'Iron Man 4' news: Robert Downey Jr. refused the gig due to pay dispute?

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Week after week, new rumors pop up online regarding the fan-driven “Iron Man 4,” with speculations on when it will happen, what the story will be about and who will be involved in the project being thrown around resulting in endless possibilities. The latest this week from the theory pool, however, is quite different as it tries to delve into the reason why the movie is still not being confirmed at the very least.

According to these rumors, Robert Downey Jr. (RDJ) has actually turned down the gig for the aforementioned flick because of failure to come to terms with Marvel Studios regarding his pay. It is no secret that the actor has been paid handsomely since the first “Iron Man” movie took off in 2008. Since then, he has slowly climbed the Hollywood ladder and went on to become the highest-paid actor in the business for three consecutive years, from 2012 to 2015. Chalk it up to his yearly reprisal of Tony Stark in both his stand-alone series as well as the massively successful “Avengers” franchise.

By this time, it will not really be a surprise if RDJ even has a hand in executive meetings for the Marvel Cinematic Universe given how very much involved he is. All the more, despite the addition of new actors taking on popular characters like Chris Evans with Captain America and Chris Hemsworth with Thor, the 51-year-old actor is still considered the main pillar of the ever-expanding franchise. So it is safe to say that whatever the amount they agree upon will eventually translate into profit for both Marvel and Disney.

A similar scenario would be Harrison Ford’s involvement in last year’s “Star Wars: Episode VII The Force Awakens.” There had been rumblings, albeit not officially confirmed, that the paycheck that the George Lucas veteran thespian received in reprising his iconic role as Han Solo after 30 years was a lot more than what his co-stars got. Furthermore, he even received a percentage of the sales from the film. Regardless of the digits, Ford’s appearance added depth and nostalgia that future “Star Wars” movies can bank on moving forward.

At this point, it is difficult to fathom that RDJ would turn down the prospect of an “Iron Man 4” for his character’s swan song just because of financial misunderstandings. His willingness to be part of the supporting cast for Evans’ “Captain America: Civil War” can also be a good argument that he and the rest of Marvel Studios are just waiting for the proper slot and story for Tony Stark’s final act. It is also important to note that the actor is confirmed to reprise his role in Tom Holland’s “Spider-Man: Homecoming” and “Avengers: Infinity War.” He is even rumored to be part of Benedict Cumberbatch’s “Doctor Strange” somehow.

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