marvel’s Phase 3 production plans. Meanwhile, the question still remains if Robert Downey Jr will return for the new movie or if Tony Stark will be replaced by a new Iron Man. Warning the following contains spoilers for the comics and possible the films.

IronMan4.net is reporting a possible release date for the new film. According to the site Marvel has nailed down two release dates for 2016, one being May 6. Iron Man 3 director Shane Black told Bang Showbiz that he was certain Robert Downey Jr would " be back for another one. I'm sure of it." However, Robert Downey Jr has only signed on for Avengers 2 and 3.

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Marvel’s President of Production, Kevin Feige, recently spoke with Collider about the strength of the character:

“I’ve said it before and it wasn’t negotiating tactics. I believe Tony Stark is as strong a character as Batman. We’re about to head into our fifth or sixth Batman--however, you wanna look at it--James Bond, etc.”

Feige went on to confirm that would there will, infact, be more Iron Man films, with or without RDJ:

“So, there will absolutely be future Tony Starks and future Iron Mans. Who makes those movies, and when those movies are made, who knows? I don’t know. But, the notion with Robert’s contract in The Avengers 2 & 3, is to allow new characters. Part of what we love about The Avengers is the shifting roster. That’s what’s fun about the comic book movies. You shift them up. So, certainly that was a lot of the thought process that went into it.”

Meanwhile, Mark Wahlberg has expressed an interest in replacing RDJ should the time come. Although, he might not get the chance. The recent inclusion of Tony’s lost brother, Arno Stark, into the comics may be setting the stage for a different Iron Man altogether. 

Arno Stark is currently confined to an iron lung, however, many assume that the lung might be replaced by a suit of armor. In previous continuities, Arno Stark was Tony’s nephew and the man known as Iron Man 2020. Could the movie universe take a similar route with the character? Who would you like to see replace RDJ? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.

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