Iron Man kicked off the Marvel Cinematic Universe in 2008, and changed the world of superhero movies forever. The film’s success was due largely in part to Robert Downey Jr.’s portrayal of Tony Stark, a performance which has been universally praised. Many fans consider RDJ to be the real life Tony Stark, because he’s managed to capture the character so perfectly.
Unfortunately, Downey has recently made it sound like Avengers: Infinity War will end his tenure as the Iron Avenger.
Marvel Studios has previously stated that they do not want to do reboots, but rather plan to replace their actors and seamlessly move forward, à la James Bond. Now, no one can do Downey’s Iron Man as good as Downey, but surely someone can put their own special twist on the role. So if Tony must be recast, probably in about 5 or 6 years, who can fill his fine Italian shoes?
Here are the Top 5 options, in no particular order…
Jake Gyllenhaal’s career is on an upswing right now. His performance in Nightcrawler was award worthy, and it proved that this man has a tremendous ability to act. After playing a sociopath like Louis Bloom, an egomaniac like Tony Stark should be a walk in the park. Plus, he’s got that dark, rugged look, the one that a troubled hero needs.
Iron Man is a leader first and foremost, and Gyllenhaal looks like someone that can inspire people when the chips are down.
Take away the earrings from the photo above, and Colin Farrell is a dead ringer for Tony Stark. But being Tony is about more than just the looks. Farrell exudes the confident, bad boy vibe that the billionaire playboy needs. And like Gyllenhaal, he looks like someone who can rally the troops when needed.
He looks like he could charm the pants off a nun, but also looks dangerous enough to make you somewhat wary upon meeting him. If that doesn’t say “Stark,” I don’t know what does.
Bomer is probably the least recognizable actor on this list, but maybe that’s what the character needs. Downey used to be a big name, but he had faded into obscurity by the time Iron Man was announced. That’s what made his success so impactful. Bomer could deliver that same impact; many people wouldn’t be sure what to expect, so they’d be that much more likely to accept his portrayal.
He played a con artist on White Collar, which earns him two points of credibility: he can play a sly, devious man, and he wears a mean suit.
How has Ryan Gosling not played a superhero yet? The dude looks tailor-made to play with the Avengers. He’s charming, he’s got both dramatic and comedic acting chops, and he doesn’t take himself too seriously. Sure, the blonde hair may give the look of a Captain America, but Gosling’s got the spunk of an Iron Man, and matching Tony’s personality is way more important than matching his looks.
If you’re still skeptical, watch The Big Short and see how perfectly he can play a smug rich dude who couldn’t care less what people think about him.
Bloom has certainly already established himself as a franchise player, and as someone who can simultaneously blend in and stand out as part of an ensemble cast. He has sailed the seven seas, and he has fought on the battlefields of Middle Earth. The MCU seems like the next logical step in his career. Plus, the man has the range necessary to capture the nuances of Tony Stark’s character.
Then he would just need to land a role in a Star Wars movie and he could finally be crowed The Franchise King.
Honorable Mention: Dominic Cooper
Why not? Cooper plays Tony’s father Howard Stark in the MCU, most notably in the Agent Carter TV series. He’s got the Stark persona down pat, and he has an uncanny resemblance to RDJ to boot. It would be a strange and risky move for sure, but fortune favors the bold.
Who is YOUR pick to replace Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark? Let us know in the comments! Just remember to keep an open mind, and remember how skeptical people were about RDJ himself before Iron Man came out.