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It doesn’t matter that Tony Stark died in Avengers: Endgame and received a hero’s funeral featuring almost every player of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Fans still want him back. And as fast and loose as the MCU plays with the laws of time and nature, it’s not out of the question. 

Granted, by this point, Downey probably wouldn’t return for anything other than a small role or a voiceover — but it might actually possible now that the multiverse has been introduced. 

The multiverse opens all kinds of doors for Iron Man

Robert Downey Jr. on the red carpet
Robert Downey Jr | Dave J Hogan/Getty Images

For many years, comic books have played with the idea of parallel universes known collectively as the multiverse – spheres of existence where one particular hero can live his or her life very differently from the classic story most casual fans know.

For many years, superhero movies and TV shows didn’t introduce the concept because (a) the technology wasn’t there and (b) there was a feeling that the multiverse might confuse fans. 

Now, however, the technology has obviously caught up, and so have the movies and TV shows. The CW Arrowverse shows have worked in multiverses for years, especially in The Flash.

The movies got in on the act when the freedom of animation made Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse feel thrilling and new, because it took Spidey’s familiar tale and told it many different ways. 

The Marvel Cinematic Universe brought up the multiverse in Spider-Man: Far From Home, and although the multiverse didn’t truly come into play there, it will obviously come around again, particularly since an upcoming Marvel film is called Dr. Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. So could Iron Man live again in another universe? 

Robert Downey Jr rules nothing out

Screen Rant discussed the idea in a piece earlier this month, which quotes Downey himself as trying to have it both ways. He said:

“Yeah anything could happen, I’m really enjoying …as far as I’m concerned I’ve hung up my guns and I’m good to let it go. I also think that Marvel is on this journey now where they’re trying a bunch of other stuff. I’m excited for them to see how all of that goes.”

So in other words, that sounds like Downey is saying “Probably not, but definitely maybe.” In other words, never say never, but don’t hold your breath. Sean Connery once said he would never again appear as James Bond once he gave up the part in 1971, but he did indeed reprise the role 12 years later with the knowingly titled Never Say Never Again.

There has also been speculation that Downey could lend his voice to an MCU project, whether that’s for Marvel’s animated What If … ?  series that will premiere on Disney+ next year, or whether he voices some kind of Jarvis-like artificial intelligence. 

Will ‘Dolittle’ force Tony Stark’s return?

Speculation that Downey would become Tony Stark again after all increased after his troubled film Dolittle bombed at the box office. If Downey didn’t know it already, he found that his name alone can no longer sell a movie. The budget had ballooned to an estimated $175 million, and only a Marvel-like gross would have made the movie profitable. Not even the most optimistic fans were predicting that for Dolittle

Some say this means it’s much more likely that Downey will retreat to the safety net of Disney and Marvel. IMDB lists Downey as having a “rumored” part in Black Widow. If he is in that, it would make sense for two reasons.

First, since Black Widow is a prequel, Iron Man doesn’t have to cheat death to be in it. Second, it would be fitting for Downey to appear considering Black Widow made her debut in Iron Man 2. In that case, the multiverse wouldn’t be necessary at all.

No one should be placing any bets on Iron Man coming back, buy it might also be wise not to bet against it either. Let the chips fall where they may.