The Download: No 'Iron Man 4,' Charlie Hunnam on His 'Fifty Shades of Grey' Exit, and Spider-Man

Robert Downey Jr.

Robert Downey Jr. says there's no plan for another Iron Man movie. Smokescreen or is Marvel really planning to put one if its most iconic character in the background for the time being? We discuss that and more on this week's Download.

Binh: Can't believe it's been 13 years since the attacks on the World Trade Center. I don't really remember what the world was like before then, but it seems like it has certainly gotten messier, hasn't it?

Jeff: I'm just glad we don't have to mark this anniversary by admitting that Ted Nugent was right about something.

Binh: Nugent should stick to music. Let's get this thing started. So, according to Robert Downey, Jr., there won't be an Iron Man 4. I not quite sure I buy that.

Jeff: Yeah, who knows what's really going on over there? Maybe he's playing it close to the vest as a bargaining tactic. Or maybe Marvel's just taking its time before they make another Iron Man movie...either way, I wouldn't be surprised if it's awhile before we see Tony (whoever happens to be playing him) back in the armor.

Binh: We've been told that Marvel has these movies planned out way ahead, so that's why I don't buy the "there's no plan for a fourth Iron Man" spiel. It's possible RDJr is telling the truth, but didn't he and Marvel sign a new contract recently? Why re-up if there's nothing in the pipeline? I suppose he could be just another character in the other movies.

Jeff: Everything I've read says he's on the hook for the second and third Avengers, but nothing's known beyond that. They'll have to replace him at some point, right? And given that the character will be seen in the Avengers movies (if not others), there's no pressing need for a fourth, especially since they're working on new franchises with Guardians of the Galaxy and Doctor Strange and Ant-Man and...you get the idea. Iron Man was a cornerstone at one point, but maybe now he's just another spoke in the wheel.

Binh: You might be right. There have been talks about Downey stepping back from the role, so maybe there's something to those talks. We know he'll be replaced eventually so maybe being just another spoke is just a graceful way of doing the transition.

Jeff: Now, as for who could possibly follow in Downey's footsteps? I have no idea.

Binh: Good question! They won't be rebooting the character so I assume they're going to go with someone in their thirties or forties, but I could be wrong on that. I'm sure the people at Marvel already have someone in mind though since it's part of their jobs to plan for these things.

Sara: I agree with Jeff this news is just too suspicious. If RDJr were leaving for health reasons (which would not likely be addressed directly in publicity announcements) I'd at least feel there was a reason to warrant the change of casting. RDJr IS Ironman. Changing that is foolishly banking on the stability of a brand without it's face. The Avengers are already about too many people/things. They can't afford to get more mixed up. I mean, how many Hulks have their been recently? So many that Ruffalo's performance was like a beacon of hope for people dying to psychically replace Ed Norton--who told them this was a game of musical chairs? If they treat the franchise with disrespect they'll get it back in spades.

Jeff: Well, don't forget that Downey is the most expensive star in Marvel's stable -- and they've proven they can make plenty of dough with less bankable faces. As long as they find a guy who can do rakish reasonably well, and come up with an entertaining script, people will come...or at least, that's one possible way of looking at it.

Sara: Or maybe they'll decide Ironman is more marketable as a schlub than a rake. Jonah Hill could ooze his way into that franchise, no probs!

Jeff: Cue Big Hero 6 trailer.

Sara: Ha! You're right. We're never at a loss for anything. Hollywood provides all! Like Caesar!

Binh: I agree, Jeff. At this point, the Marvel brand is already established so they don't need an expensive star to mitigate the risk of launching a new property. The Hulk situation is the way it is because those movies came before Marvel implemented their grand plan. Besides, not every character needs to have a solo movie.

Okay, moving on... Charlie Hunnam, who will probably play a superhero character one of these days, says the reason he backed out of Fifty Shades of Grey is because he had a nervous breakdown over the schedule.

"I was going to finish Sons at like 11 p.m. Friday night, get on the plane Saturday morning to Vancouver for Fifty, missing the whole first week of rehearsal and start shooting Monday morning," Hunnam said. "And I was going to shoot that film, wrap that on the Wednesday and the following Monday I was going to start shooting Crimson Peak in Toronto. I just had like ... frankly, something of a nervous breakdown."

That does sound like he was overbooked.

Jeff: Isn't that kind of like child's play compared to what Michael J. Fox did while he was filming the first Back to the Future? This Hunnam kid, he's got no moxie! He'll never make it in this town.

Binh: We talked about not turning down a gig before because if you're performing in front of a camera, there's no such thing as steady work so you get them while you can. Unless you're an A-lister, of course.

Sara: I realize they're secular royalty, but I've never envied movie stars. Nothing is cushy--and what's worse than something that looks soft but feels hard? Hale Berry says dieting is her lifestyle. I pity her missing out on soft serve.

Binh: You think movie stars have it bad, models got it worse. One rice cake, or less, a day!

Sara: People still make rice cakes?!

Binh: Well, models are still eating them apparently.

Sara: Poor things. I'd call them "sacred cows" weren't it for the generations of women suffering with body image issues because of their rice cake situation.

Binh: They're victims in the arms race between fashion houses, unfortunately. I don't think anyone would choose to go hungry...

So, according to Andrew Garfield, the reason why you didn't like The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is because Sony interfered and chopped off stuff they shouldn't.

"For me, I read the script that Alex [Kurtzman] and Bob [Orci] wrote, and I genuinely loved it. There was this thread running through it. I think what happened was, through the pre-production, production, and post-production, when you have something that works as a whole, and then you start removing portions of it—because there was even more of it than was in the final cut, and everything was related. Once you start removing things and saying, 'No, that doesn't work,' then the thread is broken, and it's hard to go with the flow of the story. Certain people at the studio had problems with certain parts of it, and ultimately the studio is the final say in those movies because they're the tentpoles, so you have to answer to those people."

Sounds like a case for a director's cut. But that's hindsight speaking, isn't it? Who's to say the cut before studio intervention would work any better?

Jeff: Short version: "I refuse to believe people might simply need a break from Spider-Man movies."

Sara: Should we apply Binh's theory that new faces will do nothing to damage the franchise?

Jeff: Sony's doing more than enough damage on its own. I don't think the cast is the problem here.

Binh: But that still doesn't negate Jeff's theory that people might need a break from another origin story so soon after previous one. Also, the parent company is not in good shape, so there's pressure to have their tentpoles be home runs, which leads to these interferences Garfield has mentioned.

Sara: I agree, Jeff's idea holds the most water. Not that I totally believe Sony has a sense of public sentiment...

Binh: Garfield is still under contract for one more movie, I believe. I'm not sure how much truth there is to that Daily Star report about him signing on for more. Since Sony has pushed The Amazing Spider-Man 3 movie to 2018, Garfield may be too old to play the part past the third movie anyway. The stakes are pretty high for those spinoff movies because I don't envision Sony doing another reboot so soon. Maybe they can take the James Bond approach and just slot in a different actor without having to reset the story once again.

Sara: That sounds plausible. Can I ask a naive question: if Garfield's under contract and threatening to age out of the role, wouldn't Sony be hauling ass to complete the 3 picture deal?

Binh: Yes, if the second movie made more than the first but that's not what happened. Now, they're trying to figure out why and how to fix that. They can always find another to play Spidey but doing damage to the brand that would require mothballing the franchise for awhile, that will be very costly.

Sara: Mothballing is a great word--the franchises are mostly costume anyway.

Jeff: If I had to guess, I'd say they're currently hoping they can stoke interest in the franchise with these spinoff pictures they're planning -- that Sinister Six, Venom, and Untitled Female-Led and Not at All Cynical Project will allow them to keep the Spidey mothership afloat while they while away enough tax years to gin up more audience demand. I'd be surprised if it worked, but that seems to be the plan.

Binh: Which is a curious strategy if you think about it. How can you drum up interest in Spider-Man if he's not even in the spinoffs? And if those spinoffs are good enough to stand on their own, then you don't need Spider-Man.

Jeff: This is the sort of tangled web we weave when first we practice to build a film franchise with time-dependent licenses from other corporate entities.

Binh: Good one, Jeff! Well, we have reached the end of this edition of The Download. Have a great weekend, everyone!

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