'Iron Man 4' news: How Tony Stark's possible retirement or death could play into the MCU

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“Iron Man 4” plot speculations are more convoluted now more than ever. On top of Tony Stark’s ongoing arc in the comics, a pile-up of Robert Downey Jr.’s (RDJ) supposed appearances as the iconic superhero in other Marvel movies proves to be a mining ground for rumors.

Since it was confirmed that a 15-year-old MIT genius named Riri Williams will follow the footsteps of Tony Stark’s Iron Man in the comics, countless theories have popped up saying that the new character will eventually take over the mantle from him. This particular claim is said to spill to the possible “Iron Man 4” film where Ironheart might make her big screen debut.

Superhero News, however, cites that the introduction of Riri/Ironheart in the comics does not necessarily mean that Tony will be swept to the side. In fact, there is a chance that the two of them will go on missions together as a slow preparation for him taking the backseat. In a wider scope of things, taking on a protg may be a good way for the genius to cope with the stresses of his life including the recent death of Rhodey in the “Civil War II” comics. And even if he decides to finally hang up his red and gold suit that does not mean that there is no way that he’ll eventually come back to the superhero life.

In terms of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), the lack of a stand-alone adventure does not necessarily equate to the lore being Tony Stark-less. In fact, even before he partakes in “Avengers: Infinity War” in 2018, an appearance in next year’s “Spider-Man: Homecoming” will come first. What is interesting are the rampant speculations that Tony will meet his end on Tom Holland’s first solo movie, given that RDJ has already been confirmed to reprise his role in the forthcoming cumulative flick from Marvel. But should this theory eventually pan out, the existence of the Infinity Stones and the introduction of Benedict Cumberbatch’s Doctor Strange might play a role in his resurrection. Currently, it is too farfetched that the snazzy billionaire will meet his end while doing a cameo as it will be a huge disservice to RDJ, Iron Man, and the fans of the franchise.

Speaking of the forthcoming “Doctor Strange,” rumor has it that the 51-year-old’s character will have an entanglement with the Sorcerer Supreme (Cumberbatch) in his introductory flick.

Meanwhile, Marvel Studios continues to maintain their silence over the matter. Company president Kevin Feige previously shared that talks of an “Iron Man 4” will only be possible by 2019 after “Avengers 4,” which is the last confirmed film from the MCU.

“Spider-Man: Homecoming” will be out on July 7, 2017, while “Avengers: Infinity War” on May 4, 2018. “Doctor Strange,” on the other hand, will hit theaters on Nov. 4, effectively closing out Marvel’s 2016 roster.