[Note: This article contains spoilers for Avengers: Endgame, but also: c’mon, it’s mid-July.]
Few people in Hollywood are in a weirder (or more potentially powerful) position right now than Robert Downey Jr., a fiercely independent actor who effected an almost unprecedented career rehabilitation by making all the motions of “selling out”—climbing in bed for a full decade with Disney in order to play the world’s most now-beloved superhero—without ever actually giving the impression of having done so. And now, after 10 years of wry asides and pitch-perfect flashes of vulnerability, he’s done, having finished Phase Three of the Marvel Cinematic Universe by putting Tony Stark through the ultimate sacrifice play at the end of Avengers: Endgame.
So: What next?
That’s the question at the heart of the above clip from an interview with Downey Jr. that’s running this week on Sam Jones’ The Off-Camera Show. There’s none of the actor’s sometimes infamous caginess with questioning; indeed, he seems even more open than usual, talking about what it’s like to put down Iron Man and try to figure out where the hell he’s at right now. Topics of conversation include an underlying fear that “transitions” are where people tend to fall apart, and Downey’s perception that the steady Marvel gig was “the closest thing I’ve ever come to being a trust fund kid.”
Meanwhile, if you just want the Tony Stark dirt, there’s some of that, too; in a later clip (viewable below), the actor notes one of the milestones of the character’s arc (reactor), going from creating a suit of armor solely designed to keep himself safe in his first film appearance, to one—deployed at the climax of Endgame—that’s literally impossible for him to survive using.
The Off-Camera Show airs on The Audience Network on Mondays at 9 p.m.