Following weeks of speculation, Marvel made it official Thursday that Robert Downey Jr. is indeed returning as Tony Stark/Iron Man, in a two-picture deal including both 2015's Avengers 2 and the not previously officially announced yet seemingly inevitable Avengers 3.
What isn't mentioned in the announcement is any word of future Iron Man solo films. At a more than $1.2 billion worldwide take, this summer's Iron Man 3 is now the fifth highest-grossing movie of all time. 2012's Avengers is the third highest, making $1.5 billion.
On the promotional tour for Iron Man 3, the final film in his previous Marvel Studios contract, Downey was cagey about his future in the iconic role, saying at an April press junket that "the future is uncertain" and "things are very much in flux."
In sharing the Downey news, Marvel.com stated that more movie announcements are on the way, hinting at casting and character updates coming soon — Comic-Con International in San Diego is less than a month away, and traditionally a newsworthy show for Marvel Studios.
Avengers 2 is scheduled for release on May 1, 2015, and according to Marvel's release, is starting production in March 2014.