'Iron Man 4' Update: Arno Stark to Replace Tony Stark? Is Robert Downey Jr Leaving Marvel Franchise?

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By Vanessa Francisco | February 24, 2014 6:15 PM EST

Robert Downey Jr. has already signed an agreement for the two upcoming "Avengers" projects but the "Iron Man" franchise is still up in the air. According to reports, there is a possibility that Arno Stark will replace Tony Stark if Iron Man 4 is to be put in production and with Downey contractually bound to do "Avengers 3," the production will start sometime around Phase 3. It is said that the replacement is also due to Downey's high cost and increasing age.

Who is Arno Stark? It appears that Iron Man has two versions of his story. One is that which makes him the biological nephew of Tony Stark that will later on grow up to be Iron Man 2020. The second storyline recently claims that Arno is the biological son of Howard and Maria Stark. He was genetically modified while still in the womb and a "genetic clock" would've caused him to die early had Howard created the serum that would keep him alive. Arno depended on life support and was not introduced to his adopted brother, Tony.

"I believe there will be a fourth Iron Man installment. Even a fifth and sixth and a 10th and 20th," Marvel Studio's President of Production, Kevin Feige said. "I don't see any reason why Tony Stark cannot be as evergreen as James Bond." It is also possible that while the plot will not change and focus on Arno Stark, the producers could just cast another actor for Tony Stark.

"I have said it before and it was not negotiating tactics. I believe Tony Stark is just as strong a character as batman. So there will absolutely be future Iron Mans and future Tony Starks. Who makes the movies, when those films are made, who knows? I do not know. But, the notion with Downey's contract in The Avengers 2 and 3 is to allow new characters, Part of what we like about The Avengers is the shifting roster. That is what's fun about comic book films. You shift them up. Certainly, a lot of thought process went to it," Feige said.

For now, fans can look forward to "The Avengers: Age of Ultron," which is set to hit the theaters on May 1, 2015.

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