Robert Downey Jr. is irreplacable as Marvel Studios' Iron Man.... but there will come a time where he's no longer playing the character, according to Avengers: Infinity War co-director Joe Russo.
“There is nobody who can take over Iron Man from Robert," Russo told Hindustan Times. "I don’t think the audience would accept that. He never mentioned to us about leaving ‘Iron Man’, but it will happen at some point of time."
“He can’t play the character forever. I am sure there are lots other things he wants to do in his career," Russo continued. "But he loves playing the character, I know that, and we love working together. We will see where it goes from here."
That being said, Downey's current contract with Marvel to play the role reportedly ends with 2019's fourth Avengers film - as does all the other original Avengers actors' contracts.
“People have been (living) with these characters for a decade and this is the ending. It is very exciting as there is a sense of closure and then also of new beginnings,” said Russo.
Back in March 2017, Joe Russo went into detail about how a Iron Man re-casting should be done in this eventuality however.
"It’s almost impossible to replace Robert, he’s the biggest movie star in the world,” said Joe Russo. “One close up from Robert is worth another actor’s entire performance, he’s incredibly gifted and insanely talented. I think if and when he is done with the character I think you will find that Iron Man might disappear for a while. I think the only way that you could reboot that character is to give a generational gap that would allow another actor to at least have a chance to redefine that character without the enormous spectre of Robert hanging over it. There are so many characters in the Marvel universe that can pick up the ball and run without it through the next phase or two before you need to see Iron Man again, frankly.”
Avengers: Infinity War opens in theaters April 27.