Although Avengers: Endgame very explicitly felt like the last time Marvel fans would see Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark on the big screen, now it sounds like the Marvel Cinematic Universe's resident tech billionaire may be making an unexpected return for a future movie. A new report from Deadline has superhero fans buzzing about the possibility of Downey Jr. appearing in Black Widow in his iconic role, so now fans are asking if Tony Stark will be in Black Widow. The report only mentions Downey Jr.'s return offhandedly, but it was more than enough to stir up a ton of excitement and speculation.
The news comes from a Deadline article from Friday, Sept. 13, covering the Saturn Awards, which took place that night. The primary focus of the article was Marvel Studios' wins at the awards ceremony this year, with Avengers: Endgame taking home the most trophies of any movi, and both Tom Holland and Zendaya winning acting awards for their work in Spider-Man: Far From Home. However, there's one brief line in the awards recap that stuck out to Marvel superfans: After the article noted Robert Downey Jr. won the Best Actor in a Film award for his swan song in Endgame, a parenthetical stated: "Downey will be seen in the role of Stark one more time, however, in the Marvel prequel Black Widow in May 2020." Umm, excuse me?! This is brand-new information, and you're just going to hide it in parenthesis in the middle of an awards-show recap?
Of course, this news comes as a shock to Marvel fans, since Avengers: Endgame was already widely recognized as Robert Downey Jr.'s (and Tony Stark's) farewell to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The climactic Avengers movie ended with Stark sacrificing his own life in order to use the Infinity Stones to snap Thanos out of existence, and fans have been mourning him ever since.
Even though fans saw Tony Stark die in Endgame, the timeline still makes sense for him to have a cameo in Black Widow. After all, fans saw Black Widow die in Endgame as well, and the Russian operative's standalone movie is confirmed to be set in the time between Captain America: Civil War and Avengers: Infinity War, along with very likely being dense with flashbacks to Natasha Romanoff's past.
It is unclear how Tony Stark might pop up in this new movie, especially since, during the time the movie is supposed to take place, Black Widow was on the lam for breaking the Sokovia Accords as part of Captain America's faction, and Stark was leading the opposite Avengers faction. Recent reports claim the Tony Stark appearance will just be a short bit of recycled material from Captain America: Civil War — specifically a moment in which Stark tells Romanoff to run off with Captain America. Something like this would seem to make sense, as it would mean Downey Jr. would not have had to film any new scenes and would echo his very short, pre-recorded appearances in the recent Spider-Man: Far From Home. Still, Marvel fans are obviously holding out hope that Iron Man may have a more significant role in Black Widow.
Black Widow is slated to hit theaters on May 1, 2020.