An interesting new fan theory seems to think it’s possible.
Buckle up, friends–this one’s gonna be a doozy!
(Remember–this is JUST a theory. It’s a fascinating notion, but not the words of anyone connected to Marvel or the Avengers films)
Let’s start with the FACTS: Robert Downey Jr.’s Iron Man is the most popular and recognized character in the Avengers film franchise. I don’t think one can really dispute this. He’s the only individual Marvel hero of Phase One to have had 3 movies so far–and Downey himself is the biggest star currently portraying a Marvel hero…
HOWEVER, he’s only committed himself to donning the armor one more time after Avengers: Age Of Ultron. He’s agreed to play Iron Man in Avengers 3, but after that–it’s anyone’s guess. It seems doubtful that he intends to go any further: Downey has stated in the past that he’s beginning to grow weary of the role, plus by the time Avengers 3 is ready for release, he’ll be 53 years old…Sure, he’s in great shape, and 53 isn’t exactly ancient–but there’s only so long you can play a character based on a medium where people don’t really age.
And yet Marvel Studios itself shows NO signs of fatigue: They’re well into Phase Two–they’ve got Phase Three pretty well mapped out, and there’s even talk that Phase Four is being discussed already. Bottom line, we’re nowhere near the point where we’ll stop seeing Avengers films, or films featuring the individual Avengers.
So how are Kevin Feige and Co. gonna keep getting butts in theatre seats once Downey throws in the towel?
Now we get to the theory proper, as concocted by Newsarama‘s Senior Editor Michael Doran: Ok, yesterday it was announced that Paul Bettany will be taking on the role of android Avenger The Vision in Age Of Ultron. Bettany has already made a name for himself in the Avengers/Iron Man universe: He’s the voice of Tony Stark‘s loyal AI butler/co-pilot J.A.R.V.I.S.
Last year at the San Diego Comic-Con it was hinted that the movie version of Ultron will essentially be an “evil” version of J.A.R.V.I.S. sorta cobbled together from what’s left of Iron Man’s destroyed suits. Have a look:
We’ve also got these leaked Age Of Ultron animatics that lend credence to the notion of “J.A.R.V.I.S. Gone Bad”.
What does ANY of this have to do with Iron Man or the departure of RDJ? Patience, dear readers.
Here’s where we dive straight into comic book esoterica: It’s known to fans that Tony Stark has come up with programs and technologies designed for taking out his fellow Avengers should they ever become a threat (such as the famous “Hulkbuster” suit). It is likely that Tony believes these fail-safe programs were destroyed along with his suits at the end of Iron Man 3….
But what if they weren’t? What if fragments of these “anti-Avenger” protocols formed the seeds of what would ultimately become Ultron?
Now that we’ve assumed this far, let’s continue a bit further: Let’s then assume that another fail-safe program emerges–not to fight the Avengers, but to protect them from Ultron. Hence, THE VISION! The physical embodiment of that part of J.A.R.V.I.S’s programming that remains loyal to the team.
Since this is a Whedon thing, and since Stark is ultimately responsible for the genesis of Ultron, it’s not much of a stretch to imagine–in order to defeat him–Tony must sacrifice his very life. This way, he’d both pay the price for his hubris AND satisfy Joss‘ never-ending blood lust.
Now, back to The Vision: Marvel fans know he’s more than a simple android. The Vision contains the soul–or brain patterns, at least–of the dead Marvel hero Wonder Man….see where we’re going with this?
The cinematic Vision won’t carry the soul of Wonder Man–but of Tony Stark himself!
THAT’s what RDJ has signed on to do in Avengers 3. He’ll be a voice in Vision/J.A.R.VI.S.’s head…same way J.A.R.V.I.S. was a voice in Iron Man’s head.
Far Fetched? Sure.
Long-Winded? Yeah, but that’s MY fault.
Honestly, I see little chance things will go down exactly the way Doran’s theory describes, but there could well be elements of this notion that appear in Age Of Ultron or Avengers 3…
At any rate, it’s fun to think about, and better than anything I could come up with 😉