Robert Downey Jr. will return as Iron Man for Spider-Man: Homecoming (UPDATED)

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Apr 21, 2016, 3:12 PM EDT

It looks like Spider-Man and Iron Man will be spending more time together in the future.

The Wrap reports that Robert Downey Jr. has signed a deal to appear as Tony Stark/Iron Man in Spider-Man: Homecoming, the first standalone Spidey movie since Sony and Marvel joined forces to reboot the character.

It's Tony Stark who introduces Spider-Man/Peter Parker, played by Tom Holland, into the superhero conflict that drives Captain America: Civil War. The two share a scene at Peter's Queens apartment before we see the teenager suit up for the movie's centerpiece battle between Team Tony and Team Cap.

With Tony taking sort of a mentor role with Peter, it makes sense that he would show up in Spider-Man's own movie. It's not clear whether he'll be bringing his Iron Man armor with him, although insiders say it's likely.

Also unknown is whether Tony/Downey will appear in more than one Spider-Man movie, although my guess is that he'll show up in this one to give Holland and the character a boost, after which Spidey will make his own way. But that doesn't preclude other Marvel characters from crossing over to Spider-Man movies, as Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige hinted recently.

Downey is joining a cast that includes, in addition to Holland, Marisa Tomei, Zendaya, Laura Harrier and Tony Revolori. Although Michael Keaton was reportedly in talks to play the movie's villain -- who might be the Vulture -- the Hollywood Reporter's Borys Kit tweeted just today that Keaton has passed on the offer.

You know what's cool about this? Downey seems to genuinely enjoy sticking around the Marvel Cinematic Universe. His contract called for three Iron Man films and three Avengers pictures (it's unknown whether he'll be in both parts of Avengers: Infinity War), but has since expanded to include Captain America: Civil War and now Spider-Man: Homecoming. Of course, it doesn't hurt that they probably back a bank truck up to his front door every time his contract is renegotiated, but I have to think that he has enough money at this point to say no if he really hated coming back.

Spider-Man: Homecoming is set for release on July 7. 2017. What do you think about Iron Man joining the movie?