Iron Man led the way into the successful Marvel Cinematic Universe, and the man who played him says that he'll be the crux for a major change coming in Avengers: Age of Ultron and Captain America: Civil War. In an interview with Empire, Robert Downey Jr. talks at length about Tony Stark's part in the creation of Ultron for this year's Avengers sequel as well about the role he'll play in the 2016 Captain America film. While he balks at his superhero character being called a "bad guy," he says that choices his character makes might not bear out the way he hopes. When asked about the already-revealed role Stark has in creating Ultron, Downey Jr. says it comes from a positive place.
"The thing I’m trying to create was to stop all this. It’s a ‘damned if you do’ type thing," Downey says. " Look, in some ways it’s just a device. Every character has to have something to do that makes sense to set up. What I appreciated was that it was a new flip for Tony without seeming out of character. What I appreciate is that he is maturing and that he is becoming a benefactor of something vastly different than his father ever could have imagined. The promised legacy of Iron Man 2 has really been realised in a way that I go, 'Oh, that’s creative and smart and it keeps pushing the peanut forward and it’s interesting and new and it makes space.'"
Downey says he "loves" the idea that Tony's "impulse" to do something good "finds its way back to become something else.
"Every time you roll the dice with your own best thinking, regardless of your intention, these things take on a life of their own," says the actor. "Tony’s Ultron defense system is supposed to let everybody retire and for a guy who’s still got a lot of piss and vinegar - in Iron Man 3, when we left him he was basically saying, “You know what, I don’t even need the suit. I’m just a badass.” Then what I feel happened is he went back east and he does the responsible thing for all these other people and puts a roof over their head and has an idea."
After Avengers: Age of Ultron, Downey will reprise his role in 2016's Captain America: Civil War. The original comic series saw Iron Man in an antagonistic role against Captain America and various heroes, but Downey is quick to dismiss it as a simple black-and-white plan they have for the movie.
"There’s always the bigger overarching question, that Joss Whedon brings up all the time - it’s kind of weird that these guys would have all these throw downs all over planet Earth and it looked like a little collateral damage happened over there, and yet when the movie’s over, it’s like nobody minds," states Downey. "You have to figure, ‘Were you to ask the question, what would the American government do if this were real? Wouldn’t it be interesting to see Tony doing something you wouldn’t imagine?’"
Downey descibes Avengers: Age of Ultron as "a beginning of an ending," even disclosing that the script refers directly to that.The interview, conducted by Empire's Chris Hewitt in early January, also goes into detail about Downey acting alongside longtime friend James Spader, who plays Ultron, as well as Paul Bettany, who is stepping out from his voiceover role to become the Vision for Avengers: Age of Ultron. Downey relates a story of Iron Man and Iron Man II director Jon Favreau visiting the set and remaking at Bettany's new role.
"Favreau was visiting the set and went, ‘JARVIS, what did they f***in’ do to you?’" Downey relates, referring to Bettany's costume as the Vision. "I would maybe see Bettany on the street or at a premiere party, maybe. And the suit? Everybody has to pay their pound of flesh."
That being said, Downey says the reveal of Bettany as the Vision is "well-executed" and "badass."
"But when - and I won’t give much of anything away - Vision gets to express and enter and find his place in earnest respect on the playing field, it was like an exceptionally well-executed, poetic, badass, 'Aha!' moment for all of us," Downey reveals. "Joss was very particular about that in a different way than he was with Jimmy. I think people are going to get a kick out of the creative decisions about how Vision fits in."