'Iron Man 4' releasing no sooner than 2020; re-casting still possible

Actor Robert Downey Jr. will be reprising his role as Tony Stark aka Iron Man in this year's "Captain America: Civil War," and despite no official word from Marvel Studios or Disney, it is assumed he will reprise his role for "Iron Man 4." According to a report from Master Herald, this is still possible but it won't happen prior to 2020.

Following "Captain America: Civil War," Iron Man will be making his next appearance in the two-part "Avengers: Infinity War" films, which will release in 2018 and 2019. It is widely believed that the second part will mark the end of Robert Downey Jr.'s contract with Marvel Studios.

Because of the dates these films will release, it is implied that any effort to move forward with "Iron Man 4" won't occur until after the two "Avengers" films have finished production. "Iron Man 4" might enter production immediately but it won't release until 2020 and beyond.

However, the report also points out that if it takes this long, there is the possibility Downey Jr. will turn the role down instead of renewing his contract to star in more films. By 2020 the actor will be 55 years old and the physical demands for the role of Iron Man may be too much.

There is also the case for him accepting the offer. Downey Jr. was reportedly paid over $40 million for his appearance in "Captain America: Civil War" and he received $50 million for "Iron Man 3." His biggest salary comes from "Avengers: Age of Ultron," in which he earned $80 million.

While the argument can be made that Marvel Studios may not be willing to pay the continuously increasing paycheck for Downey Jr., there is also the chance they may agree to it due to the fact that the "Iron Man" films are the biggest blockbusters in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. "Iron Man 3" alone earned over $1 billion worldwide.