Only a few more months of waiting, Marvel fans. Come May 1st, we’ll FINALLY get to see what Joss Whedon and the Marvel Cinematic Universe have instore for us with the 2nd Avengers film, Avengers: Age of Ultron. This film will theoretically set up the various storylines for upcoming MCU titles, most notably, the third Captain America film titled Captain America: Civil War. Fans of these comic books KNOW that title means we will have friend against friend, starting (or maybe ending?) with Iron man butting heads with Cap.
Empire Magazine in it’s most recent issue has a WONDERFUL interview with the man behind Tony Stark, Mr. Robert Downey Jr. He talks Ultron, he talks Civil War, and the departure after the second Avengers film of Whedon from the MCU:
EmpireOnline: Your deal was, initially, for two more Avengers films. Now you’ve signed on for more, starting with Captain America: Civil War. Why?
RDJr: I’m crazy about Evans. I really am. I don’t know why or how to explain this particular kinship we have. By the way, he hasn’t called me in six months. Honestly, in order for this whole thing to have worked, I did my part, Hemsworth knocked it out of the stadium and then it fell on Cap. That was the riskiest. It was the one that had the highest degree of difficulty in making it translate to a modern audience. It was the Russos and Chris who, I think, really hit the line drive and won the series. I remember glancing through it going, “Wow, that’s a different way to go”. They said, “If we have you, we can do this or Cap 3 has to be something else”. It’s nice to feel needed.
At this point it ceases about being about announcements of contracts and deal points and Forbes and all that. And to see Chadwick being announced for Black Panther, I go, ‘Wow, man, Marvel is making all the right moves and they’re not doing it because it’s PC, they’re doing it because it’s exciting’. So why would I be the one to go, ‘I’m not going on the road. I don’t get along with the keyboardist’. Who cares? Who cares? And look, I also recognise that I’ll be turning 50 by the time I promote this movie. The clock is ticking down on the amount of memories and participation that I would allow myself and not embarrass the medium with. And when they pitched it to me and when I had a couple of ideas and when they said we like those ideas, let’s do those. Then there’s all this competition too. I don’t do this because I look at it as a competition, but I look at the marketplace and go, ‘Maybe if these two franchises teamed up and I can take even a lesser position in support, with people I like and directors I respect, maybe we can keep things bumping along here a little longer than they might have’.
EO: There seems to be a feeling that Tony’s character may have to be recalibrated, though, for Civil War, and that he may become an antagonist.
Again, it’s natural to change your views. The main thing to me is, and this is where I think the Russos are quite brilliant and where Kevin backed the play, is what sort of incident could occur and what sort of framework could we find Tony in? The clues are in Ultron about where we might find him next. But what would it take for Tony to completely turn around everything he’s stood for, quote-unquote, because he was the right-wing guy who could still do his own thing. When the first Iron Man came out the liberals and conservatives were both like, ‘You’re our guy’. Yes! Score! But the idea of Tony being able to march into Washington and say, ‘I’ll sign up’, wouldn’t have made sense if the political climate in the real world hadn’t shifted the way it has. It’s a little bit of things following a real world continuum in, ‘What would you do?’ There’s always the bigger overarching question, that Joss 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. 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?’
EO: So, do you see Tony as the bad guy in the movie?
RDJr: I wouldn’t put it that way. Ultimately it’s Steve’s story; it doesn’t say ‘Iron Man 4: Civil War’. I think that’s great too. I think Chris [Evans] has been hungry to bring even more of an underside and some shadow to that. I remember the comics – on the surface you got the sense that Cap was baseball and apple pie, but underneath there was all this churning stuff of being a man out of time. Now we know he’s made his peace with that. What’s the bigger issue? It can have a little something to do with the past, but it can be about someone becoming more modernized in their own conflict.”
EO: Joss said he’s not going to do the next two Avengers movies. Will you miss him?
RDJr: It’s funny, nobody really ever goes away entirely from the Marvel universe. I’m sure whatever’s going on in ten years, whether I’m receiving a red cent or whether anyone still associates me with the product, there’s still always going to be a level as long as anybody from the original team is there, where you’re connected. More than I would miss him, I would be remiss to say that these are such Herculean gigs, so it’s important for Joss to take all the leverage he’s earned and to apply it to something else. Ultimately he’s a creator, and I think what he did is he’s very aptly taken pre-existing material and spun it into something that feels like a creation.
You can pick up the newest issue of Empire magazine to read the entire interview.