Robert Downey Jr. Reveals Which Other ‘Avengers’ Hero He’d Like to Play

After 11 years, it’s hard to imagine anyone else playing the many heroes of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Over the course of the most ambitious film franchise of all time, stars like Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, and Mark Ruffalo have become synonymous with their MCU counterparts.

However, no Marvel actor is as inextricably linked to his or her MCU role as Robert Downey Jr. His performance as Tony Stark aka Iron Man revitalized the actor’s career and turned the character into an A-lister. But Downey recently shared which other Avenger he would love to play.

Robert Downey Jr. at a 'Dolittle' screening
Robert Downey Jr. at a ‘Dolittle’ screening | Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images

Robert Downey Jr. defined the Marvel Cinematic Universe

When Iron Man hit theaters, Downey was far from the top of his game. In fact, the actor nearly didn’t take on the now-iconic role of Tony Stark/Iron Man in Jon Favreau’s 2008 smash hit. But he did, and the rest is history. Downey’s performance and Favreau’s direction set the tone for what the MCU could be.

Without such a flawless match between role and performer, nothing that followed would have possibly come together. Audiences certainly wouldn’t have gotten The Avengers. Instead, the famous Iron Man post-credits scene introducing Samuel L. Jackson’s would have been a tease that never paid off.

Instead, Iron Man captured a kind of magic. And across 10 different films, Downey has been the constant thread keeping the MCU on course. For this reason, fans are curious to see how the MCU builds from here with Downey’s post-Avengers: Endgame absence.

The other Marvel hero the actor would choose to play

In a recent interview with BBC One, Downey was asked a series of questions posed by children. Most of them were the kind of silly, light-hearted things young Iron Man fans would wonder. But then someone asked Downey which Marvel hero other than Iron Man he would have loved to play.

“I can’t think of any red-blooded American boy that didn’t imagine themselves as Spider-Man growing up,” Downey said. “However, looking back on it now — also because I’m just such a Jeremy Renner fan, and he made it so cool, particularly when he turns into Ronin [in Avengers: Endgame] — I would say Hawkeye would be my go-to.”

That first bit is understandable enough. Spider-Man is easily the most relatable Marvel superhero. It’s one of the many reasons why he retains one of the widest and most loyal fan bases throughout the MCU. And with his scientific mind and quick wit, Peter Parker is — as the movies have made plain — much like Tony Stark in many ways.

Downey’s selection of Hawkeye, however, is an interesting one. The character is far more no-nonsense than Tony Stark. So in this regard, imagining Downey in the role feels like a strange fit. Then again, Hawkeye does have a certain swagger which Renner taps into. As a super-spy and expert archer, Clint Barton is a formidable fighter. And his family life positions him as the humanity of the original Avengers line-up.

The future of Hawkeye is uncertain right now

Of course, we’ll never see Downey take on the mantle of Hawkeye or anyone else in the MCU for that matter. The actor’s Tony Stark made such an impact there is zero chance Marvel Studios will pull a Gemma Chan in the future. Chan, notably, is one of the only actors to play two MCU characters. After appearing in Captain Marvel, she’s also in The Eternals.

Yet, if any Avenger were going to be recast at this point, it probably is Hawkeye. Although Renner remains slated to lead the Hawkeye Disney+ series, rumors continue to persist that his recent personal struggles could derail the project. Moreover, Hailee Steinfeld — who was attached to play Kate Bishop on the show — hasn’t officially signed on yet either.

So we still have no clue if Hawkeye will actually happen and, if it does, who will star in it. In the meantime, at least Marvel fans have several other MCU shows hitting Disney’s streaming service soon. So Downey, like the rest of us, might have to wait a while for more Hawkeye.