Following the $174.1 million opening weekend for Iron Man 3, both Deadline and The Hollywood Reporter published articles Tuesday musing what the future might hold for Marvel Studios, and how that will be affected by whether or not Robert Downey Jr. will return for another outing as Iron Man.
According to the Hollywood Reporter piece, Marvel currently has scripts for Blade and Ms. Marvel (the article's description, rather than the current "Captain Marvel") features produced by a "writing program [Marvel] uses as a concept generator]," and that Iron Fist, Black Panther, Runaways and (as previously reported) Doctor Strange are "other projects on the horizon." That's not an indication that any of those will for sure be produced as a film, but rather that they're properties that Marvel Studios has interest in for the post-Ant-Man (scheduled for release on Nov. 6, 2015) future.
Additionally, THR states that Marvel has regained the licenses to not only Daredevil and Blade, but also Ghost Rider (formerly controlled by Sony, who released films starring the character in 2007 and 2012) and Power Man, which was formerly in development at Columbia Pictures, a division of Sony.
Deadline says that Iron Man 3, the last film in Downey's current Marvel Studios contract, should also be the actor's "biggest paydate to date," more than his reported $50 million back-end profit from Avengers (which Deadline editor-in-chief Nikki Finke speculates was more like $70-$80 million at this point).
The Deadline piece suggests that getting all of the primary actors — not just Downey — in place for the 2015 Avengers sequel may be tricky, given what's described as Marvel and CEO Ike Perlmutter's "Frugal" business practices. "I’ve learned Marvel already has threatened to sue or recast when contracts and/or options are challenged," Finke writes.
The article ends with an except for an interview with Avengers writer and director Joss Whedon, who states that the Marvel films are appealing to an actor beyond just compensation because, "There’s the element of the opportunity here for something that is both popular and very human, and usually you have to choose as an actor."