Robert Downey Jr. Reveals How He Feels About Leaving the MCU for Good

After a sometimes dark past, Robert Downey, Jr. has turned into one of Hollywood’s most insightful actors on how to keep one’s sanity. If you’ve read some interviews from him after leaving the MCU, you start to see he’s developed a very deliberate philosophy of not letting his work define who he is.

When you’re devoted to the MCU for 11 solid years as he was, you can see why you need to take time out to delve back into reality. The commitment Downey placed into becoming the MCU’s father figure is tremendous and will have a lasting impact. However, his feelings about leaving still need to be placed in proper context so fans don’t get the wrong idea.

It appears these feelings about moving on were shared by Chris Evans as well.

Expanding on his earlier comments about leaving

Robert Downey Jr.
Robert Downey Jr. | Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

The first interview RDJ did about leaving goes back a couple of months when he talked about how actors need “aesthetic distance” from their work so they don’t lose sight of real life. After we covered this interview, it seemed to ring true for those who find themselves working long, long hours on movie or TV projects.

Not everyone knows how much time Downey and the other actors put into the MCU films when you include taking on stunt work and dealing with special effect shots. Plus, the principal filming alone took months due to the notably long running time.

This initial interview really put Downey’s acting philosophy in the fullest perspective. Yet, when he did the interview, he might have regretted saying it due to looking like a singular mindset rather than one shared by the rest of the cast.

More recently, Downey is doing more interviews to clarify why he left the MCU films. In one interview he did for D23 Magazine recently (ahead of his Disney Legend Award he received during this year’s event), he mentions Chris Evans shared his concern for “getting off the bus.”

Downey might have influenced his fellow MCU colleagues to leave before long

With Chris Evans deciding to leave at the same time as Downey, it makes you wonder if latter gave his fellow co-stars a crash course in living up to that aesthetic distance. Being the paternal figure at Marvel, no doubt the entire cast listened to everything Downey said about acting technique and how to live life outside the franchise.

It’s possible Evans felt playing Captain America was consuming him a little too much as Downey likely felt about playing Tony Stark/Iron Man. During the above D23 Magazine interview, Downey explains:

“We had to get off. We opted to, and knew it was part of the job to get off the bus while it rolled on to other destinations.”

He also went on to say he and Evans were glad to welcome others retiring their jerseys soon. Saying this gives us a good hint Downey convinced the other Avenger actors to step aside soon so the roles don’t become stale or personally overbearing.

Maybe the only exception to this will be Chris Hemsworth who seems to relish playing Thor, despite Natalie Portman dominating the show in upcoming Love and Thunder.

Is Downey really leaving the MCU for good?

Based on Downey’s new comments, he might really mean it: this will be his swan song with the MCU. Once money is involved, though, you know things never stay permanent.

“Aesthetic distance” doesn’t always mean staying away forever. This just means taking time to get back to your own life for a while so a role doesn’t blur the outside world. Nothing is permanent in that arena, at least from our view.

Should we ever see Downey return to the MCU, it’ll likely have to be in flashbacks, or in AI form as the comic books once attempted in different iterations.

We’re starting to see a trend toward popular dead characters coming back in flashback form to fill in backstory prior movies initially didn’t show us. Then again, Downey is an astute actor who has enough money to help him make better critical decisions on whether a return would really enforce or hurt his acting legacy.