To date, Iron Man 3 is the second highest-grossing standalone movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, landing right behind Black Panther. Even with all the critical and financial success of the Iron Man franchise, Marvel never got around to making an Iron Man 4. Robert Downey Jr. even teased another film for ole shell head multiple times, going so far as to propose that Mel Gibson should direct it. But come November 5th, 2021 Thor, not Iron Man, will officially be the only Marvel character to get a fourth standalone flick. So, what gives?

Avengers: Endgame writers Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely recently gave an interview to Vanity Fair where they talked extensively on Marvel Studios’ decision not to move forward on Tony Stark’s next solo adventure. (They also talked about a lot of other things, which we wrote about HERE.) McFeely said:

“Whether you like all of the 24 movies or not, the capital that Marvel built up allowed them to do things like make a movie starring a raccoon and a tree, right? You would’ve already had Iron Man 4 if it was any other studio. But they decided, no, we’re going to take chances on all these other things. To put a flag in the ground and say, we’re going to end something and take characters off the table, is, I think, kind of daring, but selfishly it was really great for us.”

Markus continued on the topic by saying: “It needs an end, or it loses meaning… If Tony made it out the other side, and Iron Man 4 was waiting there, you’d be like, [shakes head] one too many…”

Although it would have been great fun to see Iron Man take flight one more time in his own solo outing, it’s easy to understand the thought process behind the studio’s decision to give Tony Stark a finite ending. If taking Iron Man off the playing field after three solo movies and six team-up appearances was to give weirder characters like Guardians of the Galaxy and Doctor Strange a chance to shine, then sign us up! We’re sure the red and gold tin can man will eventually make a triumphant return to the silver screen somewhere down the road. Until then… Excelsior!