Robert Downey Jr. won’t return to the Marvel Cinematic Universe after all. After much hype and failed negotiations, it was confirmed the Iron Man actor, 57, is done with the franchise.

The Vice President of Production & Development at Marvel Studios, Stephen Broussard, broke the news, revealing that options for Tony Stark to come back “aren’t on the table” after the superhero character died in Avengers: Endgame.

“I think one of the meta-narratives of Phase Four was about new characters. It was about new people stepping into mantles,” Broussard told io9 when asked how Marvel plans to connect Phase Five to Phase Four.

“If you look at, like, Cassie [Lang in Quantumania] getting a suit and Kate Bishop [in Hawkeye], new characters being introduced like Jack in Werewolf by Night,” he continued. “After these first 10 years of Marvel storytelling, torches are being passed, like with Robert Downey Jr. no longer being [on the] table and stuff like that.

“So it was kind of like a new generation stepping to the forefront which, again, has always happened in the comics.”

As exclusively reported, producers were hoping for Downey to return in the 2026-planned Avengers: Secret Wars, but he was holding out for $80 million and a stake in the film’s profits.

“Robert is a businessman and only asks for what he considers proportionate to what he’s offering,” an insider shared. “He and his people know he’s integral to the franchise.”

It was revealed the studio was pushing back on negotiations.

“The rule with any Marvel Studios project that has Robert in it is that it will take forever to make the deals,” the source said.

“If this deal can close in less than six months,” the source continued, “Marvel has a good shot at announcing it at San Diego Comic Con in July.”

Fans and producers weren’t the only ones who want to see Downey return to the Marvel family.

Jonathan Majors — who landed the role of villain Kang the Conqueror in Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania — recently addressed his desire to share the screen with the award-winning actor.

Sadly, Majors won’t get his way.

Original Article