Robert Downey Jr. has been Tony Stark since 2008, and has expressed interest in not playing that character anymore. I’m sure that Chris Evans, Scarlet Johannson, and the rest of the original Avengers must be having similar feelings by now. In an interview with Hollywood Reporter, Marvel’s Kevin Feige stated this about recasting or retiring characters:
Thankfully, I’m not going to be faced with that decision for many, many years because we have everybody locked up and planned out for as far as any studio has movies planned. But one day, it will be a combination. It will be a combination of choosing which characters to continue on with and explore and which to bring in, as we’re doing with Captain Marvel and Black Panther. And certainly to recast in some way or another – as we’ve already done in certain cases. Certainly many other franchises have reached that milestone before we have and done that with great success.
It sounds like they don’t have a solid plan that they are ready to release to the public. “Remember that time that we changed Hulk? Or Rhodey? We’ll be fine!”
The Problem with Recasting
No, you won’t be fine. Those were different. In both cases, no one knew to what extent these movies would be, and as such didn’t really care for some basic recasting that happens with the occasional sequel. But now, we are on board, and we don’t want new actors to fill those roles. All of the main roles have been cast so perfectly, we don’t want to see other people mess them up. Or we’ll all be having conversations about Iron Man that we are currently having about Spider-Man and The Joker, that there are too many actors trying to do it.
Don’t recast, retire. Now that we saw Steve Rogers drop his shield, and essentially his role as Captain America, now is the perfect time to start changing the line up. Have Bucky pick up the shield and take on the role like in Death of Captain America.
Have Iron Man so wrought with guilt over the whole thing, that he retires as well, and leaves War Machine to be the new Iron Man. Keep retiring the characters, and watch other heroes try to fill their shoes. After Spider-Man gets too old, he then finds Miles Morales, and he shows him. After War Machine is done, find the new Riri Williams, the small African-American girl that is the new Iron Man. Maybe give the TV heroes some big screen movies. Then, in 15 years, when we run out of characters, show them all trying to find a better solution, like Tony Stark constantly does, but it succeeds. Let the movies finish. Wait 10 years, and start over.
I know this isn’t a perfect solution, because the perfect solution is for the actors to never age, and never get tired of playing our heroes. Captain America has been in comics since the 1940s, and it’s still Steve Rogers from Brooklyn, born in 1920. But we can’t have that with the movies. So this is what I think is the next best solution. Don’t replace the actors, replace the characters. Hopefully by the time we are ready to restart, Marvel will have the Fantastic Four and X-Men and Spider-Man and everyone else entirely back in their control. (Edit: Now that Marvel does have Fantastic Four and\X-Men this could lead somewhere new and exciting!)
I don’t know what the execs at Marvel have planned, but I hope its closer to this than just recasting characters ad infinitum. Let the story come to an end on your terms, as opposed to just going until people don’t care anymore and stop going to see them. Don’t do these for so long, that they return to ridicule like they were before we started Iron Man.
You either die loved, or you live long enough to be hated. Make your choice Marvel.