Iron Man’s Spectacular Comeback as Doctor Doom Rocks MCU Fans

Robert Downey Jr. recently commented on if he would return as Iron Man for Marvel Studios, and a surprising MCU theory adds Doctor Doom to the mix.

RDJ unmasked in the Iron Man armor from Avengers: Endgame and Doctor Doom from 2005's Fantastic Four movie

Following over a decade as Iron Man, Robert Downey Jr.’s Tony Stark comes back as Doctor Doom in a shocking Marvel Cinematic Universe theory. RDJ started the MCU in 2008 with his first movie as Tony Stark — Iron Man. After that, the actor would star in several of Marvel Studios’ finest films, including the Avengers, Captain America, and Spider-Man franchises, besides the Iron Man trilogy. In 2019, Downey’s MCU journey came to an end, with Tony Stark’s story coming full circle — going from selfish to selfless — as the hero sacrificed himself to defeat Thanos in Avengers: Endgame.

Following Tony’s death and Captain America growing old, the MCU has lost its main characters. However, Marvel Studios is keeping both of their legacies alive through different heroes and projects. Iron Man’s MCU legacy continues in the form of Rhodey, with War Machine leading the upcoming Armor Wars movie, and Riri Williams, who debuted in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever and will lead Disney+’s Ironheart. Still, fans continue to ask for RDJ to return as Iron Man in Marvel’s upcoming movies, and a crazy MCU theory proposes an intriguing way for how that could happen.

MCU Theory Claims Iron Man Becomes Doctor Doom

The Theory Unites Two Fan Requests In One

Iron Man Doctor Doom.

Doctor Doom and Iron Man are two major Marvel characters, and while Victor von Doom and Tony Stark could share the screen in the MCU’s future, a new theory imagines a way for both characters to be one and the same. According to the MCU theory, RDJ would come back not as the MCU’s Tony Stark but an Iron Man variant from the multiverse. After going up against Thanos and leaning on magic due to technology not helping him defeat the Mad Titan, Iron Man would become a version of Doctor Doom.

Following the Iron Man variant’s success over Thanos, that alternate universe Tony Stark would learn about the existence of the multiverse and the threat the Kang variants pose to the fabric of reality, which is even greater than that of Thanos. Instead of limiting his plans to building a suit of armor to put around the whole world — which led to Ultron in the MCU — the Iron Man variant would then proceed to attempt to do that to the whole multiverse, becoming the biggest multiversal power and eventually leading to the creation of Battleworld.

The theory also accounts for Marvel’s casting for The Fantastic Four. According to the theory, the actors cast for the Fantastic Four movie would only play their roles until the rumored reboot of the franchise, which would explain the older casting of Reed Richards — with Pedro Pascal in the role — and allow RDJ to play the Iron Man/Doctor Doom character until the reboot. In Marvel Comics, the “Infamous Iron Man” comic book series followed Doctor Doom as he became the new Iron Man after Tony Stark’s death, and a version of that story in the MCU would be exciting.

Robert Downey Jr. Is Open To Tony Stark Return

The Actor’s Last MCU Role Was In Avengers: Endgame

Iron Man standing in front of Hawkeye with Holoshield in Avengers: Endgame

Avengers: Endgame‘s ending, with Tony dying after sacrificing himself to dust away Thanos and his army, was perfect. RDJ’s MCU hero went through quite the journey, retaining his unique personality while also becoming more of a hero with each appearance. In the end, Iron Man made the ultimate sacrifice, leaving the MCU in the perfect place for the next generation of heroes to take over. While it seems like Tony Stark’s MCU story is over, that might change, as Robert Downey Jr. would be open to playing Iron Man again in the future.

Speaking about a possible return to the MCU as Iron Man, Downey said, “Happily. It’s too integral a part of my DNA.” After winning a Best Supporting Oscar for his role in Oppenheimer, RDJ seems game to go back to the MCU to have another go at Iron Man. According to 2023 reports, Marvel has even considered bringing the original Avengers back, which would include the team’s two dead members — Iron Man and Black Widow. Downey returning as Iron Man in at least Avengers: Secret Wars, helping end the Multiverse Saga, as he is rumored to, would be perfect.

MCU’s Iron Man Return Theory Avoids A Major Endgame Problem

A Pivotal MCU Moment Can Remain Intact

Robert Downey Jr as Tony Stark Iron Man in Avengers Endgame holding the infinity gauntlet

One of the biggest criticisms surrounding the idea of Downey coming back as Iron Man comes from the fear that it could undo Iron Man’s perfect MCU ending. After helping start the universe by leading its first movie, RDJ’s Tony Stark ended his journey in the franchise’s highest-grossing film, with Iron Man’s ultimate sacrifice saving everyone from Thanos. While seeing Downey back as Iron Man would undoubtedly be one of the MCU’s most emotional moments, there are only a few ways in which it could be done so that Iron Man’s Avengers: Endgame story is not undone if RDJ returns.

However, an Iron Man becoming Doctor Doom like in the MCU theory would avoid any clashes with Avengers: Endgame. By using the multiverse, the original Tony Stark could remain dead while RDJ plays a new take on the character. Additionally, the MCU theory explains that Iron Man would become Doctor Doom and a multiversal power due to the character being forced to challenge himself incessantly to be able to stop Thanos. That would show just how important the main Tony Stark’s sacrifice was, allowing RDJ to play a completely new variant that offers fresh Iron Man stories.

Why Doctor Doom Should Debut In The MCU Soon

Two Projects Could Use Victor Von Doom

Doctor Doom in front of his castle, as purple energy swirls around him

The Iron Man/Doctor Doom theory comes at the moment that Doctor Doom’s MCU debut is the closest it has ever been. Doom is the most popular Fantastic Four villain, appearing in all live-action films for the team and also being a prominent foe of the wider Marvel universe in the comics. With The Fantastic Four set to be released in theaters in 2025, it would be shocking if Doctor Doom is not in the film as a cameo at the very least.

Doctor Doom could also show up in 2027’s Avengers: Secret Wars. Doom played a key role in two comic book versions of the event, becoming God Emperor Doom in the story that should influence the Avengers movie. With reports claiming that Marvel considered replacing Kang the Conqueror with Doctor Doom as the main villain of the Multiverse Saga, the character could play a key role in Avengers: Secret Wars if the Kangs are dropped, with the MCU theory showing how RDJ’s Iron Man could take on that responsibility instead of another actor as the classic Victor von Doom.

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