Robert Downey Jr. in The Avengers

Robert Downey Jr. took his contract negotiations public during the release of Iron Man 3, noting that he made over $50 Million dollars off appearing in The Avengers. The release of these numbers seemed like they could be trying to shame him for making so much money (where his other co-stars did not make anywhere near as much), but whatever was attempted in bringing his enormous paycheck to light didn’t change anything as Marvel has just signed RDJ for The Avengers 2…. and The Avengers 3.

It seems the bigger news here is that there will be a third Avengers movie, but it’s also kind of a “no duh.” The first film grossed over $600 Million dollars domestically, and has made over $1.5 Billion worldwide. As much as it may be a hassle bringing the team back together, it’s the film that’s proved the most profitable of the entire Marvel catalog.

What is interesting is that they chose to sign Downey Jr. on for Avengers 3 over Iron Man 4. The third Iron Man, which is still in theaters, has already made over $1.2 Billion dollars globally, and just passed the $400 Million dollar mark domestically. And with Marvel grabbing the first weekend in May (which has been a lucky date for them) with untitled projects scheduled to hit theaters in 2016 and 2017, it’s surprising that one of those isn’t Iron Man 4. Perhaps — as Downey will have a supporting part in the Avengers sequels –  the deals for the return of Tony Stark to The Avengers were based on his limited involvement, but that’s baseless speculation. Likely Marvel and Downey Jr. are negotiating his return for an Iron Man follow up as well, though that deal hasn’t closed yet as the priority is getting him in the picture that shoots next year. Here’s the full press release:

“I am Iron Man.”

Tony Stark’s famous closing line to the very first Iron Man film takes on new life today as Marvel is pleased to announce the signing of Robert Downey, Jr. to reprise the role of the “billionaire, genius, playboy, philanthropist.”

Under the two-picture agreement, Downey will star as Tony Stark/Iron Man in “Marvel’s The Avengers 2” and “Marvel’s The Avengers 3.” Downey is represented at CAA by Bryan Lourd, Jim Toth and Matt Leaf and by his attorneys Tom Hansen and Stewart Brookman of the firm Hansen Jacobson.

Downey, Jr.’s last two Marvel films, 2012’s “Marvel’s The Avengers” and this year’s “Iron Man 3,” rank as two of the top five grossing films of all time, collectively earning over $2.7 billion worldwide to date.

“Marvel’s The Avengers 2” is being written and directed by Joss Whedon. Featuring favorites from the first Avengers film and new Marvel characters never before seen on the big screen, “Marvel’s The Avengers 2” is slated to begin production in March 2014 and open in theaters May 1, 2015.

Are you happy that Robert Downey Jr. is returning, or would you like to see a new actor take on the role?