Downey confirms there are currently 'no plans' for a fourth Iron Man film

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Sep 8, 2014, 4:01 PM EDT

If you’ve been holding out hope Robert Downey Jr. might hang on to the goatee and super-suit for one more outing in a standalone Iron Man film, the odds just got a lot longer.

While promoting his new film The Judge, Downey was (of course) asked about how things are going with his big ol' Marvel contract. We already know he’ll stick around through Avengers: Age of Ultron and the eventual Avengers 3: Insert Title Here thanks to a contract extension, but it sounds like there hasn’t been much movement at all to toss another Iron Man sequel into the mix.

When asked by Variety about the odds of Iron Man 4, he responded: “There isn’t one in the pipe. No, there’s no plan for a fourth Iron Man.” Doesn’t get much more cut and dried than that.

Which, honestly, this isn’t too much of a surprise. Downey is the longest-running member of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and it stands to reason he’ll eventually step away from Earth’s Mightiest Heroes at some point. Marvel has already had to re-up his contract at great (great, great) expense, and he’d likely require even more to stick around longer.

The option of recasting the role also came up, with the interviewer asking if Downey would “let” another actor take on his iconic role. Downey said it obviously wasn’t up to him (duh), but joked that he likes the idea that it’d be up to him.

Considering that Iron Man is Marvel’s biggest franchise not called The Avengers, we’d think the character won’t stay on the shelf too long — with or without Downey in the title role.

(Via Variety)