Re: Downey's last?
He'll do at least 3 more films in a leading/supporting role:
The Avengers 2 (Lead)
Iron Man 4 (Lead)
The Avengers (Supporting)
He'll probably also cameo is various other Marvel films.
He's referred to by the actors and producers of these films as the "Godfather" of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. He's not just another actor in the series -- he's THE actor of the series. He will do it as long as HE wants to do it -- and HE's said that he will do it as long as WE want him to do it... as long as it's fresh.
Disney is backing Marvel and footing the bill now. The Avengers made Disney/Paramount/Marvel more than 1 billion dollars in box office alone. Add in merchandise and DVD/Blu Ray sales and that number is a juggernaut.
His solo films are by far the heaviest hitting box office films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and will remain so...
Disney will throw him $20+ Million per picture with a backend deal for three more pictures. Then they'll give him a smaller contract, but pay him as a producer for the films that he has walk-on cameos for....
Now, remember -- with the way the Cinematic Universe works (multiple films per year) he can appear in 6-7 films, in some capacity, (including the three I listed above) all in the next 6-10 years. Then, he can retire and pass the role on -- or leave the limelight of the Marvel Universe and we can focus on other characters until Downey's Tony Stark isn't as fresh in our minds, and then they can introduce a new actor in the role.
Marvel isn't the same studio it was when in contract battles with Terrance Howard and Mickey Rourke. They have The Walt Disney Company behind them now. That's like the A's being backed by the Yankees. Or the Jaguars being backed by the Cowboys.
Downey is Disney's blue-chip leadman. They will pay him the money it costs to keep him in the fold because he churns out $700million-1.6billion at the world wide box office. When that slows, then maybe they'll rethink things...
My posts are facts, not opinion. Enjoy.