Iron Man 4's release date will likely never be seen, and Looper has released a video explaining why. With Tony Stark (Robert Downey, Jr.) having been the starting point for the entire MCU, it seems Marvel Studios is more than willing to move ahead and focus on other heroes in their possession.
Three does appear to be a magic number so far, as nearly every member of the Avengers has seen or is getting a third "solo" film. Of course starting with 2012's Avengers, they can't really be called solo adventures any more. Iron Man 2 introduced Don Cheadle's War Machine, Captain America: The Winter Soldier introduced the titular villain as well as Anthony Mackey's Falcon, and Thor: The Dark World brought back Tom Hiddleston's Loki as a wildcard sidekick. Thor: Ragnarok is apparently bringing Hulk back for another round.
The only Marvel hero from the first phase we haven't seen a sequel from is Hulk, and that's only because the character is still owned by Universal Studios. Add to this the fact that the people behind the scenes haven't been able to figure out how to give the story anything we haven't seen before. Hulk isn't really a character with a big story arc like the others, unless you focus on Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo), and the scientist is not who people want to see in action.
'Iron Man 4' News & Update: Robert Downey Jr. Quits Tony Stark Role https://t.co/9hsYkuthYiThe first thing Looper mentions about the absence of an Iron Man 4 release date is that Robert Downey, Jr.'s price tag as an actor may be too high to guarantee a reasonable return from ticket sales. After Iron Man 3 and its "Mandarin" twist, and Mickey Rourke's Whiplash, it doesn't seem likely that people will trust another villain from Iron Man's mythos.
— Cris (@kuchikris) November 18, 2016
This doesn't mean fans wouldn't want to see the real Mandarin appear in a sequel, though it might seem too similar to what Doctor Strange did to utilize the villain's rings of power. It might even make Thanos' acquisition of the Infinity Gauntlet look anti-climactic.
Other actors might even step into the hero's rocket boots, like what happened in the comics as the suit was passed down to a college girl. We might even see Downey, Jr. make a brief cameo to do the same under Mel Gibson's direction.
Looper also mentioned that there are too many heroes coming into the MCU and Iron Man would only seem to get in the way of the scheduled release plans as Doctor Strange, Captain Marvel, and Black Panther enter the arena. This doesn't even include the possibility of all of Marvel's TV show heroes appearing in Infinity War. With Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, Daredevil, Elektra, Punisher, and Iron Fist possibly joining their big screen companions, a further story focusing on Tony Stark would probably just be too much.
That isn't stopping Mel Gibson from saying he'd like to direct a fourth film in the series, with Downey, Jr.'s blessing. It certainly wouldn't be the same tone as the others with him in the chair.
Mel Gibson Says Iron Man 4 Would Be Fun https://t.co/6omiYHktwxThere also might not be enough villains to justify Iron Man getting a third sequel. Again, this is assuming that Mandarin was just a character invented by Guy Pierce's Aldrich Killian to fake us out and the real villain isn't still waiting for his chance. There has been a new hero introduced in nearly every film so far, even if it's a throw-away character like Gwyneth Paltrow's Pepper Potts at the end of Iron Man 3. Tony Stark might just not have any new characters to team up with unless Marvel gives us yet another ensemble film under his alter ego.
— Gay Fabulous & Geek (@officialgaygeek) November 17, 2016
Looper mentions that having M.O.D.O.K. show up might be pushing the believability of the big screen action. Of course we have seen a talking raccoon and a walking tree already, and Kurt Russell is playing the human form of the living planet Ego.
It's unknown what Marvel has planned for a possible Iron Man 4 release date, but it doesn't look likely any more.
[Featured Image by Marvel]